The FPMT Basic Program is an in-depth Buddhist education program designed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and developed by FPMT Education Services. In-depth Program Coordinator Olga Planken reports on the success of the Basic Program held at Nalanda Monastery in France:
The formal studies of the second full-time, five-year Basic Program (BP) at Nalanda Monastery were completed at the end of April with a joyous three months of review and a very successful final exam. The review was facilitated by two of the students: Ven. Dorje, who also interpreted the BP into French, helped with facilitating the first half of the review; and Yael Altaratz, who will be the teaching assistant for the next BP, took care of the participants for the entire three months. They and ten others will graduate upon completion of the three-month lamrim retreat that has just started at Nalanda.
Building on their expertise from implementing two successful BPs, Nalanda Monastery will be offering its third Basic Program starting in 2018. Resident teacher Geshe Jamphel Gyaltsen’s BP teachings have been received with praise and enthusiasm, and Geshe-la is looking forward and committed to offering the BP subjects again from 2018 to 2022.
The third Basic Program at Nalanda will be excellently staffed by a team that consists of outstanding interpreter, Katy Fradet; experienced BP coordinator Ven. Rigchog; and teaching assistant, Yael Altaratz, soon-to-be graduate of Nalanda’s current BP.
Both monastics and lay students are welcome to take part in the program. The monastic environment offers inspiration for a balanced approach including study, meditation, discussion, and retreat. Students also benefit from the supporting presence of a Masters Program, currently in its fourth year at Nalanda, regular visits by highly regarded lamas, summer retreats, and extra-curricular teachings by Nalanda’s abbot, Geshe Lobsang Jamphel.
A unique feature of Nalanda’s BP is that it is scheduled in its entirety, including the three-month review, final exam, and three-month lam-rim retreat. This supports students to aim at program completion and graduation, and after five years of study to become eligible for teacher registration and various functions within the greater FPMT organization.
The following is feedback from Nalanda’s review participants:
“I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how much I appreciate to have done this three-month review. It was very good and interesting to take all these months to review everything and also to discover new comprehension. I enjoyed very much learning and making links among the subjects. I am very enthusiastic to see the understanding starting to emerge!”
“The group study was most beneficial. We could go into depth over points, learn about different points of view, and receive more information then I could find on my own. We had good atmosphere and supported each other in topics that were more complicated.”
“I have very much appreciated the review period. I noticed how I could relate different topics in a way that I could not do while studying the separate subjects. I really enjoyed that. Now when I read a Dharma book on any topic, which I found difficult to follow before, I can easily and enthusiastically follow it after the BP. This is veeeeery important. Now I can enjoy a much wider variety of the Dharma texts.
“The review has been absolutely wonderful. I feel at last that I can see the structure and the overview rather than a mass of isolated facts. Studying with a group was so beneficial; it caused me to study in a disciplined way, and I could confidently admit my ignorance, and listen to the patient explanations of others.”
For more information and the registration options for Nalanda’s forthcoming 2018-2022 BP, please check Nalanda’s Basic Program web pages.
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