Master Atisha
Atisha, the founder of Kadampa Buddhism
Atisha, the founder of Kadampa Buddhism
The great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (982-1054 AD) was responsible for reintroducing pure Buddhism into Tibet. Although Buddhism had been introduced into Tibet some two hundred years earlier by Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, Buddhist practice in the country had largely been destroyed during the anti-Buddhist purges of the Tibetan king, Lang Darma (circa 836 AD), a follower of Bön, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. Invited by Jangchub Ö, a ruler of Ngari in western Tibet, Atisha was asked to present a Dharma that everybody could follow and that would show how all the paths of Sutra and Tantra could be practiced together. In response, Atisha wrote Lamp for the Path, the original Lamrim text that served as the basis for all subsequent Lamrim instructions. The revival of pure Buddhist practice in Tibet at this time was largely due to Atisha.


The followers of Atisha are known as Kadampas. In the word kadampa, ka means word and refers to Buddha’s teachings, and dam means personal instruction and refers to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions, known as the stages of the path. By integrating their knowledge of all Buddha’s teachings into their practice of Lamrim, and by applying this to their everyday life, Kadampa Buddhists are encouraged to use all Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming daily activities into the path to enlightenment. The great Kadampa Teachers, the Kadampa Geshes, are famous not only for being great scholars but also for being spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity. To learn more about the great Buddhist Teacher Atisha visit for Geshe Kelsang’s book Joyful Path of Good Fortune.