4.1 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: cults & Buddhist groups Show Notes

These are the show notes for the latest episode of the Imperfect Buddha Podcast. If you want to know more about the specific thinking and beliefs that allow people to belong to cults and stay in them when scandals occur, then you would do well to read this text on critical thinking at the Post-traditional Buddhism site.

Critical thinking, creativity and the problem with beliefs: the NKT, Rigpa and SGI

Robert Cialdini

Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Thoughts on Leaving Rigpa

The Dalai Lama and Sogyal Rinpoche: A Roaring Silence?

A former Rigpa student’s thoughts and cultivating discernment

Open letter to Sogyal by Joanne Clark

Lama sex abuse claims call Buddhist taboos into question Mary Finnigan

In the Name of Enlightenment, documentary on Sogyal:

Jason Beghe; Scientology Interview

HBO Going Clear, on scientology:


BBC documentary on the NKT and their hate campaign against the Dali Lama An Unholy Row, with Kelsang Gyatso:


Dorje Kasung—Protector Principle


George Carlin on religion. Warning, offensive language.

Links to scandal and cult watch sites from critical thinking article
Possibly one of the most complete websites dedicated to informing the public on scandal, abuse and cultish organisations within Buddhism. Lots to see. It covers Rigpa, the NKT and other controversial figures. It is run by our guest Tenzin Peljor, often attacked by the NKT and accused by NKT’s bulldog Indiehack of being paid by the CIA and working for the Dalai Lama to discredit the NKT. Tibetan Buddhism :: Struggling With Diffi•Cult Issues http://buddhism-controversy-blog.com

Sogyal Rinpoche & Rigpa
Marion Dapsance When Fraud is Part of a Spiritual Path https://www.academia.edu/8283817/_When_Fraud_is_Part_of_a_Spiritual_Path_A_Tibetan_Lamas_Play_on_Reality_and_Illusion_

Website for the above documentary makers Cogent Benger. http://cogentbenger.com/sexscandalsinreligion/in-the-name-of-enlightenment

An expose of Sogyal Rinpoche by an ex-student. Behind the Thangkas. https://behindthethangkas.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/1-behind-the-thangkas

The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT)
My own article on the NKT, Buddhist Bullshit. http://posttraditionalbuddhism.com/2014/12/27/buddhist-bullshit

Sober article by a French academic and Tibetologist Thierry Dobin on the history of Shugden. The Dorje Shugden Conflict: An interview with Tibetologist Thierry Dodin http://info-buddhism.com/Dorje_Shugden_Conflict_Dalai_Lama_protests_Thierry_Dodin.html

Ben Joffe Angry White Buddhists and the Dalai Lama: Appropriation and Politics in the Globalization of Tibetan Buddhism http://savageminds.org/2015/02/01/angry-white-buddhists-and-the-dalai-lama-appropriation-and-politics-in-the-globalization-of-tibetan-buddhism

Highly Delhi Court turns down Shugden supporter’s claims that discrimination was taking place due to absence of evidence. http://tibet.net/2010/04/21/delhi-high-court-dismisses-dorjee-shugden-devotees-charges

Tenzin Dorjee writing on the NKT and their protests at the Huffington Post. 6 things you should know about the protestors. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tenzin-dorjee/6-things-to-know-about-th_b_6104716.html

Cesnur: Centre for studies on new religions. Newsweek article covering the murder by Shugden devotees of Dalai Lama monks. Cult Mystery. http://www.cesnur.org/press/Newsweek.htm

Review from the International Cultic Studies Association on Shugden book. http://www.icsahome.com/articles/book-review-dolgyal-shugden
Edited by Timothy Miller, University of Kansas, USA Spiritual and Visionary Communities Out to Save the World http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calcTitle=1&pageSubject=348&title_id=11434&edition_id=11789

Multiple links to scholarly articles and academic encounters with the NKT attacks on the Dalai Lama and the Dorje Shugden debacle. Tibetan Buddhism in the West. Possibly the source for the most rigorous assessment of the NKT. http://info-buddhism.com/

Information on the NKT’s propaganda. NKT World. http://nktworld.org/

Site featuring testimonies by ex-members supporting much of the claims I make regarding groupthink and cognitive bias. The fact alone that such a site exists, would you’d imagine, lead to some degree of introspection on the part of the NKT followers. New Kadampa Truth. http://www.newkadampatruths.org/

Further site providing links and critique of the NKT. The New Kadampa Tradition. http://info-buddhismus.de/new_kadampa_tradition.html


  1. There is a new place to discuss the issue of Shugden and other controversial Buddhist topics.

    It’s called Buddhism1 and it’s on Reddit at

    It was formed to provide an alternative for those who have had problems with unprofessional moderation on other discussion sites.

    The subreddit has minimal moderation and when it is fully operational will use non-Buddhist moderators to ensure that there is ZERO conflict of interest or room for vindictive behavior.

    Please come to r/Buddhism1 and speak freely.


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