Living in the Path
FPMT's newest education program Living in the Path is currently under development. Based exclusively on the teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, initial curriculum and course material is being drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Light of the Path teachings, an annual event hosted by Kadampa Center in North Carolina, USA. The first such event was hosted in September 2009.
This course is currently taught in Amsterdam.
Living in the Path: Program Vision
Purpose and Content
The primary intention of this program is to preserve the teaching and practice lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe, the founder of FPMT (the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, FPMT’s Spiritual Director. As such, the program will draw almost exclusively on the teachings of these two lamas.
Living in the Path will be a continually evolving program, with materials from both lamas being added each year. The initial curriculum and course material is drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s “Light of the Path” teachings, an annual teaching event hosted by Kadampa Center in North Carolina, USA. These initial courses, or modules, are organized around edited transcripts and short video clips of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings. With some exceptions, each module will include the following components:
•An introduction to each module, including an overview of the material to be covered.
•Edited transcripts of Rinpoche’s teachings on the topic.
•Video excerpts that capture key relevant points from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings at Light of the Path.
•Practices and/or guided meditations.
•Mindfulness exercises for daily life on the topic.
•A suggested service component or karma yoga.
•Questions for discussion and contemplation for student/facilitator review.
•Helpful resources such as a suggested reading list and other references.
•An online forum for sharing comments with other students and asking questions of an elder.
It is intended that, over time, a large and dynamic virtual community of students engaging with Living in the Path resources will form worldwide, creating a network of support and inspiration for individual study and practice for those who do not have easy access to a FPMT center or study group. FPMT centers and study groups will also have access to these materials for the purpose of facilitating Living in the Path courses. In this way, it is hoped that Living in the Path becomes a cause for an awakened transformation in this world.
Where Living in the Path fits within FPMT Education Programming
FPMT offers seven standard programs. Some of these programs are taught in centers only; others can be followed either in a center or at home. Two of FPMTs residential programs - the Masters Program and Maitripa College - are solely hosted, respectively, in Pomaia, Italy and Portland, Oregon, USA. There are many varieties of curriculum, program style, and locations to choose from when considering which program is best suited to one’s particular needs and aspirations. Detailed descriptions of all FPMT programs can be found on the FPMT website: www.fpmt.org/education.
What is distinctly unique to Living in the Path is its emphasis on clarifying and defining FPMT’s particular lineage style of presentation, practice, and content. To illustrate the type of content you will find in this program: The initial modules, as mentioned above, are being created from the “Light of the Path” teaching retreats, which in turn are based on Lama Atisha’s text Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment. The commentarial teaching event is scheduled to take place in a retreat environment for two weeks a year from 2008-2012. However, despite this teaching event being planned as a commentary to a particular text, in Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s first two years of commentary, very little has yet to be said about specific stanzas in the text!
Rather, Rinpoche has focused his teachings on the preliminary practices necessary to generate a proper motivation, practices for purification and accumulation to ripen the mind, and how to transform every moment of every day into mindful practice. Such is the lineage advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche: a teaching can only be an effective tool of transformation if it is preceded by proper preparation. As such, the first 8 - 10 modules of this program are considered a necessary preliminary to receiving teachings on the text of the great Atisha.
In addition, Rinpoche has spent much time giving detailed advice on how to engage in specific rituals and practices within the FPMT. Rinpoche has explained both how and why he would like to see practices done this way by his students. Therefore, a number of modules in this program will present these essential instructions on how to do Lama Chöpa, Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, and other important practices.
If one is looking to study the philosophical texts, it is better to engage with FPMT’s Masters Program,Basic Program or Maitripa College. Likewise, if one is looking to study the Lam-rim (Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) in a step by step way, one may prefer to engage with FPMT’s Discovering Buddhism or Foundation of Buddhist Thought programs. If one is wanting to do some initial investigation of what the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has to offer, then it is advised to start with Meditation 101 or Buddhism in a Nutshell.
Those who will be best served by the Living in the Path program are students who feel a personal connection to Lama Thubten Yeshe and/or Lama Zopa Rinpoche and who want to deepen their personal practice and understanding by relying on the heart advice and teachings of these two great masters.
Light of the Path Retreat Material, 2009 is now available on the FPMT Online Learning Center. Materials include Lama Atisha’s lamp of the Path text in several languages and all of lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings from the Light of the Path retreat, 2009 as downloadable audio MP3 files in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese.
Currently available modules:
- Motivation for Life
- Taking the Essence
- What Buddhists Believe
- Stages of the Path
The name “Living in the Path” is the explicit intent of this program. By engaging with the methods presented here, which help transform every action of body, speech and mind into the ways of wisdom and compassion, one's day-to-day life will indeed become one of Living in the Path. If you are inspired, please join us.