Buddhism teaches that to find lasting happiness and meaning in our lives we need to follow a spiritual path. To follow this path it is important to have a close connection with a qualified teacher who can give us personal advice and encouragement, to listen to pure Dharma teachings, and to belong to a strong spiritual community. These enable us to penetrate deeply into the meaning of Buddha’s teachings, to maintain a daily meditation practice that is both focused and powerful, and to make genuine spiritual progress.
Geshe Kelsang has designed three special spiritual programs for the systematic study and practice of Kadampa Buddhism that are especially suited to the modern world:
“Our present understanding and experience of Dharma is quite superficial. We are like someone who has entered a huge food store and seen many things but sampled only a few. We may have received many different teachings from many different teachers, but we have taken in very little, just a few morsels.
There is a gap between us and the Dharma. It feels as if the Dharma is there and we are here. Our mind is not mixed with Dharma and so we cannot apply it in our daily lives. As a result our ordinary everyday problems remain. We also find it difficult to integrate our spiritual path into our daily lives so we cannot use this Dharma to solve our daily problems.
When we study Dharma out mind remains passive, like someone watching television. Therefore our life and our Dharma remain completely separate and unrelated.
Why is this? It is because we are not studying and practicing systematically according to a specially designed spiritual program. If we just dabble superficially in a spiritual path we will never gain a deep and stable experience, and our wisdom will never develop to its full potential. This is why the spiritual programs offered by the New Kadampa Tradition are so important.” – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso