Foundation Program: A Structured Study Program

What is the Foundation Program?

The Foundation Program (FP) provides students with an opportunity to advance their understanding and practice of Buddha’s teachings through systematic study and meditation on the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.  Foundation Program students study the following five subjects based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and their corresponding commentaries by our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

  • The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, or Kadam Lamrim, based on the commentary Joyful Path of Good Fortune
  • Training the Mind, or Kadam Lojong, based on two commentaries, The New Eight Steps to Happiness and Universal Compassion
  • The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary The New Heart of Wisdom
  • Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary Meaningful to Behold
  • Types of Mind, based on the commentary How to Understand the Mind

The Benefits of the Foundation Program

Students in the FP have an opportunity to follow the same training followed by spiritual practitioners for generations, but without having to abandon their modern lifestyle.  Over time, students in FP find that their minds change for the better in significant ways:  through taking Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and striving to put them into practice in daily life, they gain authentic spiritual experience, solve their daily problems, improve their relationships at work and at home, and develop a good heart. * Read the benefits of the Foundation Program as presented by NKT founder, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, in England in 1990.

The Commitments of the Foundation Program

Our General Program classes are offered on a drop-in basis and there are no requirements for attending.  As a more structured program of study, the FP does require students to make some basic commitments:

  • Students keep the intention to attend every class during the FP term (terms are August through late December and late January through June), and try not to miss more than two classes per term
  • Students read ahead and memorize the essential points of the text
  • Students memorize the root text and/or the condensed meaning of the text
  • Students take one exam per year to check their understanding of what they have studied
  • Students attend at least one group meditation / chanted prayer session per week (group meditations are scheduled 7 days per week at various times)
  • Students pay a $60 per month fee (including during months when FP is not in session)

Studying via Correspondence

Students who live outside the Columbia area or who have a good reason for not being able to attend Foundation Program can request to study via correspondence.  Students receive MP3s of the teachings via e-mail and keep all the commitments of Foundation Program except for attendance of classes and chanted prayer sessions. If you are interested in studying via correspondence, please contact us.

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$60 per month (even during months we do not meet for class)
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West Columbia

Sundays, 3pm – 5:15pm

at KMC South Carolina
2999 Sunset Blvd, Suite 101, West Columbia, SC 29169

with Buddhist Teacher, Mark Gould

We will begin a new book and open enrollment in the Foundation Program on Sunday, January 22, 2017.  You’re welcome to try 2 classes at no cost and no commitment to see if you’re interested in the program. Everyone is welcome!

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.

Asheville

Thursdays, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

at 1070 Tunnel Road, Bldg 2, Unit 20 (Behind Pomodoro’s), Asheville NC 28805
with Buddhist Teacher, Sharon Lovich

The 2017 term begins Thursday, January 26. You’re welcome to try 2 classes at no cost and no commitment to see if you’re interested in the program.

NEW FP BOOK: How To Understand the Mind

‘We often say, “My Mind, my mind”, but if someone were to ask us, “What is your mind”, we would have no correct answer. This is because we do not understand the nature and function of the mind correctly.’

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

This book offers us deep insight into our mind, and shows how an understanding of its nature and functions can be used practically in everyday experience to improve our lives.

The Foundation Program is a profound and practical way to deepen your experience and practice of these meaningful teachings.