Talk:New Kadampa Tradition/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Is the article appropriate?

I've now had a chance to look at the changes and want to express my deep gratitude at how it looks now. I think it is much more neutral yet still retains the element of controversy which some people view as being part and parcel of the establishment of the NKT. With profound gratitude I thank you.

I removed only one thing, the reference to the opposition of Lama Yeshe to the building transfer because I've been searching on the internet for some documentation of the dispute and haven't found any. Please direct me to sources and we can find a way to work this out. It's a rather random comment (against LY wishes) when the article itself doesn't explain who LY is, what his relationship with Geshe-la was etc.

Also, I'm about to remove the link to the DS controversy on the bottom of the page - it should go on the DS page (which I still haven't looked at). I'll also add more pro-NKT links for a better balance of viewpoints.


I disagree. The sentence is not merely about founding the NKT, but also about how the center transferred ownership. The details of the transfer are mentioned, and they are relevant. (20040302)

Who cares how the centre transferred ownership? The building has nothing to do with the New Kadampa Tradition. It is completely irrelvant to the topic.

Actually, lots of people care a real lot about how the centre transferred ownership. Some FPMT members considered the actions of KG to be equivalent to stealing from the triple gem. This is a big deal. Secondly, it has a lot to do with the NKT - it is a turning point in KG's movement away from FPMT and subsequently the Tibetan tradition. It is the history of NKT. (20040302)


      1. A building has nothing to do with the teachings of the NKT, ergo it is irrelevant in this context. When people come here to search on the NKT they aren't looking for information on buildings, but on the tradition itself. You may personally consider it part of the overall issue, but it is a tangent issue based on past differences. The first part of the article should provide a factual overview of the NKT. Debates issues should all be confined to the 'controversies' area. I should say, however, that given the NKT base in Majurshri Center has been there for a decade and there no legal case being brought against the NKT that I'm aware of its rather a pedantic issue only of interest to people who are focused on the break.
Well, you go onto assert the same a few lines down, when you say that the tradition is distinct. "NKT is an independent tradition" So, therefore although it calls itself 'Kadampa', it is not the traditional Kadampa, which we all know ceased as an independent school in the 14th C. The statement is clarifying, and it is not false.

Let me explain since you misunderstand. The NKT is not a Tibetan tradition. That's where you keep getting it wrong. You wrongly see it as an offshoot of a Tibetan school when we are clear that we are an independent western Buddhist movement which is based upon the teachings of the Kadampa lineage.

Okay - so why does the NKT use Tibetan words? Kadampa is Tibetan. Lam Rim is Tibetan, and so on. The Kadampa tradition was born in Tibet, sustained in Tibet and absorbed by the Gelukpas in Tibet. The prayers recited by NKT students are all translations from which language? Noone is saying that the NKT is a tradition at all! It was born in Cumbria. But it's roots are deeply buried in Tibet. Otherwise, why use Tibetan style paintings, Tibetan style robes, prayers authored by Tibetans, mantras only found in Tibet? Come on now. I don't see it as an offshoot of the Gelukpa or of Kadampa. My current theory of the foundation is based on the fact that KG was caught between a rock and a hard place. I've found or read nothing yet to convince me otherwise. (20040302)
      1. No, we don't use Tibetan. But then again, Tibetans don't speak the Indian language of Atisha, do they? They don't only speak Sanskrit either, do they? Atisha wisely saw that for the Buddhadharma to flourish, the obstruction of difference of language had to be removed. The Tibetan texts were translated from the Sanskrit, so I can't see how you are justified in this criticism as your own language was not the language of Buddha either. We are not studying to be Tibetans, but to be Buddhists. What about Zen? Is Zen in the West not Buddhist because they don't learn Japanese? Or what about Buddhism in Thailand or Vietnam? The mantras we use are in sanskrit, everything else is in English because THAT is what is conducive to spreading the Buddhadharma. Dharma is true in Sanskrit, Tibetan, English, Japanese, Cantonese or whatever language is it taught in because the truth of Dharma transcends language. One of the reasons we view Geshe-la as being so kind is that he has applied great effort in translating from the Tibetan (which was - as you recall - translated from Sanskrit) precisely so people in the west could study and practice the Buddhadharma.


There should be nothing in this article about the Gelugpas, or the Dalai Lama since they and he as irrelevant to the NKT as they are to Zen Buddhism. Your distorted view can see only through a Tibetan lens, that's why you keep getting it wrong.

This is patently not true. KG (the root guru and founder of NKT) wrote several famous tracts against the dalai lama. He was taught by Gelukpas - Trijang Rinpoche, Pabonkhapa and Je Tsonkghapa were all Gelukpas. Your lack of rationality is astounding. Secondly, accusing me of having distorted views tells people more about you than it does about me. Think about that. (20040302)
Are you denying that he refused to back down from the instructions of the dalai lama, the ganden tripa (who banned DS from Geluk) or the seniors at Sera (who told him to stop his attacks against the dalai lama)? So what is controversial about it? KG refused to acknowledge any living authority. This is a fact. (20040302)

I'm saying it's irrelevant to the NKT. That has nothing to do with the NKT. The Dalai Lama has no authority over the NKT. Geshe la does acknowledge the authority of his spiritual guide, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

He acknowledges the authority of dead people, friend. I totally agree that the Dalai Lama has no authority over the NKT - and this is exactly why, as far as I can fathom, the NKT was founded. Maybe you never read the stuff that KG wrote about Tibet and the Dalai Lama. Go and read some of the articles in Wikipedia. Hey, go and read some encyclopedias. History plays a very important part in these types of text. (20040302)


      1. Great, so we've agreed that the Dalai Lama has no authority over the NKT, therefore mention of HH in the NKT article has no place.
We have already established that his expulsion is NOT due to Shugden. The Shugden controversy started in 1976, whereas he was expelled 23 years later in 1999. Therefore, the remarks are neither inflammatory or irrelevant. (20040302)

Nope, that's false. I'm sure your familiar with this article which clearly links the two events:

'These critics have been effectively silenced by the resolute stand he has taken now, but in doing so, the Dalai Lama is putting a lot at stake. He is likely to alienate many among his own fold and split the Gelugpa between the modernists and the traditionalists. However, two developments that took place recently should strengthen his position considerably. Ganden Lama, the head of the Gelugpa (the Dalai Lama does not hold an official post within its hierarchy) has issued a statement that worship of Shugden should be stopped. At the same time, the college of Sera monastery which Geshe Kelsang belonged to has publicly expelled him from its membership.'

Nope. Never read it. Please name your sources here! - It helps. Regardless, this article is merely a point of view, and a single article does not make truth. Therefore, you cannot accuse my position of being false. It is a fact that there are 23 years between the yellow book and the expulsion. The article you cite does not explain this. (20040302)
      1. The timing of the expulsion is linked to HH's change in practice on Shugdan. Again, this is part of the Shugdan debate, not part of the NKT information.
      1. 'For Lobsang Yeshi Jampel Gyatso, or the 13th Kundeling Tagtsha Jetung Rimpoche (as a large group of Tibetans believe is his incarnate identity), the abrupt decree from Dharmasala on March 7, 1996 banning the worship of the popular Tibetan deity Dorje Shugden, came as a bolt from the blue.' http://www.flonnet.com/fl1726/17260840.htm
      1. What was the date of and reason for the expulsion? If the expulsion took place before the founding of the NKT and was due to his continued teaching of reliance upon the Dharma Protector it should go in the Shugden area.


Clearly that comment should go on the Shugdan area, as it has nothing to do with the formation of the NKT.

You are funny! Well, Zen and Theravadan monks don't dress up like Tibetan monks, don't use Tibetan words, don't talk about Atisha, don't claim to have a Tibetan heritage. There is plenty of evidence around that KG has stated at one time or another that the NKT is either Gelug or Kadampa. These sentences are accurate and informative. The central thrust is actually apologist for the NKT - it explains why the NKT do not listen to what the Dalai Lama or any other authority has to say, unlike all the other traditions derived from Tibet. (20040302)

Ah, so now you are finally showing your true colours and your dislike of the NKT instead of playing at impartiality. Thanks, I'll copy this correspondence to show to the Wikipedia folk.

I am one of the Wikipedia folk. I have no particular dislike of the NKT - but I don't like weak propoganda. So far the NKT presence I have encountered here seems to be completely focused on NKT issues - how many contributions have you made to Wikipedia elsewhere? 84.65.70.79 - none. Kwinters1972, none, KelsangPagpa - none. What sort of experience do you have writing for Wikipedia? Not much. My point, which you appear to dislike, is that there is no living person on the planet who really believes that the NKT is as distant as Zen is from the Gelukpas or the Kadampas. All I was expressing is that the institution of NKT as a separate tradition was the only possible move that KG could make without backing down. No school was left who accepted his views. Even his uncle and other Shugden supporters could not find reason with him. I ask you - what else could he have done? (20040302)
      1. Considering you use phrases like 'dress up like Tibetan monks, don't use Tibetan words, don't talk about Atisha, don't claim to have a Tibetan heritage' I don't really believe you. Also considering how offended you are by the NKT itself, I don't believe you. The reality is that this debate is only important to people who are associated with the Dalai Lama. Other practioners don't care about this, they consider it a Tibetan debate since Dharma Protectors were INVENTED by the Tibetans. The idea that anyone outside of a small proportion of Buddhist practioners even cares about this issue is to have an overdeveloped sense of how important this debate really is to the larger Buddhist community.
      1. The NKT is now a seperate, Western Buddhist tradition. It is flourishing. We have built two temples and are constructing a third. Geshe-la travels all over the world to teach people who come to learn about the Buddhadharma. You want to make this article all about the past before it was the NKT. That is wrong. The article should be about what the NKT IS, and everything else can go in the 'controversy' area.


Let me say this again, the NKT is based upon the teachings of the Kadampa masters but it is a seperate and independent tradition. The Dalai Lama has no authority over other traditions, and he doesn't have authority over ours.

I agree, roughly. I agree that the Dalai Lama has no authority over the NKT. He only has authority over those traditions that accept him as an authority. This is not rocket science. Regarding the former statement, this is similar to me and my mother. My presence depended upon my mother, but I am a separate and independant person. However, if I was to write my autobiography, it would be suspect if I did not mention my mother at all, right?! (20040302)
      1. Any references to the Dalai Lama are relevant ONLY in context with the Shugdan debate. Therefore any mention of HH should be in the Shugden area.


