The meditation classes we offer are suitable for all individuals whatever their level of interest, from those who seek simple relaxation and stress relief, to those who wish to learn about Modern Buddhism. Everyone is welcome regardless of belief; you do not need to be a Buddhist to attend.
A typical class consists of a simple relaxation meditation, teaching, discussion and final meditation. The meditations are guided and are suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Each class is self-contained so feel free to start at any time. Everyone is welcome; just drop in!
Most classes last an hour to an hour and a quarter. To ensure that everyone is comfortable you may sit in a chair, or on a cushion; these are available at the Center. There is no physical exercise, yoga, or stretching involved. After the class everyone is welcome to stay for socializing and refreshments.
Q: I’m curious about meditation and Buddhism. Which class should I go to first?
General program classes are designed for you to drop-in to any class. While they are arranged around a topic, each class is self-contained. You can attend the whole course or simply drop in whenever you can.
These classes are an opportunity to learn about Buddhist teachings, meditation and practice. The range of topics includes Buddhist view, understanding the mind, improving relationships, letting go of anger, understanding karma, and more. Classes include a guided relaxation meditation, a teaching and a second meditation if time permits.
Q: I’ve never been to a Buddhist center before. What should I expect?
Classes at the center are very accessible. Teachings and prayers are all in English. You do not need to bring any mats or wear any special clothing. Comfortable chairs are used for seating.
When entering the meditation room, it is traditional to take off shoes and hats. Also, when the Teacher enters, we normally stand out of respect for Buddha’s teachings.
Q: I’ve been coming to classes for a while and I really want to go “deeper” in my practice. Is there something more I can try?
For those students who want to deepen their experience of Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso designed the Foundation Program. The Foundation Program (FP) immerses us in Buddhist teachings by studying systematically one of five texts on the FP curriculum.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has designed three special spiritual programs for the systematic study and practice of Kadampa Buddhism that are especially suited to the modern world: the General Program (introductory), the Foundation Program (intermediate), and the Teacher Training Program (advanced).
General Program ~ Introductory level meditation classes
Our General Program classes are designed to give a broad introduction to Buddhist meditation, ideas, and practice. A typical class consists of a guided meditation to reduce stress, tension and distractions, followed by a short lecture in how to apply Buddhist principles into daily life. Time is allowed for questions and answers, and a final meditation.
These classes are open to everyone, and suitable for drop-in attendance, but can also form the basis for a systematic study of Buddhist practice. Please come whenever you like!
Foundation Program ~ Intermediate level meditation classes
The Foundation Program is an intermediate study program designed for those with some familiarity with meditation who would like to delve more deeply into the practice. It is a tried and tested program that has already helped many thousands of people around the world. We offer the Foundation Program (FP) at all our Centers.
The Foundation Program is a unique structured study program that enables us to gain deeper understanding and experience of Buddhist teachings and to develop a regular meditation practice. It is ideal for those who have an introductory understanding of Buddhism and who wish to learn more. We meet each week during term times, and have regular term breaks and a longer break in the summer. Students are requested to enroll for a section of the text and commit to attend classes regularly and chanted prayers when possible.
Through regular teachings, meditation, systematic study and group discussion, the Foundation Program offers deep support for your spiritual life. In essence, it is the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakyamuni. Its special quality is that we can gain authentic experience without abandoning our modern lifestyle. By studying on this program we will gain great confidence in meditation – from basic techniques for overcoming our everyday problems, to practices leading to unsurpassed happiness and permanent inner peace.
Teacher Training Program ~ Advanced level meditation classes (coming in future)
The Teacher Training Program (TTP) is a 12-year course of study. The TTP is designed for people who wish to train as authentic Kadampa Buddhist teachers or simply to engage with Buddha’s teachings in the deepest possible manner.
It provides a systematic presentation of all the subjects of Mahayana Buddhism – both Sutra and Tantra – and forms a perfect basis for a strong daily practice and successful meditation retreats.
In addition to completing the study of fourteen texts of Sutra and Tantra, the student is required to observe certain commitments with regard to behavior and way of life, and to complete a number of meditation retreats. Through a deep and continuing commitment to the program of study, meditation, discussion and retreat, we can gain a profound and lasting experience of Buddha’s teachings, establish a strong meditation practice, and become a qualified teacher in our own right.