Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, affectionately known as Geshe-la, is the founder of the New Kadampa Tradition - International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU).
A truly remarkable person, Geshe-la was born in a remote village high on the Tibetan plateau. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of eight and spent the next twenty years studying the teachings of Buddha in the great Tibetan monasteries.
After concluding his studies and being awarded the title "Geshe," which means "virtuous spiritual friend," he entered a life of meditation, engaging in deep retreat at first near the Nepali border and later in the mountains of northern India, where he soon developed a reputation as a great meditator, with many coming to regard him as a modern day Mahasiddha.
After almost twenty years in retreat, in 1977 at the behest of his own Spiritual Guide, Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, Geshe-la graciously accepted an invitation from Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre (KMC) to travel to the West and become the Resident Teacher. Manjushri KMC, located in Ulverston, England, is the Mother Center of the New Kadampa Tradition. Since that time, Manjushri KMC has been Geshe-la's spiritual home, where he has given thousands of teachings. Many of these teachings have been published in 23 highly acclaimed books on Buddhism and meditation, including his latest title, The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra.
Designed to meld with the busy, hectic pace of our lives, Modern Buddhism is a transformative meditation program rooted in the thousand-year-old lineage of Kadampa Buddhism. It is intended for each and every person in order to help them begin, make progress on, and ultimately complete their own spiritual path.
Geshe-la is a great believer in the universal applicability of Buddha's teachings. He presents them in such a way that everyone, regardless of nationality, age, or gender, can put them into practice in their daily lives and begin to experience true inner peace.
Geshe-la understands the problems faced by modern people and shows how we can solve them through simple scientific methods taught by Buddha. His teachings are extraordinarily clear and easy to understand yet they contain the entire, profound lineage of ancient wisdom. Geshe-la's oft-repeated phrase, "simple, but very profound," perfectly encapsulates his uncommon presentation of modern Buddhism.
International Temples Project
While at Manjushri KMC, Geshe-la designed and oversaw the construction of the first Kadampa Temple for World Peace. He also inaugurated the International Temples Project, with the intention of establishing Buddhist Temples throughout the world.
Currently, there are four traditional Kadampa Temples: Manjushri KMC in Ulverston, England; KMC New York in Glen Spey, USA; KMC Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and KMC Deuachen in Sintra, Portugal. A fifth traditional Kadampa Temple is under construction here at the International Kadampa Retreat Center (IKRC Grand Canyon) in Williams, Arizona.
“Developing compassion and wisdom, and helping those in need, is the true meaning of life.”
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Dharma Centers & Study Programs
Over the years, Geshe-la has founded more than a thousand meditation centers and groups in over forty countries. He has also established three study programs -- the General Program, the Foundation Program, and the Teacher Training Program -- to be taught continuously at these centers. He has trained hundreds of teachers and ordained scores of monks and nuns. Through these generous acts, he has transmitted a complete lineage of teachings and insights, prayers and ritual practices, and sacred art and music, all tailored to the needs of the modern world.
Geshe-la has now formally retired as Spiritual Director, yet even at the age of eighty-six he continues to work tirelessly to spread the precious teachings of Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world, with the intention that each and every living being will eventually experience the supreme,, permanent mental peace of enlightenment.