THE FOUNDATION OF BUDDHIST THOUGHT COURSE
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.
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
“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. We hope to begin development of the first of these, the Lam Rim Chenmo course, from the end of 2022.
Each term we begin a new two year course. Applications are accepted all year round.
Spring term 2021: 11th January – 2nd April
Summer term 2021: 10th May – 30th July
Autumn term 2021: 13th September – 3rd December
Spring term 2022: 10th January – 1st April
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 once a month which will last one hour fifteen minutes. There are two short essays (essaylettes) to be completed during the term which can 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 exam. This work needs to be completed before starting the next module. That said, these guidelines are not written in stone, particularly if English is not your first language, they are meant to provide guidance on how to get the most out of your two years with us.
- 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 will be introducing a Bursary scheme in the coming year. Please watch this space.
APPLYING FOR THE COURSE
- You fill in an online application form, telling us a little about yourself
- We review your application
- We notify you that your application has been accepted and send you a payment link
- You send us your payment, securing your place on the course
- You order and pay for the course books (if you don’t already have them)
- 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