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Welcome to the FPMT Basic Program

“Learning Dharma means less ignorance and more wisdom. It means more light in your life, no darkness in your mind. It means you have more freedom in your life to achieve liberation from samsara and great enlightenment. The more you understand Dharma, the more you can benefit others.”

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

What is the FPMT Basic Program?

The FPMT Basic Program (BP) is a five-year* Intermediate Level course of studies designed by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It includes nine core subjects and sometimes three optional supplementary topics. The BP has been devised for Dharma students who wish to progress beyond introductory courses and are ready to commit themselves to more in-depth study and practice. While it is encouraged to join for the whole five years, it is also possible to just join individual subjects. [*Offering this program in a non-residential city center setting usually takes us 7 – 8 years to complete the nine core subjects.]

The BP offers the chance to develop a good understanding of the complete path to enlightenment, and experience the benefits of serious, practice oriented study, meditation and retreat. Successful students develop a level of understanding and training which will also serve as an excellent basis for advanced study, meditation and retreat or for service in the wider community.

Dorje Chang Institute has hosted the FPMT Basic Program for two full rounds of the nine core subjects and is now offering a third round of the BP beginning from 2024. The subjects of the BP program can be repeated by students multiple times for greater and greater benefit and depth of understanding, as some of our senior students can attest.

The Curriculum in Brief

In brief, the nine core subjects of this inspiring program cover the following areas:

  • Stages of the PathMiddle Length Lamrim: the stages of the path to enlightenment of beings of low, middling, and great capacity
  • Heart Sutra: emptiness and the phenomena qualified by it
  • Mahayana Mind Training Wheel of Sharp Weapons: the law of actions and results, or karma, and the states of mind that shape our future experiences
  • Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds: the six perfections—generosity, morality, patience, joyous effort, concentration, and wisdom—and how to practice them in everyday life
  • Mind and Cognition: the way the mind knows phenomena and the mental factors that constitute the basis of our daily experience
  • Tenets: the philosophical systems, or tenets, of the four main schools of ancient Buddhist thought
  • Ornament for Clear Realization, Chapter 4: the aspects of the omniscient mind and the practices that enable to achieve them
  • The Tathagata Essence (Sublime Continuum): the buddha potential or tathagata essence that exists within every sentient being
  • Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra: the four classes of tantra with emphasis on the generation and completion stages of highest yoga tantra

Upcoming Subjects

The classes take place on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm at Dorje Chang Institute. The supporting discussions evenings, occurring fortnightly on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm, will be noted on the calendar closer to the time.

The following is an approximate timing for the first few subjects of this third round of the FPMT Basic Program beginning in 2024:

20 February – 2 April 2024   Heart Sutra (7 sessions)

Beginning 9 April 2024   Mahayana Mind Training (Approximately 3 months)

Beginning approx. July 2024  Stages of the Path (Approximately 1 year minus the summer break)


Learn More About How the BP Classes Work

Learn more about the class format, requirements, discussion evenings and BP completion cards.

Learn More about the BP Subjects, Register or Log In

Learn more about the subjects and their content, Register for a class or Log In as a current student.

A note for those who have already studied a particular BP subject at DCI

It is highly encouraged to attend the BP subjects again and again if you have the opportunity as this can serve to deepen your understanding of the topics and can bring great benefit!

In this case, to register for the current subject, please send us an email expressing that you wish to register for the class and let us know whether you would prefer a chair or a cushion.

There are two things to note if you fall in this category.

1. Materials: If you have already studied a particular subject once at DCI and have already paid the materials fee when you did so and still have the materials, then where the root text and supplementary materials have not changed (or not changed significantly from when you previously attended) you do not need to pay the materials fee. (For subjects where the root text has been upgraded or replaced we will let you know as the materials fee will still apply to receive the new materials.)

2. Subject Completion Test: Additionally, if you already completed this BP subject at DCI including the subject completion test, you will not need to do the subject completion test for this subject again if you attend this subject again.

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