Foundation Program

Foundation Program

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. 

When you join you will experience the great benefits of being part of this systematic study program. Through this you can improve your good heart, your wisdom, and your cherishing of others by going deeper into your study and meditation practice. 

This is not a drop-in program and enrolment is required. You are also required to have attended General Program classes regularly for a minimum of 6-months before joining the Foundation Program.
For further information about the program commitments, see below. To apply, please contact our Education Program Coordinator at

Foundation Program:

Day: Tuesday
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Teacher: Kelsang Khacho
Book Studied: New Eight Steps to Happiness

The New Eight Steps to Happiness – Based on the famous Eight Verses of Training the Mind by the great Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa, this inspiring book reveals essential methods for transforming all life’s difficulties into valuable spiritual insights and for developing universal love and compassion, the source of true happiness for both self and others.

Everyone, whether religious or non-religious, is looking for happiness all the time and wants to be free from problems and suffering permanently. We can fulfil these wishes through understanding and practising the instructions given in this book.

– Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

Commitments of Joining the Foundation Program

When you join the Foundation Program these are the following commitments each student is required to take:

  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, it is important as a part of your spiritual practice and improving your mind of cherishing others, to help Kadam Dharma flourish at Akshobya Kadampa Buddhist Centre. This is so others may experience just as you have, the same benefits of these precious teachings. There are many ways to help Dharma flourish such as occasionally helping with daily water offerings, cleaning the meditation room, assisting during classes/courses or helping in other areas. 

Prioritizing the Study Program in your personal schedule

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 Co-odinator.

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 Co-ordinator 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 Compassion &  New Eight 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.

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