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Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course

 Buddha in a Sitting Posture 

The Foundation of Buddhist Thought is a two-year course in Buddhist studies created by Geshe Tashi Tsering of Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London. The program draws upon the depth of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy to exemplify how Buddhism can make a real difference in the way we live our lives. The Foundation of Buddhist Thought is part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) core study program. This course can be taken either in person or by correspondence. It consists of the following six four-month modules:  

·       The Four Noble Truths 

·       Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth 

·       Buddhist Psychology 

·       The Awakening Mind 

·       Emptiness

·       Tantra

A mixture of reading, listening, meditating, discussing, and writing ensures that each student will gain an understanding and mastery of these profound and important concepts. A vital aspect of the course is Geshe Tashi's emphasis on the way these topics affect our everyday lives.

To find out more about The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, please visit the following website: www.buddhistthought.org. To find out more about the FPMT study programs, please visit: www.fpmt.org.

Class Descriptions  

These are some of the subjects covered in each module. 

The Four Noble Truths 

Looking at each of The Four Noble Truths – suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering – and how they form an overview of the entire Buddhist path. Topics include:

  • Suffering: being our own refuge, avoiding the two extremes, taking universal responsibility 
  • Origin: the three types of suffering, the five aggregates, letting go of clinging 
  • Cessation: the two types of ignorance, cause and effect, the heaviness of a karmic action, dealing with afflictive emotions, the twelve links of dependent origination, cessation 
  • Cessation: liberation and enlightenment, the dharmakaya and the rupakaya 
  • Path: the three trainings (ethics, concentration and wisdom), The Noble Eightfold Path, The Five Paths 

Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth 

Looking at relative and ultimate truth and how an understanding of each is vital to progress on the path. Using the progressively subtler views of the four main Buddhist philosophical schools, we look at how our perception of reality is obscured or clarified depending on what we hold to be true. Topics include:

  • Moving beyond conventional ways of thinking 
  • Buddhist tenets, the four seals 
  • The way the Vaibhasika school sees each truth 
  • The four types of generality according to the Sautrantika school 
  • Conceptual consciousnesses and direct perception 
  • The Cittamatra (Mind Only) school and how it views the existence of objects 
  • The definitions of The Two Truths according to the Middle Way schools 
  • The relationship between the Middle Way schools
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 Making sense of life and reality 

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Enlightenment is seeing reality as it is seeing and accepting people, places, and things as they are