" The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. "
- H.H. The Dalai Lama

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, 12-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 in 2015. This will be taught by our senior teacher, Jampa Jaffe, and starts again on Monday 2 Feb 2015, 7pm.

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







The third course in this program will be Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds.

Dates & Times: Monday 2, 9, 16, 23 February; 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 March; 13, 20, 27 April; 4, 11, 18, 25 May; 1, 22, 29 June 2015, 7pm-9pm
Venue: Vajrayana Institute, 9 Victoria Square Ashfield NSW

For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.

Based on Shantideva's inspirational verses on Mahayana aspiration and practice, composed more than a thousand years ago and still widely regarded as the most authentic and complete guide for the practitioner dedicated to the enlightenment of all beings. A true classic ranging in scope from simple practical techniques for dealing with destructive emotions up to the most refined discussion of ultimate truth.

Though Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds 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 Jan-June 2015; $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 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

Dates & Times: Thursday 7pm-9pm with discussion group at 6pm; 26 February; 5, 12, 19, 26 March; 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 April; 7, 14, 21, 28 May; 18, 25 June 2015

Geshe-la has been giving extensive commentaries on the various texts of the Basic Program. In 2014, students enjoyed his in-depth commentary on the Special Insight section of the Stages of the Path, a 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. 

This year Geshe-la moves onto the next text: The Ornament Of Clear Realization

Maitreya's The Ornament of Clear Realization is the root text for the study of the levels of realisation 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 70 topics covered by the Ornament, the 11 topics of Chapter Four have been selected for commentary in the FPMT Basic Program curriculum.

This is an advanced level course on Buddhist philosophy.

All these teachings of Geshe-la will be interpreted by Voula Zarpani. 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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