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. Currently, there are two Foundation Program classes available (see below for details on each).

Please contact our Education Program Coordinator with any questions or if you wish to join this study program.

(epc@odiyana.org) / 860-874-1970)

About 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 Foundation Program (FP) study classes.

A Unique Study Program

The purpose of the Foundation Program (FP) is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism. Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Program 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.

2 Classes Offered (Currently Livestreamed)

Foundation Program
The New Heart of Wisdom

Meets Sundays Weekly, 5:30-7:45pm

About the book: The New Heart of Wisdom: This special presentation of Buddha’s teachings by the author of Modern Buddhism, offers truly liberating insights and advice for the contemporary reader. It reveals the profound meaning of the very heart of Buddha’s teachings – the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras. The author shows how all our problems and suffering come from our ignorance of the ultimate nature of things, and how we can abandon this ignorance and come to enjoy pure, lasting happiness by developing a special wisdom associated with compassion for all living beings.

Foundation Program
Universal Compassion

Meets Thursdays Weekly, 5:45-7:45pm

About the book: Universal Compassion: The heart of Buddha’s teachings is unconditional love and compassion. In this inspiring explanation of the popular Buddhist poem Training the Mind in Seven Points, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso reveals powerful and far-reaching methods for us to develop these altruistic states. Ancient meditative techniques that have been tried and tested for centuries are brought alive and made relevant to our everyday experiences. Also included is a practical explanation of how we can transform our day-to-day problems—even the most demanding and difficult conditions—into opportunities for personal and spiritual development. By pointing the way to an unchanging freedom and happiness, this immensely readable book challenges us to grow and will have a remarkable impact on our life.

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. 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 a podcast of the class and filling out a class summary before attending the next class. 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.

What happens at a class?
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. 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 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 Teacher
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.


How much will it cost?
The cost is $60 a month to become a monthly member which includes Foundation Program, all General Program Classes at Odiyana Center and its branches,all unguided preliminary guide retreats at the Center and discounted rates on day courses.

Learn more about the benefits of this program by reading a transcript from a teaching given by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche when these programs began.

If you are interested in joining the program or have questions, please email Ryan at epc@odiyana.org or contact him at 860.874.1970.