The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) has never been involved in benefit fraud. In the mid-nineties such allegations were made, but a government investigation found no truth in it and the NKT was exonerated. Unfortunately, this was not before certain newspapers had irresponsibly reported these allegations without checking with local unemployment or housing benefit offices. (See also Has the New Kadampa Tradition received criticism in the press?)

It’s true that some NKT Centers in the UK, (particularly in the early days, not so much any more), received rental income from residents who were on housing benefit because they could prove that they were unemployed or on low income. Using housing benefit to pay rent is legitimate and legal. As places of residence, NKT Centers are lawfully entitled to receive such income from their residents.

The claimants were also following the current guidelines on looking for work. Nowadays, the vast majority of Kadampa practitioners work in regular jobs or are sponsored by the Centers. But back in the 80s in the UK, where the NKT started, it was legitimately challenging to find work because of a 10 percent unemployment rate; so during that time it was legal to be doing a certain number of volunteer hours per week whilst on Unemployment Benefits.

It is worth noting that the NKT — with over 1200 Centers including some sizeable Temples for World Peace — has also created thousands of jobs in the UK and around the world, in teaching, administration, education, IT, social media, marketing, artwork, design, Tharpa Publications, service industries such as World Peace cafes, and so on. Some of these jobs have gone to people who might otherwise claim unemployment support.

The NKT as a whole has been incredibly diligent over the years in observing all local laws, including permitting, zoning, taxation, and so on. It has worked closely with the UK Charity Commission for over 40 years, and not once has it “Submitted dodgy tax returns and financial statements to the charities commission” as some have claimed.