Geshe Kelsang’s parting request at Festivals is to take the teachings we have heard and use them in our regular, everyday lives and family.
Here is where I am coming from. There are thousands of Kadampas out there. Many are not working directly for the New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT~IKBU) Centers or may not even be attending Centers at the moment. (There are all sorts of reasons, but they are not relevant for the purposes of this argument).
What is relevant is that we are not hearing from any of these Kadampas — what they are up to, how they are using Kadampa Buddhism in creative ways to inspire and transform themselves and others at home, in jobs, or with family.
But is that not the meaning of “Kadampa” (i.e. those who take Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and put them into practice in their daily lives)?
Google Kadampa or any variation on that theme and see what I mean — you’ll find (1) the official or corporate Center sites (all well and good, they do the job), (2) a fair amount of criticism (some justified, most over the top), and (3) sites that address that criticism (they too do a good job). What you won’t find is (4) all the Kadampas.
The majority of Kadampas don’t seem to be represented on the Internet at all, yet this is where billions of people are hanging out these days.
We hear from each other at Festivals, and aren’t those Festivals amazing? I’m happy to spend money and time to go hear my Spiritual Guide — invaluable, but I also do it to meet up with you lot. I always find it inspiring and epic to hang out with old and new friends and hear what interesting stuff they’ve been up to. But then the Festival ends and we don’t hear another peep. The world at large, the one outside the Centers, could be forgiven for thinking these nice, creative, light-hearted, funny, down-to-earth, wise and warm Kadampas don’t exist.
One of my subscribers sent me some articles about how he uses Kadampa Buddhism in his job as a social worker. He said:
Becoming a social worker makes me a better Buddhist. Being a Buddhist makes me a better social worker.
I like this a lot. Isn’t that really the meaning of “Kadampa”? So I’m going to post the first of his articles soon. If any of you want to send me stuff, well why not, if I like it I’ll post that as well. Or post your own stuff on your own blog.
I hope my blog is just the beginning.
And … here they come!
Since I wrote the above, Kadampa blogs are appearing. If you have one you would like linked here, please let me know.
One in Spanish:
One in French:
And two in Portuguese:
Also, the New Kadampa Tradition is starting to appear all over Facebook (and Twitter), with official fan pages for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, New Kadampa Tradition, and Modern Buddhism, as well as a growing number of individual NKT Centers (and not to mention thousands of individual Kadampas).
Some unofficial Facebook pages
I have probably missed some, let me know.
Kadampa Buddhist Prayer Request — very popular page, ask for prayers for anyone who needs it.
Students and Followers of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso — discussion and links page
New Kadampa Tradition — discussion and links page
Kadampa Rejoicing Group — things to feel happy about.
Bunny Bodhi — musings from a wise, reflective Kadampa rabbit
Kadampa Life — links ‘n stuff, goes with this blog!
Luna Kadampa — also goes with this blog!
Family Kadampa — goes with blog of the same name
Kadampa parents forum
Kadampa professionals forum
Kadampa perfection of giving — a forum to give and/or request help when needed
Universal Buddhism ~ The New Kadampa Tradition — for links and discussion
I think these are very welcome developments, don’t you?!