Foundation Program

Deepen your understanding and experience of Buddha's teachings.

THE FOUNDATION PROGRAM (FP) gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation program on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path. FP is a practical method to improve our good heart, wisdom, and inner peace within a supportive community of fellow students.

Everyone can join and experience great benefits from being a part of this regular study program. The program is based on the study of six Kadampa Buddhist texts written by the Founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

The classes include:
• Guided meditations and prayers
• Commentary to the text by the teacher
• Discussion in pairs and group discussion
• Question & answer opportunities
• The company of like-minded spiritual friends.

Pre-registration is required.

Program Structure

All the study programs are based on a clear structure of study that includes student commitment, class discussion, and teacher support and discourse. One of the main benefits for all is the building of a spiritual community within the class, which in turn fosters meaningful class discussion as well as mutual support among the class members.

Students sign up to study a book or part of a book, agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of the study.

Class Structure

Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages long, and memorize the essential points. The class begins with chanted prayers and guided meditation. The teacher then reads the assigned selection from the book while giving commentary to the text. The students then divide into pairs to discuss the material. The teacher and students conclude by deciding what to meditate on in the next class and how to practice during the coming week.


Commitments include:

Attending all classes and taking part in class discussions.

Attending one group puja (chanted prayers) weekly is highly recommended.

Taking an exam at the conclusion of either a section of the assigned book or the entire book.


Current Ongoing FP Classes

Wednesday 7-9pm

The Wednesday night Foundation Program has been studying How to Understand the Mind, an insightful and detailed book on the nature and function of the mind. The class is now studying   Part 2, which describes different types of mind in detail and reveals the depth and profundity of the Buddhist understanding of the mind.

Eva Brzeski

Thursday 9:15-11:45am

The Thursday class is studying The New Heart of Wisdom, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s clear and profound instructions on compassion, all the stages of the path to enlightenment, and on Buddha’s Heart Sutra--the teachings on ultimate truth emptiness.

Kathleen Thurston

Books studied

The purpose of the Foundation Program is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.

1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, based on the commentaries, Universal Compassion and The New Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, The New Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, based on the commentary, How to Understand the Mind


If you are interested, please contact or call 415-503-1187

Free Two Classes

Before committing to join the class, you are welcome to audit two classes.


Cost is $75/month and includes other benefits such as admission to all General Program classes and to some workshops. Please visit Membership page for more details.

Beginning the Foundation Program at a Center presents us with a great opportunity because this program fulfills both our own and others’ wishes.

How does the Foundation Program fulfill our own wishes? By increasing our wisdom and our experience of Dharma. With wisdom and Dharma experience we can solve all the problems we encounter in daily life and we can protect ourselves from danger in the future. Since beginning-less time we have had strong, bad habits that arise from our self-grasping and self-cherishing.

— Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche