The Foundation Programme (FP) provides the opportunity to study Buddha’s teachings in greater depth. It is perfect for those who want to extend their understanding of Buddhism, and learn more about how to put these teachings into practice in their day-to-day lives.
The emphasis is on developing and maintaining a light and positive approach to dealing with the challenges of everyday life. At the same time, the programme helps us make progress on a spiritual path which leads to more profound wisdom and lasting peace and happiness.
Classes include preparatory prayers, guided meditations, teaching and discussion.
The teachings themselves are drawn from a series of books by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and are geared to cover the breadth of Buddha’s teachings. We take time to study each book unhurriedly, so that we have the chance to think carefully about the teachings, ask questions, and explore topics in detail.
Anyone is welcome to join the programme, but we generally recommend that you try the drop-in class programme first. You can also join the programme at any time during the year. To participate you need to be able to commit to regular class attendance (it is not a 'drop-in' programme). You are welcome to try out two 'taster' classes before deciding if you want to enrol.
The book that we'll be studying this year is Universal Compassion: Inspiring Solutions for Difficult Times, and is principally about we can transform our lives through developing our compassion and wisdom. The advice and suggestions made in the book are practical and relevant to life in these 'difficult times', but have the potential to change our lives in profound and meaningful ways.
Based on a famous Buddhist poem, Training the Mind in Seven Points, it shows how true mental freedom and lasting happiness can be achieved by changing our mind.
The fundamental insight underlying this book is that the world we experience is a reflection of our mind and so if we want to experience the world in a positive way we need to develop a positive mind.
The supremely positive mind is universal compassion, which is developed using the special meditations in this book.
As we gradually replace our habitual self-cherishing with a genuine cherishing of others, we find our powers of transformation increase. Eventually we reach the point where we can transform any situation, however unpleasant, into a positive experience and an opportunity to make progress in our spiritual development.
If you are not able to get into Palmerston North to participate in the foundation programme, it is possible to engage in distance study. Recordings of classes are made, and then these are made available to you on-line.
There is a standard fee of $75 /month (a lower rate is available if you are unemployed or unable to afford this amount). This covers attendance at FP, 'drop-in', and half-day courses, as well as reduced costs for weekend courses. You are also able to use the Palmerston North library and the gompa at any time.
Please contact Gen Demo on 06 355 3524 or email email@example.com if you are interested in joining, or have any questions about this programme.