How does Foundation program fulfill both our own and others’ wishes?
“By increasing our wisdom and Dharma experience we will gradually solve all our problems and eventually we will achieve the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment, the bliss of Buddhahood. This is how the Foundation Program can fulfill our own wishes. If we increase our wisdom and Dharma experience we can give teachings and spiritual advice to others and set a good example for them to follow.”
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche – excerpt from the inauguration of Foundation Program at Tara Center, England, 1990
What is Foundation Program?
If you have been attending and enjoying drop-in classes at Odiyana Kadampa Buddhist Center (OKBC) or at its branch classes and would like to deepen your study and practice of meditation, you may want to consider joining one of the Foundation Program (FP) study classes.
The Foundation Program is a wonderful opportunity for deeper study and practice of Buddha’s teachings in the modern world. Through study and contemplation, engaging in meditations and group discussions, students increase their wisdom, compassion and meditation experience. They develop warm spiritual friendships, sharing insights and experiences on the spiritual path.
A Unique Study Program
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.
The Foundation Programs are taught by Kelsang Khyenwang, the Resident Teacher at Odiyana Kadampa Buddhist Center. She has been practicing and studying Buddhism for many years and is known for her clear and practical presentations of Buddha’s teachings.
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.
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; and
- Types of Mind, based on the commentary How to Understand the Mind.
The class is currently studying The New Eight Steps to Happiness. Written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Eight Steps to Happiness is a commentary to one of Buddhism’s best-loved teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind, composed by the great Tibetan Buddhist Master, Bodhisattva Langri Tangpa. These eight short verses contain in essence the entire Buddhist spiritual path, with a particular focus on developing loving-kindness
When is the class?
This Foundation Program, which is currently studying Eight Steps to Happiness meets weekly on Thursday evenings (6:15-8:30pm). There is an opportunity to enroll in a 3 week trial. In order to attend this 3 week trial please contact the Education Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone interview.
How much will it cost?
The cost is $60 a month to become a monthly member which also includes all General Program Classes at Odiyana Center and its branches, most day courses/workshops and all retreats at the Center, and discounts on empowerments and other special events.
*Please contact the Education Program Coordinator (email@example.com / 860-874-1970) in advance if you are interested in attending Foundation Program.