Foundation Program Current Book:
Universal Compassion is a commentary to a twelfth-century text on training the mind, ”Training the Mind in Seven Points“, which was composed by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva, Geshe Chekhawa.
The heart of Buddha’s teachings is unconditional love and compassion. In this inspiring book, 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.
These study classes also help us to become part of a community of practitioners who are sincerely putting the teachings into practice. With weekly reading assignments from the text, as well as commentary, discussions, and meditations on the week’s readings, these study classes create the conditions for us to develop deep inner experience of the teachings.
WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR
"To have the opportunity to practice this precious and profound teaching (Universal Compassion) is infinitely more meaningful than being given all the precious jewels in the world. If we understand how extremely worthwhile it is to read, listen to, study, contemplate, and engage in the practice of this very special Dharma, we will do so with great faith and a happy mind."
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Tharpaland, November 1987
Foundation Program: Common Questions
HOW DOES IT WORK?
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 take a test at the conclusion of the study. Class meets once a week for two-and-a-half hours.
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. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Center per month. Generally, the students take turns putting up the shrine offerings and setting up the meditation room on the day of their class. In this way they learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice.
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 reads the assigned selection from the book while giving commentary to the text. The students then divide into pairs to discuss 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.
WHEN IS THE CLASS?
Class meets once a week, 4 – 6:30 pm on Sundays.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Joining FP requires becoming a Foundation Member at $75/month. As an added benefit to this membership level, all General Program classes, with the exception of a few special events a year, are included. Your membership also helps to ensure that the center remains financially strong so that the classes can continue. Please see our membership page for details on membership levels.
WHAT BOOKS ARE STUDIED?
The purpose of the Foundation Program is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism. When joining an FP class, the student commits to complete the study of one of these books.
FIVE SUBJECTS: The program comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, based on the commentaries, Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, The New Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, based on the commentary, How to Understand the Mind
MORE QUESTIONS? Email us at email@example.com