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Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Founder of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU)

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, Gelug teacher (scholar) and author of Buddhist books. He was born in Tibet in 1931 and ordained at the age of eight. In 1976 he was invited by Lama Thubten Yeshe, a Gelug Tulku, to teach at his FPMT center Manjushri Institute, Ulverston, England. After a schism with the FPMT[1] he founded the New Kadampa Tradition in 1991. Some of his teachings, in particular his views on the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden and the ordination of monastics, have sparked significant controversy.

Table of Contents

Early years in Tibet

Kelsang Gyatso was born in Tibet in 1931, and at age 8 he was ordained at the Ngamring Jampling monastery. Later he studied at Sera Monastery, one of the great Gelug monastic universities of Tibet.

He was a member of the Tsangpa Khangtsen, one of the fifteen houses at the monastery. As a member of that house, and a part of the general monastic community around Lhasa, he attended many public teachings, along with most of the monks and public from the area.

Life in India

After the exodus of Tibet in 1959, Kelsang Gyatso stayed at the initial location of his monastery, in Buxar. Later, after Prime Minister Nehru donated large tracts of land in South India to the community in exile, the monastery moved South. At this time, Kelsang Gyatso left the monastery at Buxar for Mussoorie (a hill station in the Indian state of Uttaranchal).

Education and qualifications

Kelsang Gyatso claims to have been awarded a Geshe degree.[2] According to a documentary film published at the official Homepage of HH the Dalai Lama he is a "self-styled Geshe".[3]

Acknowledgement by his teachers

He is highly thought of within the Tibetan Gelug tradition, as three of his works contained forewords by previous Ganden Tripas and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama contributed a foreword to Buddhism in the Tibetan Tradition while Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche, who each held the position of Ganden Tripa, also provided forewords for his books Meaningful to Behold (which was dedicated to the long life of the Dalai Lama) and Clear Light of Bliss (which was dedicated to the late Trijang Rinpoche), respectively. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche refers to Geshe Kelsang as "this most precious Spiritual Guide," while Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche refers to him as "The excellent expounder, the great Spiritual Master Kelsang Gyatso."

Journey to the West

In 1976 Kelsang Gyatso was invited by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche[4] to teach at Manjushri Institute, an FPMT center in England, founded by Lama Yeshe in 1975. Geshe Kelsang arrived in England in late August 1977.[5]

According to Kay, Geshe Kelsang "split away from this organisation to develop a parallel network of his own that he later unified and gave a distinct identity as the NKT."[6] In the process of that split, Geshe Kelsang became the spiritual head of Manjushri Institute and later founded the New Kadampa Tradition in 1991 (see NKT history). The Manjushri Institute was established in Ulverston and is nowadays called Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre. It is nowadays the main seat of the New Kadampa Tradition. He has lived there since 1977, giving teachings and guidance to an ever-growing group of mainly western disciples.

According to the New Kadampa Tradition source Modern Day Kadampas:

Geshe Kelsang had accepted an invitation by the Christian monk and writer, Thomas Merton, to live and teach in a centre planned in Canada, but after Thomas Merton's tragic death [in 1968] this was no longer possible. Geshe Kelsang was then free to come to England, and Lama Yeshe requested Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche to ask Geshe Kelsang to become Resident Teacher of Manjushri Centre.[5]

In 1982 Geshe Kelsang became a naturalized British citizen.[7]


According to the New Kadampa Tradition source Modern Day Kadampas:

After leaving Tibet in 1959, he spent the next eighteen years mainly emphasizing retreat in various locations in the Himalayan region and northern India In January 1987, Geshe Kelsang entered a three-year retreat at Tharpaland in southern Scotland. Although Geshe-la gave no formal teachings during this time, in-between his meditation sessions he continued to work on a number of books, and it was during his stay at Tharpaland that he completed Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Universal Compassion, and wrote The Meditation Handbook, Introduction to Buddhism and Guide to Dakini Land. It was also during this period that he designed the three spiritual programs that form the core of the New Kadampa Tradition.[5]