Well, not entirely. The worship of DS is pretty central to NKT, and it explains a lot of the distinctions and differences between the NKT and the Tibetan traditions. It is also true that the behaviour of the NKT towards the Dalai Lama, as well as certain other activities including DS worship is very relevant to the NKT article. However, I agree that the article should not go on about DS, but should refer to the DS article, which it does. (20040302)

Really, how do you know? Do you go to NKT events? Do you attend NKT classes? If you think the Dharma Protector practice is 'central' to the NKT it shows you don't actually have any personal experience with what you are writing about. I attended an NKT center for three years, twice a week for the Foundation program. We never did the Shugden practice in all that time. In fact I had to come an hour BEFORE the classes started to do Heart Jewel with the resident monk, and even then it was just him and me. Once again, you are spreading misinformation, though lack of direct experience.

Actually, I know because I am familiar with several active NKT practitioners, who are friends of mine. I am also familiar with several ex-NKT practitioners, and several former students of KG before he split from the FPMT. I talk to my friends. I do not need to go to NKT events for certain infamous chapters in it's history to be apparent - such as the travesty outside the London Buddhist Society a few years back. Regarding the training and practice of DS, I think that three years is hardly a great number for basic training before starting DS. How about NKT members of more than lets say, 8 years. How many of such students do not practice DS? From what I have been told by my friends (inside, and out), the more experienced practitioners of NKT are expected to practice DS. (20040302)
      1. Ah, but you said it was CENTRAL to the NKT and now you are saying it is only for long time members. Which is it? The FACT is that if you read Geshe-la's books (except Heart Jewel which is about Je Tsongkhapa and DS) he doesn't go into depth about Shugden. If you go to an NKT center you'd have to specifically attend either Heart Jewel or attend a Protector Day sadhana. You have a distorted sense of the role of Shugden in NKT life because you have not made any attempt to actually see how it is practiced. I'm sure those you associate with (since you call them 'ex-NKT' and 'students before the split' share your anti-NKT, anti-Shugden, anti-Geshe-la viewpoints. Hardly an impartial basis for making claims considering I AM am member of the NKT and I'm telling you otherwise.


This issue, is one that strikes at the nubbin many things. It is fair to say that KG directly denies that he is a Buddha. But he is the root guru of the NKT tradition, and he teaches (in his version Lamrim) that one should see one's guru as not different from Buddha (KP tells us). So - this is a bit complex. Also, he does not discourage his senior students from proclaiming that he is the third Buddha to journalists! This is on record. It would be good to have some substantial source for what status the NKT officially gives KG, then we can cite that. Otherwise, we have plenty of articles from journalists etc. If you are not aware of it, there are some people who doubt that the NKT is Buddhist at all, most especially due to the apparent official status of KG. This is why I feel it is so important to find an official source regarding KG's status. (20040302)

First of all, if you practice Guru Yoga then you know why it is important to view your spiritual guide as a Buddha - whether or not he or she actually is. As you say, Geshe-la never claims to be a Buddha. If he were allowing official NKT sites to say he was a Buddha, that would be one thing. He has no control over what people say spontaneously, but he can oversee what is published on NKT websites.

This is the same mistake that KelsangPagpa stated. Actually, no. Let me quote some Tsongkhapa at you, straight out of his Lam Rim. (I am now assuming that you respect Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chenmo as being authoritative Dharma - if I am wrong, you must tell me!) As the LRCM says: (p92) Some do not know how to rely upon the guru, and, even if they know how, they do not do it. Therefore they will incur numerous misdeeds that are related to their improper reliance on the guru. Be aware that there is a distinction made in the LRCM between the guru and Buddha. It is this specific distinction which appears to be missing from the NKT. Let me quote from the LRCM again: Question: What if we rely on the gurus and they lead us to an incorrect path or employ us in activities that are contrary to the three vows? Should we do what they say? Reply: With respect to this, Gunaprapha's Sutra on the Disciple states, "If the abbot instructs you to do what is not in accord with the teachings, refuse." Also, the Cloud of Jewels Sutra says, "With respect to virtue act in accord with the gurus' words, but do not act in accord with the gurus' words with respect to nonvirtue."


      1. No, you are the one who misunderstands. I see from your comments that you have not read Geshe-la's book 'Great Treasury of Merit' which details reliance upon a spiritual guide. I don't have time or space to correct all your errors, so I suggest you read it for yourself to see where you have made wrong assumptions about our practice - again. Clearly it is not advisable for someone who has no direct knowledge of our practices to be criticising us for what he THINKS we are doing wrong when in fact he has made bad assumptions out of bias about what we actually practice.


I regard him as a Buddha because he performs the function of one, he gives dharma teachings, prepares dharma teachers, establishes dharma centres and dedicates his life to providing the necessary conditions so the precious Buddhadharma can flourish. However, my opinion just that - my opinion. There is no reason to respond to my opinion as if it were an official statement.

Therefore, since no official site says Geshe-la claims to be a Buddha it is wrong and inaccurate to criticise him AS IF he were claiming it.

This is another point that was raised by KelsangPagpa. As has been stated elsewhere (hey, erm, Wikipedia, I think) one of the essential, defining functions of a Buddha is that he turns the wheel of Dharma where it hasn't been turned before. Therefore, because of Our Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, KG cannot function as a Buddha. Of course, you can invent your own type of Buddha, and attribute KG to that, but then you could invent your own type of 'Buddha' to have the functions of a peanut, which isn't saying much. Moreover, a Buddha has 32 major and 80 minor marks, including a huge visible aura that everyone can see. These things are not hard to miss, right?
The point I have been making about the NKT is that because their teaching of Guruyoga says to identify the Guru with Buddha, it has overstretched a mark beyond any of the sources of its past, which solely serves to promote the founder of the movement - the Guru to all students of NKT, as a Buddha. After that, denying that one is Buddha is a only a true Buddha denies that they are a Buddha sort of thing. (20040302)
      1. You've lost the plot again. You are acting as if Geshe-la teaches he is a Buddha. Then you present arguements as to why you think this is false. What is false is that either Geshe-la OR the NKT are making such claims. You make false accusation just so you can refute your own false statements! Such comments have no place in any wikipedia piece because they start from a false premise and only serve the purpose of spreading lies.


As for whether or not some people think the NKT is Buddhist or not is irrelevant. Some Christians deny Jehovah's witnesses or Roman Catholics are Christians. Clearly the NKT teaches reliance upon Buddha, Dharma and Sangha so I beleive it is wrong to say we are not Buddhists when we take refuge and bodhichitta vows.

I suggest you do some research on the Nichiren Sects regarding this. Don't you see that by believing that KG is a Buddha, you are making Sakyamuni redundant? As students (ask e.g. kt66 about this) are encouraged to only read his books, and take the vinaya invented by him, the three gems are completely self-contained in KG, his works, and his vinaya. I don't expect you to believe this, but surely you can understand that others perceive the NKT in this light? Oh, and what non-NKT people think of NKT is completely relevant in Wikipedia; please, go read the article. Some Nichiren 'Buddhists' take refuge in Nichiren, his works, and his vinaya. The form is completely taken from Buddhist Pure Land traditions, but .. is it Buddhist? (20040302)
      1. Again more false statements. How can regarding (and I do mean regarding) your spiritual guide as being enlightened make Buddha irrelevant?!?! Geshe-la teaches the Buddhadharma. In each sadhana we go for refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, NOT our teacher, his teachings and only our own community. You are again making false statements because you don't actually know what the NKT is about. As for the three gems 'completely self-contained in KG' I have no idea what you're on about. I take refuge in Buddha Shakyamuni, his precious teachings of dharma and in the support of the bodhisattvas and the dharma community. I took refuge vows in 2000, and have never been instructed to take refuge in anything else.
      1. As for students being encouraged to read ONLY his books, again this is completely false. In the NKT centers we study the books on Lamrim, Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Tibetan Bodhisattva Langri Tangpa, Heart Sutra, etc. written by Geshe-la but the books (as you obviously have not read any of them) are about Buddhadharma. I read books all the time. I've read books by Thich Nhat Hahn, Lama Surya Das, Pema Chodron, the Dhammpada, the sutras and many other books and resources. Just as you might listen to the teachings of another, but find special inspiration in the teachings given by HH, so to do I appreciate and learn from any writings which clarify and explain the precious Buddhadharma. However, because of my special connection with Geshe-la, his explanations have given me precious insight into how to practice.

Do YOU think the Buddhas refuse to help people who go to them for refuge because they are members of the NKT? When I ask for their blessings do they refuse to help me? I know the NKT is a Buddhist lineage because I have experienced the blessings of the Buddhas during empowerments. I can feel how reliance upon the three jewels has identified and reduced my suffering. I know how Geshe-la's writings have inspired bodhichitta in my heart - it is there right now trying to reduce my anger and remain compassionate toward you because you are a Buddhist and we shouldn't be fighting over Dharma. Would you say that I am not a Buddhist simply because I follow the instructions of my spiritual guide who is following the instructions of his spiritual guide?

Oh no.. I believe that the Buddhas help everyone as much as they can. But (see above) maybe my Buddhas are different from yours. My Buddhas have 32 major and 80 minor marks, they turn the wheel of Dharma, and they teach over 80,000 texts. They are completely free from birth, old age, sickness and death. Secondly, I have no anger, hatred or disgust towards you, your teacher, or your fellow students. However, I see that sometimes debate is beneficial. If you want to call debate 'fighting', then that too. (20040302)
      1. Of course, Buddhas only manifest forms so that ordinary beings can see them, so your description of the Buddhas is mere appearance, empty of any inherent existence. As for how Buddha's appear to ordinary beings, I can't say who is and who isn't a Buddha because only enlightened beings can perceive each other as enlightened beings. That is why I cannot say I KNOW Geshe-la is a Buddha because my view of the world is stained by self-grasping ignorance. I could walk past a manifestation of Manjurshri in the street and not recognise it as Manjurshri because of my self-grasping ignorance. I don't know how you can be so confident of who is and who isn't a Buddha - unless of course you are claiming to be one yourself.


Let's not lose sight of the big picture here. You seem to want to focus on all the things that are BAD about the NKT.

No, really I don't. What I want is the facts, not the mask. This website isn't a place for advertising different traditions, it's about telling it how it is from different viewpoints. I am sure that there are really sincere practitioners in the NKT who tirelessly meditate on Bodhicitta (I am worried about the wisdom tradition in NKT, but that is my own concern). In fact, if anything, I would like the NKT to be aware of some of the mistakes it is making regarding other Buddhist groups. You must be aware that many other Buddhists shun or even reject the NKT, not just Tibetan Buddhists. You know, it's these subtle things like saying 'Guru is Buddha' which is just red rag to a bull. Regarding DS, you know, I am not that interested. What I wish for is that NKT can actually realise what it claims to be; but to do that it needs to be able to say 'sorry I was wrong there'. You know, in all these conversations, not once has an NKT member said "Oh yeah, I withdraw that remark." Amazing. It just makes the NKT look inflexible and arrogant.
      1. But this article should only be about the facts. You want to use it as a platform to disparage the NKT. You pay lip service to the good Geshe-la has done but are more concerned about buildings than how the Buddhadharma is changing people's lives in the west through the NKT. As for only practicing bodhichitta, again this is erroneous. Geshe-la has written several excellent books on wisdom realising emptiness, including Heart of Wisdom, the commentary Guide to the Middle Way, Understanding the Mind and of course there are the profound practices of tantra which help illuminate how all pheneomena are empty of all inherent existence.
      1. As for being 'shunned' I've never been shunned for being an NKT member. Then again in the West it is not easy to find Sanghas in many places, let alone several where I would be excluded. In my interactions with Zen and Thervaden practioners, they sometimes are aware of the debate and tend to have no view on it since its nothing to do with them. For the vast majority of people in the world just don't care. Either they're not Buddhists and don't care or they're not Buddhists or it has nothing to do with them. At any rate, this is off topic from what should go in the article.


What about the thousands (over 2,500 attended spring festival with me) of people who have found the precious Buddhadharma through Geshe-la's books? What about the thousands of people who are now using Buddha's teachings to remove their delusions and grow in wisdom and compassion.

Thousands is about right. What about the 100,000 people at Kalacakra this year? It just sounds so much like an old cigarette advert "1 million housewives can't be wrong" - well, yes actually, they can. But they could make it right also. This is what I suggest - first of all, that senior students make a strong, clear distinction between KG and Buddha, and understand what is said in the Guruyoga chapters of Lam Rim. Secondly, that the NKT stop hiding behind KG's books, and read other Buddhist translations and commentaries. Believe me, Je Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chenmo is about the most amazing book you can ever read. Your eyes will pop out, your hairs will stand on end, and you will burst into tears from faith. But it means buying a book not published by Tharpa. Also the sutras are incredible. There are thousands, and each one is like a beautiful rainbow silk hug of realisation. But very few are translated by Tharpa. Lastly, the NKT needs to allow other teachers who are versed in the Kadampa, Lamrim, Mahamudra etc. in, but to do that it will have to bow down in humility, and it is this last thing - this humility, which I think the NKT just cannot do. I hope and wish that I am wrong. (20040302)

I've addressed this misperceptions and misunderstandings in my posts above.

Your article destroys faith, not in just Geshe-la, but in Buddhism in general. After all, if Gelugpas and members of the NKT fight so viciously over the issue of a Dharma Protector (something Buddha never taught!) then how can we say to people we can offer them a path to inner peace and enlightenment?

I'm sorry if you lose faith from my writing, friend. KelsangPagpa finds my writing gives him stronger faith. Maybe we need to think about what the NKT is warts and all, not what we want it to be; then at least we are being honest. People respect honesty.
      1. You're posts don't effect my faith. If anything it reminds me how much I appreciate the kindness of Geshe-la and the preciousness of the Buddhadharma he has shared with us. I've already been responding to the post for an hour now, I need to stop so I can look at what you've done with the page itself so we can work out our differences on it.
      1. Kristi


How can we offer them something we can't even manage between ourselves?

This is a good point. We find again and again that we have to look within before we can deal with the bigger picture outside. Remember The great Kadampa Geshe Chekawa, who said that first you must nuture your flame of wisdom very carefully, like a butterlamp in a gale.. Later on it will grow into a raging fire that nothing can put out. (20040302)

I have enumerated point by point which parts of your article are false, biased and inflammatory.

This is not very nice. the continual broad brush deletion of other people's editorial is biased and inflammatory in it's own right. It is far better to develop the article by citing sources from the NKT that counter, or offer distinct alternative views.

I think we should start from the base facts and negotiate any additions from there. I will not allow false information to be propogated, especially when someone is clearly doing so to create a schism in the dharma community, as you are. I am trying to help you from harming yourself by spreading falsehoods.

No. I think that you need to start by learning more about Wikipedia. You should make small changes, and see what happens, rather than big sweeping changes, and expect everyone else to sit back and let you take over. This is a collaborative exercise, and to me it looks like you need to learn collaboration. I am trying to help you learn how to do that. I am pleased that you want to get rid of falsity, but to do that you have to provide counter-evidence. Mere assertion is not enough. For instance, if you disagree for instance about the statement There is little or no emphasis on logic or debate, all you need to do is to point out what sort of programme or textual tradition the NKT has for this. Then it becomes clear that the statement is unfounded. That is all that Wikipedia asks of you, and all that I ask. Cite your sources, and so many headaches just vanish. (20040302 21:59, 22 September 2005 (UTC))

I will revert once more until you have discussed your sweeping changes, and have allowed current editors to respond. It would be easier if you were to make a few changes at a time, rather than the entire article. (20040302)

Also, please learn the conventions of Wikipedia. It helps everyone. (20040302)

--Points of view should ONLY be expressed in the area for different points of view. Irrelevant comments should be removed. For example:

Later, he took the center over from Lama Thubten Yeshe (against Lama Yeshe's wishes) and subsequently founded the New Kadampa Tradition in the 1990's.

- the comment about Lama Yeshe is unnecessary and irrelevant to the establishment of the NKT.

I disagree. The sentence is not merely about founding the NKT, but also about how the center transferred ownership. The details of the transfer are mentioned, and they are relevant. (20040302)

The NKT is not the Kadampa Tradition and not the Gelug tradition.

- It is not for you to say that the NKT is NOT the Kadampa tradition when it is clearly based upon the the teachings of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa. This is a false statement.

Well, you go onto assert the same a few lines down, when you say that the tradition is distinct. "NKT is an independent tradition" So, therefore although it calls itself 'Kadampa', it is not the traditional Kadampa, which we all know ceased as an independent school in the 14th C. The statement is clarifying, and it is not false. (20040302)

NKT was founded by Kelsang Gyatso in order to be completely independent from Gelug School and Tibetan Buddhism, because he refused to back down from the orders of HH Dalai Lama, his own monastary, and the Ganden Tripa - the head of the Gelug tradition. This disagreement resulted in his expulsion from Sera Monastery.

-- Again, by inserting the line 'because he refused to back down' introduces the element of controversy in the FACTUAL section. This must be removed in order to be unbiased. Also, the discussion of his expulsion is directly related to the Shugdan controversy and NOT to the establishment of the NKT. Hence it is inflammatory and irrelevant and should be confined to the Shugdan controversy area (which I plan to edit in the very near future if it as misleading and biased as this article is).

Are you denying that he refused to back down from the instructions of the dalai lama, the ganden tripa (who banned DS from Geluk) or the seniors at Sera (who told him to stop his attacks against the dalai lama)? So what is controversial about it? KG refused to acknowledge any living authority. This is a fact. (20040302)
We have already established that his expulsion is NOT due to Shugden. The Shugden controversy started in 1976, whereas he was expelled 23 years later in 1999. Therefore, the remarks are neither inflammatory or irrelevant. (20040302)

Because New Kadampa Tradition sees themself as a Western tradition of Buddhism and not as a part of Tibetan Buddhism or Gelug school, the Ganden Tripa (head of the Gelugpas), HH the Dalai Lama and all the Gelug teachers and all non-NKT teachers are not accepted as teachers or authorities of the New Kadampa Tradition.

-- Since the NKT is a completely different tradition the Dalai Lama and other teachers are irrelevant to the discussion of the NKT. You don't mention, for instance that we don't study Zen or Theravadan teachers, because we are not aligned with either school. Since the NKT has is independent of the Gelugpa tradition, your mention of it is irrelevant.

You are funny! Well, Zen and Theravadan monks don't dress up like Tibetan monks, don't use Tibetan words, don't talk about Atisha, don't claim to have a Tibetan heritage. There is plenty of evidence around that KG has stated at one time or another that the NKT is either Gelug or Kadampa. These sentences are accurate and informative. The central thrust is actually apologist for the NKT - it explains why the NKT do not listen to what the Dalai Lama or any other authority has to say, unlike all the other traditions derived from Tibet. (20040302)

So the New Kadampa Tradition is not in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it is a new tradition based on a selection of Gelug teachings by the Gelug school of Tsongkhapa given by Kybaje Trijang Rinpoche to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. New Kadampa Tradition don't offer the main Tsongkhapa teachings of the union of Ghuyasamaja, Heruka and Yamantaka and also they have a new ordination lineage, because the Mulasarvatsavadin tradition of Atisha and Tsongkhapa includes 36 or 253 vows. NKT offers only 10 vows.

--- We've already established the NKT is an independent tradition, so why do you continue to go on and on about it?

Okay, this is where you contradict yourself; earlier you claim that the NKT is Kadampa, now you say it is independent. Have your cake, OR eat it. However I agree that this paragraph needs editing. (20040302)

You could keep this line, however I feel it is redundant given what I have proposed as an acceptable, neutral and factual account of the NKT:

The NKT is a new tradition based on a selection of Atisha's and Je Tsongkhapa's teachings, and was established to be completely independent from the tibetan community and the four main tibetan buddhist schools. Thousands of westeners feel very attracted to the NKT and appreciate Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gytaso and his presentation of the Dharma and inspirations very much.

I have edited this, and also feel that it can go in. I have done some copy editing for the purpose of grammar (20040302)

From the major works of Tsongkhapa they study no text and from the six major texts of the ancient Kadampa Tradiion they study one.

-- I don't see how this is relevant. The writings of Geshe-la are based upon Je Tsongkhapa's teachings. Further, you fail to mention he wrote Ocean of Nectar, the first complete explanation in English of Chandrakirti's Guide to the Middle Way. You also fail to mention his his translation of Meaningful to Behold which is a translation of Shantideva's classic or Guide to Dakini Land which was first complete explanation in English of the Highest Yoga Tantra practice of Buddha Vajrayogini, or Essence of Vajrayana which is the first complete explanation in English to the uncommon generation stage practice of Heruka body mandala.

