The founder of Buddhism in this world was Buddha Shakyamuni who lived and taught in India some two and a half thousand years ago. Since then millions of people around the world have followed the pure spiritual path he revealed.
Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind, and all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states of mind.
He taught methods for gradually overcoming minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we will come to experience lasting peace and happiness.
These methods work for anyone, in any country, of any age. Once we have gained experience of them for ourselves we can pass them on to others so they, too, can enjoy the same benefits.
The Buddhist way of life – peace, loving kindness and wisdom – is just as relevant today as it was when Buddha appeared in ancient India.
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.
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-la has devoted his entire life to the learning and then flourishing of Buddhist teachings throughout the world. After coming to the West in 1977, he worked very hard to establish a modern presentation of the Kadampa lineage of teachings. His presentation retains all the meanings and insights of Buddha’s original teachings, in a format that is accessible and suitable for modern-day practitioners. Through his great kindness everyone – regardless of nationality, culture, age or gender – now has the opportunity to practise scientifically proven methods for solving the problems of daily life that ultimately lead to true and lasting happiness.