Books, programs and centers

Geshe Kelsang has written twenty books that aim to provide Western Dharma practitioners with essential Buddhist texts. There are books for beginners such as Transform Your Life and How to Solve Our Human Problems, books about the Mahayana path like Universal Compassion (Lojong), Heart of Wisdom (Heart Sutra) and Joyful Path of Good Fortune (Lamrim), and books on Vajrayana (Tantra) like Mahamudra Tantra, Guide to Dakini Land and Essence of Vajrayana. Two of his books are commentaries on Indian Mahayana texts: the book Ocean of Nectar is a commentary on Chandrakirti's Guide to the Middle Way, and Meaningful to Behold is a commentary on Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life or Bodhicharyavatara. His books were first published by Wisdom Publications. Later in 1985, he founded Tharpa Publications, and since then Tharpa has been the exclusive publisher of his works.

Furthermore, he has established three study programmes in his Dharma Centres, called the General Programme, Foundation Programme and Teacher Training Programme respectively. In these programs people can study Geshe Kelsang's books with authorized NKT teachers.

He founded the New Kadampa Tradition in 1991, and since then many NKT centers worldwide, according to NKT sources "almost 900 meditation centres in over 40 countries".[8] They divide into about 200 residential centres and 700 groups at local places, such as rented rooms in libraries, local community centres, and members' apartments.

According to NKT, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's teachings "are especially suited to the modern world."[9]

According to Waterhouse, the doctrinally conservative nature of his teachings and the traditionally structured and direct style in which they are presented in his texts reflects his background within the rigorous scholastic and academic training system of Sera Je monastic training system.[10]

According to Kay, Geshe Kelsang follows a strongly 'clerical' orientation, as Pabongka Rinpoche did. Kay states further: "For Geshe Kelsang the faithful transmission and continuation of the tradition as it was taught to him has been much more important than adapting the teachings or innovating new ones for westerners. His allegiance to the protective deity Dorje Shugden, also traced back through Trijang Rinpoche and Pabongka Rinpoche, forms another key element of his clerical and exclusive outlook. The clerical and exclusive character of Geshe Kelsang's thought, however, has not been static and fixed throughout his career. His concern with the conservation and preservation of the tradition of Tsongkhapa became increasingly urgent during the time in the West and his exclusivism hardened and intensified."[11]


Faith, devotion and reliance

Geshe Kelsang has firmly encouraged faith and devotion in his followers, describing faith as "the root of all virtuous qualities and spiritual realizations".[12] 'Faith' is described by Geshe Kelsang as "a naturally virtuous mind that functions mainly to oppose the perception of faults in its observed object."[13] He encourages members to "be like a wise blind person who relies totally upon one trusted guide instead of attempting to follow a number of people at once",[14] stating further that "Experience shows that realizations come from deep, unchanging faith, and that this faith comes as a result of following one tradition purely - relying upon one Teacher, practising only his teachings, and following his Dharma Protector."[15] Geshe Kelsang stated also that a practitioner should check to see whether or not Spiritual Teachers and their teachings are authentic or not, and not to follow them simply based upon their good reputation.[16] Bluck states that members were encouraged to investigate doubts rather than ignore them.[17] However, according to Geshe Kelsang spiritual success is based on "unwavering faith and confidence" and "it is essential to eliminate those doubts that interfere with the development of pure faith."[18]

Kay found that in general the teachings and practices of Geshe Kelsang are mostly in-line with the presentation of other Tibetan Gelug teachers[19] and that the importance of cultivating a mind of faith and devotion in a qualified Guru or Lama is a fundamental element of all Tibetan Buddhist belief and practice. This is especially so in personal Tantric practice where the Guru may be explicitly combined and identified with the Yidam (meditational deity). Nevertheless, Geshe Kelsang's teachings on this subject have changed and developed during his time in the West, and they now incorporate a number of unusual features.

