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 will begin the study of Meaningful to Behold in September. Many people have the compassionate wish to benefit others, but few understand how to bring this about effectively in their everyday lives. Bodhisattvas are friends of the world, who have such strong compassion that they are able to transform all their daily activities into methods to benefit others.
The path of the Bodhisattva was exquisitely described in the beloved poem, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, by the 8th-Century Master, Shantideva. In the book, Meaningful to Behold, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso provides a remarkable commentary to this poem where he explains clearly how modern practitioners can actualize this profoundly meaningful way of life.
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 and how you can join, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.