• Our Founder & Spiritual Guide

    Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyasto

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, founder of NKT-IKBU, is a truly remarkable person. Born in a remote village high on the Tibetan plateau he ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of eight and spent the next twenty years studying the teachings of Buddha in the great Tibetan monasteries.

After concluding his studies and being awarded the title ‘Geshe’, which means ‘virtuous spiritual friend’, he entered a life of meditation, engaging in deep retreat at first near the Nepali border and later in the mountains of northern India, where he soon developed a reputation as a great meditator, with many coming to regard him as a modern day Mahasiddha.

After almost twenty years in retreat, in 1977 at the behest of his own Spiritual Guide, Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, Geshe Kelsang graciously accepted an invitation from Manjushri Centre to travel to the West and become the Resident Teacher at what was then a fledgling Buddhist centre that had recently acquired Conishead Priory as its base.

Since that time Manjushri Centre has been Geshe Kelsang’s spiritual home, where he has given thousands of teachings. Many of these teachings have been published in 22 highly acclaimed books on Buddhism and meditation, including his latest title, The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra.

Geshe Kelsang is a great believer in the universal applicability of Buddha’s teachings and presents them in such a way that everyone, regardless of nationality, age or gender, can put them into practice in their daily lives and begin to experience true inner peace.
He understands the problems faced by modern people and shows how we can solve them through simple scientific methods taught by Buddha. But though his teachings are extraordinarily clear and easy to understand they contain the entire profound lineage of ancient wisdom he holds. Geshe-la’s oft-repeated phrase, ‘simple, but very profound’ perfectly encapsulates his uncommon presentation of modern Buddhism.

While at Manjushri Centre Geshe Kelsang designed and oversaw the construction of the first Kadampa Temple for World Peace, and inaugurated the International Temples Project with the intention to establish Buddhist institutions such as Temples throughout the world.

Over the years, Geshe Kelsang has founded more than a thousand meditation centres and groups in over forty countries, and has established three study programmes – the General Programme, the Foundation Programme, and the Teacher Training Programme – to be taught continuously at these centres.

He has trained hundreds of teachers and ordained scores of monks and nuns, and transmitted a complete lineage not only of teachings and insights but also of prayers, ritual practices, sacred art and music, all tailored to the needs of the modern world.

Though he has now formally retired as Spiritual Director, even at the age of eighty he continues to work tirelessly to spread the precious teachings of Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world with the intention that each and every living being will eventually experience the supreme permanent mental peace of enlightenment

  • The International Temples Project

    Building for World Peace

Geshe Kelsang’s compassionate intention is embodied in the International Temples Project (ITP), a unique international fund dedicated to public benefit.

The City Centre space in Kensington and the Temple for World Peace in South London were funded by the International Temples Project and offer people in London inspiring and beautiful places to visit and learn about Modern Buddhism in a contemporary setting.

The ITP fosters the international development of a wide range of contemporary Buddhist institutions. These presently include Temples for World Peace, Kadampa Meditation Centres (KMCs), International Retreat Centres (IRCs), Kadampa Buddhist Centres (KBCs) Hotel Kadampas, World Peace Cafes, the International Schools Project, and Tharpa Publications. All these institutions provide a public service that exemplifies the Buddhist faith.

Each year, for example, tens of thousands of people visit the Temples, KMCs, KBCs and IRCs. Some attend courses and retreats to learn how to develop inner peace through meditation, while others go to view the holy objects and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. But whatever their reason for visiting, Geshe Kelsang has said that anyone who sees a Temple or the holy objects within will receive a special blessing that sows a seed of future peace and happiness in their mind.

“Whenever anyone, Buddhist or not, sees a Temple or an image of Buddha they receive blessings.”
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

For more information about the International Temples Project, including ways you can help, visit kadampa.org/temples.

Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong – General Spiritual Director

Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, the General Spiritual Director of NKT-IKBU and Resident Teacher at Manjushri KMC, is a modern Buddhist nun dedicated to helping people from all walks of life attain lasting happiness through developing inner mental peace.

She has been a student of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for thirty years, during which time she has inspired thousands of people around the world through her sincere reliance on her Spiritual Guide, taking his teachings to heart and putting them into practice in every aspect of her life.

Gen-la Dekyong is a highly experienced Buddhist Teacher who has taught at many different centres internationally.

Before her appointment as General Spiritual Director she was the National Spiritual Director of the USA. She is a very powerful Teacher able to make Buddha’s teachings easily accessible and to show through her example how to integrate these teachings into our daily life.

Gen-la has dedicated her life to helping spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world by developing meditation centres and Temples in as many countries as possible, and she provides enthusiastic support and encouragement to everyone engaged in these projects.

But busy as she is, she never loses her connection with the people she is dedicated to helping and always has a kind word and wise counsel for whoever she meets.