Recovery from The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU)

Who are we?

We are a group of people who have previously been involved with The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU). Some of us are named below as contributors or supporters, however many do not feel safe enough to be named due to The New Kadampa Tradition’s history of attacking critics and testimony writers.

Dr Michelle Haslam is a clinical psychologist with over 8 years experience of working with people with complex attachment related difficulties and addictions. She is also an ex-resident of Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre who began whistleblowing in March 2019. Her most popular video is ‘How I believe the New Kadampa Tradition hooks you in through your trauma and then retraumatises you’. Michelle’s workplaces now remain confidential after attacks from senior New Kadampa Tradition members via her workplace the day after her psychological analysis of the NKT went viral. Michelle now has a special interest in indoctrination, cultic dynamics and cultic abuse. She is a member of the International Cultic Studies Association.

Tenzin Peljor was a member of The New Kadampa Tradition for 4 years. He was a teacher and was ordained. He remains a monk but does not practice within the NKT. Tenzin runs various websites that assist people in finding information on abuse in Buddhist groups: info Buddhism and the Buddhism Controversies blog. He is a member of the German Buddhist Monastic Association (DBO). You can watch Tenzin talk with Michelle about his experience of indoctrination here and about recruitment here. Tenzins written testimony is here. You can listen to Tenzin speak with Matthew O’Connell in an Imperfect Buddha episode here. Tenzin has suffered extensive character assassination as a result of his work. The NKT were successful in banning him from editing their Wikipedia page due to the argument that he had too much trauma to be trusted.

Christian Szurko is a spiritual abuse recovery specialist who has worked with many ex-members of high demand groups, including the NKT. He is director of DialogueCentreUK and a board member of the Open Minds Foundation. He mentored Michelle during her whistleblowing process. You can see Michelle talk to Christian about recovery here. Christian is especially interested in educating people about the potential dangers of practicing meditation within a cultic environment.

Eddie Nuttall is a play and playwork specialist and consultant with over 25 years experience in the children’s workforce. He is the author of numerous publications on play and playwork, and runs a large adventure playground in the West of England where he lives with his family. Eddie lived in NKT centres in the north West for three years in the nineties, and experienced severe depression and anxiety in the years after leaving. He is particularly interested in accountability over mental health issues in the NKT, and greater rigour in the safeguarding of vulnerable people. Eddie’s video testimony is here: Part 1 and Part 2. You can watch Eddie speak about NKT sectarianism here.

Carmelo Russo is an ex-resident of Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre and a retired mental health nurse. Carmelo’s video testimony is here.

Supporters:

  • Carol McQuire, ex-member
  • Emily Francis, ex-member
  • Andrew Cheadle, ex-resident of Nagarjuna KMC
  • David Suppan, writer on ethics in spiritual groups
  • Jon Atack, ex-scientologist, author and Manager of Projects at Open Minds Foundation
  • Richard Litchfield, ex-member
  • Many others who do not wish to be named at the present time for safety reasons

What are our aims?

We aim to provide multimedia informational materials to assist people in making informed decisions about their involvement with the NKT. There are currently no face-to-face support groups for ex-members. More recovery based materials are currently under development.

Thanks to the internet, I can now have a sense of fellowship with others who had nearly identical experiences. It wasn’t “all in my mind” after all

Anonymous survivor

Crisis support

Sadly we are unable to provide practical or emotional support for those leaving the NKT. Please note that many survivors report suicidality shortly before or after leaving and are at risk of homelessness. If you are experiencing a crisis or are worried about someone who might be, please seek support from your local crisis team, visit A&E or call a hotline such as The Samaritans. The Recovery from the NKT team work hard to try and raise awareness of how the NKT operates in mental health professionals and social workers however this has proved very challenging and has had limited success.