Introduction to the Basic Program

FPMT logoThe Basic Program, designed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, is part of our organizations “Buddhism In-Depth” curriculum. Land of Medicine Buddha started offering modules of the FPMT Basic Program in 2002. Over the years, it has been taught by Venerable George Churinoff, Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchog, Venerable Steve Carlier, Tubten Pende, various visiting lamas and geshes, and other visiting advanced-level teachers. Videos of some of these courses from past years are available on our Vimeo page:

We are making a renewed effort to provide the support to our students, by way of materials, review sessions, and exams, so that they can fulfill the requirements of completion.

See list of upcoming Basic Program classes and retreats.

Basic Program Homework and Materials

Basic Program materials, such as

  • source texts
  • commentaries
  • assignments
  • and audio recordings (when available)

… are being uploaded to Google Sites. There is a different site for each Basic Program course. Students who are on the registration list will receive the link by email.

Description from the FPMT Website

The Basic Program is a five-year, twelve-subject course of studies designed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It provides a practice-oriented transmission of the Buddhadharma to committed students ready to progress beyond foundational-level study and practice. Its comprehensive curriculum greatly enhances students’ Dharma understanding, establishing a sound basis for ongoing study, practice, retreat and service. FPMT centers worldwide offer the program at a variety of levels; it is also available for homestudy as an Online program. Some of Tibetan Buddhism’s most treasured texts form the heart of the Basic Program. Je Tsongkhapa’s Middle Length Lam-Rim, Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara, the Heart Sutra, Jetsun Chökyi Gyältsen’s Tenets, Maitreya’s Ornament for Clear Realization and Tathagata Essence,the Wheel of Sharp Weapons and others guide the practitioner through a comprehensive study of sutra and tantra.

The Basic Program is taught by Tibetan geshes and qualified Western teachers. Study of the standard texts and commentaries is ideally supported by discussions, tests, meditation and short retreats. Students must follow the Basic Program criteria for conduct over the course of their studies: practicing to refrain from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct (adultery) and intoxicants, while developing their concern for others, awareness of positive and negative states of mind, and in particular developing the practice of patience and the bodhicitta motivation. A three-month review period concluded by the final exam and three months of lam-rim retreat complete the program.

Students may enter the Basic Program at the beginning of subjects as indicated by individual centers. Students will benefit most from their BP studies if they have some familiarity with preparatory study and practice as offered by foundational level programs.

Basic Program Topics

See all details on the FPMT website, Basic Program page.