Why study on Foundation Programme?
The structured format of the programme quickly deepens our understanding and experience of the Buddhist path. Classes consist of:
* chanted preparatory prayers
* guided meditation on the text
* teacher reads a few pages, word by word, and gives some commentary and clarification
* discussion in pairs
* students decide what to meditate on next class and how to practice during the week.
Regular group discussions are also scheduled.
When is the Foundation Programme held?
Sunday FP at Madhyamaka KMC: 1.30-6.30pm at Madhyamaka KMC studying Joyful Path of Good Fortune: Intermediate Scope.
Weekday FP at Madhyamaka KMC: Mondays & Thursdays 7-9pm at Madhyamaka KMC studying Meaningful to Behold.
You can join the programme at any time. To book onto a free taster, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Foundation Programme gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation programme on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path.
Buddhism teaches that to find lasting happiness and meaning in our lives we need to follow a spiritual path. To follow this path it is important to have a close connection with a qualified teacher who can give us personal advice and encouragement, to listen to pure Dharma teachings and to be a part of a strong spiritual community. In this way we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of Buddha’s teachings, maintain a daily meditation practice that is both focused and powerful, and make genuine spiritual progress.
A Unique Study Programme
Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Programme (FP) offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakayamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this programme 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 Programme’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. Each book or section generally takes between six months to a year to complete. Many students take turns putting up the shrine offerings and setting up the meditation room on the day of their class. In this way they learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice.
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 purpose of the Foundation Programme is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.
The programme comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, based on the commentaries, Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, based on the commentary, How to Understand the Mind
How much will it cost?
The cost is £35 a month to become a monthly member which also includes free admission to General Programme Classes at the Centre and branches, weekend events, and retreats at the Centre (except empowerments, meals and accommodation)
To find out more about the Foundation Programme and how you can join, contact us at email@example.com.
What is currently being studied on Foundation Programme
Joyful Path of Good Fortune is currently being studied on the Sunday FP. Joyful Path of Good Fortune is a clear and comprehensive explanation of the entire path to enlightenment. We all have the potential for self-transformation, and a limitless capacity for the growth of good qualities, but to fulfil this potential we need to know what to do along every stage of our spiritual journey. With this book, Geshe Kelsang offers us step-by-step guidance on the meditation practices that will lead us to lasting inner peace and happiness. With extraordinary clarity, he presents all Buddha’s teachings in the order in which they are to be practised, enriching his explanation with stories and illuminating analogies. This is a perfect guidebook to the Buddhist path.
Meaningful to Behold is currently being studied on the Weekday FP. The heart of Buddha’s teachings is unconditional love and compassion. Many people have the compassionate wish to benefit others, but few understand how to accomplish this successfully in daily life. Bodhisattvas are friends of the world, who have such strong compassion that they are able to transform all their daily activities into ways of benefiting others. The path of the Bodhisattva was exquisitely explained in the universally loved poem Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life by the 8th century master Shantideva. With this commentary, the full effectiveness and profundity of this wonderful poem are revealed in full and made applicable for our time. This practical handbook is essential for those wishing to follow a way of life characterised by greater empathy and compassion for others.
Eight Steps to Happiness – is currently being studied on York FP. Eight Steps to Happiness by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is an in-depth and practical explanation of one of Buddhism’s best-loved teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind, by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa. Clear methods are simply presented for transforming all life’s difficulties into valuable spiritual insights, for improving our relationships, and for bringing greater patience, empathy and compassion into our daily life. For centuries, these methods have brought lasting peace, inspiration and serenity to countless people in the East. Now, with this book, Geshe Kelsang shares the immeasurably rich insight of this ancient wisdom to help us find greater happiness and meaning in our busy, modern lives.
How to Understand the Mind – is the next book for the York FP and will start on Sunday 27 April. This remarkable book offers us deep insight into our mind, and shows how an understanding of its nature and functions can be used practically in everyday experience to improve our lives. The first part 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. The second part 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.
Too far away to attend?
If travel, time, or another reason prevents you from attending the study classes you may apply to join the Correspondence Study Programme. Students on the Correspondence Study Programme receive recordings of the classes in MP3 (available for download from the internet) or MP3 CD format. For more information on this Programme please contact us.
Interested in joining?
If you wish to join Foundation Programme please contact us and we will arrange for you to attend a free ‘taster session’. This will give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and consider if it is something you would like to join.