Foundation Program is now being live-streamed!
Upcoming Foundation Program 3-week Taster!
If you’d like to try out FP, now is the time! Join either the Thursday or the Sunday class for 3-weeks to experience FP first hand and decide if this program is right for you.
Thursday Class: July 2, 9 & 16
Sunday Class: July 5, 12, & 19
Contact Ryan, Education Program Coordinator, for more information or to register at email@example.com or 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 one of the 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.
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.
The students take turns putting up the shrine offerings, setting up the meditation room and other tasks on the day of their class to help the class run smoothly. In this way, they learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice and also help build a sense of community and responsibility so that everyone feels like they are contributing to the success of the center.
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 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.
Studying via Correspondence
Students who live outside the Hartford area or who have a good reason for not being able to attend Foundation Program in person can request to study via correspondence. Students receive MP3s of the teachings via e-mail, fill out and return a weekly study summary and keep all the commitments of Foundation Program except for attendance of classes and chanted prayer sessions.
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 studying at the center or via correspondence, please email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him at 860.874.1970.