Kadampa Buddhism

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 knows 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

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.

Read Advice from Atisha’s Heart

Venerable Atisha

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 practiced together. Atisha wrote Lamp for the Path, the original Lamrim text that served as the basis for all subsequent Lamrim instructions.

Je Tsogkhapa

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.

Modern 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 Rinpoche, who founded the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU).

The New Kadampa Tradition is an association of over 1300 Buddhist Centers and groups that derive their inspiration from the ancient Kadampa Buddhist Masters and aim to preserve Kadampa Buddhism for many generations to come.


venerable Geshe Kelsang gyatso rinponche

“I understand, through my own experience that Kadam Dharma is the supreme protection from suffering, the real method to solve human problems. Our intention in teaching Dharma is not just to spread Buddhism. We are trying to help people of this world by giving them special methods to solve their daily problems and to achieve the permanent happiness of liberation.”

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

A lifetime devoted to flourishing Modern Buddhism throughout the World

Born in Tibet in 1931 and ordained a Buddhist monk at the age of eight, Geshe Kelsang then studied extensively in the great monastic universities of Tibet under the guidance of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, his Spiritual Guide. He earned the title “Geshe”, which literally means “spiritual friend”. After leaving Tibet in 1959, he spent the next eighteen years in meditation retreats in the Himalayan region of northern India.

In 1977, encouraged by his own Spiritual Guide, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso accepted an invitation to come to Manjushri Center in England to teach pure Dharma to the people of the West.

“I can truly say that meeting Trijang Dorjechang made my life meaningful. Through him I came to understand the real meaning of Dharma. My entire ability to teach and all the help I give comes from this Lama.”

In 1991, Geshe-la founded the NKT-IKBU, which now has over 1300 Kadampa centers and branches around the world in cities as far afield as Perth, Australia, Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico, and Durban, South Africa.

When Venerable Geshe-la opened the first Temple for World Peace at Manjushri Centre in 1997, he expressed the wish to develop a modern Buddhist Temple in every major city of the world. To accomplish this and many other purposes, he founded the International Temples Project (ITP). Since then International Kadampa Temples dedicated to World Peace have been opened in Glen Spey NY, Brazil, Portugal, Grand Canyon AZ, Spain and the next Kadampa Temple will be built in France.


“For Buddhadharma to flourish throughout the world and the wishes of all living beings to be fulfilled depends totally on the development of qualified Dharma centers. Only Dharma centers provide Dharma teachings, study programs, Dharma books and other necessary conditions. Without qualified Dharma centers there is no possibility of pure Buddhadharma developing.”

Geshe-la has written 23 authoritative books and composed over 50 sadhanas, which have been translated into many different languages.

“My books are commentaries to Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and his teachings are commentaries to Buddha’s teachings. So these books are Buddha’s teachings. People may say that I am the author of Joyful Path of Good Fortune but in reality it is Je Tsongkhapa’s teaching. Dharmapala Dorje Shugden gave encouragement and energy to produce such a book, and helped to gather the necessary conditions and dispel obstacles, but the teachings themselves came from Je Tsongkhapa’s wisdom.”
gen-la Jampa GP

Established Study Programs

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has designed three unique study programs for the systematic study and practice of Modern Buddhism that are especially suited to the modern world: the General Program, Foundation Program, and Teacher Training Program.

Although Geshe Kelsang Gyatso retired as the General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU in 2009, he continued to work tirelessly for the flourishing of Kadam Dharma throughout the world. He wrote new books, updated previous books, and continued to oversee the establishment of new Dharma Centers as well as the development of International Temples. His last two public teachings occurred at the opening of the Temple in Brazil, 2010, and the opening of the Temple in Portugal, 2013.

Venerable Geshe-la’s message is as simple as it is profound – all the problems in this world originate in the mind, and the solutions to these problems and the causes of lasting peace and happiness are also to be found in the mind.

In his teachings, Geshe Kelsang emphasizes the importance of meditation and how to apply it in daily life, how to be truly happy, and how to cultivate a good heart to help others. He demonstrated these qualities perfectly in his own life, inspiring many people from many different countries. He was a humble Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people throughout the world find true happiness.

Do you know how to be happy all the time?

This powerful teaching by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche at the Fall Festival 2013 gives very clear and practical advice that anyone can understand. By following this advice will we find lasting happiness.


General Spiritual Director, Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong


Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, the General Spiritual Director of NKT-IKBU and Principal Resident Teacher at Manjushri KMC, is a modern Buddhist nun dedicated to helping people from all walks of life attain lasting happiness through developing inner peace.

She has been a student of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for over thirty-five years. While teaching internationally, she has inspired many thousands of people through her sincere reliance on her Spiritual Guide, her tireless dedication, and her clear and accessible teachings.

In all her varied activities as General Spiritual Director, Gen-la Dekyong is dedicating her life to helping Kadam Dharma flourish throughout the world.

Deputy Spiritual Director, Gen-la Kelsang Jampa


Gen-la Jampa is an ordained Buddhist teacher and the Deputy Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU).

As a senior NKT teacher, Gen-la Jampa has been a student of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for many years, and under Geshe-la’s guidance has taught at many centers and events around the world

Gen-la is well-loved for his clear and inspiring teachings and his ability to touch people’s hearts through his sincerity and loving-kindness. 

New Kadampa Buddhism is a special presentation of Buddha’s teachings designed especially for the people of the modern world. All the practices come from Buddha Shakyamuni and have been preserved over the centuries by an unbroken lineage of fully realized Teachers. Venerable Geshe-la’s presentation retains all the meanings and insights of Buddha’s original teachings, while offering them in a fashion that is accessible and suitable for modern-day practitioners. Through this great kindness everyone – regardless of nationality, culture, religion, age or gender – now has the opportunity to follow scientifically proven methods for solving the problems of daily life that ultimately lead to true and lasting happiness. Everyone welcome!

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