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?
The Foundation Program gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation program on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path right here at Odiyana KBC.
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 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.
The structure of the class
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. Foundation Program currently meets on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
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.
Starting this fall, the class will be studying How to Understand the Mind by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
When is the class?
This class meets on Mondays, 6-9pm and one Sunday a month, 5-8pm. The class will begin fall semester on September 11th.
There is an opportunity to enroll in a 3 week trial. In order to attend this 3 week trial please 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 to become a monthly member which also includes all General Program Classes at Odiyana Center and its branches, day courses/workshops and retreats at the Center, and discounts on empowerments and other special events.