How can the Teacher Training Program help ourself and others?
“So how can we help others and actually fulfill their wish to overcome suffering and find happiness? Principally by setting a good example for them to follow, giving teachings and spiritual advice, and gradually leading them into spiritual paths. We need to help others to overcome their ignorance and develop a good heart. By constantly maintaining a good heart, anyone can overcome their daily problems and, by gradually improving themselves, eventually they can attain a permanent inner peace and complete freedom from all suffering and danger.”
(from an excerpt of a talk by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche given at the inauguration of the study programs in Tara Center in England -1990)
The purpose of the Teacher Training Program is to provide an extensive presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism, and to train as qualified New Kadampa Tradition Teachers. The program comprises twelve subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
In addition to completing the study of fourteen texts of Sutra and Tantra, the student is required to observe certain commitments with regard to behavior and way of life, and to complete a number of meditation retreats. Through a deep and continuing commitment to the program of study, meditation, discussion, and retreat, we can gain deep experience of Buddha’s teachings, establish a strong meditation practice, and become a qualified teacher in our own right.
The Teacher Training Program is taught by Kelsang Khyenwang, the Resident Teacher at the 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?
Students sign up to complete all the books and undertake to attend every class, to learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of each book. Class meets twice a week for two and a half hours. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she is expected to meet with a classmate, review the teaching with them and submit a brief summary prior to attending the next class. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Center per week. Generally the students take turns putting up the shrine offerings, setting up the meditation room etc. on the day of their class. In this way we learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice and the importance of cherishing others.
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 from the book while giving commentary to the text. Afterwards the students divide into pairs to discuss the section. The teacher and students then conclude what to meditate on in the next class and how to practice during the week.
When does this class meet?
Currently, the teacher training program meets on Mondays weekly, 6-9pm and one Sunday a month, 5-8pm. Study of the text How to Understand the Mind will begin this fall.
How much will it cost?
The cost is $100 a month to become a monthly member which also includes 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.
To find out more about the Teacher Training Program and how you can join, contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.