The Foundation Program (FP)

For those who wish to delve more deeply into the teachings, KMC The Hamptons offers the Foundation Program (FP).

The FP class meets Monday evenings

In the FP, we engage in the systematic study of key Buddhist texts in order to gain a deep and lasting understanding and experience of the spiritual path, as well as an authentic confidence as a meditator and practitioner. These study classes also help us to become part of a community of practitioners who are sincerely putting the teachings into practice.

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

With weekly reading assignments from the text, as well as commentary, discussions and meditations on the week’s readings, these study classes create the conditions for us to develop deep inner experience of the teachings.

Course Information

Day: Mondays

Time: 6:00- 8:00pm

Location: KMC The Hamptons

Address: 720C Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY

Teacher: Neil Toyota

Cost: $70 / month

A Unique Study Program

Through regular teachings and meditation, systematic study, and group discussion, the Foundation Program (FP) offers the same training followed by spiritual practitioners in an unbroken lineage dating back to Buddha Shakayamuni. 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  hours. If for a suitable reason a student is not able to attend the class in person, he or she agrees to catch up by reviewing the class with their discussion partner. There is also a commitment to participate in at least two chanted prayer sessions  at the Center per month.  Generally, the students help with 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.

We will continue studying The New Eight Steps to Happiness.

What subjects are Studied?

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 The New Eight Steps to Happiness
3. The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary, The New 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?

Class meets Monday evening 6:00-8:00pm with Teacher Neil Toyota.

There is an opportunity to enroll in a 4 week trial.  In order to attend this 4 week trial you must email the Education Program Coordinator at and arrange a meeting.

How much will it cost?

The cost is $70 a month to become a monthly member.  To find out more about the Foundation Program and how you can join, contact us at

Words from Venerable Geshe Kelsang, the Author

“Beginning the Foundation Program at a Center presents us with a great opportunity because this program fulfills both our own and others’ wishes.  How does the Foundation Program fulfill our own wishes? By increasing our wisdom and our experience of Dharma.  With wisdom and Dharma experience we can solve all the problems we encounter in daily life and we can protect ourselves from danger in the future.  How does the Foundation Program fulfill the wishes of others? If we increase our wisdom and Dharma experience we can give teachings and spiritual advice to others and set a good example for them to follow.  In this way we can lead others into spiritual paths.”

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
October 1990, Tara Center, England