What is the Teacher Training Program?
The Teacher Training Program 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.
The Teacher Training Program is taught by Gen 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.
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 twice a week for two hours or once weekly for three to four hours. Generally, the students take turns helping with various tasks, ritual and otherwise, associated with Buddhist practice and focusing 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 and try to recall 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?
Currently, there is not a separate TTP class, but those interested in this program may join the Sunday Foundation Program class, participating in that class with TTP commitments. That class will begin in February 2020 and the book being studied is How to Understand the Mind.
How much will it cost?
The cost is $85 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.
The benefits of the program are shared here in a transcript of a teaching given by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,
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, having understood the commitments, they would then need to take part in an interview with the Resident Teacher before being admitted to the program. To find out more about the Teacher Training Program, the prerequisites and how to apply, contact Ryan at 860.874.1970 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org