General Program, Foundation Program, Teacher Training Program
The General Program (GP) provides a basic introduction to
Buddhist view, meditation, and practice that is suitable for beginners, yet still engaging for those with more experience. For more information about what to expect at a class, please click here.
Many students of Buddhism have a sincere wish to deepen their knowledge and experience of Dharma and to gain authentic spiritual realizations. The Foundation Program and Teacher Training Program can fulfill this wish by providing a systematic presentation of all the subjects of Mahayana Buddhism; they form a perfect basis for a strong daily practice and successful meditation retreats.
“Our present understanding and experience of Dharma is quite superficial. We are like someone who has entered a huge food store and seen many things but sampled only a few. We may have received many different teachings from many different Teachers, but we have taken in very little, just a few morsels. There is a big gap between our mind and Dharma and so we cannot apply Dharma in our daily lives. Our approach remains passive, like someone watching television, and as a result our ordinary everyday problems remain. Why is this? It is because we are not studying systematically, according to a specially designed program. If we just pick at Dharma randomly, we shall never gain a deep and stable experience. For this reason, the Foundation Program and Teacher Training Program are very important.” – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
The Foundation Program (FP) is a structured program designed for practitioners who wish to deepen their Dharma study and meditation practice. Through listening, contemplating, and engaging in meditations and group discussions, foundation program students can increase their wisdom, Dharma experience and develop meaningful spiritual relationships. It offers the opportunity to study six of Geshe Kelsang’s books in great depth. The books are commentaries to Je Tsongkhapa’s writings and contain the very essence of Buddha’s teachings.
- Joyful Path of Good Fortune, a commentary to Atisha’s Lamrim text The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. By studying Joyful Path we gain the ability to put all Buddha’s teachings of both Sutra and Tantra into practice. We can easily make progress and complete the stages of the path to the supreme happiness of enlightenment. From a practical point of view Lamrim is the main body of Buddha’s teachings, and the other teachings are like the limbs.
- Universal Compassion, a commentary to Bodhisattva Chekhawa’s Training the Mind in Seven Points. By studying Universal Compassion we gain the ability to integrate Buddha’s teachings into our daily lives and solve all our human problems.
- New Heart of Wisdom, a commentary to the Heart Sutra. Through studying Heart of Wisdom we gain a realization of the ultimate nature of reality. By gaining this realization we can eliminate the ignorance of self-grasping which is the root of all our suffering.
- Meaningful to Behold, a commentary to Venerable Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. When we study Meaningful to Behold we learn how to transform our daily activities into the Bodhisattva’s way of life, thereby making every moment of our human life meaningful.
- Understanding the Mind, a detailed explanation of the mind based on the works of Buddhist scholars Dharmakirti and Dignaga. By studying Understanding the Mind we understand the relationship between our mind and its external objects. If we understand that objects depend upon the subjective mind, we can change the way objects appear to us by changing our own mind. Gradually we shall gain the ability to control our mind and in this way solve all our problems.
- Eight Steps to Happiness, a commentary to eight beautiful verses that comprise one of Buddhism’s best-loved and most enduring teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind. Composed by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa, this short poem shows how we can transform all life’s difficulties into valuable spiritual insights.
The Teacher Training Program (TTP) is designed for people who wish to dedicate themselves to the study, practice and flourishing of Kadam Dharma in this world. In addition to completing the study of twelve texts of Sutra and Tantra, which include five of the texts studied in the Foundation Program, the student is required to observe certain commitments, and to complete a number of meditation retreats.
- The Bodhisattva Vow, a commentary to the Bodhisttva’s vow of moral discipline, explaining how to help others through the practice of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom.
- Chandrakirti’s Guide to the Middle Way, a commentary to Chandrakirti’s Guide to the Middle Way, a classic Mahayana scripture, which is regarded as the principal presentation of Buddha’s profound view of emptiness, the ultimate nature of reality.
- Clear Light of Bliss, a detailed explanation of the special methods in Tantric Buddhism which enable us to discover infinite bliss and compassion for others. With this blissful awareness we can uncover our true nature, destroy ignorance and suffering at its root, and swiftly become a source of inspiration and benefit for others.
- Great Treasury of Merit, provides clear instructions on how to rely upon a Spiritual Guide, the foundation of all spiritual attainments. Great Treasury of Merit is a guide to the meditation practice Offering to the Spiritual Guide – one of the most important practices of Kadampa Buddhism.
- Guide to Dakini Land, a detailed explanation of the Tantric practice of Vajrayogini, the female Buddha of wisdom.
- Tantric Grounds and Paths, a detailed explanation of all the stages of the four classes of Tantra, including the generation and completion stages.
- Essence of Vajrayana, a detailed explanation of the practice of Heruka body mandala. Buddha Heruka is a manifestation of all the Buddhas’ enlightened compassion; by relying upon him we can swiftly attain a pure and selflessness joy that will enable us to bring true happiness to others.