This is very relevant, but needs clarification. If a tradition claims to be derived from two other traditions, but actually does not teach any of the root texts of those traditions, it is fair to say that the claim is suspect.
The issue of who first published commentaries in English isn't very relevant here; But I have no real objection to mentioning them - after all, it does give some context of what root texts are followed. (20040302)

---If you're going to say what books he hasn't written commentary to, then you should mention his profound kindness is translating this precious books (especially the tantric texts) into English so westerns can learn and appreciate the powerful methods in tantra for developing on the spiritual path.

You must agree that 'profound kindness' is a POV. Not everyone feels that his commentaries are accurate or useful, and not everyone agrees about his motive. However, I think it would be very useful to have a list of books that the NKT use, and also which source books they are derived from. This would be informative and helpful. (20040302)

NKT gives in all their internet sites the impression to be the ancient Kadampa lineage of Atisha or has a complete presantation of the Dharma, but this is not the case.

--Again, this is your biased opinion and is contrary to the facts. Since we study Lamrim and the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa you are wrong to say we are not in the Kadampa lineage. It should not be included in the main body of the article.

Sorry, I think you have a biased opinion and list wrong facts! NKT lies on that point. I repeat: NKT lies on that point! And you're completely ignorant about the facts! NKT is NO Kadampa NO Gelugpa. If you would know Gelugpa and Kadampa lineage and their texts really you would agree but your totally absorbed in NKT ideas and do not know anything outsite NKT, isn't it? Since Nyingma and Kagyuepa practice Lamrim are they Kadampas? Even Drikung Kagyu posesses main teachings of Kadampas and they do not claim to be Kadampa Tradition because it just does not exist outsite the four main Buddhist school. If you look to the article of Kadampa you will not even be able to say what you know about Kadampa texts and lineage. You do not even now that Atisha's text on Lamrim doesn't start with the teacher-student relationship, isn't it? Did you ever study one of the works of Tsongkhapa? Which one? NKT does not even teach Atishas text on Lamrim. So please work with us to have NPOV Kt66 23:42, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree. This cannot remain. However, you are wrong to make the statement that you are in the Kadampa lineage because you study Lamrim and other teachings of Je Rinpoche. This is actually a very NKT interpretation of "Kadampa Lineage", which is unlikely to be accepted by non-NKT Tibetan buddhists; for instance, non-NKT buddhists (and other lineage based traditions) use the term 'lineage' to mean unbroken line of teachers. This means that you cannot merely choose two or three historic teachers and ignore the rest. (20040302)

Due to these controversies some Buddhist Unions didn't allow NKT centres to become their members. The NKT are also criticised for their practice of worshiping Dorje Shugden, a practice which was not taught by Lord Buddha, Atisha or Tsongkhapa. (See Dorje Shugden Controversy).

--Anything about the DS controversy (e.g. the comments about some BU's) should be confined to the DS debate area. This includes web links about DS. I intend to check the links to make sure they deal with the NKT and not specifically with DS, as that should be confined to the DS area.

Well, not entirely. The worship of DS is pretty central to NKT, and it explains a lot of the distinctions and differences between the NKT and the Tibetan traditions. It is also true that the behaviour of the NKT towards the Dalai Lama, as well as certain other activities including DS worship is very relevant to the NKT article. However, I agree that the article should not go on about DS, but should refer to the DS article, which it does. (20040302)

-I notice you did not address (or I have not seen where you did address) the lies about Geshe-la claiming to be a Buddha, which then allowed the author to make yet more unwarrented negative comments about Geshe-la. Those should be completely removed as they are false. Posting such lies is very harmful and brings the Buddhadharma into disrepute.

This issue, is one that strikes at the nubbin many things. It is fair to say that KG directly denies that he is a Buddha. But he is the root guru of the NKT tradition, and he teaches (in his version Lamrim) that one should see one's guru as not different from Buddha (KP tells us). So - this is a bit complex. Also, he does not discourage his senior students from proclaiming that he is the third Buddha to journalists! This is on record. It would be good to have some substantial source for what status the NKT officially gives KG, then we can cite that. Otherwise, we have plenty of articles from journalists etc. If you are not aware of it, there are some people who doubt that the NKT is Buddhist at all, most especially due to the apparent official status of KG. This is why I feel it is so important to find an official source regarding KG's status. (20040302)

In future, coul you please title new comments, and stick them at the bottom of this page - you can use the "Post a comment" link in the wikipedia navigation bar. Otherwise, please feel welcome to argue these issues. We all want a good, fair encyclopedia. (20040302)

I will make changes that we both agree on. As for the rest, I await the comments of yourself, kp, or kt66. Keep well. (20040302 13:10, 22 September 2005 (UTC))

Earlier feelings regarding appropriateness

I do not feel the article is at all appropriate. This is an encyclopedia, not a debate board. The opening article should provide basic facts about the New Kadampa Tradition-ONLY. Everything else that relates to either other people's opinions (!) as to if it's a Gelupa offshoot or a seperate group entirely should be confined to the bottom of the page about the controversy.

Likewise all the stuff about ordination should be removed and reposted as part of the debate section. When people come and do a search on the NKT, they don't want to read people arguing, they want neutral facts.

I tried to be very fair in what I left in and took out, making it based on FACTS not opinions. ALL controversial comments as regards the NKT should be taken out of the main body of the text.

Also, the entire section that Geshe-la claims to be a Buddha is false, and everything that follows that erroneous statement is also false. Again, this is an encyclopedia, not a place for people to make and perpetuate false statements about others. It should not be used in ways which create a schism in the dharma community.

Putting up such slander and focusing on petty disputes harms the Buddhadharma, not your intended target, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

kwinters

Hi Welcome to the Wikipedia Community. It is a good idea to read the article Wikipedia, and you will see what is considered a good article. Opinions and views are relevant in an article, as long as they are declared as such. If you read the detailed queries on this page, you will see that there are lots of open questions that someone with experience in the NKT may answer. Please be helpful and contribute with what knowledge you have, rather than go around deleting what you disagree with. After all, what makes your POV more relevant than anyone elses? (20040302 19:08, 21 September 2005 (UTC))
@Kwinter: Hi Welcome to the Wikipedia Community and thank you for your remarks. I see no POV in the article. What is POV for you? What should be changed? The main article indroduces NKT now as what it is. It would be fine to improve it. So I ask you for your contributions. The Wikipedia discussion board on NKT seems to be like a debate board because there is a need to discuss the facts on NKT and no POV should be published. I think, these discussions are really nesseccary to point out the facts due to the confusion which NKT spreads. First we had to find out what NKT really is, because NKT and Wikis are very confused on that! Some think NKT is Gelugpa other think NKT is Kadampa. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso said "...in reallity NKT-tradition and Gelugpa are the same; there is no difference.." (I have a letter published by NKT on this). But in their advertisements NKT publishes: "We are Kadampa Buddhism as founded by Atisha." The Resident Teacher Kelsang Pagpa stated himself Thu Jul 8, 2004 12:45am in a discussion forum: "We are not Tibetan Buddhists, so we are not Gelugpas. We are not one of the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. The Gelugpa tradition does not follow the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, whereas Kadampa Buddhists do. Kadampa Buddhism is global Buddhism, straight from the heart of Guru Tsongkhapa in this modern age. Although the teachings are similar to those in the Gelugpa tradition, the presentation is quite different and more suited to busy Western practitioners. Also our lineage is quite different to the Gelugpas..." But Atisha didn't even mention Shugden and his lineage doesn't exist anymore seperated from the four main buddhist schools of Tibetan Buddhism. So what is NKT??? Before you can write an article on a subject you have to find out what the subject is. Before these discussions there were completely contradict ideas, these have been discussed here to ensure to have no POV. Lying harms the Buddhadharma and creates the shism. I try to destroy lies not a person! So enjoy to take part to have an accurate article which fits to reality is based on facts and not on lies or POV's by engaging yourself to improve and discuss the facts or form of the article. Kt66 09:24, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Proposed new section concerned with the status of the NKT as Buddhist

Some Buddhists are concerned about the status of the NKT as a Buddhist organisation at all, using arguments that are similar to those that question the status of the Nichiren Shoshu as a Buddhist organisation:

This is due to the Buddhist notion of refuge - to be a Buddhist one must take refuge in the Triple Gem. Refuge within the Buddhist context means that

  • Buddhists are expected to respect Shakyamuni Buddha and agree that he managed to achieve Nirvana.
  • Buddhists are expected to study and meditate upon the Tripitaka - the collection of sutras, vinaya and abhidharma.
  • Buddhists are expected to revere and support the Sangha community - the fully ordained monks and nuns from an unbroken lineage going back to Shakyamuni Buddha himself.

The arguments about the status of the NKT are roughly as follows:

By recognising Geshe Kelsang Gyatso as a Buddha in a manner that is distinct from the various Tibetan traditions - indeed as the object of refuge in Buddha, the NKT are not ably distinguishing Shakyamuni Buddha from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (called the third Buddha by NKT, after Shakyamuni Buddha and Je Tsongkhapa), and therefore there is doubt that the NKT are taking refuge in Buddha in a manner that is in accordance with Buddhists. (Note that the Geluk do not assert that Je Tsongkhapa achieved Buddhahood until the moment of his death).

Because the NKT are prohibited from reading, studying and meditating on any text that is not authored by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the NKT appear to have destroyed their refuge in the Dharma. Moreover, the NKT do not even have a set of translations of the works of Je Tsongkhapa, let alone the Tripitaka, so it would be hard for them to read, study and meditate upon the Dharma as recognised by Buddhism.

Finally, because the NKT do not support an unbroken tradition of fully ordained Sangha, they appear to have destroyed their refuge in the Sangha.


Any comments/objections ? (20040302) Sources - http://www.bpf.org/tsangha/jonesbritbudd.html http://www.tibet.ca/en/wtnarchive/1997/12/7_2.html http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?discussionID=233913 (see "Geshe Kelsang Gyatsoism") http://www.tibet.ca/en/wtnarchive/1996/7/17_2.html

OK (20040302) I understand but why this have to be discussed here in Wikipedia? From my proofs and experiences I can follow your reasons and I'm also quite doubtfull if they practice the refuge correctly and this is the main point to be a Buddhist. Please give me some reasons why this should be discussed here, because I'm a little bit doubtful if Wikipedia is the correct place. On the other hand there has to be also a democratic place to discuss these points properly and neutral and Wikipedia fits into that quite well. Wikipedia is no discussion forum for controversial groups and perhaps we should not make it to that, just discuss the issues in the article. OK. I see a little bit: if we put NKT in the section Buddhism there is a reason to discuss it. But this is like walking on a sword. Does this make sence? What do other Wikis think on that? --Kt66 18:51, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Hi Kt66, well this isn't necessary a discussion. Wikipedia tells us that (Ideally), Wikipedia would not be written from a single "objective" point-of-view, but would fairly present all views on an issue, attributed to their adherents in a neutral way – and representing disputes, characterizing them, rather than engaging in them. My purpose is to ensure that some viewpoints regarding the NKT as a movement are fairly presented. So, understand that this section is not claiming to be objective, it merely attempts to fairly represents some of the views on the issue. I am aware that the paragraph could be seen to be somewhat incendiary, therefore I thought it may be better to discuss it first, so that alternative views may also be presented at the same time. I am interested in the NKT's own rationale for declaring itself Buddhist - so far the only assertion I can identify regarding NKT's rationale for it's own stance appears to be that 'if you believe it, then it is true' - which (from my understanding) would be a subjectivist/idealist viewpoint which is certainly non-Buddhist in that it irrevocably leads to nihilism. (20040302 18:27, 6 September 2005 (UTC))
Thank you 20040302 so NKT should engage in this discussion. I'm myself very doubtful if they can be proper named as Buddhist. The reasons are: They do not respect the elder ordained (I mean the Abbots and longtime Full Ordained) they have no contact to them at all, them are not allowed to teach at there centres etc. NKT has - as far as I know - only 2 full ordained monks (Geshe Keslang and one who were ordained by HH the Dalai Lama) and can not even ordain people because the ritual needs minimum 5 Full Ordained Monks and a Abbot! They do not share and have contact with the real Sangha Community of the Full Ordained. They have a own created ordination and the idea of refuge is indeed: We take refuge to the Buddha (means Geshe Kelsang Gytaso) the Dharma (his 'authentic' books) and the Sangha (NKT members) these are reasons to be quite doubtful on that topic. --Kt66 20:07, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, let's stick the copy into the article, and maybe that will encourage others to offer alternative views (20040302)
I just looked yesterday in some scriptures. If NKT members take refuge in the Buddha, they have to follow his 12 categories of texts written down in the Tengyur and Kangyur. If they follow and practice these texts (or people who realised it) this is the refuge in the Dharma. If they practice Refuge in the Sangha they have to follow that member of the followers of the Buddha who realized these texts or teach it and respect it. If the books of GKG don't represent these twelve categories of texts (like the rebirth stories of the Buddha) how one can properly identify them as Buddhists? --Kt66 08:14, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Disputations made by NKT practitioners

I think the problem is to use the word "pure" to describe oneself as "pure tradition", "pure practitioners" and the like is the problem. Never I heard that any buddhist tradition nowadays says: We're pure tradition, you know: We're pure Sakya or pure Nyingma, pure Zen, and the like. And how would people feel if the Germans or Frenchs would claim: We're pure Germans, we're pure Frenchs. We're pure Eurpopeans! Or a katholic group would claim: "we're pure catholic!" ?? If you say: we're pure tradition than there must also be an impure tradition. If NKT is pure, is there anything outsite NKT impure? If not, why using this term? This term is just giving some exclusivity to NKT. On the other hand. NKT is no pure tradition even from their own defintion. The teachers of GKG taught him that homosexuality is sexual misconduct and GKG first put this also in his book Joyful Path, later he removed that passage. (Which I think is quite appropriate, because one has to understand the historical background of that explanation). But however he changed that explantion of his teachers! And of course he do not pass what was taught him about monastic tradition, he do not teach the Tantras him was taught, like Yamantaka, Ghuyasamaja, Kalarupa and the like. So better not to use the term "pure", isn't it?

I think the discussion on NKT is not on "to hold power in Tibet" and such stuff. NKT has itself quite isolated within the buddhist community and even GKG has isolated himself from his family, monastic tradition and tibetan community and GKG/NKT make their own things now. And I think this comes from seeing the own things as superior or exclusive. From this concept of "pure" (pure tradition, pure practitioners), the following thought of exclusivity (to be something very special, better than others) arises and from this arrogance and proud arises (and is misunderstood as self-confidence) and from this proud the conflicts with other groups and the Dalai Lama arises. The unability to listen well to the detractors of NKT behaviour and develope a sence of selfcritic comes from this proud. This is my experience and opinion and I felt and did the same when I was with NKT for many years: I'm very special, I have special Karma, because I now within that pure tradition, admidst these pure practitioners. I'm even more fortunate than all the tibetans are, because they are misleaded by the Dalai Lama. And when I look on the pityful migrators who have not that luck as me, oh I feel "compassion". I'm so pure, I feel compassion, I'm very special Mahayanaist... --> I needed years to understand that this was no compassion this was just pitifulness based on arrogance.

Of course you can ignore the Vinaya (monastic vows) and reduce it as a thing of numbers, thats your choice. But Buddha didn't taught that. He taught the Vinaya is the root of the doctrine.

In NKT there are not "noumerous masters" like quoted here. NKT has only one master: Geshe Kelsang himself. If some NKT teacher gives an empowerment, they say: 'Geshe-la' gives the empowerment through me. So where are the masters? Only one: GKG!

However NKT is for many people also very useful and they like NKT and Geshe Kelsang very much. Hopefully one time will come when we can see us as the desciples of the Buddha and one Sangha-Community not less and not more. --84.190.170.220 08:55, 23 August 2005 (UTC) I included the discussion here from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kelsang_Gyatso 84.190.176.105 19:29, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Does NKT practitioners suffer on wrong view, Nihilism?

Hi 20040302. First let me say my gratitude for your contributions on that article. As you supposed Gen Pagpa is having an incomplete understanding on emptiness - he has perhaps a view of Nihilism. I think this Nihilism is the main misunderstanding in NKT. I myself suffered on that - and taught in NKT too - I needed years and many techings to correct my wrong views (outside NKT). The main person who helped me was Dr. Alexander Berzin. This week I had contact with two NKT members and they have the same problem. Just let me share and I ask you for your opinion:

1. One NKT-member said: he can speak with no one really because nobody understands him. He believes for instance there is no death at all, because death is mere a name and does not exist really. I said to him he negelct the cenventional reality by arguing like this. Then he said, that I'm perhaps a Buddha. I said: 'No! I have not the signs and realisations.' Then he said: 'If I see you as a Buddha you are a Buddha for me. Because everything is just name. We have only to use the name which is beneficial for the mind and name the things as we like.'

2. In German Wikipedia a Buddhist (>20 years) and a follower of NKT said: "Kadampa Buddhisms is mere a name as Kadampa Tradition is. Everybody can give himself a name like he wants to do or feel is needed." He concluded beacause NKT does practice Lamrim they are Kadampa Buddhists and Kadampa Tradition and everyone who practice Lamrim is Kadampa Buddhist.

3. When I was with NKT I believed the faults of my unqualified teacher came from my bad Karma, and I'm responsible for it. When one person complained about that teacher and wrote a letter to GKG, GKG replied: 'just develop Bodhicitta in your mind then you will see the Bodhicitta in your teacher.' (Later he expelled that teacher in a quite interesting manner. He maned that person as very selfish and guilty for all problems and he said about himself when someone asked: "Who is NKT?" "I'm NKT.")

4. If you look on Kelsang Pagpa and NKT style: If they want to name Shugden as Buddha, then he is a Buddha, if they do so with Geshe Kelsang Gyatso he is.

What do you think on that? --Kt66 17:13, 20 September 2005 (UTC)


Hi there Kt66. I am not sure I have any answers for you, but let me attempt to address each of your four points.

1) This individual who says that death is a name and does not really exist has fallen into nihilism. This sort of view is what some of Nagarjuna's detractors accused him of, because they could not distinguish between conventional existence and non-existence. As far as I can fathom, Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, and Je Tsongkhapa all assert existence, but they deny essential existence - that is, the existence of an essence, which Candrakirti identifies as being the same as 'self' or atman. As mentioned on KP's talk page, The insight chapter of Je Rinpoche's LRCM (folio 313b Tibetan, p178 of English) states:

How does one determine whether something exists conventionally? We hold that something exists conventionally:

  1. if it is known to a conventional consciousness;
  2. if no other conventional valid cognition contradicts its being as it is thus known
  3. if reason that accurately analyses reality - that is, analyses whether something intrinsically exists - does not contradict it.

We hold that what fails to meet those criteria does not exist.

We can learn many things from these few sentences - that for instance, non-existence and conventional existence are not the same. The errors that your friend made are dealt with in great detail within the insight chapter of the LRCM. It is of course unfortunate for us that your friend is wrong! After all, if it were true that If I see you as a Buddha you are a Buddha for me. Because everything is just a name. We have only to use the name which is beneficial for the mind and name the things as we like., then Buddhahood would be very easy! There is a very easy test to demonstrate that your first friend is mistaken. Try saying "I am Buddha" - however, when you say this, you will not see the 32 major and 80 minor marks appear, and, to our disappointment, you will do not appear to have suddenly obtained omniscience! Therefore there is more to the world than the mere name, right?

2) Indeed any of us can call ourselves whatever we like. But when we do so within the larger society, we find that certain names have specific meanings. For instance, if I changed my name to "Doctor 20040302", then I cannot be surprised if people think that I am a doctor. Moreover, many people will believe that I am deliberately pretending to be something that I am not. This actually demonstrates the importance of social convention, and acknowledging it. Likewise, when some people decide to use Tibetan words in their names, then they must be aware of what they are saying. It appears that the NKT loves to do this, with 'geshe', 'kadampa', 'tradition', and a whole load of other NKT-special words. However, if I rang up one of their centers, and said "Ven. Geshe Kelsang is coming to visit on Saturday" and then I turn up with a pet rat which I have named "Ven. Geshe Kelsang", then it is likely that they will be upset, and say to me "Hey! You shouldn't call your rat that! We thought our Guru was coming, not some furry animal!" Of course, I could then turn to them and say "Everybody can give himself a name like he wants to do or feel is needed.", and they would not be able to argue with me.

3) Well, sometimes we have a very difficult teacher - for many different reasons this can happen. We have to ask ourselves whether or not what he instructs us is beneficial, and whether it is in accordance with the Buddha's words. If it is not, then we should apologise. It is true that if we have a very powerful Bodhicitta, then even a bad teacher cannot harm us. However, if that teacher is our teacher of Bodhicitta, then it is likely that our Bodhicitta will not be strong enough. Bodhicitta is simple enough a concept if it is taught properly. There is an easy test to see if we have Bodhicitta - at every moment of the day and night, if we are devoting each and every action of our body, speech and mind towards Buddhahood solely for the benefit of all beings, then we can say we have Bodhicitta. Of course we must be extremely clear about what Buddhahood is! The bare minimum is to ensure that we do not break the 18 root or 46 secondary vows of a Bodhisattva, but this does not mean that we have Bodhicitta, just that what Bodhicitta we have will not decay.

4) I think this is a reiteration of points 1 or 2. As I pointed out, if things were only so easy! I would only have to call myself a Buddha to be a Buddha! Indeed this is the crux of my issue with KP and his statement Since everything lacks inherent existence, Dorje Shugden functions as a Buddha for me. My reply is "Since everything lacks inherent existence, I am omniscient" But, unfortunately, I am not. Of course his statement is irrational, illogical, and if it implies anything, it implies either nihilism or a complete lack of knowledge of basic logic. To rewrite his statement as a syllogism -

If everything lacks inherent existence, then DS functions as a Buddha.
Everything lacks inherent existence.
Therefore DS functions as a Buddha (MP)

The problem is obvious. There is no Middle term - more simply there is no connection between The major premise (everything lacking inherent existence) and the minor premise (DS functioning as a Buddha). It is a non-argument.


Of course this does not necessarily mean that the NKT as an organisation is nihilist - it seems to be pretty busy working in real estate purchasing and renovation, as well as the publishing industry, which is hard to do if you truly believe that wishing something makes it so. So, call me a cynic, but it looks like it's a bit of rubbish for those who ask difficult questions. Basically, shut up boyo and bring in more cash. Of course my concern is that some poor fools go away believing in it and also are led to believe that you need to do manual labour and fund-raising to get to enlightenment. Yeah, right. What do you think? Is it at all possible that the NKT is interested in money and lots of it? (it was a long day. apologies.) (20040302 23:18, 20 September 2005 (UTC))

Hi. Thank you 20040302. I think many NKT's lack the correct view of conventional phenomenas. Thats why I feel your views and pointing it out very important. On the other hand they are not that much motivated in money. It seems to be like this but it is not. A completly other point makes them so busy. They emphasize very much the topic of merit and that they are pure tradition (something special). To build up NKT you earn a lot of merit. With enough merit you will get quick enlightenment. And most powerful source of merit is Guru Yoga. Guru Yoga means to serve Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and the NKT centers. So Shugden says: "Now is the time!" (To spread this stainless tradition.) - of course to help sentinent beings. So they are very busy to do that: spreading NKT and all which is related to NKT like their centers and temples. This is the idea. If people give money to NKT this does not help NKT, this helps the people, because they get merit from this, so NKT helps people by helping NKT with money and voluntary work... I think most of the NKT's feel they are very honest and have a "right motivation". But what happens is your Ego can get very high, because you feel yourself so selfless and you can not recognise your hidden pride and ego, because you are so busy. When a NKT teacher asked Geshe Kelsang he wants to go to retreat because his delusions are getting more and more strong, Geshe Kelsang denied and said: it is more important to teach. I myself think in this way you destroy desciples, isn't it? But GKG also thinks he has a good motivation and "Now is the time!" Kt66 00:10, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough. By the way, as an exercise I produced a (slightly formal) argument concerning Shugden as a Buddha. It may interest you:
Axioms: 
(A1) All phenomena lacks inherent existence (Madhyamaka)
(A2) Some phenomena exist conventionally (Madhyamaka)
(A3) There are three tests to pass for existing conventionally (Tsongkhapa)
(A3.1) if it is known to a conventional consciousness; (Tsongkhapa)
(A3.2) if no other conventional valid cognition contradicts its being as it is thus known (Tsongkhapa)
(A3.3) if reason that accurately analyses whether something intrinsically exists - does not contradict it. (Tsongkhapa)
(A4) What fails to meet tests (3.1)(3.2)(3.3) does not exist. (Tsongkhapa)
(A5) In Sutra, a Buddha turns the wheel of Dharma where it has not been turned before (Sutra)
(A6.1) In Tantra convention, all phenomena are Buddhas (Tantra)
(A6.2) In Sutra convention, some phenomena are not Buddhas (Sutra)
(A7) Buddhist conventions are either Sutra conventions or Tantra conventions (Buddhism)
(A8) Shugden as a Buddha is a phenomena (Buddhism)
(A9) Shugden as a Buddha is known to one or more conventional consciousnesses (NKT, Tantra)
(A11) Sakyamuni Buddha is a phenomena (Buddhism)
(A12) Sakyamuni Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma in Jambudvipa (Buddhism)
(A13) Shugden resides in Jambudvipa subsequent to Sakyamuni Buddha (Some Buddhism)

Thesis:
(T1) Shugden is a Buddha in a convention where other phenomena are not (NKT)

Shugden as a Buddha is a phenomena. (A8)
All phenomena lack inherent existence. (A1)
Therefore (C1) Shugden as a Buddha lacks inherent existence. (MP)

Shugden as a Buddha is a phenomena. (A8)
Some phenomena exist conventionally  (A2)
Therefore (C2) Shugden as a Buddha may exist conventionally (MP)
Due to (C2) we can use the three tests.

If Shugden as a Buddha is known to a conventional consciousness, 
   it passes the first test. (A3.1)
Shugden as a Buddha is known to conventional consciousnesses, (A9)
Therefore (C3) Shugden as a Buddha passes the first test (MP)

If reason that accurately analyses whether something intrinsically exists 
  does not contradict Shugden as a Buddha, it passes the third test. (A3.3)
The existence of Shugden as a Buddha does not contradict intrinsic existence (C1)
Therefore (C4) Shugden as a Buddha passes the third test (MP)

Buddhist conventions are either Sutra conventions or Tantra conventions (A7)
Therefore (disjunction)
(C5) if a Buddhist convention is not Sutra, it is Tantra and
(C6) if a Buddhist convention is not Tantra, it is Sutra

In Tantra convention, all phenomena are Buddhas (A6.1) 
Shugden is a Buddha in a convention where other phenomena are not Buddhas (T1)
Therefore (C7) Shugden is a Buddha in a non Tantra convention (MTP)

If a Buddhist convention is not Tantra, it is Sutra (C6)
Shugden is a Buddha in a non Tantra convention (C7)
Therefore (C8) Shugden is a Buddha in a Sutra convention (MTP)

In Sutra, a Buddha turns the wheel of Dharma where it has not been turned before (A5) 
Shugden is a Buddha in a Sutra convention (C8) 
Therefore (C9) Shugden turns the wheel of Dharma where it has not been turned before

Sakyamuni Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma in Jambudvipa (A12)
Shugden resides in Jambudvipa subsequent to Sakyamuni Buddha (A13)
Therefore (C10) Shugden could not turn the wheel of Dharma where it has not been turned before

If no other conventional valid cognition contradicts 
    Shugden being as it is thus known, then it passes the second test (A3.2)
(C10) contradicts (C9)
Therefore (C11) Shugden as a Buddha fails the second test

If Shugden passes the three tests (A3.1,A3.2,A3.3) Shugden exists as a Buddha conventionally (A3)
Shugden passes test (A3.1) with (C3) and (A3.3) with (C4) but fails (A3.2) at (C11)
Therefore (C12) Shugden as a Buddha fails the three tests (MP)

What fails to meet tests (3.1)(3.2)(3.3) does not exist. (A4) 
Shugden as a Buddha fails the three tests (C12) 
Therefore (C13) Shugden as a Buddha does not exist (MP)
----

keep well! (20040302 00:21, 21 September 2005 (UTC))

Vinaya addition

Hi there KP, just a couple of issues to discuss - otherwise I commend the change.

Traditional vinaya would prevent them from fully practising the Bodhisattvas way of life I feel that this is far too provocative, and not necessarily true. After all, if KG holds 253 vows, and lives in the west, are you saying that he is prevented from fully practising the BWoL?! If you feel you must state that phrase, at least find a source for it. It is a declarative statement, the type of which is not suitable in an encyclopedia!

... because some of the Vinaya rules are not appropriate in Western society According to whom? This is a point of view (POV), not a fact, right? So we just need to indicate who it is that says that. How about:- ... because, according to the NKT, some of the Vinaya rules are not appropriate in Western society (This is now attributed, and so cannot be contested. Of course it is even better to provide a link to source material so people can go and see that this is indeed what the NKT say)

Likewise When Buddhism moves from country to country, it must inevitably adapt to the culture of that country, as happened when Atisha brought Dharma to Tibet. Certainly the Theravadan tradition disagrees with this - and to a large extend, so do many Mahayana schools. Therefore, the statement is far more strong if you qualify it with a source. How about:- Some Buddhists assert that as Buddhism moves from country to country, it must inevitably adapt to the culture of that country However, we could say something more general If we accept that as religions move from culture to culture, they will always be imbued with adaptations that suit the culture at hand, we can see that sometimes there is a need to be flexible and to adopt new ways of behaviour. It is with this conviction that the NKT has adopted a new code of vinaya.

Also, your claim of validity is itself invalid! This is that old dog logic again! The ordination vows are valid because they are taken with the motivation of renunciation and contain the essential commitments of all vows - to abandon delusions and deluded behaviour. (Aside: I am sure that when you say all vows, you mean all Buddhist vows) We need to explain what is meant by 'valid ordination vows' - after all, most readers will not know what 'invalid ordination vows' are! I think the claim is weak here, though there is good meat in your sentence. How about leaving out the 'valid' concern, (which will never satisfy members of traditions that have adopted the Vinaya lineages anyway!), and say something like The ordination vows are taken with the motivation of renunciation and contain the essential commitments of all Buddhist vows - to abandon delusions and deluded behaviour. As such they help to focus the ordained practitioner onto the task at hand - enlightenment itself. This is much more positive, leaves out the begging question, and is far harder to argue with, and doesn't attempt to introduce the three higher trainings to a naive audience.

