Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, has designed 3 unique Study Programs:

        • General Program (GP)
        • Foundation Program (FP)
        • Teacher Training Program (TTP)

These in-depth study programs offered at Kadampa Meditation Centre Vancouver consist of systematic study and practise of Kadampa Buddhism and are especially suited to people of this modern world.


Read a transcript of a talk given by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso on the benefits of the Foundation & Teacher Training Programs by clicking here.

General Program (GP)

The General Program (GP) is open to everyone regardless of previous experience or background. These classes provide a basic introduction to meditation and Buddha’s teachings that are suitable for beginners. The purpose of these classes is to help people gain a personal experience of inner peace, overcome daily problems, and find real lasting happiness from within.

The GP includes all our drop-in classes, courses and some retreats.

Foundation Program (FP)

The Foundation Program (FP) is designed for people who wish to deepen their understanding and experience of Kadampa Buddhism through a systematic study of essential Buddhist commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

The current book being studied is Eight Steps to Happiness. FP takes place weekly on:

Mondays • 7-9 pm

Anyone can join and experience the great benefits of being part of this regular study program. Through this we can improve our good heart, our wisdom, and our cherishing of others by going deeper into our study and meditation practice.

*This is not a drop-in class, enrollment is required. People are generally suggested to have attended GP (drop-in) classes for a minimum of 6-months before joining the Foundation Program.

If we just dabble superficially in a spiritual path we will never gain a deep and stable experience, and our wisdom will never develop to its full potential. This is why the spiritual programs offered by the New Kadampa Tradition are so important – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Teacher Training Program (TTP)

The Teacher Training Program (TTP) provides a more extensive presentation of particular subjects of Kadampa Buddhism for those who want to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism and to train as qualified New Kadampa Tradition teachers. This committed study program covers 12 of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books on Sutra & Tantra, and requires a series of meditation retreats.

*TTP is not currently offered at KMC Vancouver

More about the Foundation Program (FP)

A Unique Study Program

Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Program offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way we can gain authentic experience of the Dharma while still maintaining our contemporary lifestyle. By studying on this program we shall gain great confidence in meditation – from basic techniques for overcoming our everyday problems to practices leading to unsurpassed happiness and permanent inner peace. Warm friendships develop as students inspire each other, sharing insights and experiences of the spiritual path.

What is the structure?

The secret of the Foundation Program’s success lies in the manageable commitment made by the student and in the clear structure of study. Students sign up to study a book or part of a book, agree to attend every class, learn the material, and to take a test at the conclusion of the study. Class meets once a week for two and a half hours on Monday nights. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she agrees to catch up by listening to a podcast of the class. There is also a commitment to participate in at least one chanted prayer session at the Center per month. Generally, the students take turns putting up the shrine offerings and setting up the meditation room on the day of their class. In this way they learn about the rituals associated with Buddhist practice.

What happens at a class?

Prior to class, students study an assigned portion of the text, usually a few pages long, and memorize the essential points. The class begins with chanted prayers and guided meditation. The teacher then reads the assigned selection from the book while giving commentary to the text. The students then divide into pairs to discuss the material. The teacher and students conclude by deciding what to meditate on in the next class and how to practice during the coming week.

What books are studied?

The purpose of the Foundation Program is to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of Buddhism.

Five subjects

The program comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary, Joyful Path of Good Fortune
2. Training the Mind, based on the commentaries, Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, Heart of Wisdom
4. Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, based on the commentary, Meaningful to Behold
5. Types of Mind, based on the commentary, How to Understand the Mind

When is the class?

Mondays 7pm-9pm:  Currently studying the book Eight Steps to Happiness.  You can try the class once before joining.  If you decide to join us you can enroll right after the class, or take a few days to think about it. To book a trial class, please contact us at or call us at 604-221-2271.

How much will it cost?

The cost is $80 a month to become a monthly member which also includes free admission to General Program Classes at the Centre and branches, and half day courses and discounted full day courses, events and empowerments.

To find out more about the Foundation Program and how you can join, contact us at


Gen Kelsang Thekchen is a Canadian Buddhist monk, and the Resident Teacher of KMC Vancouver. He has been ordained for 17 years. He is well known for his ability to present Buddha’s teachings in a simple, practical and often humorous way, making them easy to put into practice in everyday life.