In the word 'Kadampa', ‘Ka’ refers to Buddha’s teachings and ‘dam’ refers to Atisha’s instructions on Lamrim (the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, also known as Kadam Lamrim). ‘Kadam’ therefore refers to the union of Buddha’s teachings and Atisha’s instructions, and sincere practitioners of Kadam Lamrim are called ‘Kadampas’.
There are two Kadampa traditions, the ancient and the new. Practitioners of the ancient Kadampa tradition appeared to emphasize the practice of Kadam Lamrim of Sutra more than the practice of Tantra. Later, Je Tsongkhapa and his disciples emphasized the practice of Kadam Lamrim of both Sutra and Tantra equally. This new tradition founded by Je Tsongkhapa is called the new Kadampa tradition.
After Je Tsongkhapa, the New Kadampa lineage flourished for hundreds of years, reaching the present day through immensely pure lineage Gurus such as Je Phabongkhapa and Vajradhara Trijang Rinpoche.
In recent years, this precious lineage has been preserved and promoted throughout the world by the contemporary Buddhist Master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, the present day lineage holder.
The dawn of modern Kadampa Buddhism
In 1981 Venerable Geshe-la's Spiritual Guide, Vajradhara Trijang Rinpoche, encouraged him to develop a new presentation of Kadampa Buddhism for the modern world that everyone throughout the world could easily understand and practice. Thus, Modern Kadampa Buddhism was born.
Since that time Venerable Geshe-la has worked tirelessly to develop and promote the precious gift of Modern Kadampa Buddhism. This new presentation faithfully preserves the original meanings of the lineage of Kadampa Buddhism all the way back to Buddha himself while presenting them in a contemporary and easily accessible way.
Above all it is an international presentation open to everyone, not anchored in any specific country or culture.