• Three Study Programmes

    in Modern Kadampa Buddhism

“These programs, therefore, are real wishfulfilling jewels for Dharma practitioners. By participating in them we can improve our wisdom and Dharma experience and use Dharma to solve our daily problems. We can become our own protector by protecting ourselves from danger and
suffering, and our own doctor by curing our mental pain with Dharma medicine.”
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has designed three special Study Programs for the systematic study and practice of Kadampa Buddhism that are especially suited to the modern world: the General ProgramFoundation Program, and Teacher Training Program.

Why we need to Study

There are three reasons why we need to study and practice the teachings of Buddha:

  • To develop our wisdom
  • To cultivate a good heart
  • To maintain a peaceful state of mind

If we do not strive to develop our wisdom, we shall always remain ignorant of ultimate truth – the true nature of reality. Although we wish for happiness, our ignorance leads us to engage in non-virtuous actions, which are the main cause of all our suffering.

If we do not cultivate a good heart, our selfish motivation destroys harmony and good relationships with others. We have no peace, and no chance to gain pure happiness. Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible.

If we do not maintain a peaceful state of mind we are not happy even if we have ideal conditions. On the other hand, when our mind is peaceful we are happy even if our external conditions are unpleasant.

Therefore, the development of these qualities is of utmost importance for our daily happiness!

The General Programme (GP)

The General Program introduces basic Buddhist view, meditation and action, along with various other teachings and practices, all within the Mahayana Buddhist tradition of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, to help practitioners deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.

All the teachings are based on commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

The General Program is taught at every Kadampa Buddhist Center and is an ideal starting point for those interested to find out more about Buddhism and meditation.

The program consists of drop-in classes (evening and lunchtimes), usually supplemented by optional day courses, weekend courses, and meditation retreats.

All classes are open to everyone.

This class also includes special classes for children.

SUBJECTS COVERED BY THE PROGRAM

  • Who is Buddha?
  • Understanding the mind
  • Past and future lives
  • What is karma?
  • Our precious human life
  • What is meditation
  • Death
  • The Buddhist way of life
  • What is liberation?
  • Developing renunciation
  • The three higher trainings
  • Becoming a Bodhisattva
  • The Bodhisattva’s way of life
  • Ultimate truth
  • Enlightenment

The Foundation Programme (FP)

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. We are currently Studying, How to Understand the Mind in our Morden Temple, click here for more information.

FIVE SUBJECTS

The program 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

BENEFITS OF THE FOUNDATION PROGRAM

The benefits of studying and practicing these texts are as follows:

Joyful Path of Good Fortune – we gain the ability to put all Buddha’s teachings of both Sutra and Tantra into practice. We can easily make progress on and complete the stages of the path to the supreme happiness of enlightenment. From a practical point of view, the Stages of the Path is the main body of Buddha’s teachings, and the other teachings are like its limbs.

Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness – we gain the ability to integrate Buddha’s teachings into our daily lives and solve all our human problems.

Heart of Wisdom – we gain a realization of the ultimate nature of reality. By gaining this realization we can eliminate the ignorance of self-grasping, which is the root of all our suffering.

Meaningful to Behold – we transform our daily activities into the Bodhisattva’s way of life, thereby making every moment of our human life meaningful.

Understanding the Mind – we understand the relationship between our mind and its external objects. If we understand that objects depend upon the subjective mind, we can change the way objects appear to us by changing our own mind. Gradually we shall gain the ability to control our mind and in this way solve all our problems.

The Teacher Training Programme (TTP)

The purpose of the Teacher Training Program is to provide an extensive presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism, and to train as qualified New Kadampa TraditionTeachers.

All Resident Teachers of Kadampa Buddhist Centers follow this in-depth program of study and practice.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Read Wishfulfilling Jewels for Dharma practitioners by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

The Teacher Training Program takes approximately twelve years to complete and requires an enrollment procedure.

We are currently studying Essence of Vajrayana on the Teacher Training Program, please click here for more information.

TWELVE SUBJECTS

The program comprises the following twelve subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra 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

6. Guide to the Middle Way, based on the commentary Ocean of Nectar

7. Vajrayana Mahamudra, based on the commentary Clear Light of Bliss

8. The Bodhisattva’s Moral Discipline, based on the commentary The Bodhisattva Vow

9. Offering to the Spiritual Guide, based on the commentaries Great Treasury of Merit and Mahamudra Tantra

10. Vajrayogini Tantra, based on the commentary Guide to Dakini Land

11. Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra, based on the commentary Tantric Grounds and Paths

12. The Practice of Heruka Body Mandala, based on the commentary Essence of Vajrayana