Our Founder

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso


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.


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 23 highly acclaimed books on Buddhism and meditation, including his latest title, The Mirror of Dharma.

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 centers and groups in over forty countries, and has established three study programs – the General Program, the Foundation Program, and the Teacher Training Program – to be taught continuously at these centers.


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 six 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.

Kadampa Meditation Center Madison

Year at a Glance



Noontime Meditation | Wednesdays and Fridays November 7-30 12:00-12:30 PM 

What Does It Mean to Be a Buddhist | Thursdays, October 4-November 15 (No Class November 1) 7:00 PM-8:30 PM

New! Sunday Morning Series: How to Solve Our Human Problems | Sundays November 11-25 10:00-11:30 AM

Meditation for Kids | Sundays November 11-25 10:00-11:30 AM

Healing from the Heart: Taking and Giving Retreat | November 17 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Center Cherishing Day | Sunday, November 18 12:00 PM -2:00 PM

Just Meditate | Saturday, November 24 10:00-10:45 AM

The Power to Be Happy Free Meditation and Talk | Monday, November 26 6:30-7:30 PM Cambridge Community Library

Friday Night Lecture: How to Survive the Holiday Season | Friday, November 30 7:00-8:15 PM



New! Sunday Morning Series: How to Solve Our Human Problems | Sundays December 2-30 11-25 10:00-11:30 AM

Meditation for Kids | Sundays December 2-30 10:00-11:30 AM

Noontime Meditation | Wednesdays and Fridays December 5-28 12:00-12:30 PM 

Streams of Purifying Nectar: Vajrasattva Retreat | Saturday, December 8 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Just Meditate | Saturday, December 15 10:00-10:45 AM

Meditations for a Wise Heart | Thursdays, December 6-20  7:00 PM-8:30 PM

Center Cherishing Day | Sunday, December 16 12:00 PM -2:00 PM

Festival of Lights Christmas Eve | Monday, December 24 7:00-8:30 PM



Noontime Meditation | Wednesdays and Fridays January 2-30 12:00-12:30 PM 

Just Meditate | Saturday, January 5 &26 10:00-10:45 AM

Publicity Distribution Party | Saturday, January 5  1:00-3:00 PM

Sunday Morning Series: How to Solve Our Human Problems | Sundays January 6-27 10:00-11:30 AM

Meditation for Kids | Sundays January 6-27 10:00-11:30 AM

Who is Buddha Tara? |  Tuesday, January 8  7-9 PM

Lamrim Retreat | Saturday, January 12-Tuesday, January 15

Mala Making Workshop  |  Saturday, January 19  10 AM-1 PM

Center Cherishing Day  |  Sunday, January 27 12 PM-2 PM


Starting in 2019

Classes in Milwaukee | March 2019 - Sign up for details and updates!



Good Karma Bowl-A-Rama Fundraising

Check out our progress toward our $10,000 goal. Olimometer 2.52