Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD982-1054). His followers are know as “Kadampas”. “Ka” means “word” and refers to Buddha’s teachings, and “dam” refers to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions known as “the stages of the path to enlightenment”. The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, who were known as the “New Kadampas”.
Transforming daily activities into the path
By integrating their knowledge of all Buddha’s teachings into their practice of Lamrim, and by integrating this into their everyday lives, Kadampa Buddhists are encouraged to use Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming daily activities into the path to enlightenment. The great Kadampa Teachers are famous not only for being great scholars but also for being spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity.
The lineage of these teachings, both their oral transmission and blessings, was then passed from Teacher to disciple, spreading throughout much of Asia, and now to many countries throughout the western world. Buddha’s teachings, which are known as “Dharma”, are likened to a wheel that moves from country to country in accordance with changing conditions and people’s karmic inclinations. The external forms of presenting Buddhism may change as it meets with different cultures and societies, but its essential authenticity is ensured through the continuation of an unbroken lineage of realized practitioners.
Kadampa Buddhism in the West
Kadampa Buddhism was first introduced into the West in 1977 by the renowned Buddhist Master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Since that time he has worked tirelessly to spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world by giving extensive teachings, writing many profound texts on Kadampa Buddhism, and founding the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT).