Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054).
In the word, ‘Kadampa’, Ka refers to Buddha’s teachings, and dam to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions (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.
By integrating their understanding of all Buddha’s teachings into their practice of Lamrim, and by integrating their experience of Lamrim into their everyday lives, Kadampas use Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming daily activities into the path to enlightenment.
The New Kadampas
After Atisha, the Kadampa lineage was passed from generation to generation until the fourteenth century when it reached the great Buddhist master Je Tsongkhapa. He clarified all the teachings of Kadam Dharma and made them very accessible to the people of that time. Je Tsongkhapa’s followers became known as ‘New Kadampas’.
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.
Geshe Kelsang founded The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), an international association of Mahayana Buddhist study and meditation centres to offer the practical wisdom of Kadampa Buddhism to the people of the modern world. By doing so, Geshe Kelsang has created a truly global infrastructure to preserve and promote Kadampa Buddhism for many generations to come.