Advanced Program

Basic Programme Module 1 - 2020
The Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life



Chenrezig Institute starts the Fifth Round of FPMT’s Basic Programme in April 2020!

Since 1997, the Basic Program has been taught, developed and refined by our resident teachers at Chenrezig Institute, Khensur Rinpoche, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Geshe Lozang Jamyang, and more recently Geshe Phuntsok Tsultrim, ably assisted by very qualified interpreters and tutors. Chenrezig Institute has now completed four full rounds of all subjects of the Basic Program, and two years of Middle Way studies at the masters programme level.

In the words of the very precious Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche: ‘Establishing the study programme makes it more sure that the students take it seriously to learn and complete the texts and clearly understand the Buddhist philosophy for their own deeper and clearer understanding, for their attainments, realisations and enlightenment. Also you need that clearer and deeper understanding to spread the Dharma to other beings.’

The Basic Programme is a unique and contemporary course providing a well-rounded structured education in the Buddhadharma for committed students ready to progress beyond an introductory level of study and practice.

The Basic Programme, as laid out by FPMT, comprises nine core subjects plus three supplementary subjects. At Chenrezig Institute, it has been studied over a period of four to five years in intensive study modules of between 6 – 8 weeks scheduled throughout the year. Now, under new and challenging conditions we will be offering these precious teachings online, in various formats, to allow students to study at home in their own safe environment.

Basic Programme courses in 2020 will be taught by our precious resident teacher, Geshe Phuntsok Tsultrim, personally chosen for our centre by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We are very fortunate that he will continue to be assisted (for 2020 at least) by Ven Kartson, our excellent Advanced Programme interpreter and tutor who is himself a Basic Programme graduate.

Basic Programme 2020

To introduce this, our fifth round of the Basic Programme teachings, we plan, first of all, two modules studying Shantideva’s beautiful and inspiring Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. This deceptively simple text teaches how to develop the precious mind of enlightenment (Bodhicitta), and how to maintain it perfectly through the practice of the perfections. It is the basis of the Mahayana Path and a perfect motivation for all further study and practice.

Since we are unable to have students visit the centre, all sessions will be offered online with a combination of zoom sessions, videos on Youtube and audio files uploaded to our online dropbox. We will keep everyone informed about how to access these various options as the start date comes closer.

Please note the new dates:

Our current 6 week module will end on Thursday 4th June and the second module starts again after a break of 11 days:

The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life module 2 – Tuesday 16th June until Thursday 23rd July.

Now we will schedule another 6 week module after another short break:
The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life module 3 – Tuesday 4th August until Thursday 10th September.

There may well be another module after that one – we will keep you informed.


For the foreseeable future our schedule will be three days per week – Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am – 4.00pm. Each day will include a meditation, a teaching with Geshela, a discussion session and a tutorial with Ven Kartson. 

These modules will cover the text up to and including Chapter 8 – Concentration. The very profound (and rather difficult) chapter on Wisdom and the closing one on Dedication will be offered later in the progress of the round of Basic Programme teachings.

In order to benefit in the best way, students are encouraged to participate fully, ‘attending’ all sessions either at the time they are offered online or at a more convenient time as fits your schedule at home.

At this stage we will continue to offer these teaching without a course fee although of course your donations are encouraged and very gratefully accepted. To enable our online practices and teachings to continue to and to help Chenrezig Institute during these times, please consider donating what you can donate below:

Certification will be possible for students wishing to ‘complete’ this Basic Programme module. This will depend on the usual requirements which will be sent out on request.

If you’d like to be included on a Basic Programme email list, send your details to [email protected] and feel free to send this information on to anyone you feel would be interested accessing these precious teachings online. 

All are welcome to join but those wishing to complete the module with certification need to contact [email protected]. 

Basic Program teachings on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life with Geshe Phuntsok Tsultrim.

Teachings are Tuesday to Thursday at 10.30am, in blocks of 6 weeks.

Basic Programme tutorial on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Lifewith Ven Kartson

Tutorial are Tuesday to Thursday at 3.00-4.00pm, in blocks of 6 weeks.

Basic Programme meditation on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life led by senior students.

Meditations, each morning at 9.30am will focus on Lam Rim motivation and the specific sections of the text being taught in the Basic Program teachings. 

Basic Program discussion session on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life with other committed students.

Discussions, each day at 2.00-2.45 will focus on sections of the text being taught in the Basic Program teachings.We request that only those students registered to attend the course fully for certification attend this section. 

Click here for Online ZOOM link 

Meeting ID: 372 934 059
Password: 029924
Download Zoom first if you haven’t already got it (through the link provided)
We are + 10 hours.

If the above details don’t work then please try:
Meeting ID: 372 934 059
New Password: 014455   

• Meditations, Teachings, Discussions and Tutorials will all be broadcast on Zoom
• Meditations are an integral part of the course and all students should attend. They will be led by senior students and will focus on our motivation for our study and practice.
• Discussions are intended only for full-time students
• Video of Teachings and Tutorials will be uploaded to YouTube for later watching
• Audio of Meditations, Teachings and Tutorials will also be uploaded to an online dropbox to which all will be given access
• Full-time students will be expected to fulfil course criteria as well as sitting for tests and will receive graded certification at the end of the subject
• Casual students may attend the meditations and main teachings of course, and may also attend the tutorials and discussions but are asked not to take an active part since they will not have attended all sessions.

Anyone may currently access the teachings through Zoom or YouTube, but it’s good to go on our Basic Programme email list to have access to our dropbox and to receive emails of transcripts, other materials and information. For any inquiries or to be included our email list please contact [email protected]

Geshe Phuntsok Tsultrim is immensely popular for the warm and approachable way in which he presents the Dharma and inspires our community. He became a monk at Sera Je Monastery in India, where he was awarded his Geshe degree (the equivalent of a doctorate in Buddhist studies) in 2005. He began teaching at Chenrezig Institute in 2014 after being chosen for our community by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He teaches in Tibetan with the help of his professional translator, Ven. Kartson.

Geshe Tsultrim has a warm-hearted, caring and practical approach to teaching Dharma. He has been the resident Geshe at Chenrezig Institute since 2014. Since then he has taught Dharma from both inside the Gompa and by the example he sets outside the Gompa.