Is the New Kadampa Tradition part of Tibetan Buddhism?

No, the New Kadampa Tradition is a global Buddhism. Just as the Tibetans faithfully adopted the practices taught to them by the great Indian masters and adapted it to their own culture, so Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso encourages people from all ethnic backgrounds to adopt the wisdom and compassion of Buddha and put it into practice in a way that suits their particular culture.

Buddha’s teachings, which are known as Dharma, are likened to a wheel that moves from country to country in accordance with changing conditions and people’s karmic inclinations. The external form of presenting Buddhism may change as it meets with different cultures and societies, but its essential authenticity is ensured through the continuation of an unbroken lineage of realized practitioners.

Although the lineage Gurus of the NKT from Je Tsongkhapa up to Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso are Tibetan Lamas, the NKT is not Tibetan Buddhism. When the NKT became the International Kadampa Buddhist Union, which is legally registered under English law, it became a legally independent Buddhist tradition. The main reason why NKT-IKBU has chosen to become legally registered as an independent Buddhist tradition is because it was recognized that in Tibetan Buddhism there are so many political problems. These problems are due to the mixing of Dharma and politics, with higher Lamas using the holy Dharma of Buddha’s teachings for political aims. The NKT wants the holy Dharma to be free from these political problems. (Modern Kadampa Buddhism: an Introductionp. 5, © 2008)