The Foundation Program
(Please note, pre-registration is required for this class.)
Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study and group discussion, the Foundation Program (FP) offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this program we shall gain great confidence in meditation – from basic techniques for overcoming our everyday problems to practices leading to unsurpassed happiness and permanent inner peace. Warm friendships develop as students inspire each other, sharing insights and experiences of the spiritual path.
What is the structure?
The secret of the Foundation Program’s success lies in the manageable commitment made by the student and in the clear structure of study. Students sign up to study a book or part of a book, agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of the study. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she agrees to catch up by listening to an audio recording of the class. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Centre per week.
What happens at a class?
Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages long, and memorize the essential points. The class begins with chanted prayers and guided meditation. The teacher then reads the assigned selection from the book while giving commentary to the text. The students then divide into pairs to discuss the material. The teacher and students conclude by deciding what to meditate on in the next class and how to practice during the coming week.
What books are studied?
The program comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
Training the Mind, based on the commentaries, Universal Compassion and The New Eight Steps to Happiness
The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, The New Heart of Wisdom
Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary, Meaningful to Behold
Types of Mind, based on the commentary, How to Understand the Mind
We are currently studying How to Understand the Mind. This book offers us deep insight into our mind, and shows how an understanding of its nature and functions can be used practically in every day experience to improve our lives. Part 1 is a practical guide to developing and maintaining a light, positive mind – showing how to recognize and abandon states of mind that harm us, and to replace them with peaceful and beneficial ones. Part 2 describes different types of mind in detail, revealing the depth and profundity of the Buddhist understanding of the mind. It concludes with a detailed explanation of meditation, showing how by controlling and transforming our mind we can attain a lasting state of joy, independent of external conditions.
People are welcome to join at any time.
What will it cost?
The cost is $90 a month (September – June inclusive), which also includes free admission to General Program Classes at the Centre and branches.
To find out more about the Foundation Program iand how you can join, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.