In Depth Program
Offering intensive study for our students and creating FPMT teachers!
The In Depth Teachings offered at Chenrezig Institute are advanced comprehensive, practice-oriented courses of Buddhist study for both ordained and lay students wishing to extend their understanding of Buddhist thought and/or to receive a qualification which will enable them to become teachers within FPMT centres.
We are currently following the FPMT Basic Program, an intensive course of study of 12 subjects which include the major texts studied within the Gelug Monasteries, designed by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Since the program started at Chenrezig Institute in 1997, four full rounds of the core and supplementary Basic Program subjects have already been completed, as well as an extended two-year study of Madhyamaka at the higher FPMT Masters Program Level and various Highest Yoga Tantra retreats. Many hundreds of students have been able to attend at least some of the modules, with some completing the entire program including the examination and retreat commitments, to become Basic Program Graduates who have gone on to teach at various FPMT centres.
Teachings are given by our resident teacher, Geshe Phuntsok Tsultrim, personally chosen for Chenrezig Institute by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Geshela arrived in August 2014 and has continued to offer teachings that are included in both the general program and the advanced program.
Our presentation of the FPMT Basic Program is unique in this area, since we are able to schedule intensive in-house teachings in modules of varying lengths. We offer both teachings and tutorials and complement those with discussion and meditation led by our own students.
Over recent years we have offered online access to audio teachings and all data through the use of an online storage facility and more recently have extended this to add external access to video of the teachings, tutorials, meditations and discussions through Zoom and YouTube.
Recommended attendance is full-time – attending all sessions and completing tests – but casual or part-time attendance is permitted where this is not possible. It is also recommended that students attend the subjects in the order they are offered for the best results, but students may attend individual modules without committing to many years of study. Home Study packages of all subjects are made available in case students wish to complete some subjects in their own time at home.
In line with Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice, all students are also recommended to make merit through taking part in regular service to the program and the centre in general, and to make their study time joyful and beneficial by applying the teachings to their meditations and behaviour. Students are often able to stay on site and involve themselves in all the other spiritual practices of a busy dharma centre.
It should be clear to all that this program is advanced study for students who have some basic understanding of Buddhist principles and who wish to apply themselves seriously to the sometimes complex material taught. The teaching assistant and senior students will support newer students along the way as much as possible and materials from previous courses are made available both for preparation prior to attending the courses, and for clarification during the study time.
THE NINE CORE SUBJECTS
1. Mind and Cognition
The way the mind knows phenomena and the mental factors that constitute the basis of our daily experience. Usually a six-week module.
2. Buddhist Tenets
The philosophical systems or tenets of the four main schools of ancient Buddhist thought. Usually an eight-week module.
3. A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
The six perfections (generosity, morality, patience, joyous effort, concentration, and wisdom) and how to practice them in everyday life. Usually offered in two modules of six weeks.
4. Stages of the Path
The stages of the path to enlightenment of beings of low, middling, and great capacity. Offered in the past over one year in various lengths of modules. Depending on the text chosen it may be offered over a longer period.
5. Heart Sutra
Emptiness and the phenomena qualified by it. Usually a shorter module of two weeks.
6. Mahayana Mind Training (Wheel of Sharp Weapons)
The law of actions and results, or karma; and the states of mind that shape our future experience. Usually a four to six-week module.
7. Sublime Continuum
The buddha or tathagata essence that exists within every sentient being. Usually a six-week module.
8. The Ornament for Clear Realisations
The 173 aspects of the enlightened or omniscient mind. Usually an eight-week module.
9. Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra
The four classes of tantra, with emphasis on the generation and completion stages of highest yoga tantra. This is usually taught in two eight-week modules. The three classes of ‘Lower’ Tantras is taught in the first module, and Highest Yoga Tantra in the second module.
Please note: these subjects may be studied in any order, but we generally advise that students begin with Mind and Cognition, Buddhist Tenets or The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
THE THREE SUPPLEMENTARY FPMT basic program SUBJECTS
1. 70 Topics
Usually incorporated into the course Ornament for Clear Realisations.
2. Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth
A shorter course of three to four weeks, studying the process of dying, going through the intermediate state and being reborn.
3. A Highest Yoga Tantra commentary
To date, Chenrezig Institute has offered the commentary on the Practice of Yamantaka/Vajrabhairava.
Grounds and Paths of Sutra
A study of the practices and achievements of the Hearers, Solitary Realisers and Bodhisattvas. Usually a six- week module.
Signs and Reasoning
An explanation of the precise logic used to debate the various texts we study. Usually a four to six-week module.
For further information about how this program is presented at Chenrezig Institute, advice about whether this program is suitable for you, or to be included in a specific email list to receive information and updates, please contact the In Depth Program Coordinator (Kathy Vichta) on: firstname.lastname@example.org