Smear: NKT aggressively evangelizes and promotes itself
Truth: The NKT does not try to convert people, and many people who attend classes do not become Buddhist. Kadampa Centers advertise their classes principally by means of posters, newspaper listings, and Center websites. The motivation is to offer people the study and practice Buddha's teachings in order to help them develop their wisdom, cultivate a good heart, and maintain a peaceful state of mind.
Buddha himself travelled from town to town to deliver Buddhist teachings. There is no law to say that Buddhist Centers are not allowed to grow.
Every religious tradition that has some success could be described as self-promotional – for example Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, the Dalai Lama’s teachings and so on. Our General Program (introductory class) is our biggest program and it has high turnover, which is expected because as Buddhists we believe that different people have different karma and different spiritual paths to travel. That attitude is not the hallmark of a “missionary zeal” (definition of evangelistic).
The majority of people who attend classes worldwide are not Buddhist; they are attending to learn to meditate to find mental peace. Some become interested in Buddhism and join a study program, but many do not, and there is no agenda to force people to join these programs.
One reason we have grown well is because we do not mix religion with politics and another is because Geshe Kelsang has inspired and trained many good teachers in many countries to teach in their own language and according to their own culture. Another is because Kadampa Buddhism is practically suited to modern-day practitioners, emphasizing how to mix Buddha’s teachings into normal daily life. We also believe that our growth can be attributed to the blessings of the Dharma Protector of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition, Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden.