Who We Are
AN INTERNATIONAL MODERN BUDDHIST TRADITION
Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the 11th century Indian Buddhist master, Atisha, who skillfully arranged all of Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) into a clear and sequential presentation, known as “Lamrim” in Tibetan. Atisha’s followers became known as “Kadampas.” “Ka” refers to all of Buddha’s teachings and “dam” to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions, known as “the stages of the path to enlightenment.” A Kadampa is a practitioner who regards Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and puts them into practice by following Atisha’s Lamrim instructions.
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
The founder of modern Kadampa Buddhism and The New Kadampa Tradition–International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) is Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, a fully accomplished meditation master and scholar who moved to the West in 1977 at the request of students at Manjushri Center in the UK, the Mother Center of the New Kadampa Tradition. Since that time, Venerable Geshe-la has worked tirelessly to introduce modern Kadampa Buddhism into contemporary society and to create a worldwide infrastructure to support its growth and development in this and future generations.
The Indian Buddhist master, Venerable Atisha, was responsible for reintroducing the entirety of Buddhism into Tibet in the 11th century. Three hundred years later, the great Buddhist yogi and scholar, Je Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1419), appeared in Tibet and widely promoted Atisha’s Lamrim instructions for the people of that time. It was a golden age in Tibet in which thousands of Tibetans were inspired by Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings and immaculate example. His followers became known as the “New Kadampas” and to this day Kadampa Buddhists throughout the world study his teachings and strive to put them into practice.
After arriving in the West in 1977, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche began working to establish a modern presentation of the Kadampa lineage in the West. This presentation is Modern Kadampa Buddhism. The teachings of this tradition retain all of the essential meanings and insights of Buddha’s original teachings and are presented in a way that is practical and suitable for modern people.
General Spiritual Director
Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong is the General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU and Resident Teacher at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Center in Ulverston, UK. Born in Northern Ireland, she has been studying under Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for over 30 years. She has devoted her life to helping others by teaching modern Buddhism.
Deputy Spiritual Director
Gen-la Kelsang Jampa is the Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU and Resident Teacher at IKRC Grand Canyon. He is an American Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people solve their daily problems by developing the capacity of their mind through the practice of meditation and modern Buddhism.
Western United States National Spiritual Director
Gen Kelsang Rigpa is the NKT-IKBU National Spiritual Director of the Western US, as well as the Resident Teacher at KMC Hollywood. Gen Rigpa’s heartfelt and practical teachings are presented with warmth and humor, making them accessible to everyone.