THE FOUNDATION PROGRAM
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.
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 sign up to study a book or part of a book, agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of the study.
The Class Structure
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 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.
Students participate in 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. In addition to weekly attendance in the class, there is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted-prayer session at the Center each month.
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 Eigh 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.
Joyful Path of Good Fortune – through studying this book, we gain the ability to put Buddha’s teachings into practice. We can easily make progress on and complete the stages of the path to enlightenment. From a practical point of view, these stages are the main body of Buddha’s teachings, and the other teachings are like its limbs.
Eight Steps to Happiness – through studying this book, we gain the ability to transform our day-to-day living – including even the most difficult conditions – into opportunities for development. By pointing the way to an unchanging freedom and happiness, this book challenges us to grow, and will have a remarkable impact on our life.
ADMISSION INTO THE PROGRAM
The Foundation Program is open to members of KMC NYC. To become a member, the monthly fee is $85 (with a one year commitment) 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 are given the opportunity to enroll in a 4-week trial.
To find out more about the Foundation Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.