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.