Financial abuse

Many ex-members report financial abuse, for example lending items and money to the NKT and later being told that it will not be returned (Tenzin Peljor). Tenzin reports that he was gaslighted, being told that his memory was incorrect, and that he had promised to donate when he clearly remembers that it was a loan that was agreed (see video testimony here). This is more commonly reported in German centres.

Ex-members have reported that they were encouraged to give large amounts of money even when claiming benefits in order to work full time for the organisation.

When the NKT offered me the opportunity to become ‘ordained’, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I was never able to refuse – it had almost become a situation where my dreams had come true – and this is where the real abuse started, it was customary to give ‘interest free loans’, pay for building renovation, cars, statues and even the resident teacher to attend ‘festivals and empowerments’ in foreign countries (I recall paying so that someone could go to Germany for ‘Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment’ and also being told that I may not achieve enlightenment for ‘eons’ as doing so left me unable to afford to go myself). Sadly the more I gave, the more it seemed never to be enough, there was always a need for something – I was never allowed to give up my job (which was not an issue as I loved helping others, and worked full time in an alcohol and drug treatment service) as I was the only person who brought money into the ‘Centre’ that was not based on fraudulent benefit claims by the other ordained staff there‘.

Peter Graham Dryburgh, testimony

Benefit fraud has been admitted in several testimonies such as here and here.

There are no discounts for disabled members to attend teachings or festivals. This was reflected in a JustGiving campaign set up for a nun in 2018 so that she could attend teachings that the NKT would not make available to her at a discounted rate.

Those who have been ordained and worked for the tradition for many years are given no pension or financial security, and there is no compensation for abuse or trauma.

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