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The Kadam tradition (also: Gadang school or Gedang sect ; Tibetan : bka 'gdams ; Chinese Gadang pai噶當派 / 噶当派; Pinyin : Gádāng pài) of Tibetan Buddhism was the first of the so-called “ New Translations ” schools “( Sarma ) Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Tibetan . It was founded by Drom Tönpa , who had the Kadam Monastery Radreng (Tib .: rwa sgreng ) or Radreng Monastery (Chin. Rezhen si ) built north of Lhasa in Lhündrub County in 1056/1057 , and had its origins primarily in the teachings Atishas and his Lamrim “The lamp of the path of enlightenment” (Sanskrit: Bodhipathapradipam , Tibetan: byang chub lam gyi sgron ma , Chinese: Putidaodenglun ). In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the Kadam tradition was particularly evident in the Gelug School, whose members were also known as the "New Kadampas". The lines of the Kadam tradition are now held within all four Vajrayana traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.


Atisha mainly held three lines and introduced them into Tibet. These three lines are:

  1. the "Line of Profound Philosophy" via Buddha Shakyamuni / Manjushri / Nagarjuna ;
  2. the "Line of Immeasurable Activity" via Buddha Shakyamuni / Maitreyanatha / Asanga and
  3. the "line of transmission of blessings and practice" of Buddha Vajradhara / Tilopa / Naropa .

Refuge and bodhichitta were central to Atisha's discourse. Furthermore, Atisha attached great importance to the observance of the Buddhist order rules in Tibet, later a characteristic element for the Kadam school. The teachings of the Kadampas were more oriented towards the Sūtras and were mainly based on the second cycle of teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni (2nd turning of the wheel of teaching).

Atisha's legacy to Dromtönpa was first known as the tradition of the "Four Deities and Three Dharmas ", which showed a consistent way of applying the union of Sutra and Tantra . Later under the name: "Atisha's Kadam Tradition, the Great Legacy of Seven Divine Dharmas".

The holders of the Kadam lineage adorned their bodies with the "four deities" (Shakyamuni, Avalokiteshvara , Tara and Achala ), their language with the "three baskets" ( Tripitaka ) and their minds with the practice of the "three trainings" (ethical self-discipline , Meditation and wisdom). The “seven divine dharmas” of the Kadampas were thus: The “four deities” together with the “three trainings” of the “three baskets”.

Six canonical texts

The "six canonical texts" (Tib .: bka 'gdams gzhung drug ) of the Kadampas included:

  1. "The stages of the Bodhisattva" ( skt . : Bodhisattvabhumi ; Tib .: byang sa ) from Asanga
  2. "Jewel of the Mahayana Sutras" (skt .: Mahayanasutraalamkara ; tib .: mdo sde rgyan ) from Maitreya / Asanga;
  3. “Compendium of the trainings of a Bodhisattva” (Skt .: Shikshasamucchaya ; Tib .: bslab pa kun btus ) by Shantideva ;
  4. "Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life" (Skt .: Bodhicharyavatara ; Tib .: spyod 'jug ) by Shantideva;
  5. "Garland of rebirth stories " (Skt .: Jatakamala ; Tib .: skyes rabs ) from Aryashura ; and
  6. “The collection of the words of the Buddha” (Skt .: Udanavarga ; Tib .: ched du brjod pa'i tshoms ) - the Tibetan “ Dhammapada ” of Dharmatrata .


Important teachers of the Kadam tradition were: Lochen Rinchen Sangpo (tib .: lo chen rin chen bzang po ; 958-1055), the "three Kadam brothers": Potowa Rinchen Sel (tib .: po to pa rin chen gsal ; 1027 –1105), Phuchterwa Shönnu Gyeltshen (Tib .: phu chung ba gzhon nu rgyal mtshan ; 1031–1106) and Chengawa Tshälthrim Bar (Tib .: spyan snga ba tshul khrims' bar ; 1038–1103); Sharawa (Tib .: sha ra ba ; 1070–1141) and Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (Tib .: 'chad ka pa ye shes rdo rje ; 1101–1175).

It is said that one of the most important teachings of the kadam is:

  • "See harmony in all teachings. Receive guidance from all teachings."


According to the Mongolian general Dhordha , the Kadam school had more monasteries than any other in the 13th century. Other influential monasteries were the Sangphu Monastery ( Ch . Sangpu si ) and the Narthang Monastery ( Ch . Natang si ).

  • Radreng (Tib.rwa sgreng, Chin. Rezhen si 热 振 寺 )
  • Sangphu (Tib.gsang phu), Chinese Sangpu si 桑 浦 寺 (Naituo si 乃 托 寺 )
  • Narthang (T. snar thang, Chin.Natang si 纳 塘 寺 )
  • Chilbu Monastery (Tib.spyil bu, Chin.Jibu si 基布 寺 )
  • Cheka Monastery ('chad kha dgon, Chinese Qieka si 怯 喀 寺 )
  • Chayül Monastery (bya yul dgon pa; Chin. Jiayu si 甲 域 寺, etc.)
  • Kangkang Monastery (Tibetan kang kang dgon pa; Chinese Ganggang si 岗 岗 寺 )
  • Rinchengang Monastery (Tib. Rin chen gang dgon pa; Chin. Renqingang si 仁钦 岗 寺 )
  • Dajian si 达 坚 寺



  • Jamgon Kongtrul : The Great Path of Awakening. A Commentary on the Mahayana Doctrine of the Seven Points of Mental Exercise . Theseus Verlag, Küsnacht 1995, ISBN 3-89620-027-5 .


  • Gendun Drub , Glenn H. Mullin (transl.): Training the Mind in the Great Way. 2nd Edition. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca 1993, ISBN 0-937938-96-3 .
  • Geshe Sonam Rinchen: Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment . Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca 1997, ISBN 1-55939-082-4 .
  • Geshe Thupten Jinpa: Mind Training: The Great Collection (Library of Tibetan Classics). Original Scriptures of the Kadampa Teachings on Lojong . Wisdom Publications, 2005, ISBN 0-86171-440-7 .
  • Ringu Tulku : The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet . Shambhala Publications, Boston 2006, ISBN 1-59030-286-9 .
  • Jamyang Khyentze Rinpoche : The Opening of the Dharma . Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala 1976
  • Kal Sang Gyal: Religions in Tibet . 2004, ISBN 7-5085-0437-2 (at Google Books & Chinese version )
  • Ulrike & Hans Ulrich Roesler: Kadampa Sites of Phempo: A Guide to Some Early Buddhist Monasteries in Central Tibet , Vajra, 2004, ISBN 99933-695-3-5 ( web )

Web links

Commons : Kadam  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Religions in Tibet. P. 99 ff.
  2. ^ Geshe Sonam Rinchen: Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment , Snow Lion Publications, 1997, ISBN 9781559398077 , p. 191; Preview on Google Books
  3. Religions in Tibet. P. 100.
  4. StudyBuddhism.com: How did Tibetan Buddhism come about?
  5. ^ The Rimé Movement Of Jamgon Kongtrul The Great by Ringu Tulku
  6. english.chinatibetnews.com ( Memento of the original from August 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / english.chinatibetnews.com
  7. ^ The religions in Tibet , ibid.