Kadampa Buddhism is a living tradition practiced by people in all walks of life throughout the world. Handed down in an unbroken lineage from Buddha Shakyamuni, through the ancient Kadampa teachers Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, to the modern-day Buddhist master Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Kadampa Buddhism teaches us to regard all of Buddha’s teachings as personal advice to put into practice in our everyday life. Through this, everyone can solve their daily problems and bring peace, joy and a pure spiritual path into our world.
Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054). Atisha gathered all of Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings into a practical, step by step presentation called ‘Lamrim’, or the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.
In the word, ‘Kadampa’, ‘Ka’ refers to Buddha’s teachings, and ‘dam’ to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions. Kadampas, then, are practitioners who regard Buddha’s teachings as personal instructions and put them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim.
After Atisha, the Kadampa lineage was passed down through a succession of great Kadampa Teachers including Dromtönpa, Geshe Potowa, Geshe Sharawa, and Geshe Chekhawa.
These precious Teachers were not only great scholars but also spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity.
They placed particular emphasis on the practice of Training the Mind (Lojong) by which all our daily life experiences, and especially all our problems, suffering, and difficulties, can be transformed into the spiritual path.
The New Kadampas
The Kadampa lineage passed from generation to generation until the fourteenth century when it reached the great Buddhist Master Je Tsongkhapa.
Je Tsongkhapa clarified all the teachings of Kadam Dharma and made them very accessible to the people of that time.
In particular, he showed how to combine Lamrim, and Lojong with Mahamudra Tantra in a unified daily practice.
Just as the union of study and practice was a hallmark of the early Kadampas, so the union of Sutra and Tantra was to become a hallmark of the New Kadampas, as the followers of Je Tsongkhapa became known.
Modern Kadampa Buddhism
After Je Tsongkhapa, the New Kadampa lineage flourished for hundreds of years, down to the present day.
In recent years, it has been promoted widely throughout the world by the contemporary Buddhist Master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
By founding the New Kadampa Tradition, the International Kadampa Buddhist Union, Geshe Kelsang has created a truly global infrastructure to preserve and promote Kadampa Buddhism for many generations to come.
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso – Founder of the New Kadampa Tradition
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism.
Geshe-la, as he is affectionately called by his students, is primarily responsible for the worldwide revival of Kadampa Buddhism in our time.
Study and retreat
From the age of eight, Geshe-la studied extensively in the great monastic universities of Tibet and earned the title Geshe, which literally means spiritual friend. Under the guidance of his Spiritual Guide, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, he then spent the next eighteen years in meditation retreats in the Himalayas.
Teaching in the West
In 1977, Geshe-la accepted an invitation to teach at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre in England, where he lived for many years giving teachings and guidance to an ever-growing group of disciples.
Geshe-la has continued to teach Kadampa Buddhism in many countries around the world, and has published a series of extraordinary books on Buddhist thought and meditation, from basic introductory books to advanced philosophical texts and meditation manuals.
He has established three unique study programmes and over 1000 meditation centers around the world, has trained qualified teachers and a flourishing ordained community, and has created The International Temples Project to build Buddhist temples in every major city in the world.
Teaching by example
In his teachings, Geshe Kelsang emphasizes the importance of meditation and how to apply it in daily life, how to fulfill our deepest wishes for true happiness, and how to cultivate a kind heart to help other.
This remarkable teacher inspires so many people from so many different countries because he teaches from his own personal experience, and demonstrates these qualities perfectly in his own life.
He is a humble Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people throughout the world find true happiness in their hearts.