Our Buddhist study group at Potala Centre is known as ‘The Foundation Programme’.
The Foundation Programme gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation programme on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path right here at Potala Kadampa Buddhist Centre.
Buddhism teaches that to find lasting happiness and meaning in our lives we need to follow a spiritual path. To follow this path it is important to have a close connection with a qualified teacher who can give us personal advice and encouragement, to listen to pure Dharma teachings and to be a part of a strong spiritual community. In this way we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of Buddha’s teachings, maintain a daily meditation practice that is both focused and powerful, and make genuine spiritual progress.
A Unique Study Program
Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Programme (FP) offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakayamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this programme 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.
What is the structure?
The secret of the Foundation Programme’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. Class meets once a week for two and a half hours. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Centre per week.
What happens at a class?
Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually around a dozen pages long, and memorise 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.
What books are studied?
The purpose of the Foundation Programme is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.
The programme comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
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 Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, 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, Understanding the Mind
When is the class?
Class is on Sunday evenings from 6:00pm – 8:30pm. In order to access a free trial of the Foundation Programme you should contact us here and you will be able to arrange an informal interview to discuss your suitability for the programme.
How much will it cost?
The cost is £24 a month to become a member which also includes free admission to ‘Meditation for Life’ Classes at the Centre and branches, weekend events, and retreats.
To find out more about the Foundation Programme and how you can join, contact us here.