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 our Foundation Program (FP) study classes this fall.
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.
What is the structure?
Foundation Program (FP) is a structured program that meets weekly for at least two hours and is more than just a drop-in class. On the FP, we engage in the systematic study of key Buddhist texts in order to gain a deep and lasting understanding and experience of the spiritual path, as well as an authentic confidence as a meditator and practitioner.
How does it work?
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 take an exam at the conclusion of the study.
Regular attendance is very important. This ongoing, committed aspect of the class creates a real sense of community and helps nourish and support the spiritual life of everyone in the class. 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 the class recording and writing up a summary before the next class.
What happens in 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 preliminary 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, formulate a conclusion to the text and decide on a weekly practice for daily life. The students share their conclusions and ideas for practice, as well as any questions that arose from the discussion.
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.
Both 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.
*Please contact our Education Program Coordinator in advance if you are interested in attending any of the Foundation Programs (email@example.com / 203-317-8918)*
There are currently two Foundation Program classes being offered through OKBC.
1. Thursday Evenings (6:15-8:30pm) at Odiyana KBC (begins August 31)
2. Monday Evenings (6-9pm) and one Sunday a month (5-8pm) at Odiyana KBC (begins September 11)
There is an opportunity to enroll in a 3 week trial. In order to attend this 3 week trial you must email 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 for either the Thursday foundation program class or the Monday/Sunday foundation program classes. By becoming a member, all General Program classes, day courses (with the exception of a few special events a year) are included. This helps to ensure that the center remains financially strong so that our classes and programming can continue.
Please see the membership page on our website for more details.To find out more about the Foundation Program and how you can join, contact our Education Program Coordinator at email@example.com or 203-317-8918.