Core Program – Discovering Buddhism

Discovering Buddhism

Awakening the limitless potential of your mind, achieving all peace and happiness.

Our core program is this in-depth Discovering Buddhism course that spans three years of study and integration. This program is not designed just as an academic study of Buddhism but is intended to change a person’s life. 

It is in-depth study for the committed beginner. More than just intellectual study, the Discovering Buddhism course creates a community of students who grow together supporting each other in their practice and understanding.

The Discovering Buddhism series is made up of 14 modules of study and retreat, covering the Buddhist path in a systematic way, and tailored especially for a western sensibility. Each module is completed over 8-10 weeks, giving you time to study, practice and integrate each new subject. This comfortable pace assists in building a comprehensive foundation of knowledge, skills, and resilience.

Classes run as a hybrid (online and in-person), so feel free to mix and match. The Discovering Buddhism time slot is:

  • Tuesday mornings (10.30 am – 12 pm)
  • Wednesday evenings (7 pm – 8.30 pm)

Each module runs for 8 sessions of weekly teachings, plus a review class, and an integration activity between each unit.

The Fourteen Modules

Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to develop a positive and joyous mind.

Explore the definition and purpose of meditation, how to sit, how to set up a meditation session, different meditation techniques, and how to deal with obstacles to meditation.

Get an overview of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study the life story of the Buddha and discover a unique system for putting Buddhist philosophy into practice – the lamrim, or graduated path to enlightenment.

Investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path: the need for a teacher, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher.

Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. Learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.

Learn the essential facts about the law of actions and their results. Explore ways to deal with life more effectively and take control of your future.

Find out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha – and the essential practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and their role in enhancing our spiritual growth.

Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and find out the elements necessary to generate realisations. Get some tips for making every action you do meaningful.

Investigate what “samsara” is and how we are stuck in it. Find out what “nirvana” is and how to achieve it. Learn how to be free from suffering and gain practical tools to deal with and eliminate disturbing emotions forever.

Discover practices that develop our innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, known as the very heart of Buddha’s teachings.

Learn the disadvantages of selfishness and the advantages of cherishing others. Learn to employ the special techniques of mind training (lojong) to transform problems into happiness.

Learn how to develop calm abiding (shamatha), the ability to remain focused in meditation for as long periods as you want without distraction. Try different ways of meditating on emptiness, the lack of true existence of the self and all phenomena, the realisation of which is crucial for the attainment of liberation and enlightenment.

Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is a powerful form of practice. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to practice simple kriya tantric methods. Learn how to integrate tantra with lamrim meditation to obtain the best results.

By undertaking intensive practices of purification and a two-week lam-rim retreat, you prepare your mind in the best way to realise the path to enlightenment. Purification practices include: 100,000 prostrations, 3-month Vajrasattva retreat, and Nyung-ne. This is a great way to seal the blessings of this program!

You can join this three-year course at the beginning of any module. Please don’t wait until the first module comes around to become part of the program! Most people join after completing a few of the beginner’s Buddhism courses, and are a little familiar with Buddhist terminology.

Not sure if you’re ready yet?

Why not try Introducing Buddhism: A Bridge for Beginners, a course perfectly poised between beginners and the in-depth Discovering Buddhism program.

Come along a sit in on a few classes to see if the course suits you…

If in doubt, please join us!

Although this course is best suited to the committed beginner, we encourage you to take the deep dive in and enjoy the broad and inspiring approach.

UNIT 2: How to Meditate

Tuesday mornings
23 April – 18 June, 2024
(10.30 am – 12 pm)
In-person and online

UNIT 10: How to Develop Bodhicitta

Wednesday evenings
17 April – 19 June, 2024
(7 – 8.30 pm)
In-person and online

Other ways you can participate

Our Catch-up Classes have both soundfiles and video, and are available as part of a course package. Classes can also be found in the Soundfile and Video Archive for LTC members and Subscribers.

Chenrezig Institute, our FPMT sister centre in the sunshine coast hinterland, offers DB as a weekend course. Life is hectic, so if you cannot make it to our weekly classes, this is a great alternative!

FPMT Videos produced for each module include an introduction from Richard Gere or Keanu Reeves, teachings from various lamas, and inspiring and informal conversations with western students.

Online Learning Centre Discovering Buddhism is also available as a correspondence course from the FPMT, where the second module, How to Meditate, is offered as free course.