Kadam (Tibetan Buddhism)

Kadam (Tibetan Buddhism)

The Kadam (bo|t=བཀའ་གདམས་པ་|w=Bka'-gdams-pa) tradition was a Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist school. Dromtönpa, a Tibetan lay master and the foremost disciple of the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (982-1054), founded it and passed three lineages to his disciples. The Kadampas were quite famous and respected for their proper and earnest Dharma practice. The most evident teachings of that tradition were the teachings on Bodhichitta (later these special presentations became known as Lojong (Blo-ljong)) and Lamrim (Stages of the Path) by Atisha.


Tsongkhapa (Btsong-ka-pa) a reformer, collected all the three Kadam lineages and integrated them, along with Sakya, Kagyu and other teachings, into his presentation of the doctrine. The pervasive influence of Tsongkhapa was such that the Kadampas that followed were known as "New Kadampas" (Tib. "Sarma Kadampa") or, more commonly, as the Gelug school, while those who preceded him became retroactively known as "Old Kadampas," or simply as "Kadampas."

The Kadam tradition ceased to exist as an independent tradition by the end of the 16th century.cite book
last = Jinpa
first = Thupten
title = The Book of Kadam: The Core Texts
publisher = Wisdom Publications
date = 2008-07-15
pages = 10
isbn = 978-0861714414
] The three other Tibetan Buddhist schools (Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu) also integrated the Lojong (Blo-sbyong) teachings into their lineages. Gampopa (Sgam-po-pa), who studied for six years within the Kadam Tradition and became later the main disciple of Milarepa (Mi-la ras-pa), included the Lojong and Lamrim teachings in his lineage, the Karma Kagyu (Ka-rma Bka'-brgyud) Lineage.

Nowadays the Gelug tradition keeps and transmits the Kadam lineage of the "Scriptural Traditions of the Six Canonical Texts". Together with Dagpo Kagyu Tradition they keep and transmit "The Pith Instructions of the Sixteen Essences", and the Dagpo Kagyu Tradition keeps and transmits the "Key Instructions of the Four Noble Truths".

One of the most important sayings of the Kadam masters is said to be {cquoteSee harmony in all doctrines. Receive instructions from all teachings.

Kadam lineages

After the death of Atisha (1054) his main disciple Lama Dromtonpa (Drom-tön Gyal-we Jungne, 1005 - 1054) organized his transmissions into the legacy known as "The Four Divinities and Three Dharmas" - a tradition whereby an individual practitioner could perceive all doctrines of the Sutras and Tantras as non-contradictory and could personally apply them all as complementary methods for the accomplishment of enlightenment. Eventually this lineage came to be known as "Atisha's Kadam Tradition, the Marvellous Legacy of Seven Divine Dharmas."

Lama Dromtonpa transmitted the various lineages of Atisha by dividing them between The Three Noble Brothers. To one he gave the "scriptural traditions", to the second the "oral transmissions", and to the third "the pith instructions". The Three Noble Brothers are: Geshe Potowa (Puto Rinchen Sal), Geshe Chenngawa (Chengawa Tsultrim Bar) and Geshe Phuchungwa (Phuchungwa Shönu Gyaltsen).

Dromtonpa founded Reting Monastery (Wylie: "Rwa-sgreng") in 1056 in Reting Tsampo Valley north of Lhasa, which was thereafter the seat of the lineage. The nearby Phenpo Chu and Gyama Valleys were also home to Kadampa monasteries.cite book
last = McCue
first = Gary
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Trekking in Tibet: A Traveler's Guide
publisher = Mountaineers Books
date = October, 1999
pages = ?
isbn = 978-0898866629

criptural traditions lineage

Geshe Putowa (1031-1106) received the transmission and responsibility to hold the teachings of the "scriptural traditions", the six Kadampa treatises and hidden verbal transmission of both sutra and tantra from Dromtonpa.

The six Kadam treatises he held are:
*"The Bodhisattva Stages" (Sanskrit (Skt). Bodhisattvabhumi) by Asanga
*"An Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras" (Skt. Mahayanasutraalamkara) by Maitreya/Asanga
*"A Compendium of Bodhisattva Trainings" (Skt. Shikshasamucchaya) by Shantideva
*"A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way" (Skt. Bodhisattvacharyavatara) by Shantideva
*"A Garland of Birth Stories" (Skt. Jatakamala) by Aryasura, and
*"The Collected Sayings of the Buddha" (Skt. Udanavarga) - the Tibetan Dhammapada by Dharmatrata.It is the tradition to read at the Great Prayer Festival (Monlam) the fifth of these, "A Garland of Birth Stories", during the morning session. It was also the tradition of the Kadampas to teach the two texts "Jatakamala" and "Udanavarga" together and when they taught Shantideva's "Bodhisattvacharyavatara" they taught the "Shikshasamucchaya" too. The "scriptural traditions" were of two main types: those dealing with ultimate reality and the wisdom of emptiness; and those dealing with conventional reality and the vast Bodhimind (Skt. Bodhicitta) activities.

