Foundation Program

Foundation Program

Time: 7:00 - 9:00pm
Teacher: Kelsang Khacho
Book Studied: How to Understand the Mind

  • The Foundation Program (FP) is designed for those who wish to deepen their understanding and experience of Kadampa Buddhism through a systematic study of six texts by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche.

  • How to apply: send an email to


About the Book

How to Understand the Mind, by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, offers a deep insight into our mind and shows how an understanding of its nature and functions can be used practically in everyday experience to improve our lives.

The first part is a practical guide to developing and maintaining a light, positive mind. We learn how to recognize and abandon states of mind that harm us and to replace them with peaceful and beneficial ones.

The second part describes different types of mind in detail, revealing the depth and profundity of the Buddhist understanding of the mind. In particular it reveals the process we go through in abandoning wrong and mistaken minds and eventually attaining qualified spiritual realizations.

“Happiness and suffering are feelings – parts of our mind – and so their main causes are not to be found outside the mind. If we really want to be truly happy and free from suffering we must improve our understanding of the mind.”

–Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche


Commitments of Joining the Foundation Program

When you join either the Foundation Program or Teacher Training Program you must make the following commitments:

  1. To attend every class (including the review classes)
  2. To memorize the Condensed Meaning or Root Text of the books and to sit a written examination at the end of each book or section of a book
  3. To attend at least one puja or prayer service each week organized by the Centre
  4. To prepare well for each class so discussion partners’ efforts are respected
  5. To attend the group discussions

In addition, you will be expected to help Kadampa Meditation Centre Canada to flourish in practical ways – such as by occasionally putting up daily water offerings, cleaning the meditation room and other areas as needed; also helping in assisting at short courses where possible and assisting or teaching at General Program classes from time to time.

Prioritizing the Study Program in your personal schedule

Making your Foundation Program a high priority is essential for your studies and meditations to be successful. The Program term dates will be available in advance every six months; therefore, for any personal meetings/holidays etc. you should have time to re-schedule if necessary in the light of your Study Program attendance commitment.  Please note:  valid reasons for non-attendance cannot include avoidable appointments or holidays.

If we just dabble superficially in a spiritual path we will never gain a deep and stable experience, and our wisdom will never develop to its full potential. This is why these spiritual programs are so important – Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

For further information or to apply, please contact the Centre’s Education Program Coordinator.

Foundation Program (FP) is not a drop-in program, and enrollment is required. All FP students sign up at the start of each new book or section of a book. You also need to have attended General Program classes regularly for a minimum of six months before joining FP. New students are strongly advised to start their study at the beginning of a new book or section of a book. For more information and to inquire about scheduling, please email

You can also contact the Education Program Coordinator to inquire about attending FP via correspondence.



Other Books Studied on the Foundation Program

The purpose of the Foundation Programme shall be to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.  The Programme shall comprise 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, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, Universal CompassionEight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, The New Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, How to Understand the Mind

In Foundation Program, we study one of these books, page by page, taking to heart the deep meaning of Buddha’s advice.  Each class begins with prayers and  sometimes recitation of a root text. Then the Teacher presents the text with a detailed explanation.  Following this, students discuss in pairs to review the teaching they have just heard and  prepare questions for a later discussion group.  Then the Teacher guides a meditation based on the teaching.

Every fourth session is a group discussion, led by two members of the class who accept questions from students to clarify the meaning of the text.