Foundation Program

The Bodhisattva Vow

Tuesdays, 7-9pm

New students are welcome to join as we begin the study of The Bodhisattva Vow. Drop in for an introductory class on January 28!

A Bodhisattva is a friend of the world who, motivated by compassion, seeks enlightenment to benefit all living beings. In this welcome guide to compassionate living, Geshe Kelsang explains in detail how to take and keep the Bodhisattva vows, how to purify negative minds, and how to practice the Bodhisattva’s actions of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom. With this handbook as our companion, we can enter the Bodhisattva’s way of life and progress along the path to full enlightenment.

Joyful Path of Good Fortune

Wednesdays, 9:30am-12pm

Joyful Path of Good Fortune covers the meaning and the method to accomplish full enlightenment by following the Lamrim Stages of the Path. It includes all of the essential  knowledge that leads us to  development of the wisdom that cuts the bonds of ignorance which imprison living beings in samsara.

Through a profound and systematic study of this book we can become qualified Buddhist practitioners, and then help others to do the same. All of our questions about Buddhism are answered in this book. It includes teaching on the Stages of the Path, how to study and meditate effectively, reliance on the Spiritual Guide, the meaning of human life, birth, death and rebirth in samsara, refuge in the Three Jewels, karmic causes and effects, and the real causes of happiness and suffering.

Those who are interested in enrolling in the Wednesday FP class can drop in on a class and try it out.

Registration and Costs

$80/ monthly fee for 12 months

…or for the duration of a book study section, including the vacation months of July and August. Includes Supporting Membership privileges.

For further information or to register, please contact the Resident Teacher or the Education Program Coordinator.

Correspondence Students

$50/month for the duration of a book study section

(No fees due in July and August. Does not include Supporting Membership privileges).

FP Correspondence Classes are offered with the same commitments made by students who attend classes at the Centre, with the exception of attendance at weekly pujas. (See below for more information about the commitments.) Correspondence students are required to keep up with the class unless the teacher has given special permission for other conditions.

Please apply to our Education Program Coordinator and Resident Teacher to participate in the Foundation Program by correspondence.

The Commitments

Students who enter the FP make the following commitments to:

  1. Attend all classes.
  2. Prepare for each class by reading and contemplating the assigned text and memorizing any suggested text.
  3. Make a sincere effort to attend a group puja at the Cente every week.
  4. Write an exam at the conclusion of the book or section of book.
  5. Register and commit to a full book study or a section of a book.
  6. Become a Supporting Member and offer volunteer help to Akshobya KBC, according to one’s capacity.
  7. Pay their course and membership fees on time.

Students who have a valid reason for missing a class may request permission from the teacher to receive a recording of that particular class.  There may be a fee to receive a recording.

What is Foundation Program?

From the NKT Internal Rules:

The purpose of the Foundation Programme shall be to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.  The Programme shall comprise 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, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, Universal CompassionEight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, The New Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, How to Understand the Mind

In Foundation Program, we study one of these books, page by page, taking to heart the deep meaning of Buddha’s advice.  Each class begins with prayers and  sometimes recitation of a root text. Then the teacher presents the text with a detailed explanation.  Following this, students discuss in pairs to review the teaching they have just heard and  prepare questions for a later discussion group.  Then the teacher guides a meditation based on the teaching.

Every fourth session is a group discussion, led by two members of the class who accept questions from students to clarify the meaning of the text.