The Discovering Buddhism program is the result of the combined efforts of a number of FPMT teachers and spiritual program coordinators, under the guidance and advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It is an estimated 2-year course for which students may receive a certificate of completion upon fulfillment of all requirements.
The aim of the Discovering Buddhism program is to give participants a solid footing in the practice of Mahayana Buddhism. By engaging in this program, participants will gain an experiential taste of the Buddha's teachings, some retreat experience, and the skills they need to make their lives most meaningful.
Within Buddhism, the determining factor of whether a teaching lineage is intact or not is the existence of a direct oral transmission from teacher to disciple from today's living teachers all the way back to the historical Buddha. It is the FPMT's mission to preserve this unbroken lineage and assure that the blessings of the Buddha's words survive for future generations.
All are welcome to participate in this program regardless of certification interest.
The Discovering Buddhism program is presented within a context that reflects our FPMT Wisdom Culture. These are the qualities that have inspired students to become part of the FPMT network. The key elements of our wisdom culture are listed below:
Openness and breadth in presenting the Dharma as exemplified in Lama Thubten Yeshe's teaching style. Using non-traditional yet pure methods. Making the Dharma accessible according to the culture and needs of students.
Detail and depth of instruction as exemplified by Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teaching style. Placing emphasis on how to practice and the meaning of practice. Stressing the importance of motivation and dedication.
Constant practice of accumulation of merit and purification as essential to bring temporal happiness and prepare the mind for realizations.
Experiential lam-rim teaching methods and Kopan-style courses
(Kopan Monastery, Nepal is the first center of FPMT where annual one-month courses are offered teaching the entire graduated path to enlightenment (lam-rim) together with guided meditations and discussion. Courses are usually team-taught by a Tibetan lama or geshe and a Western teacher.)
Respect and support for ordained Sangha
Regular retreat and meditation practice
Use of standard FPMT practices recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Reliance on tantric methods; encouraging students to have spiritual confidence.
Cultivation of a close family feeling. FPMT is a family of practitioners.
Service. Cultivating the attitude and wish to be of service to others. Think big.
Cherishing others. Imparting a universal love for all beings. Big love.