Alleged sexual abuse

The NKT website describes levels of tantra:

In Action Tantra, the meditator generates bliss by looking at a visualized goddess, and then transforms that bliss into the path. In Performance Tantra, the meditator generates bliss by exchanging smiles with the goddess, and in Yoga Tantra, by holding hands with her and so forth. In Highest Yoga Tantra, the meditator generates bliss by imagining sexual embrace with a consort and, at advanced stages, by engaging in actual embrace; and then transforms that bliss into the spiritual path. It should be noted, however, that it is very difficult to use great bliss as a method for attaining enlightenment, and if we are able to do so we have indeed attained a formidable accomplishment. As the great Mahasiddha Saraha said, ‘Everyone is excited by copulation, but very few can transform that bliss into the spiritual path’.

Senior teachers and monks have been widely known to engage in a ‘sexual lineage’ and to have had sex with nuns and lay women. Survivors have alleged that nuns were sexually exploited through the idea that sex with their teacher is somehow more tantric than regular sex (for an example see this YouTube video by Andrea Ballance here titled ‘You don’t have to have sex with your teacher’).

‘Scandal had fallen once more on the NKT – Gen-la Samden, a monk and very high teacher, had been having sexual relations with nuns and lay women in the name of tantric practice. My resident teacher was one of those nuns. I found out at this point that what Samden did was exactly the same as what Neil Elliott, also serving as Gen-la, had done some years previously, though when Elliott had moved to Chenrezig centre we were given a watered down version – that he had given back his vows in order to marry Diane’

Anonymous testimony ‘A day in the life of The New Kadampa Tradition’

No public acknowledgement of potential abuses of power has been made and there still remains no channels for reporting abuse. The NKT has an internal rule that if an ordained person breaks their vows they should never teach again, however this rule does not apply to Neil Elliot who still teaches.

In the comments section of The One Pure Dharma Tricycle article a survivor discloses sexual assault by a monk:

Sadly, many people do not view their experience as abuse until they have left and their indoctrination has lifted. This is due to the way in which the belief system enables abuse and gaslights the victim to believe the abuse was all in their mind or as a result of their own karma.

When I attempted to tell the ‘National Spiritual Director’ Bridget Heyes about spiritual abuse and sexual exploitation of volunteers by NKT teachers in June 2018, I was told ‘we can’t get involved in relationships’ and karma beliefs were used to dismiss any potential trauma. She said ‘lots of women have to live with their ex partners due to finances or children’. I replied that I did not have to, so I wasn’t going to. She told me that ‘enduring suffering is your practice’ and stated that if I wanted to teach dharma, I should endure it (I did not want to teach). I was told by the admin director ‘nothing matters, that’s what Bridget says’ (nihilism). Despite not being a ‘true believer’ it took me several months to understand the abuse I had experienced and witnessed was in fact abuse. I later made a complaint to The Charity Commission that I believe Nagarjuna KMC does not have safeguarding policies and procedures and that management gaslight the victim to silence abuse and protect their reputation.

Those who do come to understand that they have been abused are likely to remain too fearful to speak publicly about this due to the NKT’s history of attacking critics and survivors.

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