" 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, 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 3 Aug 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 fourth course in this program will be Tenets.

Dates & Times: Monday 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 August; 7, 14, 21, 28 September; 19 October; 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 November; 7, 14 December 2015, 7pm-9pm
Venue: Vajrayana Institute, 9 Victoria Square Ashfield NSW

My doctrine has two modes: advice and tenets. To children I speak advice, and to yogis, tenets. ~ Lankavatara sutra

Based on the idea that the Buddha taught different things to different people in line with their temperament and capacities, Tibetan scholars systemised the numerous trends in Indian Buddhist thought and taught the four schools of tenets as a means to approach the most profound philosophical teachings via more accessible levels. The text that's the basis for study of this subject gives an overview of the assertions within each of the four schools, including the most highly esteemed school, the Madhyamaka - the Middle Way.

Though Tenets 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 Buddhist philosophy. Everyone is welcome.

Cost:  $245/$220 VI member for Aug-Dec 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; 6, 13, 20, 27 Aug; 3, 10, 17, 24 Sep; 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Oct; 5, 12, 19, 26 Nov; 3, 10, 17 Dec 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 moved 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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