According to Kay:

The main shift in his thought occurred with the creation of the NKT. Discussions of the guru-disciple relationship appearing in his publications from this time reflect an exclusivism that did not characterise his earlier presentation and which is uncommon within traditional Tibetan contexts. Geshe Kelsang's texts list the traditional qualities that should be possessed by the ideal spiritual teacher, and he encourages students to check these qualifications thoroughly before relying upon someone as a spiritual guide. This attitude of critical enquiry should be retained throughout a person's spiritual career.[20] Since the creation of the NKT in 1991, this teaching on the importance of personal authority in negotiating the Buddhist path has been overshadowed by an emphasis upon developing 'unwavering faith and confidence' in the guru and upon having faith in the teachings 'even if we do not fully understand them'.[21] The exclusive emphasis on the authority of Geshe Kelsang is also reflected in the texts. The earlier view that practitioners 'must depend upon the advice of experienced guides - fully qualified spiritual masters - and meditate according to their instructions'[22] was replaced following the NKT's creation with the narrower claim that they must 'rely upon a qualified Spiritual Guide and practise precisely according to his or her instructions'.[23] According to Geshe Kelsang, the student must now 'be like a wise blind person who relies totally upon one trusted guide instead of attempting to follow a number of people at once'.[24] The emphasis Geshe Kelsang placed in his earlier texts upon adopting an exclusive approach to one's spiritual tradition was continued following the creation of the NKT. However, this teaching now took place within the organisational and ideological context of the NKT, and it was combined with the new teaching that one should rely exclusively upon only one trusted spiritual guide. Whereas the injunction about committing oneself to a single tradition was previously an attempt to encourage students to practise only the teachings of Lamas within the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, it now became an injunction to practise only within the NKT Similarly, whilst the teaching that students should only rely upon teachers who 'share the same lineage and view as our principal Spiritual Guide'[25] is not an uncommon view within Tibetan Buddhism, where lamas will often encourage students to study under others who have a similar orientation to themselves, this teaching carried a very specific and untraditional meaning within the context of the NKT. Since students within the organisation have only one spiritual guide, the teaching is in practice an injunction to study only under Geshe Kelsang and teachers who have trained under him. Even the most exclusively orientated Gelug lamas, such as Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, do not seem to have encouraged such complete and exclusive reliance in their students as this.[26]

Compassion, generosity and Bodhicitta

Besides an emphasis "to and maintain a special experience of inner peace," to promote "lasting happiness," and "replacing negative mental states with positive ones," the practices of compassion and generosity are also repeatedly emphasised by Geshe Kelsang. [27] This includes cherishing other beings, taking upon oneself their suffering, and wishing them to be happy. Wishing others to be happy will enable practitioners "to be born as a human or god, to have a beautiful body in the future, and to be loved and respected by many people".[28]

Other key elements of Geshe Kelsang's teachings are a focus on Bodhicitta and generosity and their benefits, taking refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and encouraging others to do the same, and fearing lower rebirth and Samsara. Quoting Waterhouse (1997: 173), Bluck says that "the teaching on the hell realms was used to encourage followers 'not to break their commitments for fear of future suffering.' Although familiar in Tibetan Buddhism, this is rarely mentioned in Britain outside the NKT."[29]

Dorje Shugden

Because the practice of Dorje Shugden was transmitted by Trijang Rinpoche to Geshe Kelsang, Geshe Kelsang still teaches and follows this practice, seeing it as his commitment not to give it up. Traditionally, this practice was performed in private or in a specially devoted shrine room, however, Geshe Kelsang has since brought it into the open to be performed in the main shrine room. Practiced daily by faithful NKT followers, the Heart Jewel Sadhana contains the Tsongkhapa-Guru-Yoga practice (Tib. "Ganden Lha Gyäma") combined with a condensed version of the Dorje Shugden Sadhana. The controversy regarding the Dorje Shugden practice is described in the article on the Dorje Shugden Controversy.

