Mondays, 6:45 - 8:45pm
with Joseph Giacona
In-person + Online
pre-enrollment required

The Foundation Program

A Commitment-Based Study Program for those Interested in Deepening their Understanding of Buddha's Teachings, Dharma

A Unique Study Program

The Foundation Program (FP) is designed for students who have gained a basic understanding of Kadampa Buddhist practice and are interested in pursuing a formalized and committed study program. Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Program 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.

In 1990, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso gave a talk about the Foundation Program and its purpose. Read the transcript of this talk here.

The Program 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 agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of each book.

The Class Structure

Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages, 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, followed by dedication prayers.

The Main Benefits

"By increasing our wisdom and Dharma experience we will gradually solve all our problems and eventually we will achieve the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment, the bliss of Buddhahood. This is how the Foundation Program can fulfill our own wishes."
- Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Books 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.

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 The New Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, The New 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, How to Understand the Mind

Admission to the Program

The Foundation Program is open to members of KMC Williamsburg. To become a member, the monthly fee is $85 and includes General Program classes as well as weekend events.

Students interested in FP can enroll in a 4-week trial for $60. If at the end of the trial period, they wish to continue with the program, we ask that they become monthly members. The 4-week FP trial is free for members.

To find out more about the Foundation Program, contact

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