Firstly, What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the practice of Buddha’s teachings, also called ‘Dharma’, which means ‘protection’. By practising Buddha’s teachings, living beings are permanently protected from suffering - something nobody ever chooses to experience and from which everyone wishes to be free. The founder of Buddhism is Buddha Shakyamuni, who showed the manner of accomplishing the ultimate goal of living beings, the attainment of enlightenment, at Bodhi Gaya in India in BC 589.
So, What Is Kadampa Buddhism?
Kadampa Buddhism is a special tradition of Mahayana Buddhism founded by Atisha (982-1054 CE), an Indian Buddhist Master largely responsible for the reintroduction of Buddhism into Tibet in the eleventh century.
‘Ka’ refers to all Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra teachings, and ‘dam’ refers to Atisha’s special instructions called the ‘Stages of the Path’, or ‘Lamrim’ in Tibetan.
Kadampa Buddhists integrate their knowledge of all Buddha’s teachings into their everyday lives. The Kadampa Geshes, the followers of Atisha, were not only great scholars but also spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity.
Why is Kadampa Buddhism Modern?
The meditation we teach at our classes comes originally from the Buddha and has been practised for over 2500 years. In that time the world has changed immeasurably but what hasn't changed is our search for happiness and contentment in life. Despite the benefits of living in the 21st century we still encounter difficulties, hardship, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
All the classes taught in Kadampa Centres such as KMC Plymouth and it’s branch classes, are based on the Modern Buddhism presented by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. This means that you don't have to be Buddhist to benefit from the classes as they are specifically designed to be accessible to modern people of all backgrounds. All you need is a mind, and the wish to improve it!
These teachings are for anyone and everyone regardless of our background, other interests, what job we have, whether we are rich, poor, healthy or unhealthy, whether we have a religious faith or have no interest in religion. Venerable Geshe Kelsang came to teach in the West from India some 40 years ago, having been born in Tibet. Through his great kindness and tireless work, Geshe-la has given the world a modern presentation of the Kadampa teachings through his books and teachings, established the New Kadampa Tradition and well over 1,200 meditation centres across the globe.
So, whether you are interested in simply learning ways of improving your life to make it easier and happier or if you have an interest in Buddhism and the path to enlightenment, it doesn't matter: our classes present the tools to find inner peace and happiness at whatever level of ability or interest we have.
Ranging from highly accessible books for beginners to detailed and lucid expositions of the profundities of Buddhist philosophy, Geshe Kelsang’s books form the most comprehensive presentation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment available in any western language. Geshe Kelsang is the only Tibetan Lama to have provided a complete re-presentation of the Buddhist path in accordance with the needs and inclinations of the modern world.
If you would like to find out more, visit the New Kadampa Tradition's website by clicking HERE. You can also read more about Venerable Geshe-la on our wesbite, HERE.