Smear: NKT is sectarian
Truth: The NKT is not sectarian because we respect all religions and the right of others to choose what they want to practice, while we ourselves practice the teachings of our Mahayana tradition.
Sectarianism is discriminating against another tradition, religion or school. It implies being bigoted or narrow minded. Some think that being non-sectarian means practising all traditions but this is incorrect. It means having respect for all traditions and not criticizing them. It also means practicing all the teachings of a particular spiritual tradition, not favoring some teachings and rejecting others.
This problem that the NKT encounters, of being marginalized into a “sect” as opposed to part of mainstream Buddhism, stems from the Dalai Lama’s words. The Dalai Lama is saying publicly that Dorje Shugden practice promotes sectarianism, but the paradox is that he is unlawfully enforcing a ban on a nearly 400-year old religious tradition.
From an interview with Donald Lopez Jr in Tricycle Magazine, Spring 1998:
LOPEZ:Given your devotion to Dorje Shugden and your founding of the New Kadampa Tradition, do you feel that Je Tsongkhapa’s view, meditation, and practice is the most complete in all Tibetan Buddhism? Is it only through Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings that one can attain enlightenment? Or is it also possible though Nyingma or Kagyu?
GESHE KELSANG GYATSO: Of course! Of course we believe that every Nyingma and Kagyupa have their complete path. Not only Gelugpa. I believe that Nyingmapas have a complete path. Of course, Kagyupas are very special. We very much appreciate the example of Marpa and Milarepa [in the Kagyu lineage]. Milarepa showed the best example of Guru devotion. Of course the Kagyupas as well as the Nyingmapas and the Sakyupas, have a complete path to enlightenment. Many Nyingmapas and Kagyupas practice very sincerely and are not just studying intellectually. I think that some Gelugpa practitioners need to follow their practical example. But we don’t need to mix our traditions. Each tradition has its own uncommon good qualities, and it is important not to lose these. We should concentrate on our own tradition and maintain the good qualities of our tradition, but we should always keep good relations with each other and never argue or criticize each other. What I would like to request is that we should improve our traditions while maintaining good relations with each other.