Lineage of The New Kadampa Tradition
Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054). His followers are known as ‘Kadampas’.
‘Ka’ refers to Buddha’s teachings, and ‘dam’ to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions known as ‘the stages of the path to enlightenment’. Kadampas, then, are practitioners who regard Buddha’s teachings as personal instructions and put them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim.
The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, who were known as the ‘New Kadampas’. The lineage of these teachings, both their oral transmission and blessings, was then passed from Teacher to disciple, spreading throughout much of Asia, and now to many countries throughout the western world.
Buddha’s teachings, which are known as ‘Dharma’, are likened to a wheel that moves from country to country in accordance with changing conditions and people’s karmic inclinations. The external forms of presenting Buddhism may change as it meets with different cultures and societies, but its essential authenticity is ensured through the continuation of an unbroken lineage of realized practitioners.
Transforming daily activities into the path
By integrating their knowledge of all Buddha’s teachings into their practice of Lamrim, and by integrating this into their everyday lives, Kadampa Buddhists are encouraged to use Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming daily activities into the path to enlightenment. The great Kadampa Teachers are famous not only for being great scholars but also for being spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity.
Modern Kadampa Buddhism
Through the activities and dedication of the renowned Buddhist Master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Kadampa Buddhism has spread to many countries in recent years. Geshe Kelsang has worked tirelessly to spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world by giving extensive teachings, writing many books on Kadampa Buddhism, establishing the International Temples Project and founding the New Kadampa Tradition, the International Kadampa Buddhist Union.
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 Trijang Rinpoche, his Spiritual Guide, he then spent the next eighteen years in meditation retreats in the Himalayas.
Teaching in the West
In 1977 he 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 on Kadampa Buddhism in many countries around the world, and published a series of remarkable books on Buddhist thought and meditation.
He has established three unique study programmes and over 1000 meditation centres around the world, trained qualified teachers and a flourishing ordained community, and created a project to build Buddhist temples in every major city in the world.
Teaching from example
In his teachings Geshe Kelsang emphasizes the importance of meditation and how to apply it in daily life, the need to be truly happy, and how to cultivate a good heart to help others and he demonstrates these qualities perfectly in his own life. This remarkable teacher inspires so many people from so many different countries because he teaches from example. He is a humble Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people throughout the world find true happiness in their hearts.
There are 1100 Kadampa Centers and branches in 40 countries around the world where people can study and practice the teachings of Buddha. These centers are open to everyone and offer a full program of introductory classes, study programs, and meditation retreats.
All Kadampa centers are non-profit organizations dedicated to benefiting their local community, and all their profits are donated to the International Temples Project.