Tradition & Lineage
Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054). ‘Ka’ refers to Buddha’s teachings, and ‘dam’ to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions known as ‘the stages of the path to enlightenment’. Kadampas learn to use Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming all their daily activities into the path to enlightenment.
The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, known as the ‘New Kadampas’, who were not only great scholars but also spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity.
Buddha Shakyamuni is the founder of Buddhism who demonstrated the attainment of full enlightenment and how to awaken from the sleep of ignorance and cyclic rebirth. He then passed the teachings, or dharma, in an unbroken lineage through the ancient Kadampa teachers Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa.
The great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (982-1054 AD) was responsible for reintroducing pure Buddhism into Tibet. He was asked to present a Dharma that everybody could follow and show how all paths of Sutra and Tantra could be practised together. Atisha wrote Lamp for the Path, the original Lamrim text that served as the basis for all subsequent Lamrim instructions.
Je Tsongkhapa was a great 14th century Tibetan Buddhist Master who promoted and developed the Kadampa Buddhism that Atisha had introduced three centuries earlier. His followers became known as the ‘New Kadampas’, and to this day New Kadampas worldwide study his teachings and strive to emulate his pure example.
The New Kadampa Tradition
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 Rinpoche, who founded the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU). The New Kadampa Tradition is an association of over 1200 Buddhist Centres and groups that derive their inspiration from the ancient Kadampa Buddhist Masters and aim to preserve Kadampa Buddhism for the future.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism. From the age of eight, Geshe-la studied extensively in the great monastic universities of Tibet and earned the title ‘Geshe’, meaning ‘spiritual friend’. Under the guidance of his Spiritual Guide, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, he spent the next 18 years in meditation retreats in the Himalayas. In 1977 he accepted an invitation to teach at Manjushri KMC in England, where he lived and taught until 2009, giving teachings and guidance to an ever-growing group of disciples.
Having formally retired as Spiritual Director, now in his eighties, Geshe Kelsang continues to work tirelessly to spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world. He has published a series of remarkable books on Buddhism and meditation, established 1200 centers and groups around the world, trained hundreds of qualified Kadampa Teachers and created a project to build Buddhist Temples in every major city in the world.
Books on Meditation & Buddhism
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has written 23 inspirational books on meditation and Buddhism. These books offer practical methods for learning and developing meditation practices and are especially suited for modern day people with busy lives.
Tharpa Publications is the publishing company of the New Kadampa Tradition and the exclusive publisher of books by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa is a global organization and all profits received are donated to the International Temples Project Fund.
General Spiritual Director
Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong
Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong is the General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU and the Resident Teacher at Manjushri KMC, the Mother Center of Kadampa Buddhism. Gen-la Dekyong has studied and practiced Kadampa Buddhism for many years under the guidance of her Spiritual Guide, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. She is a perfect example of a Kadampa Teacher and her humour and kindness exemplify the essence of the Buddhist way of life. Each year, Gen-la Dekyong teaches at the International Festivals, National Festivals, and Dharma Celebrations throughout the world where she inspires thousands of disciples with her pure example and wisdom.
Happiness and suffering are states of mind and so their main causes are not to be found outside the mind. If we want to be truly happy and free from suffering, we must learn how to control our mind.”