What is the Basic Program?

The Basic Program has been specifically designed by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche to provide a balanced approach to the combination of academic education and the practice of meditation that characterise the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, making the study and understanding of the philosophical subjects of immediate and practical benefit. The Basic Program has been structured around a schedule of teachings, review classes, and discussion groups alternating with meditation retreats so as to encourage the integration of the teachings into one's practice with a view to gaining a personal experience of them.

“The goal of this Basic Program is to learn how to practise Dharma properly. To do this, we need to understand the Dharma and we therefore need to study. Studying for the sake of just acquiring knowledge is similar to studying science at university and is therefore purely theoretical whereas the teachings of the Dharma are to be put into practice. We have to take the essence of what we learn to try to gradually improve our minds through it.

What is the purpose of our studies? To subdue the afflicted mind. This does not mean that all our afflictions will instantly be abandoned as a result of having engaged in a few years of study, but in time we will see a difference in our mental attitude as we shall have less anger, fewer obsessions and we shall be less close-minded. Due to our studies and practice we can obtain a more open and happy mind. Other people should be able to notice this transformation as well.

When we compare the state of our mind before and after the studies, we should be able to notice a change and we can then see that studying was definitely not a waste of time. Shantideva said there is nothing that does not become easy by familiarity.”

Geshe Jamphel Gyaltsen
Resident teacher of Nalanda monastery

FPMT Basic Program at Nalanda Monastery

Nalanda Monastery has started its Basic Program at the beginning of 2018. Still it is possible for students to join our program at the start of every new subject, whereby the subjects missed could be studied online or residentially later on during another Basic Program. It is also possible to study the different subjects separately and to choose to for example study only Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds or Tenets.

The program is a five year full-time (2018-2022) comprehensive course of study, discussion, and meditation based upon sutra and tantra texts traditionally studied in the Tibetan Buddhist Gelug tradition, culminating with a three month lamrim retreat. As a full-time residential program in a monastic setting, Nalanda is able to offer a unique approach to study and meditation to both Western monastics and committed lay practitioners. The focused approach of a five year full-time residential study program will give students the opportunity to integrate practical Dharma into their lives rather than it staying at a mere intellectual level. The Program will conclude in the fifth year with a review period in preparation for the final exam and a three month lamrim retreat.

For the proposed five year schedule, click here.

"By relying on studying, reflecting, and meditating on the Mahayana Dharma, one is able to get closer to the teachings. To the extent that one gets closer to the teachings, to that extent one will be able to practice them."

Geshe Lobsang Jamphel
Abott and resident teacher of Nalanda monastery

Students who graduate from the program by fulfilling all the BP completion requirements, including attendance, service, respecting the code of conduct, participating in retreats and meditations and taking the tests and the final exam, will be eligible to apply to become a FPMT registered teacher, and will be able to serve in FPMT centres and programs in different capacities.

For information about of attendance and graduation requirements, click here.

FaLang translation system by Faboba