Geshe Kelsang has described Dorje Shugden as an enlightened Dharma protector (Dharmapala), a manifestation of the Wisdom-Buddha Manjushri and stated:

"From the time of Je Tsongkhapa until the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsän, the principal Dharma Protector of Je Tsongkhapa's lineage was Kalarupa. Later, however, it was felt by many high Lamas that Dorje Shugden had become the principal Dharma Protector of this tradition."[30]

He claims that:

"There is no difference in the compassion, wisdom, or power of the various Dharma Protectors, but because of the karma of sentient beings, one particular Dharma Protector will have a greater opportunity to help Dharma practitioners at any one particular time These days, however, we do not have such karma, and so Buddha appears to us in the form of our Spiritual Guide and helps us by giving teachings and leading us on spiritual paths. Thus, the form that Buddha's help takes varies according to our changing karma, but its essential nature remains the same However, the beings of this present time have a stronger karmic link with Dorje Shugden than with the other Dharma Protectors. It was for this reason that Morchen Dorjechang Kunga Lhundrup, a very highly realized Master of the Sakya tradition, told his disciples, "Now is the time to rely upon Dorje Shugden." He said this on many occasions to encourage his disciples to develop faith in the practice of Dorje Shugden. We too should heed his advice and take it to heart. He did not say that this is the time to rely upon other Dharma Protectors, but clearly stated that now is the time to rely upon Dorje Shugden."[30]

Geshe Kelsang described the benefits of relying upon Dorje Shugden as follows:

"If we can understand well the nature and functions of Dorje Shugden, we can understand the benefits of relying upon him. Dorje Shugden always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes, and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities We should understand that the principal function of a Dharma Protector is to protect our Dharma practice, not to help our mundane affairs. Bearing this in mind we should not become discouraged if we do not suddenly become very wealthy, for wealth does not necessarily help spiritual practice and can be a great distraction"[30]

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "however, has rejected and spoken out against this practice. He has described Shugden as an evil and malevolent force, and argued that other Lamas before him had also placed restrictions on worship of this spirit."[31]

Besides the Dalai Lama and the present Ganden Tripa, who has also spoken against the Dorje Shugden practice, there are high-level Lamas who had warned of the dangers of this practice. According to the The Dolgyal Research Committee (Tibetan Government in Exile), prominent opponents include the 5th, 13th and current Dalai Lamas, the 5th and 8th Panchen Lamas, Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, the 14th and 16th Karmapas among others.[32] Also Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, a Dzogchen master, "has been insisting on the importance of failing to appreciate the danger inherent in such cults".[33]

Tibetan Lamas who put emphasis on that practice, besides Geshe Kelsang and others, include: Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Song Rinpoche, Gonsar Rinpoche, and Dagom Rinpoche. For more Dorje Shugden devotees, see the Dorje Shugden article.

The different views on Dorje Shugden led finally to a public dispute in the West, and the organisation of public demonstrations against the Dalai Lama by Geshe Kelsang's organisation NKT. Those demonstrations and the related press campaign have been named by Bunting as "an aggressive international smear campaign to undermine the Dalai Lama"[34], whereas Geshe Kelsang stated "Demonstrating was telling him (the Dalai Lama) that he made a mistake. Demonstrating should have been a teacher for him. Demonstrating was loving him, not disrespecting him, not harming him. But he never changed."[35]

In 1998 Geshe Kelsang stopped that campaign, stating that "we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realized that in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism in general or the NKT".[36]

Expulsion from the Sera Je Dratsang Monastery

According to Michael von Brück, in 1996 Geshe Kelsang was excluded by a number of abbots and Geshes from the community of the monastery (Sangha) he belonged to:

Fifteen abbots and teachers (Geshes) from Geshe Kelsang's origin monastery, Sera Je Dratsang (now South India) wrote an open letter against Geshe Kelsang, excluded him from the community of the monastery, named him an "apostate" and compared him with "Mahmud of Ghazni".[37]

Separation from the Gelug school hierarchy

With the controversies surrounding Dorje Shugden, Geshe Kelsang's views concerning how the tradition he received from his root teacher (Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche) and other Gelug teachers should be practiced was seen by him as significantly different than the views of both the Dalai Lama, the highest Gelug Tulku, and the current Ganden Tripa, the head of the Gelug Tradition. This means he does not recognise the authority of these teachers with respect to how the NKT is organised and what teachings they emphasize.[38]

