THE FOUNDATION OF BUDDHIST THOUGHT COURSE

The FBT

PREVIEW THE COURSE

The best way to find out about The Foundation of Buddhist Thought course is to leap straight into the material.  In the video extract below, taken from Week 2 of our first module, Geshe Tashi discusses, “Being Your Own Refuge.”

If you would like to see what it is like to be a student enrolled on The Foundation of Buddhist Thought course, we are delighted to offer you the opportunity to sample a week of the course here.

ABOUT THE FBT COURSE

The FBT two-year online course is our entry-level and flagship programme.  It is the culmination of over twenty years of courses and retreats given by our Spiritual Director Geshe Tashi Tsering.  This course introduces what are often complex concepts and ideas in a way that allows for easy assimilation and a well-grounded experiential understanding.  The emphasis is always on a practical application of these ideas in everyday life, with the result that this is a course that many people choose to study again and again.

The FBT Course is modelled around a series of six course books written by Geshe Tashi and divided into six modules, one for each book.  Each module has around 14 hours of Geshe Tashi’s video teachings and includes guided meditations, an online forum, discussion group questions, interactive quizzes, essays and final exams.   

Each participant is allocated an experienced tutor to support them over the two years, and help guide them through the material. Tutors give individual feedback each week in the on-line forum, lead live online discussion groups twice a term and give feedback on all written assignments.  We are proud of our high levels of tutor guidance and involvement, it is something Geshe Tashi insists on.  Groups are usually around ten to twelve participants in size, with an upper limit of  fifteen.  

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GESHE TASHI ON THE SIX MODULES

  • The Four Noble Truths
  • The Two Truths (Course book title: “Relative Truth; Ultimate Truth”)
  • Buddhist Psychology
  • The Awakening Mind
  • Emptiness
  • Tantra

“I have chosen six subjects with the hope that they will lay out a comprehensive overview of Buddhist thought.  The Four Noble Truths, the first teaching the Buddha gave after he attained enlightenment, is the logical starting point.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has given teachings on the Four Noble Truths on many occasions, says that they are the blueprint for all Buddhist teaching and practice.  Within them lie the root of all Buddhist philosophy and the entire path to enlightenment.  Whatever we study after the Four Noble Truths will echo back to this most essential teaching, and conversely this teaching will be revealed in everything else we study.

If The Four Noble Truths explain the human condition, the next two courses, The Two Truths and Buddhist Psychology, deal with the Buddhist theories of reality, external as well as internal.  Then based on these, the remaining three courses address what it means to be a practising Mahayana Buddhist.  The Awakening Mind module looks at the vast altruistic mind called the mind of enlightenment (bodhichitta), and the 5th module Emptiness looks at the wisdom that understands that all things are interdependent and lack intrinsic nature.  The final course gives a glimpse into how the tantric practices are done.”

OUR EDUCATION PATHWAY

The FBT is part of an education pathway that will lead onto the Lam Rim Chenmo, Buddha Nature, and Essence of Eloquence online courses allowing for a deeper immersion into the ideas and practices already studied.  Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering is currently Senior Abbot of Sera monastery.  When his duties are finished and he has cleared any subsequent commitments, we hope to begin development of the first of these, the Lam Rim Chenmo course.

TERM DATES

Summer term 2024: 6th May – 26th July. (For existing students only).

 

TIME COMMITMENT

The Foundation of Buddhist Thought is a serious course, and while certainly manageable part time, we encourage all potential applicants to think carefully about the commitment required before signing up.  If you are already enrolled in another Buddhist studies programme, we ask that you complete that programme before beginning the FBT Course.  

The average weekly commitment is just over an hour for audio or video, around 12 pages to read from the course book, and a daily meditation of around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on preference.   There are short quizzes every other week, but these are meant only for self-revision.   We will have a live online discussion group twice a term which will last one hour fifteen minutes.  There is a short essay to be completed during the term which should be between 200 and 500 words.  Some weeks will have more material than others.  In the four to six week break between terms, we ask for one essay of around 1500 words and a two hour final review.  This work needs to be completed before starting the next module.  That said,  these guidelines are not written in stone, and if you struggle with written assignments, we will be happy to work with you to find a suitable way for you to complete some kind of end of term assignment. 

COURSE FEES

Given the quality of the supporting materials, and the high level of tutor involvement, our course offers excellent value for money.
  • Course fees are £185 per module (four months), or £540 if you pay for a whole year upfront.
  • For those who might find the costs of the course a barrier to entry, we are in a position to offer a degree of financial support.  Please email us to discuss this further.

APPLYING FOR THE COURSE

  • Using the button below, please contact us to register your interest in joining the course and for details of our next intake dates.
  • We will send you a short application form by email.
  • Once received, we will review your application.
  • Unlike most online Buddhist courses, the FBT course runs in real time, unfolding week by week and involving direct interaction with your tutors and fellow students. Over the weeks and months, you will develop a close relationship with this online community. There are responsibilities and commitments for both tutors and students alike.  For these reasons, it is not suitable for everyone. 
  • If your application has been accepted, we will send you a payment link 
  • You send us your payment, securing your place on the course
  • You order and pay for the course books (Published by Wisdom Publications)
  • In the week before the course is due to start, we send you a welcome pack with all the details you need to log in to the first module and get started