Mondays 6:30-8:30pm How to Understand the Mind
With Resident Teacher, Gen Kelsang Sanden
Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm Eight Steps to Happiness
With Senior Teacher Jill Arseneau
The Foundation Program (FP) is designed for people who wish to deepen their understanding and experience of Kadampa Buddhism through a systematic study of essential Buddhist commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
There are two different Foundation Programs in Abbotsford. We register in only one of these. The current books being studied are How to Understand the Mind on Mondays and Eight Steps to Happiness on Thursdays.
The Foundation Program gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation program on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path right here at Kadampa Meditation Centre Fraser Valley.
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 Program (FP) 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 is the structure?
The secret of the Foundation Program’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. There are two separate programs. Both of these are in Abbotsford one run on Thursday nights from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and the other on Monday nights from6:30 to 8:30pm.
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 or may take the class by correspondence. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Center per month. The students may take turns putting up the shrine offerings and setting up the meditation room on the day of their class. In this way they learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice.
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 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 Program is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.
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, NewHeart 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
The Foundation Program is taught by Jill Arseneau on Thursday nights and Gen Sanden on Monday nights. Both are experienced teachers who have been studying on the Teacher Training Program for many years.
When is the class?
Class is on either Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8:30pm or on Mondays from 6:30pm – 8:30pm (classes are off on some Mondays but only rarely on Thursdays between September and June). There is an opportunity to enroll in a 4 week free trial. In order to attend this 4 week trial you must email the Education Program Coordinator at email@example.com to set up a phone interview. Anyone can join and experience the great benefits of being part of this regular study program. Through this we can improve our good heart, our wisdom, and our cherishing of others by going deeper into our study and meditation practice.
*This is not a drop-in class, enrollment is required. People are generally required to have attended GP (drop-in) classes for a minimum of 6-months before joining the Foundation Program. CONTACT
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
How much will it cost?
The cost is $75 a month to become a monthly member which also includes free admission to General Program Classes at the Center and branches, and much reduced costs for in-house weekend events and retreats at the Center and empowerments. To find out more about the Foundation Program and how you can join, contact us at email@example.com.