What is the Teacher Training Program?
The Teacher Training Program (TTP) is designed 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 these 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. All Resident Teachers of Kadampa Buddhist Centers follow this in-depth program of study and practice.
Those who are interested in joining TTP are asked to do the following:
1. Attend the General meditation classes offered at the center for a period of time, usually for several months, to be sure that they are comfortable with the teachings and tradition.
2. Join the Foundation Program (FP), which is a systematic study of commentaries to Buddha’s Sutra teachings.
3. Participate in the Foundation Program consistently for a period of time (typically a year or more). Students currently on FP that are interested in joining the Teachers Training Program should have a brief meeting with the Teacher. TTP requires extensive study of even more commentaries to Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra teachings. TTP students are required to observe certain commitments with regard to behavior and way of life, to complete a number of meditation retreats, and to receive the Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerments through the tradition. The books studied in Foundation Program are part of the preparation for the Teacher Training Program.
Who is the Teacher?
The Teacher Training Program is taught by Gen Khyenwang, American Buddhist Nun and Resident Teacher at Odiyana Kadampa Buddhist Center. She has been practicing and studying Buddhism for many years under the guidance of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and is known for her clear and practical presentations of Buddha’s teachings.
What is the structure?
In the TTP, students sign up to complete all the books in the program and undertake to attend every class, to learn the material, and to take tests at various intervals throughout the study of each book. Class meets for approximately two hours twice weekly. Students take turns helping with various tasks at the center, ritual and otherwise (ie setting up for class, setting out offerings on the shrine) that are associated with Buddhist practice and focus on the importance of cherishing others. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she is expected to listen to the class recording and submit a summary prior to attending the next class.
TTP students are also encouraged to attend weekly chanted prayers or a weekly GP (General Program Class) and one or all of the several monthly ritual pujas, or chanted prayers, such as Offering to the Spiritual Guide and Melodious Drum.
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. Next, the students divide into pairs to recall the text in the sections covered and bring up any points that need clarification.The teacher and students then conclude what to meditate on in the next class and how to practice during the week. Students then participate in taking down and putting up the shrine offerings and setting up the meditation room for the next class.
Which book is being studied?
There will be a new TTP class forming in mid-fall and we will be studying the text The New Guide to Dakini Land by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. This comprehensive guide provides a detailed and practical explanation of the two stages of Vajrayogini practice – generation stage and completion stage – and shows how we can integrate these practices into our daily life, thereby transforming every moment of our life into the path to enlightenment. It is a unique guide to becoming a Tantric enlightened being in the modern world.
It is extremely fortunate that there is an opportunity to receive the Highest Yoga Tantra (HYT) empowerments of Vajrayogini and Heruka this summer during the International NKT Summer Festival and therefore have the ability to study, learn and practice the methods of HYT given in this precious text in the fall.
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, founder of the New Kadampa Tradition and author of The New Guide to Dakini Land, says, “The gateway through which we enter Tantra is receiving a Tantric empowerment. An empowerment bestows upon us special blessings that heal our mental continuum and awaken our Buddha nature.”
The empowerments and teachings in Week 2 of the Summer Festival will open the door to Highest Yoga Tantra, the very essence of Kadampa Buddhism and the quick path to enlightenment.
If you are interested in joining TTP in the fall and studying this text, it is highly recommended to take advantage of this opportunity to receive the HYT empowerments through attending Week 2 of the festival.
How much will it cost?
The cost is $100 a month which includes a monthly membership to attend any of the 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.
When will the class meet?
The classes for TTP will tentatively begin mid-October. Days and times are still being determined but participants should plan on 4 to 4 and a half hours of class per week.
What are the benefits of this program?
The benefits of the program are shared here in a transcript of a teaching given by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso at Tara Center in England in 1990.
To join the TTP, students generally should have been attending the Foundation Program for a year or more. The books studied in Foundation Program are part of the preparation for the Teacher Training Program. If someone is interested in becoming part of Teacher Training Program and would like to find out more or how to apply, please contact Ryan at 860.874.1970 or email at email@example.com