The six Kadam treatises were mainly used to elucidate the nature of the bodhisattva's vast activities. Those dealing with the ultimate wisdom of emptiness, the principal texts stressed here were Nagarjuna's six treatises on emptiness philosophy, such as "The Root of Wisdom" (Skt. Mulamadhyamakakarika) and so forth, together with the commentaries to them by the later Indian masters; and also Atisha's own commentaries on the middle view and on the nature of the two truths. These were the principal scriptures studied in the Old Kadam School.

Oral transmissions lineage

Geshe Chenngawa (Chengawa Tsultrim Bar) received the transmission and responsibility to hold the oral tradition of instructions (oral transmission). These teachings were mainly dealing with the Four Noble Truths. One of his students, Jayulwa, inherited a special practice lineage which was called Chenga Kague and became a part of the Dagpo Kagyu lineage.

Pith instructions lineage

Geshe Phuchungwa (Phuchungwa Shönu Gyaltsen) received the transmission and responsibility to hold the teachings of the "pith instructions" of the Sixteen Circles of the Kadampa. As a support he received also the empowerments, instructions, and secret teachings of the "Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment" (Skt: Bodhi Pradipa, Tib: byang chhub lam gi rdon mey). The pith instructions lineage has its root in the secret oral teachings of Atisha and are embodied in "The Precious Book" of the Kadampa Masters: "A Jewel Rosary of Profound Instructions on the Bodhisattva Way". This text is seen as the main text of the Kadampas. These instructions were passed down only to one student in each generation in a single transmission until the secrecy was lifted at the time of Narthang Shönu Lodrö. Later these teachings were incorporated into the Karma Kamtsang Kagyu lineage by Pal Tsuglak Trengwa and into the Gelug lineage by the First Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gedun Drup.

Lojong lineage

These oral tradition teachings are generally known as "The Instructions for Training the Mind in the Mahayana Tradition" (Tibetan, Theg-chen-blo-sbyong-gi-gdampa-pa). According to the 1st Dalai Lama Atisha had received three lines of Lojong transmission, but there are conflicting accounts of from whom. It is agreed that he received teachings in Sumatra, Indonesia, from a master called "Serlingpa" (Wylie: gSer-gling-pa) by Tibetans. It is also agreed that he received teachings from a master named Dharmarakshita. However, sometimes Serlingpa is identified as Dharmamati of Suvarnadvipa,cite book
last = Dhargyey
first = Geshe Ngawang
title = An Anthology of Well Spoken Advice on the Graded Paths of the Mind (Volume 1)
publisher = Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
date = 2001-01-01
location = Dharamsala, India
pages = Childhood and Renunciation of Princely Life
url = http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/teachers/lineage_masters/life_atisha.html
isbn = 978-8186470299
] and sometimes as Dharmarakshita.Lamrim; tib.: sTan-rim). Yet at the time the lineages from Atisha’s Indonesian master Dharmakirti (the Lojong - Teachings on how to train in Bodhichitta) were still kept secret.

When the time was sufficiently mature, the Lojong Teachings were publicly revealed. First Geshe Kham Lungpa published "Eight Sessions for Training the Mind" (Tib., bLo-sbyong-thun-brgyad-ma), then Geshe Langri Tangpa (1054-1123) wrote "Eight Verses for Training the Mind" (Tib., bLo-sbyong-tshig-brgyad-ma). After this, Sangye Gompa composed "A Public Explanation" (Tib., Tshogs-bshad-ma) and Geshe Chekhawa (1102-1176) wrote "Seven Points for Training the Mind" (Tib., bLo-sbyong-don-bdun-ma).

In this manner, the Lojong Oral Transmission Teachings gradually emerged and became known to the public. Before being revealed, the secret lineage was as follows: Dharmarakshita-> Atisha-> Dromtonpa -> Potowa -> Sharawa (1070-1141) -> Chekhawa (1101-1175). From Khamlungpa, Langri Tangpa and Chekhawa onwards they became public and later they were integrated into all four Tibetan Buddhist Schools. (These Kadampa-Lojong texts were brought together into the anthology "A Hundred Texts on Training the Mind" (Tib. bLo-byong-brgya-rtsa)).

