What is Foundation Program?
For those who have been attending the General Program classes at the center or at any of our branch classes, Foundation Program is the next step to deepening your practice by gaining powerful and practical experience of Buddha’s teachings. In these classes, students commit to studying a book and attending weekly classes. Students have the opportunity to engage with a text at a deeper level, by listening to commentary, engaging in meditation and discussing the teachings in paired groups and whole group discussion. There will be a new Foundation Program class beginning on January 30.
Please contact our Education Program Coordinator with any questions or if you wish to join this study program.
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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. Regular attendance in this program 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. Students sign up to study a book, agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of the study.
Prior to each class, students read and 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 review the material and decide how to put it into practice in daily life.
What books are studied on Foundation Program?
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 Foundation Programs are taught by Gen 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 class will be held weekly on Sundays from noon – 2:00 pm. We will be studying The New Heart of Wisdom beginning with an Introductory Class on January 30 at noon. The cost is $60 a month to become a monthly member which includes Foundation Program, all General Program Classes, retreats and some special events held at the Center.