Buddha and Buddhism
The founder of Buddhism in this world was Buddha Shakyamuni who lived and taught in India some 2,500 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.
Lasting peace and happiness
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 ourselves we can pass them on to others so they 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.
His followers are known as 'Kadampas'. Ka refers to Buddha's teachings, and dam to Atisha's special Lamrim instructions known as 'the stages of the path to enlightenment'. Kadampas, then, are practitioners who regard Buddha's teachings as personal instructions and put them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim.
The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, who were known as the 'New Kadampas'.
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.
Modern Kadampa Buddhism
Through the activities and dedication of the renowned Buddhist Master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Kadampa Buddhism has spread to many countries in recent years.
Geshe-la has worked tirelessly to spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world by giving extensive teachings, writing many books on Kadampa Buddhism, establishing the International Temples Project and founding the New Kadampa Tradition - International Kadampa Buddhist Union.