First of all, I’d like to thank you and others who have spoken out publicly about the real NKT. This is the first time I’ve ever written to anybody about my experiences after nearly 20 years of silence.
I was goaded into being ordained very quickly after attending public classes in Cardiff and Newport. The love bombing and what I can only describe as grooming was intense during this initial phase. At that time, I was an anxious, socially awkward and goofy 18 year old with no real skills and undiagnosed avoidant personality disorder. It is clear the teachers and long term practitioners picked up on these attributes and boosted my confidence by telling me that I have great karma for going to dharma classes at such a young age and that I must have been a monk in a previous birth. After fast-track empowerments, I was encouraged to write to “Geshe-la” and request ordination to which I got a prompt response and a shockingly quick date.
There were huge red flags in the centre which I ignored/rationalized, here listed are some of the worst:
Those percieved low status residents with kids were shoved into rickety shacks on the periphery of the centre. The children were sickly, nit infested and looked depressed and malnourished. The area was also populated by large numbers of rats which the management refused to deal with. Think about how sick that is, rats were more important than the health of children!
A known sexual deviant was stealing knickers off clothing lines to get his jollies. The higher ups knew what he was up to, they didn’t act as he was a handyman and had utility to the centre.
Everyone was made to sign a document stating their consent to have NO rights as a resident and that you could be expelled at any time. Even as an “obedient” resident, I was kicked out of my room to make way for guests at an empowerment and slept on the floor in a shrine room. Routinely there’d be higher ups entering my room while I was out, sometimes bursting in at early hours of the morning to take furniture needed for this or that.
The total dismissal of any complaints with cliches like “its all in your mind” or “have faith in Geshe-la” struck me as incredibly cultic and creepy. Its hard to have faith in the leadership when you’re shoved into a damp room with leaky windows and broken bed when there are perfectly good alternative places in the gigantic complex.
Pretty much all of the residents were on the fringe of society: drug-addicts, the severely mentally ill, alcoholics, those from broken homes or marriages and they were being used by cold, smug and arguably cluster B personality leaders for free labour and their dole money. Hardly anyone was stable in terms of income which makes you dependent on the centre. In fact, there was an implicit culture of benefit fiddling.
The Job Centre were coming down hard on me for not getting any interviews and with the looming threat of a benefit freeze, I was facing homelessness. When I started seriously planning hanging myself I realized I had to get the hell out of that nuthouse. I hit the road one morning and have been trying to rebuild my sanity ever since.
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