A Unique Study Program
The Foundation Program (FP) is designed for students who have gained a basic understanding of Kadampa Buddhist practice and are interested in pursuing a formalized and committed study program. Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Program offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this program we shall gain great confidence in meditation – from basic techniques for overcoming our everyday problems to practices leading to unsurpassed happiness and permanent inner peace. Warm friendships develop as students inspire each other, sharing insights and experiences of the spiritual path.
In 1990, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso gave a talk about the Foundation Program and its purpose. Read the transcript of this talk below:
The Program Structure
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 agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of each book.
The Class Structure
Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages, and memorize the essential points. The class begins with chanted prayers and guided meditation. The teacher then 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, followed by dedication prayers.
The Main Benefits
"By increasing our wisdom and Dharma experience we will gradually solve all our problems and eventually we will achieve the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment, the bliss of Buddhahood. This is how the Foundation Program can fulfill our own wishes."
- Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
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.
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 The New 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
Foundation Program Teachers
The Foundation Program is taught by Julia Strohm on Monday nights and Michelle Valladares on Wednesday nights. Both are experienced teachers who have been studying on the Teacher Training Program for many years.
Beginning September 2021, Kadam Morten is teaching a Thursday evening Foundation Program, studying the New Eight Steps to Happiness.
How to Understand the Mind - This book offers us deep insight into our mind, and shows how an understanding of its nature and functions helps us recognize and abandon states of mind that harm us, and replace them with peaceful and beneficial ones.
The New Heart of Wisdom - By revealing the profound meaning of the very heart of Buddha’s teachings – the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras – this book shows how we can attain pure, lasting happiness through developing special wisdom and universal compassion.
The New Eight Steps to Happiness - Based on the famous Eight Verses of Training the Mind by the great Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa, this inspiring book reveals essential methods for transforming all life's difficulties into valuable spiritual insights and for developing universal love and compassion, the source of true happiness for both self and others.
ADMISSION INTO THE PROGRAM
The Foundation Program is open to members of KMC NYC. To become a member, the monthly fee is $85 and includes General Program classes at the Center and branches, as well as weekend events and retreats. Empowerments for members are half-price.
Students interested in FP can enroll in a 4-week trial for $60. If at the end of the trial period, they wish to continue with the program, we ask that they become monthly members of KMC NYC. The 4-week FP trial is free for members.
To find out more about the Foundation Program, contact [email protected].