The foundation programme is a special study and meditation programme designed by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for studying Buddhism. It provides an opportunity to deepen our knowledge and experience of Buddhism, and to gain authentic spiritual realisations through a structured programme of study and meditation. It offers a systematic presentation of the basic subjects of Mahayana Buddhism and forms the perfect basis for a daily meditation practice.
Geshe Kelsang Says…
“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 we cannot apply Dharma in our daily lives.”
Why is this?
It is because we are not studying systematically, according to a specially designed programme. If we just pick at Dharma randomly, we shall never
gain deep and stable experiences. For this reason, the spiritual programmes offered in New Kadampa Tradition centres are very important.
What is Studied?
The foundation programme is based on six of Geshe Kelsang’s books which present Buddha’s teachings in a clear and simple way that is directly relevant and applicable to the western way of life. We are currently studying “Eight Steps to Happiness, The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness” which is a detailed and practical 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. For centuries, these liberating meditation practices have brought lasting peace, inspiration and serenity to countless people in the East.
What are the commitments?
Each book is divided into sections that may take up to a few weeks to a few months to complete. At the end of each section there is an exam to help the student to commit the main points of the text to memory. Participants enrol for the duration of each section and agree to attend all the classes. Everyone is welcome to try Foundation Programme for two or three weeks before making any commitments.
What happens in the classes?
Reading the text together with an explanatory commentary by the teacher
Discussion in Pairs
When are the Foundation Programme Classes?
Friday and Sunday – 7.30pm to 9.30pm during term time which runs approximately parallel to the school academic year.