Atisha's legacy

Je Atisha had three chief students, beside the famous Dromtonpa (Drontön Gyalwe Jungne) who established the Radreng monastery there were Khu (Khutön Tsöndru Yungdrang) and Ngok (Ngok Legpe Sherap). Ngok established the dharma center of Sangphu Neuthok and this institute was later developed further by his nephew, the translator, Ngok Loden Sherap and it became the source of all the Tibetan centers for advanced study (Shedra). Ngatso Lotsawa Tsultrim, a translator who brought Atisha to Tibet, and served him for 19 years was another important student of Atisha. Ngatso Lotsawa Tsultrim received teachings from Atisha, Jnana Akara and others, and his main lineage is called the Ngatso Kagyu. It is said in the Tibetan Tradition of Buddhism that the holder of the Kadam lineage have their bodies adorned with the four deities (Shakyamuni, Avalokiteshvara, Tara and Achala), their speech adorned with the three Pitakas (Vinaya, Sutra, Abidharma) and their minds adorned with the practice of the three trainings (ethical discipline, meditation and wisdom). It is said the Kadampas practiced Seven Divine Dharmas: The four deities and the three trainings of the three pitikas. The Kadampas mainly emphasised the Sutra path (the union of compassion and wisdom).

In general it can be stated the teachings of the Kadampas are upheld by the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.Fact|date=September 2008

New Kadampa Tradition

As mentioned above, Je Tsongkhapa established a tradition known as the Gelugpa. To emphasize that he was training in the same spirit as Atisha's original disciples, he also used the name "New Kadampa" Tradition to describe his presentation. In 1991, Kelsang Gyatso (Bskal-bzang Rgya-mtsho), a Buddhist monk trained at Sera Monastery, a Gelug university in Je Tsongkhapa's tradition, founded a spiritual school which he named the "New Kadampa Tradition."

Because the New Kadampa Tradition uses the term "Kadampa Buddhism" to refer to their presentation of Buddhism, some confusion has arisen regarding this name. According to the BBC, "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."cite news
title = The New Kadampa Tradition
publisher = bbc.co.uk
date = July, 2005
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/subdivisions/kadampa.shtml
accessdate = 2008-09-24
] The NKT confirms this and explains that the purpose of using the term "Kadampa Buddhism" is not to introduce confusion about the origins of these teachings, but to encourage students to emulate the purity and sincerity of the ancient Kadampas.cite web
last = Belither
first = James
title = Modern Day Kadampas The History and Development of the New Kadampa Tradition
publisher = Tara Buddhist Centre
url = http://www.meditateinireland.com/html_pages/Modern%20Day%20Kadampas.htm
accessdate = 2008-09-16

ee also

*Schools of Buddhism


Further reading

*cite book| last = 1st Dalai Lama| first = Gendun Drup | authorlink = Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama| coauthors = Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, Mullin, Glenn| title = Training the Mind in the Great Way| publisher = Snow Lion Publications| date = 1993-06-25| isbn = 0937938963
*cite book| last = Kongtrul| first = Jamgon| authorlink = Jamgon Kongtrul | title = The Great Path of Awakening: The Classic Guide to Using the Mahayana Buddhist Slogans to Tame the Mind and Awaken the Heart| publisher = Shambala Publications| date = 2000-05-02| isbn = 1570625875
*cite book| last = Atisha| first = | authorlink = Atisha| coauthors = Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, Sherburne, Richard| title = The Complete Works of Atisa, The Lamp for the Path & Commentary| publisher = Aditya Prakashan| date = 2000-05-01| location = India | isbn = 8177420224
*cite book| last = Rinchen| first = Geshe Sonam | coauthors = Sonam, Ruth| title = Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment| publisher = Snow Lion Publications| date = 1997-09-25| isbn = 1559390824
*cite book| last = Jinpa| first = Thupten| title = Mind Training: The Great Collection (Library of Tibetan Classics)| publisher = Wisdom Publications| date = 2005-11-28| isbn = 0861714407
*cite book| last = Tulku| first = Ringu| title = The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet| publisher = Shambala Publications| date = 2007-10-09| isbn =1590304640

External links

* [http://lojongmindtraining.com Lojong and Tonglen community website]

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