I'm afraid the rest of your paragraph is nonsense to non-NKT - and possibly needs commentary for many NKT members also: Let me explain a little why: First of all, non Buddhists will not know what you are talking about because you have strung many technical terms together. Secondly, academics and mainstream Buddhists will be amused in a way that you don't want, because you are mixing Sutra with Vinaya - They are separate baskets in the Tripitaka (Sutra, Vinaya, Abidharma, right?) - so it won't make sense to them. You could state that the NKT doesn't affirm the tripitaka, but that leads down the non-Buddhist road, which I think in your heart you really want to avoid. I guess what you are trying to say is something more mystical - that the strength of one's understanding and renunciation is derived from the PoW sutras and the Lam Rim. - That is a lovely thing to say, so why not replace your sentence with that: As the NKT ordination vows are rooted in the strength of one's understanding of insight, renunciation and Bodhicitta, their substance is derived from the Mahayana Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Lam Rim teachings rather than from the Sravakayana vinaya (Just to remind you, there are many PoW sutras, not just one!)

I would leave out the 253 sentence if I were you. I think it sounds arrogant, and it will do nothing but continue to provoke non-NKT Buddhists for no good reason.

So, here is something that hopefully you will like, which I feel is more balanced, and still reflects the views of the NKT - It would be excellent to list what those vows are, by the way.

NKT Monks and Nuns take ten vows and are honest about the fact that an ordained life is very different in the West because, according to the NKT, some of the Vinaya rules are not appropriate in Western society. If we accept that as religions move from culture to culture they will always be imbued with adaptations that suit the culture at hand, then we can see that sometimes there is a need to be flexible and to adopt new ways of behaviour. It is with this conviction that the NKT has adopted a new code of vinaya. The ordination vows are taken with the motivation of renunciation and contain the essential commitments of all Buddhist vows: to abandon delusions and deluded behaviour. As such they help to focus the ordained practitioner onto the task at hand enlightenment itself. As the NKT ordination vows are rooted in the strength of one's understanding of insight, renunciation and Bodhicitta, their substance is derived from the Mahayana Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Lam Rim teachings rather than from the Sravakayana vinaya.

I merely ask you to read my proposed paragraph against your own, and I hope you will see what advantages it has. I am not at all good at writing wikipedia style, but 1.5 years of practice have certainly helped! Of course, as an outsider, I can see no reason in your arguments for wearing robes! But let's not go there.. You already have left too many questions unanswered, and I believe that for you they are unanswerable.

Sorry, I got confused about what all happend at the board. I'd like to discuss the ordination section and ask for changes. This passage is just the view of NKT and ignores the importance of the Vinaya as taught and emphasised by Atisha and Tsongkhapa. They both were well known for emphasising and keeping the Vinaya properly. When Atisha came to Tibet and Padmasambhava came to Tibet, they didn't change the Vinaya they emphasised it! From Buddha onwards the Vinaya was changed by noone. Only NKT changed it and has a different idea on that than all other Masters of the Vinaya-lineage.
To have a neutral POV I suggest just to say: "NKT give ten vows for the nuns and monks."
And then put the actual section on that in the section of controversies where NKT replied to the contoversies.
Also NKT does not follow the Mahayana Perfection of Wisdom Sutras as they stated. They do not study The Perfections of Wisdom Sutras or teach it. NKT uses only one Sutra at all. This is the Short Heart Sutra. There is just one short text and commentary on the Heart Sutra but this includes not the textes on Vinaya or tells about the ten vows of NKT. NKT has now their own ordination and does not follow the traditional Vinaya of Mulasarvatsavadin. I have yet put the 10 vows of NKT in the discussion board.
So I suggest to change this section and put NKT POV to their reply. Sorry for my bad English and misunderstandings of your articles. Kt66 23:57, 22 September 2005 (UTC)


Take care, (20040302 23:32, 21 September 2005 (UTC))

Dear March 2nd, thank you for taking the time to read over my change and to propose some improvements. I have incorporated most of what you proposed.
I have also made some other changes to the article, to show how some Geshe Kelsang's books are based on root texts (this makes it clearer that the NKT is a tradition). KT66 took out references to NKT being a 'tradition', however, it is clear that because we are following a lineage that goes back to Buddha Shakyamuni, and that the substance of our teachings is no different to Gelugpa, that it is a tradition. Of course it is not the Gelugpa tradition, but it is a tradition, so I have reverted it.
I have also included reference to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, since that is how he refers to himself. It is quite incorrect to remove his qualification without evidence. This article needs to be factual and the books are written by, and the tradition founded by, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This is a simple fact. Hope you are well. With love, --Kelsangpagpa 22:28, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Hi there KP. As I said below, thanks for listening.
These articles will only function with collaboration. But collaboration does need healthy strong debate sometimes, and please understand that though I may get 'hot' sometimes, it's only because I am passionate about the Dharma, in my own humble way.
"Tradition" for me is not a big issue - give it 15 years, and you can call it a tradition anyway. Maybe KT66 sees it differently. I know some people find the appelation amusing - after all, the NKT is very young to be called a tradition!
I welcome the list of publications. It would be good to know which of them have a full translation contained within them, and what specific text the commentary is on. It provides a useful reference point for academics, historians, NKT members and their critics alike. I know it's a bother, but if you have the time, I believe it would help.
As I have gone on and on and on before... I am not sure about your claim that your teachings are 'no different to Gelugpa' - I recently mentioned (above) the quote from the LRCM regarding how to view your Guru; I feel that this is one of several distinctly new aspects of the NKT; this particular one I feel is very dangerous. If I was in a position to advise the NKT regarding it's long term strategy, I would most severely recommend backing away from that theme altogether. Already the NKT has a reputation in the press and other Buddhist schools for believing KG to be a Buddha, for which it is ridiculed (Think of the weird karmas there). Likewise, adherence only to Tharpa books will most often be considered to be self-alienating by non-NKT communities, which in itself will also have long term consequences. This isn't a judgement against KG's texts, or against his qualities. It is a pragmatic view of how communities work.
Regarding the 'Geshe' thing - can't we get this cleared up soon, please? All we need are the places, dates, class of degree - the specifics of the degree. Are there no biographies, or resources regarding this? Isn't the office to serve the centres for this sort of thing? I mean, there's no big secret about when a degree was taken, is there? It's so hard to argue against official documents!
Take care. (20040302 22:51, 22 September 2005 (UTC))

section heads

I feel the article reads better with section heads. KP, thanks for reading my opinion about the vinaya. I hope you agree it reads better, and is less controversial. Is it possible to actually state what the ten vows are? Much more interesting and informative if we can. (20040302 22:19, 22 September 2005 (UTC))

Introductory sentence and history - Manjusri Institute.

I added mention in the introductory sentence that the NKT is independant - something that all current interested parties appear to agree on. Do we have a strong founding date for the NKT? 1990's is a bit weak.

Although the NKT-ites seem to dislike it, the takeover of Manjushri Institute was certainly far from amicable. It is far better to address this lightly rather than not at all:-

To not mention it at all will look like a whitewash - basically, an untruth, a deception, a lie.

We could go into the hairy details of drugs allegations, lists of 'criminal evidence' (against FPMT members) followed by heavy-handed 'blackmail' (by Chip on behalf of KG) along with all the tape transcriptions, but this is really really messy, and no-one appears to want to really go into those details, and at that level it really gets into micro-history, rather than general history. This is why saying "against lama yeshe's wishes" is, in my mind, a reasonable 'middle way'. Students of KG at the time were calling it a 'revolution' and a 'coup', which wasn't very nice. It happened. (I have no affiliation with the FPMT btw. I don't think either party behaved very well back then, but who am I to judge?)

I also think that sometime all the stuff about benefits fraud is going to come out, which won't do NKT's reputation any good. (This is to do with that for many years, many if not most of KG's students in the UK were signing on while working on renovating properties, teaching, etc. Apparently (from inside sources) students were encouraged to sign on. Several cases went to court. This is breaking the law, and in my opinion very questionable behaviour). Right now, I don't think we need to go into that stuff either though. (20040302 00:02, 23 September 2005 (UTC))


Reliance on the Spiritual Guide

Dear March 2nd, I feel now is the time to address some of the issues about the teachings, given what you have said. I was frankly surprised at your response about reliance on the Guru. I find it hard to believe that LRCM does not mention seeing the Guru as Buddha and I can only assume that this is due to either Je Tsongkhapa teaching only a sutra viewpoint (as opposed to tantra) or that the translation or interpretation is dodgy! It is my sincere understanding that all Mahayana Schools teach that the Guru is the synthesis of all Buddhas. It is not just Geshe Kelsang who says this: I have the three volume "Liberation in our Hands", the teaching by Pabongkha Rinpoche translated by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin (Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press, 1994), and have had it for many years (you may know it as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand). Pabongkha gives four reasons why one should view one's Spiritual Guide as a Buddha, and those same reasons are in Joyful Path. In relation to the first reason, "Vajradhara affirmed that our Guru is a Buddha" he says: (p34):

There is a danger that some persons may reason like this: "although spiritual teachers are not genuine Buddhas, it's necessary for me to pretend that they are when I am practising the topic of serving a spiritual teacher" But it's essential not to hold such mistaken thoughts in the corners of one's mind

We should instead reflect as follows: "Although my Guru is indeed a Buddha, I am not capable of directly recognising this myself. Nonetheless, I know he is a Buddha, because authoritative scriptures tell me that, in times like these, Vajradhara dwells among us by emanating himself in the form of a Guru"

And then he gives scriptual citations from the tantras to corroborate this view.

Also, in the Gelugpa tradition, surely you practise Offering to the Spiritual Guide (Lama Chopa) composed by the First Panchen Lama? This practice involves seeing one's Guru as Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang, the synthesis of Je Tsongkhapa, Buddha Shakyamuni and Conqueror Vajradhara. Geshe Kelsang has written a commentary to this practice, which NKT Centres do twice a month, called Great Treasury of Merit. It's clear in this practice that we are to view our root Guru as a Buddha, because we praise his good qualities of being the emanation body, enjoyment body and truth body, and so forth. So the practice of seeing the Guru as Buddha is not just a modern invention or a creation of the NKT - we are merely following tradition that comes from Pabongkha, Trijing Rinpoche and Geshe Kelsang - and that I had assumed had come from Je Tsongkhapa. I'd be interested to know your view.