The separation between Geshe Kelsang and the wider Gelug tradition has also been underlined by a number of revisions made to later editions of his earlier publications. Geshe Kelsang's dedications to the long life of the Dalai Lama found in earlier editions of Meaningful to Behold are omitted from the fourth edition (1994) onwards. Also, Geshe Kelsang made revisions to the list of Mahamudra lineage gurus in the second edition of Clear Light of Bliss published in 1992. In the first edition, Phabongkha Rinpoche was followed by Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche, the 'current holder of the throne of Ganden'. In the second edition, he omits Ling Rinpoche by replacing his name with that of 'Dorjechang Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche' (i.e. Geshe Kelsang). [39] Geshe Kelsang said at an NKT Festival in 1995 that the Gelug tradition is in a state of "serious degeneration".[40] Geshe Kelsang has stated that the most effective way to progress spiritually is "of following one tradition purely relying upon one Teacher, practising only his teachings, and following his Dharma Protector. If we mix traditions many obstacles arise and it takes a long time for us to attain realizations."[41]

Whereas traditional ordination according to the Vinaya and Pratimoksha is given by a Sangha with a minimum of five fully ordained monks[42], the NKT ordination is given by Geshe Kelsang, who ordains all monastics personally.[43] Waterhouse states: NKT monks and nuns are simply described as 'ordained', and usually take the name 'Kelsang' from Geshe Kelsang. She also noted that the majority of monastics in NKT receive only the lower form of Getsul ordination (novices) and that there is an absence of an available equivalent of the Gelong (Skt. Bhikshu) full monastic ordination.[44]

According to Bluck:

Apart from Geshe Kelsang, there are no ethnic Tibetans in the NKT, and no remaining links with the rest of Tibetan Buddhism. With no remaining Tibetan links, central control of teaching, little contact with other schools, an expanding programme of residential centres, widespread if selective publicity and overt proselytizing, the NKT as an organization is far removed from the mainstream of traditional Tibetan Buddhism.[44]

One of the effects of this rift is that in the New Kadampa Tradition, Geshe Kelsang is viewed as the sole spiritual authority.[45] NKT members have described authority within the New Kadampa Tradition as follows: "There is only one Teacher in the NKT, Geshe Kelsang; all other NKT Teachers are his emanations."[46] A senior member and long-standing monk of the NKT explained: "The NKT hierarchy is Geshe Kelsang; and then there's a successor, someone who will be the spiritual director of the NKT after Geshe Kelsang passes away; and then there's everybody else, all on the same level really."[47]

Further activities

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso continues to give teachings in Europe and North America.

According to NKT:

"From his earliest days at Manjushri Centre, Geshe-la worked tirelessly to guide and inspire his students in every aspect of their spiritual life, and continues to do so for the benefit of his many disciples throughout the world. Geshe-la has given extensive commentaries on a great range of subjects from both Sutra and Tantra, but in addition to formal teachings Geshe-la has always been available for private consultations, helping students with their personal problems and being concerned with their health and welfare. Geshe-la has always encouraged his students to present Dharma in a way appropriate to their own culture and society without the need to adopt Tibetan culture and customs. Realizing that it would be difficult for many of his students to learn Tibetan, he taught himself English. Understanding the importance of presenting authentic commentaries in English and other languages, he devotes himself to writing and editing, as well as organizing the publication and translation of his books. All the royalties that he receives as author of these books he donates to Manjushri Centre."[5]

Temple project

Geshe Kelsang has been the driving force behind the building of the NKT temples.[48] The first temple has been built in 1998 at Manjushri Centre, Cumbria. The second temple was opened in 2005, in Glen Spey, New York. At present work is underway for a third temple near São Paulo, Brazil.

Further Temples are planned at Tara Centre in Derby, England and in Melbourne, Australia as well as in Germany.

"NKT members hope to build a Buddhist temple in every major town and city in the world. This project is known as the International Temples Project for World Peace."[48]


Although Geshe Kelsang Gytaso was described by some followers as the "Third Buddha, because he has restored the essential purity of Buddha's doctrine and shown how to practice it in extremely impure times"[49][*1] and is described nowadays as "a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism"[50], he is seen as controversial as well.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso & Dorje Shugden – Art Work by a NKT Survivor

