" Practice compassion even if no one else does. "
- Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Basic Program

About the FPMT Basic Program

Basic Program webThis program is devised by our Spiritual Director, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche as an integrated program of Buddhist studies within the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).

The Basic Program is a five-year, twelve-subject course of studies that provides a practice-oriented transmission of the Buddha's teachings to committed students ready to progress beyond introductory-level study and practice.

Its comprehensive curriculum was designed to ensure that students will gain a profound knowledge of the key aspects of the entire Buddhist path, both sutra and tantra. It is taught by our qualified teachers who have completed extensive studies supported by deep practice.

A program of meditation, discussion and examination complements the teachings to ensure that participants develop an accurate working understanding of the dharma as a sound basis for daily practice, contemplative retreat and further study.


Basic Program II (NEW)

with Jampa Jaffe

We began a new round of the Basic Program in 2014 which continues. This will be taught by our senior teacher, Jampa Jaffe, and starts again on Monday 4 Aug 2014, 7pm.

BP Brochure 2014 for WebDownload this brochure to find out more about our new Basic Program course, its curriculum, requirements, and schedule.







The second course in this program will be Mind & Cognition.

Dates & Times: Monday 4, 11, 18, 25 August; 1, 8, 15, 22 September; 13, 20 October; 3, 10, 17, 24 November; 1, 8, 15 December 2014, 7pm-9pm
Venue: Vajrayana Institute, 9 Victoria Square Ashfield NSW

Speak with an unskilful mind, and unhappiness will follow you just as the wheel follows the hoof of an ox; speak or act with a skilful mind, and happiness will follow you just as your shadow follows your body.

In his collection of sayings, The Dhammapada, the Buddha describes the mind as the forerunner of all things, both good and bad. Indeed, understanding the mind is essential to understanding Buddhist theory and practice. But even more crucially, understanding the mind promotes self-understanding which is essential if we are to make the most of our lives.

The aim of this course is to present an overall picture of the concept of mind in Buddhism. First using an epistemological model of mind, we'll explore what it means to know and the various ways that we know. Then using a psychological model, we'll investigate the many and varied states of our minds - their divisions, natures and functions.

Though Mind and Cognition is part of a larger program of Buddhist studies at Vajrayana Institute, it can be attended as a stand-alone course, of value to anyone who wants to better understand their own mind. Everyone is welcome.

Cost:  $245/$220 VI member for Aug-Dec 2014; $15/$13 VI member per session, pay at the door.

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About the teacher
jampa jaffe_smJampa Jaffe, also known as Jampa Gendun, has been teaching Buddhism for over 20 years. American by birth, he was a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for 17 years and studied for over 14 years in India. He has spent one year in Thailand, studying and meditating in the Theravada tradition and in 2005 completed a solitary one year retreat in Spain.




Basic Program I

with Geshe Ngawang Samten

Geshe-la has been giving extensive commentaries on the various texts of the Basic Program. He will be continuing his commentary on the Special Insight section of the Stages of the Path in the second half of 2014.

Dates & Times: Thursday 7pm-9pm with discussion group at 6pm; 7, 14, 21, 28 August; 4, 11, 18, 25 September; 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 October; 6, 13, 20, 27 November; 4, 11, 18 December 2014

This is an advanced level course on Buddhist philosophy. Geshe-la continues his in-depth commentary on this text composed by the 14th century Buddhist master, Tzong Khapa. The topic examines the quality of insight needed to discern ultimate reality, also known as emptiness or selflessness.

He will then move onto the next text: Ornament for Clear Realizations.

Maitreya's Ornament of Clear Realizations is the root text for the study of the levels of realization related to enlightenment according to the Middle Way (Madhyamika) school of Buddhist philosophy. This important scripture, traditionally the basis for extensive study in the monastic curriculum, made explicit these levels which were otherwise presented in only a hidden manner in the Buddha's Perfection of Wisdom teachings. From among the seventy topics covered by the Ornament, the eleven topics of Chapter Four have been selected for commentary in the FPMT Basic Program curriculum.

All these teachings of Geshe-la are interpreted by Corey Jackson. Previous audio teachings of Geshe-la on the Basic Program are available here.

Cost: $15/$13 VI member per session, pay at the door.

About the teacher
geshe samten2010_smGeshe Ngawang Samten was born at Panchamari, MP, India. At the age of nine, he entered the Sera Monastic Institute and took the vows of monk ordination with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Geshe-la completed his studies and attained his Geshe degree at the highest level of a Lharampa, the equivalent of a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy. He taught as a lecturer in the Gelug tradition at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. Since 2003 Geshe-la has been the main resident teacher at VI.


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