The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) does not use any brainwashing techniques. Students are strongly encouraged to think for themselves.
Buddha Shakyamuni asked his followers to test everything he taught as they would test gold, to determine if it is authentic. He advised them not to accept anything unless it accords with their experience, even if others call him Buddha or agree with him. This is a part of the NKT culture. Buddhism is not evangelical in the slightest, and nor does it recommend blind faith.
Gratitude, respect, and kindness towards everyone, especially our parents and family, are core values taught in Kadampa Buddhism. Putting these Buddhist teachings into practice leads to harmonious relationships.
NKT students are not encouraged in any way to sever relationships with friends and families. They are not encouraged to give up their school, college, or university studies, or to give up their jobs or family responsibilities. The very meaning of Kadampa Buddhism is to take all Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and put them into practice in their normal daily activities. One of the main Kadampa sayings is:
Remain natural while changing your aspiration.
This means that practitioners are taught to change not their outside behavior but their intentions, replacing hatred with love, for example.
Everyone is welcome at NKT Centers and classes. Equality and tolerance are qualities intrinsic to the Buddhist way of life and underpin everything taught and practiced at NKT Centers.
There has never been a ban in NKT Centers on reading Buddhist books by authors other than Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the Founder of the NKT.
The NKT respects other spiritual traditions. As Ven Geshe Kelsang says in his book Modern Buddhism:
Today we can see many different forms of Buddhism, such as Zen and Theravada Buddhism. All these different aspects are practices of Buddha’s teachings, and all are equally precious; they are just different presentations.
Buddhism is not about converting people. People of other religious traditions coming to NKT classes are not encouraged to change to Buddhism or to the NKT.
NKT Centers offer everyone within their communities full support with their problems, within the scope of the charity’s objectives.
There is no pressure put on anyone to take ordination — in fact, the opposite is true, with people often being encouraged to wait before making such a life-changing decision.