The Sangha of his order in Sera Je monastery issued a formal "Declaration of Expulsion" on August 22, 1996 expelling Geshe Kelsang from his monastery.[51] Earlier that year the Dalai Lama spoke out against the Dorje Shugden practice. From the point of view of Geshe Kelsang and his followers, the Dalai Lama had put a "ban" on the practice[52], and so they accused the Dalai Lama of impinging on their religious freedom and of intolerance.[53] Through organized public protests and a press campaign, Geshe Kelsang and the NKT accused the Dalai Lama of being a "ruthless dictator" and an "oppressor of religious freedom".[54] Geshe Kelsang received the Dorje Shugden practice from his main Lama (root Guru) Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and instructed his students "to make the worship of the deity a central part of their practice"[55] (For more see Dorje Shugden Controversy.) After NKT had received a lot of criticism by the international media press, Geshe Kelsang wrote a number of open letters. In a letter to the Washington Post in 2002, he said: "I can guarantee that the NKT and myself have never performed inappropriate actions and will never do so in the future, this is our determination."[56]

Some members of the FPMT who had stayed with Geshe Kelsang at Manjushri Institute became quite critical about him:

These students often explain the emergence of the NKT in terms of the desire for power and prestige that, they believe, motivated Geshe Kelsang first to attempt to 'seize control' of the Institute and eventually to 'steal' it from its mother organisation. The origin of this drive for power is variously explained - as a result, for example, of the excessive devotion he received, upon arriving in England, from naive and undiscriminating Western practitioners; or as a product of his 'Extreme envy' of Lama Yeshe, who was formerly a junior student to him in Sera Je monastery but who had now become the key personality behind a growing worldwide network of centres. The emergence of the NKT is thus described as the growth of a 'personality cult', orchestrated by a 'totally unscrupulous rogue geshe' through the 'cynical manipulation' of students and the 'transference of [their] loyalty and devotion' via the practice of guru devotion.[57]

In the German Buddhist magazine "Chökor", his behaviour was described as fanatical.[58] BBC states: "Some Buddhists and non-Buddhists regard the New Kadampa Tradition as a cult, but the organisation has continued to grow.[59] Critics accuse Kelsang of starting a breakaway movement and argue that the New Kadampa Tradition, as it is known today, is not part of the ancient Kadampa Tradition but a split from the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism."[60]

On the other hand, Geshe Kelsang is described by the NKT as the one who "is primarily responsible for the worldwide revival of Kadampa Buddhism in our time" and that "In his teachings Geshe Kelsang emphasizes the importance of meditation and how to apply it in daily life, the need to be truly happy, and how to cultivate a good heart to help others — and he demonstrates these qualities perfectly in his own life. This remarkable teacher inspires so many people from so many different countries because he teaches from example. He is a humble Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people throughout the world find true happiness in their hearts."[61]


  • The Bodhisattva Vow: A Practical Guide to Helping Others, Tharpa Publications (Dec 1995)
  • Buddhism in the Tibetan Tradition: A Guide, Routledge (1984)
  • Clear Light of Bliss: Tantric Meditation Manual, Tharpa Publications; 2Rev Ed edition (Aug 1992)
  • Eight Steps to Happiness: The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness, Tharpa Publications (April 2000)
  • Essence of Vajrayana: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Heruka Body Mandala, Tharpa Publications (Jul 1997)
  • Great Treasury of Merit: How to Rely Upon a Spiritual Guide, Tharpa Publications (Jun 1992)
  • Guide to Dakini Land: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Buddha Vajrayogini, Tharpa Publications; 2Rev Ed edition (Mar 1996)
  • Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life: A Buddhist Poem for Today, a translation of Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara with Neil Elliott, Tharpa Publications (April 2003)
  • Heart Jewel: The Essential Practices of Kadampa Buddhism, Tharpa Publications (April 1997)
  • Heart of Wisdom: An Explanation of the Heart Sutra, Tharpa Publications (27 Aug 2001)
  • How How to Solve Our Human Problems: The Four Noble Truths, Tharpa Publications (Jan 2005)
  • Introduction to Buddhism: An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life, Tharpa Publications; 2Rev Ed edition (18 April 2001)
  • Joyful Path of Good Fortune: The Complete Buddhist Path to Enlightenment, Tharpa Publications (Dec 1995)
  • Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully: The Profound Practice of Transference of Consciousness, Tharpa Publications (Sep 1999)
  • Mahamudra Tantra: An Introduction to Meditation on Tantra, Tharpa Publications (1 Sep 2005)
  • Meaningful to Behold: The Bodhisattva's Way of Life, Tharpa Publications; 4Rev Ed edition (Jan 1994)
  • The New Meditation Handbook: Meditations to Make Our Life Happy and Meaningful, Tharpa Publications (1 Sep 2003)
  • Ocean of Nectar: The True Nature of All Things, Tharpa Publications (Sep 1995)
  • Tantric Grounds and Paths: How to Enter, Progress on and Complete the Vajrayana Path, Tharpa Publications (19 Oct 1994)
  • Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey, Tharpa Publications (Aug 2001)
  • Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the mind, Tharpa Publications; 3Rev Ed edition (1 Aug 2002)
  • Universal Compassion: Inspiring Solutions for Difficult Times, Tharpa Publications; 4Rev Ed edition (1 Jul 2002)


