What is the Foundation Programme?
The Foundation Programme (FP) is an inspiring study programme that has been specially designed to develop and enhance our understanding and practical experience of Buddha’s teachings through a systematic study of six texts. It is designed for those people who wish to study Buddha’s teachings more in-depth following a structured approach. The classes consist of teachings, discussions, chanted prayers and guided meditations.
The six texts that are being studied on the Foundation Programme are:
Joyful Path of Good Fortune – Stages of the path to enlightenment, or Lamrim.
Universal Compassion and The New Eight Steps to Happiness – Training the mind, or Lojong.
The New Heart of Wisdom – An explanation of The Heart Sutra.
Meaningful to Behold – An explanation of Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
How to Understand the Mind – Types of mind and the relationship between our mind and its external objects, or Lorig.
“The texts themselves are quite clear. The Lamrim and Lojong texts in particular are quite easy to understand. However, when we are studying on this program we need a special way of understanding. This involves listening, contemplating, discussing, memorizing, and meditating.” - Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
A unique study programme
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.
Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Programme offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this program 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 happens at a class?
Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages long, and memorize the essential points. The class itself 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 does the Foundation Programme costs?
The Foundation Programme costs 50 euro per month which includes a Centre Card of KMC Nederland. A Centre Card gives access to all classes and meditations, (half) day and weekend courses, and empowerments that are organized by KMC Nederland without extra charge. (This does not include meals, accommodation and events with foreign Teachers.)
What are the commitments?
The secret of the Foundation Program’s success lies in the manageable commitment made by the student. 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. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she agrees to catch up by listening to a recording of the class. The monthly payment of 50 euro has to be made before the 7th of the month, preferably by standing order. There is an opportunity to enroll in free trial of three classes.
If travel time, or another reason, prevents a student from attending the study classes he or she may apply to join the Correspondence Foundation Programme. Students on the Correspondence Foundation Programme receive recordings of the classes in MP3 (available for download from the internet).