This smear is probably the most common used by Tenzin Peljor and others who, devote the majority of their free time trying to discredit the New Kadampa Tradition. They’ve managed to get organizations like the Rick Ross Institute to list the New Kadampa Tradition as a cult.
Anyone who is familiar with the books of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is aware that he consistently gives quotes that verify the source of his teachings are the Kadampa lineage gurus. There is no valid reason for claiming that the New Kadampa Tradition is a cult, because it is clearly a lineage that can be traced back to Buddha.
The truth from the New Kadampa Truth website: www.newkadampatruth.org
“Truth: The NKT is not a cult but a Mahayana Buddhist tradition. The definition of cult in the Chambers Dictionary is an “unorthodox or false religion”. Since the NKT follows only the Mahayana teachings of the great Buddhist Masters Atisha (982-1054 AD) and Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 AD) , which are traced back to Buddha Shakyamuni himself (500 BC), it is neither false nor unorthodox.
Its Internal Rules – containing numerous checks and balances on the behavior, election and dismissal of the administrators, teachers, and spiritual directors – also guard against any extreme behavior and are legally binding.” more info