Having said this, I have to say again that at no time has Geshe Kelsang ever declared himself to a Buddha. Quite the opposite - he has sometimes said that he is nothing special and once even declared in a teaching that he was a "foolish man". I have never seen him act with anything other than complete humility. With love, --Kelsangpagpa 00:24, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Hi KP, thanks for taking the time to respond to this thorny issue. First of all, the LRCM does mention seeing the Guru as a Buddha, but within a carefully chosen context, and certainly indicates that one should not identify the Guru as Buddha, though it is not a fault to identify the Guru as an emanation of a Buddha. (I hope you understand the distinctions between imagination and identification, and Buddha vs. Buddha emanation). Believe me, the translation (ISBN 1-55939-152-9) has no interpretation or commentary - it is a translation completed by a commitee of some of the most skilled translators working alongside several esteemed lharampa geshes. (Lharampa is the highest Geshe degree there is). Of course, Je Rinpoche is primarily teaching from the Mahayana Sutra position in the Lam Rim Chen Mo - it is not a tantra text. But this is an essential distinction: Within tantra it is wrong to see the Guru as not being a Buddha, but then it is wrong to see Hitler, Stalin, a dog, or even a cloud as not being a Buddha too - there is nothing that is not Buddha in tantra, so it would be nonsense if everything except for ones guru is not a Buddha!! Therefore, when studying these things, we must make a distinction between Sutra and Tantra contexts. Let us refer to your quote from Pabonkhapa - what he says here must be treated with great care. I have a different translation (Mike Richards), but it is easy enough to find the reference (How to regard him properly). First of all, when talking about viewing Guru as Buddha, note the references that Pabonkhapa have all come from tantra, not from sutra: The Blue Book, Vajrapani Initiation Tantra, Hevajra Tantra, and of course the Guru Puja is tantra. We can see he indicates this just above your quote, where he says "One day, even the universe will appear to us to be completely pure."
Though I have great respect for Pabonkhapa, when his views differ from Je Tsongkhapa, I prefer to accept Je Tsonkhapa. This is not for any reason other than I personally relate to Je Tsonkhapa's reasoning much more than I do Pabonkhapa; the LRCM is truly a diamond among diamonds. But in this case, Pabonkhapa and Je Tsonkhapa are not at odds with each other - Pabonkhapa is speaking primarily in the context of tantric practice, and Je Tsongkhapa is primarily sutra. Je Tsongkhapa does refer to the Vajrapani Initiation Tantra, so at face value it would look like he agrees completely with Pabonkhapa (and your interpretation). However, he goes into a lot of detail about how to do this within a Mahayana / Sutra context, and it becomes clear that he is talking about not focusing on the faults of one's teacher, (Of course we should not focus on the faults of anyone at all) and imagining one's teacher to be Buddha is a good way of preventing that. However, he subsequently indicates that we should discriminate regarding the activities of our teachers, whether or not the activities are good or bad.
Je Tsongkhapa says (LRCM):

It is improper to take the gurus' wrong actions as a reason for subsequent misbehaviour such as disrespecting, reproaching or despising the gurus. Rather, excuse yourself politely, and do not engage in what you where instructed to do. The Fifty Verses on the Guru says: "If you cannot reasonably do as the guru has instructed, Excuse yourself with soothing words."

So where Pabonkhapa and Tsonkhapa deviate is that Pabonkhapa does not talk about how to rely upon the Guru regarding wrong actions of the Guru. I feel that this is something that he feels we must be aware of through other texts such as the LRCM. My guess is that he felt that there was not a lot of respect towards one's teacher back in the 1930's, so he saw a need to emphasise this. One of the primary differences between Liberation in your hand and the LRCM is that the former was given by Pabongkhapa with a whole set of specific topical contexts at hand, whereas the LRCM is written in a far more timeless manner. I believe that topicality is unavoidable when making large public speeches: we know what sort of things will be on the audience's mind.
Regarding the issue of Vajradhara emanating - an emanation of a buddha is not the same as being in the presence of the nirmanakaya buddha himself. If we use this logic, then we should worship boats, bridges and so on as buddhas also. Read the refuge chapter on Buddha for some more examples of the qualities of Sakyamuni Buddha. If a Buddha emanates as an ordinary being, then we cannot expect that ordinary being to function as a Buddha! Because if we did that, he would not have emanated as an ordinary being at all. Ordinary beings make mistakes and are ignorant about things; therefore, we cannot rely upon them like we can a Buddha.
Therefore, we must be able to identify whether the actions in our Guru are right or wrong. We can do this even if we see him to be an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being (which is a tantra context) - we can understand that sometimes he is teaching us what not to do by showing us the consequences of his actions.
There is also a substantial difference between seeing one's guru as an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being, and calling him the 'third Buddha'. Pabonkhapa mentions that Buddha emanates as boats and bridges - yet none of us see these things as Buddhas, let alone call them the 'third Buddha' or whatever.
To consider one's guru as an emanation is for private practice - we should not proclaim this to others without looking foolish. Similarly, if you have taken vajra-yogini initiation, if you go around saying "I am Vajrayogini", most people will be surprised at your claim!
There is clearly an error in thinking that an emanation of Vajradhara keeps the qualities of Vajradhara - this is clearly not so, otherwise bridges would have all sorts of qualities that are great for Buddhas, but not so for bridges - after all, if we knew that a bridge was an emanation of Vajradhara and treated as such, we would not want to walk on it! So, we must be clear about these things, and we may be so distracted by the glowing aura that we could fall off it!
Finally, by using the predominantly tantric approach of identifying one's Guru to be an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being, we are free from the faults of making Sakyamuni redundant (thereby maintaining refuge), of the dangers of imagining our Guru to be omniscient, and likewise we are able to keep discriminating analysis regarding our Guru's behaviour.
In conclusion, it is in this way that I feel NKT may have overstretched a position regarding the attitude towards one's guru, in that there is no space to discriminate between which actions are good and which are not, and there appears to be no distinction made between a Buddha and an emanation of Buddha as an ordinary being. These distinctions are subtle, but they are both distinct and novel.
Take care (20040302 09:01, 23 September 2005 (UTC))
Dear March 2nd, thank you for your considered reply. I would like to extract three points from your response to comment on:
Therefore, we must be able to identify whether the actions in our Guru are right or wrong. We can do this even if we see him to be an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being (which is a tantra context) - we can understand that sometimes he is teaching us what not to do by showing us the consequences of his actions.
Seeing the Guru as Buddha is not an invitation to disengage our wisdom. Of course we must discriminate whether our Guru's actions are in accordance with Dharma, and if he asks us to do something that is not, we must refuse or explain why we cannot. This perfectly accords with Fifty Verses by Ashvagosha. From your responses, I feel that you believe that if we view the Guru as Buddha, we must do everything they say, and indeed that is what NKT does. That is completely incorrect. We have discussed many times, and Geshe Kelsang has addressed in Teachings, how to relate to our Teacher in a proper way while still maintaining pure view. Even though our Spiritual Guide may be a living Buddha (and it is essential to view him in that way in order to attain the highest realizations), he will appear to make mistakes because our minds are clouded by ignorance. One of the reasons Pabongkha uses to justify why faults may be perceived in the Guru is - appearances are deceptive and our own opinions are unreliable. Because we have faulty minds, we will perceive faults even in pure objects like Buddha emanations. We have discussed the issue of what happens when the Teacher's actions are incompatible with the teachings, or if they appear to have made a mistake, and the conclusion was: ask him or her why! We do not slavishly follow everything that our Teacher says, and your point is an important one: The Guru teaches by manifesting faults.
Regarding this Third Buddha thing that keeps coming up, I think your next paragraph is important:
To consider one's guru as an emanation is for private practice - we should not proclaim this to others without looking foolish. Similarly, if you have taken vajra-yogini initiation, if you go around saying "I am Vajrayogini", most people will be surprised at your claim!
You are completely right. I fear than in the past, some NKT practitioners have been unskilful in expressing their view that Geshe Kelsang is a Buddha - a view that should only be held internally. This has been picked up on by the press and has led to some cringingly embarrassing comments in print that leave NKT open to ridicule. Even talking about it openly in a forum like this can lead to misunderstandings. The view that the Guru is a Buddha is a completely personal and private view that should not be expressed verbally or physically. As Geshe Kelsang has said:"do not exaggerate". Having said that, no one I know has ever expressed the view that Geshe Kelsang is the "Third Buddha".
Finally, by using the predominantly tantric approach of identifying one's Guru to be an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being, we are free from the faults of making Sakyamuni redundant (thereby maintaining refuge), of the dangers of imagining our Guru to be omniscient, and likewise we are able to keep discriminating analysis regarding our Guru's behaviour.
I think we mean different things by identifying our Guru as an emanation of Vajradhara as an ordinary being. I believe that this view means regarding the Guru as a deliberate emanation of Buddha Vajradhara who has consciously manifested as a Spiritual Teacher to guide us to liberation and enlightenment. I feel that your view is "according to tantric view, everything is Buddha so the Guru is just another emanation, like a bridge or some other ordinary object". The point is: this emanation, which is a Spiritual Guide, is not ordinary. He or she appears ordinary because of the obscurations in our own mind, and we are to view this person as Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Vajradhara.
The question is, do you have a living Buddha in your life or a dead one? According to Theravada, Buddha passed away and his teaching is our refuge. According to Mahayana, Buddha can manifest countless emanations to benefit living beings and is omnipresent. He exists where he is visualised. According to Vajrayana, our Guru is the synthesis of all Buddhas (including Buddha Shakyamuni) and by holding this view, and engaging in Guru yoga to recieve his profound blessings, he can bestow enlightenment upon us. To achieve the highest realizations it is essential to view all things are pure, and that starts with someone who is performing the actions of a Buddha - our Spiritual Guide. There is a process of purification that needs to take place such that we can recognise all things as emanations of the Dharmakaya. If we can't see someone who is performing the actions of a Buddha as Buddha, what chance do we have of seeing everything else as pure? This is the training according to tantra. Furthermore, Buddha Vajradhara himself declared that we would manifest as a Spiritual Teacher in degenerate times. We cannot be Buddhists if we do not believe Buddha. Anyway, I am sure you are familiar for the reasons for regarding the Guru as Buddha. Buddha has to emanate as an ordinary being, performing the actions of a Buddha, because our karma is so impure that we are unable to see Buddha's enjoyment body or Supreme Emanation body, so we have to receive guidance from a 'seemingly' ordinary being. This doesn't make Buddha Shakyamuni redundant at all, because Buddha Shakyamuni and the Guru are one. In the Guru Puja it says:
Namo Gurubhä
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya
The Guru is the synthesis of all objects of refuge. - with love, --Kelsangpagpa 15:36, 23 September 2005 (UTC)