  1. ^ David N. Kay: Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation, London and New York, published by RoutledgeCurzon, ISBN 0-415-29765-6, pages 88, 65,66; Inken Prohl, Free University of Berlin in a Book Review, [1]
  2. ^ see [2]; In June 2008 the New Kadampa Tradition sent the following letter to INFORM to let them know what Kelsang Gyatso's understanding is with respect to the Geshe title controversy: »Separate document regarding Geshe Kelsang's personal situation«. (PDF)
  3. ^ Dorjee Shugden, The Spirit and the Controversy, [3]
  4. ^ Kay 2004 : 56
  5. ^ a b c d Modern Day Kadampas - published by NKT, [4]
  6. ^ Kay 2004 : 37
  7. ^ NKT sources: [5]
  8. ^ quote from Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre at [6]
  9. ^ Official NKT Website, [7]
  10. ^ Waterhouse 1997 : 151
  11. ^ Kay 2004 : 75
  12. ^ Kelsang 2001: 79-80
  13. ^ Kelsang Gyatso: Joyful Path of Good Fortune, page 106, ISBN 0948006463
  14. ^ Kelsang 1991b: 17
  15. ^ Kelsang 1992: 31
  16. ^ Kelsang Gyatso, Great Treasury of Merit, page 41, ISBN 8120818695
  17. ^ Bluck 2006 : 143
  18. ^ Kelsang Gyatso: Understanding the Mind, page 75, ISBN 8120818911
  19. ^ Kay 2004 : 58
  20. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1982: 144
  21. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1993a: 78
  22. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1982:180
  23. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1982, 2nd edn : 190
  24. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1991b: 17
  25. ^ Kelsang Gyatso 1992: 102
  26. ^ Kay 2004 : 91,92
  27. ^ Bluck 2006 : 143
  28. ^ Kelsang 2001: 211, 190
  29. ^ Bluck 2006: 144
  30. ^ a b c Dorje Shugden, explained by Geshe Kelsang Gytaso, Official NKT Website, [8]
  31. ^ BBC, [9] (PDF)
  32. ^ A Brief History Of Opposition To Shugden by The Dolgyal Research Committee, TGIE, [10]
  33. ^ "A Spirit of the XVII Secolo", Raimondo Bultrini, Dzogchen Community published in Mirror, January 2006
  34. ^ "Smear campaign sparks safety fears over Dalai Lama's UK visit" by Madeleine Bunting, Religious Affairs Editor, The Guardian - London, July 6, 1996
  35. ^ An Interview With Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso discusses Dorje Shugden as a benevolent protector god. Spring 1998. Tricycle
  36. ^ Open letter from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso to Wesley Pruden, editor in chief, The Washington Times, Press Statement — November 25, 2002, [11]
  37. ^ von Brück, Michael (1999). "Religion und Politik im Tibetischen Buddhismus", page 159. München: Kösel Verlag. ISBN 3-466-20445-3
  38. ^ Kay page 59
  39. ^ David N. Kay: Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation, London and New York, page 89
  40. ^ David N. Kay: Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain page 88
  41. ^ Great Treasury of Merit: How to Rely Upon a Spiritual Guide, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Tharpa Publications (Jun 1992), page 31)".
  42. ^ Buddhist Ethics (Treasury of Knowledge) by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, ISBN 1-55939-191-X, p. 90
  43. ^ a b British Buddhism Teachings, Practice and Development by Bluck, Robert, ISBN 0-415-39515-1, Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon
  44. ^ Waterhouse 1997, 175; see also Kay page 233
  45. ^ Kay page 84-86
  46. ^ Gen Kelsang Thubten, a former designed successor of Geshe Kelsang; NKT Magazine Full Moon, spring 1994; see also Kay page 95
  47. ^ Kay page 84
  48. ^ a b BBC (, The New Kadampa Tradition (PDF)
  49. ^ NKT magazine Full Moon, Spring 1995, Gen Kelsang Thubten, successor at that time of Geshe Kelsang; Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, 1996, [12]
  50. ^ Official NKT website, [13]
  51. ^ von Brück, Michael (1999). Religion und Politik im Tibetischen Buddhismus, page 159. München: Kösel Verlag. ISBN 3-466-20445-3 and Donald S. Lopez, Jr., "Prisoners of Shangri-La", ISBN 0-226-49310-5, University of Chicago Press, page 195
  52. ^ Bunting, The Guardian, 1996, on July 6; Lopez 1998:193
  53. ^ Lopez 1998:193
  54. ^ Bunting, The Guardian, 1996, on July 6
  55. ^ Lopez 1998:193
  56. ^ Press Statement, Nov. 25, 2002, Open Letter by Geshe Kelsang to Wesley Pruden, Editor in Chief, The Washington Times, [14]
  57. ^ Kay page 83
  58. ^ German Buddhist magazine "Chökor", No. 25, 1998, page 50
  59. ^ BBC at [15] (PDF)
  60. ^ BBC at [16] (PDF)
  61. ^ Official NKT website, [17]


