Several years ago, a young Englishwoman donned a backpack, set out for Australia and rented premises in Bondi; she’d brought the New Kadampa Tradition to Sydney from the United Kingdom. The beautiful Manjushri Temple is in the Conishead Priory near the Lakes District. This temple was constructed by the faithful from the ruins of an old building, inspired by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the well-loved leader of the group in the West.
The beliefs and teachings departed little from the Dali Lama’s philosophy, however one particular difference became grounds for political dispute at one stage, which is when I decided to leave the group. NKT followers are taught to worship a warrior deity from the ancient practices, Dorje Shugden, who is said to protect the purity of the Dharma—the practices that need to be performed and protected for a happy and peaceful life. In a photograph, Dorje Shugden is depicted on a ferocious lion’s back bearing a sword in his right hand. The Dali Lama distanced himself from the NKT practices by criticising the adherence to the warrior deity Dorje Shugden.