Thursday Evenings – In Depth Study and Meditation – Foundation Program


New Semester Begins Thursday Jan 5.

Meaningful to Behold: Becoming a Friend to the World: the commentary to Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life. Semester Begins with Chapter 4 Conscientiousness. You do not need to have studied the previous chapters to join in.

Join In-Person or through Livestream if you do not live near Asheville. Audio Correspondence option also available.

If you are interested in Finding out more about the Foundation Program email  or call 828-668-2241

1070 Tunnel Road, Bldg 2, Unit 20 (Behind Pomodoro’s), Asheville NC 28805
with Resident Teacher, Sharon Lovich

What is the Foundation Program?

The Foundation Program (FP) provides students with an opportunity to advance their understanding and practice of Buddha’s teachings through systematic study and meditation on the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.  Foundation Program students study the following five subjects based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and their corresponding commentaries by our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

  • The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, or Kadam Lamrim, based on the commentary Joyful Path of Good Fortune
  • Training the Mind, or Kadam Lojong, based on two commentaries, The New Eight Steps to Happiness and Universal Compassion
  • The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary The New Heart of Wisdom
  • Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary Meaningful to Behold
  • Types of Mind, based on the commentary How to Understand the Mind

The Benefits of the Foundation Program

Students in the FP have an opportunity to follow the same training followed by spiritual practitioners for generations, but without having to abandon their modern lifestyle.  Over time, students in FP find that their minds change for the better in significant ways:  through taking Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and striving to put them into practice in daily life, they gain authentic spiritual experience, solve their daily problems, improve their relationships at work and at home, and develop a good heart. * Read the benefits of the Foundation Program as presented by NKT founder, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, in England in 1990.

The Commitments of the Foundation Program

Our General Program classes are offered on a drop-in basis and there are no requirements for attending.  As a more structured program of study, the FP does require students to make some basic commitments:

  • Students keep the intention to attend every class during the FP term (terms are August through late December and late January through June), and try not to miss more than two classes per term
  • Students read ahead and memorize the essential points of the text
  • Students memorize the root text and/or the condensed meaning of the text
  • Students take one exam per year to check their understanding of what they have studied
  • Students attend at least one group meditation / chanted prayer session per week (group meditations are also scheduled at various times). 
  • Students pay a $65 per month fee (including during months when FP is not in session)

$65 per month (including during months when FP is not in session. All General Program Classes are included within your Monthly Foundation Program Supporting Membership as well as other discounts on courses and retreats. 

Click here to see all the perks of your “Supporting Member” membership.

The Fall 2022 Semester begins Thursday August 25. You’re welcome to try 2 classes at no cost and no commitment to see if you’re interested in the program. (Ongoing Open Enrollment ) We also have a correspondence option if you do not live near Asheville and you are in Western North Carolina, Upstate, SC, or Eastern TN. On our correspondence/home study program you can either livestream or receive a weekly audio recording.

FP Book Meaningful To Behold: Becoming a Friend to the World by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life

  • How to improve our lives by cultivating authentic love and compassion.
  • How we can genuinely benefit others
  • How to practice the methods that lead us to enlightenment

Many people have the compassionate wish to benefit others, but few understand how to accomplish this effectively in daily life. Bodhisattvas are friends of the world who have such strong compassion they are able to transform all their daily activities into methods to benefit others.

The Path of the Bodhisattva was exquisitely explained in the universally loved poem Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life by the 8th century master Shantideva. With this commentary by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, the effectiveness and profundity of this way of life are clearly revealed and made practical for our modern world.

Composed in the 8th century by the famous Indian Buddhist master Shantideva, this new translation, made under the guidance of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, conveys the great lucidity and poetic beauty of the original, while preserving its full impact and spiritual insight. Reading these verses slowly, while contemplating their meaning, has a profoundly liberating effect on the mind. The poem invokes special positive states of mind, moves us from suffering and conflict to happiness and peace, and gradually introduces us to the entire Mahayana Buddhist path to enlightenment.