  • Belither, James. "Modern Day Kadampas: The History and Development of the New Kadampa Tradition". New Kadampa Tradition.
  • Bluck, Robert (2006). British Buddhism Teachings, Practice and Development. RoutledgeCurzon, ISBN 0-415-39515-1
  • Brown, Andrew (1996). "Battle of the Buddhists". The Independent, London, 15 July 1996.
  • Bunting, Madeleine (1996). "Shadow Boxing on the Path to Nirvana". The Guardian, London, 6 July 1996.
  • Jones, Ken. "Many Bodies, One Mind": Movements in British Buddhism. Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
  • Kay, David N. (2004). Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation. London and New York: Curzon Press. ISBN 0-415-29765-6 (PDF)

External links

Pro New Kadampa Tradition links

Critical links


[*1] Kelsang Gyatso replied with respect to the Third Buddha claim in the BBC documentary An Unholy Row: "People who are thinking Geshe Kelsang is the Third Buddha is not bad. Maybe they think like this because their pure mind. Because they are happy with me and there is some benefit from spiritual, you know. So maybe they think 'oh maybe he Buddha'. That is nothing wrong [laughs]." This BBC documentary includes also an analysis by Stephen Batchelor about the contextual setting of the NKT.

[*2] The content of many links got lost already. Dead links in the reference and link section were deactivated.

For Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's expulsion from Sera Je Monastery see:



© Wikipedia

This article was taken from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (April-May 2008). Large parts of it were edited by T. Peljor.

Wikipedia and Tibet-related Issues

Some Tibetologists started to warn to use Wikipedia as a reliable source with respect to articles related to Tibet!¹

Though some Wikipedia articles are excellent, usually a lay person won't be able to discriminate between the excellent and the incorrect articles. However, the articles by Wikipedia used for this website were edited, verified and chosen very carefully.

Nowadays NKT has an own Wikipedia editor team that changes the articles according to NKT leadership’s point of view.²

¹ e.g. Prof. Dr. Dieter Schuh, Tibetinstitut, »Wikipedia und Tibet«

² for details see »Wikipedia: Dorje Shugden's Enlightened Lineage or How to Make 'History'«

Academic Research

For a frequently updated list of research papers see: