The FPMT Masters Program in Buddhist Studies of Sutra and Tantra is the unique vision of Lama Thubten Yeshe, first implemented and developed into the current curriculum by Geshe Jampa Gyatso. As a full-time study program with integrated practice and training components, it aims at providing serious students of Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition greater depth of study and trains qualified teachers of Buddhist theory and practice.
At Nalanda, the Masters Program is taught by the abbot of Nalanda Monastery, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Losang Jamphel, a fully qualified Tibetan Lharampa Geshe. Supplemental to the lectures there are review classes offered by a highly experienced Teaching Assistant.
The program offers an in-depth study of five great texts as well as extensive retreat experience, all of which will provide a thorough grounding in sutra and tantra. It is a uniquely inspiring and fulfilling way for both ordained and lay Buddhists to learn and practice the Dharma. As the culmination of the FPMT's Buddhist education programs, it is intended to train qualified non-Tibetan Dharma teachers.
The full-time residential program at Nalanda Monastery consists of seven years of study. The daily teachings are supported by review classes, meditations, discussions, quizzes every second week, and written exams every three months.
During the seven years of study, there will be three one-month retreat periods and daily meditations as a means to ensure that students acquire familiarity with the lam-rim. The overall goal is that students relate the material they have studied to their own daily Dharma practice, which will greatly enhance their ability to teach and benefit others.
A subject completion card will be granted to those students who demonstrate successful fulfilment of the requirements for each subject. Criteria for this subject completion card include successful fulfillment of academic, meditation, behaviour and service components, and a minimum level of attendance in the various aspects of the program.
Having successfully completed the program in its entirety, a Masters Program Certificate will be granted to those students who have achieved completion cards for all five subjects and have completed the retreat requirement and the review and final exam. The Masters Program Certificate is issued by FPMT Education Services and is the highest educational achievement awarded within the FPMT. Masters Program graduates will be eligible to become FPMT registered teachers.
Masters Program Mission Statement
The Masters Program’s mission is to provide full-time in-depth education for students of the Tibetan Mahayana tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa with emphasis on the integration of academic, practice, behavior, service and training components. In addition to offering students a profound deepening of their Dharma understanding and practice, the Masters Program aims at providing the FPMT with highly qualified Western teachers of Buddhist theory and practice.
Main Components of the Program
There are five main components:
- The Academic Component: daily teachings and tutorials, quizzes and exams, a final three-month review at the end of the whole program and a final exam
- The Meditation Component: daily meditations and the required retreats
- The Attitude and Behaviour Component: daily self-evaluation, fulfillment of the patience requirement and standards of ethical conduct
- The Service Component: contribution of a minimum of five hours per week in the form of various assigned tasks that benefit Nalanda Monastery, community and study program
- The Training Component: leading discussions and meditations, preparing and giving presentations, preparing course materials and discussions, participation in FPMT trainings, etc.