Delve Deeper into Dharma: the VMC Foundation Program
Wish to expand your understanding of the Dharma?
Boost your motivation and enhance your practice?
Make new friends who share your enthusiasm for Buddha’s teachings?
If you feel ready to advance your practice, the VMC Foundation Program is the next step to take!
As we begin to experience the practical benefits of Buddhist meditation, we develop the wish to deepen our understanding, study advanced topics and become confident meditators. The Foundation Program is an in-depth investigation of profound teachings. Comprised of the most committed students, the FP provides a community with whom we can share the rewards and challenges of applying Dharma to daily life and sustaining a regular meditation practice. We receive wisdom from ancient masters and new friends.
You can try the program for four weeks before making a commitment.
To get started, speak with Kadam Matthew or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of our current VMC Foundation Program students in October 2018.
Foundation Program FAQs
The Foundation Program meets 4 pm – 6:30 pm every Sunday, except during July and August.
Participation requires our Foundation Membership, which includes unlimited access to all classes and workshops at VMC and discounts on special events such as empowerments ($75/month).
The program assumes some familiarity with meditation and Buddhism – most FP participants attend our general program classes for at least a few months before joining. Those who feel ready to join based on prior experience or a deep wish to advance their practice quickly are welcome to discuss participation with Kadam Matthew.
The classes are based on an in-depth study of a Dharma book that includes weekly reading and meditation assignments. Participation assumes a commitment to attending classes every Sunday, barring major holidays and special circumstances, until the book or a specific section of a longer book is completed, which usually takes about a year.
Program commitment requires students who miss class to listen to a recording of the class and complete a brief written summary.
Class begins with chanted prayers and a guided meditation.
Teacher reads and gives commentary on pages from the Dharma study book, which is currently Universal Compassion.
Students discuss the teachings in pairs, then decide together on the coming week’s meditation assignment.
At conclusion of class, 3 – 4 pages of reading for next week are assigned.
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