Looking on the Bodhichitta Buddhist Centre website I could see that there were a lot of different classes being offered. I really enjoyed my drop-in class and for the most part was content to not do any more than that, but at the same time part of me wondered if I would benefit from something new, something that required a little more effort on my part. It looked like my next step up from the drop-in classes would be to join the Foundation Program
. I liked the idea of studying one of Geshe Kelsang’s books in depth and for the most part the program sounded pretty good… that was, until I read about the “pairs discussion” portion of the class where you would have to discuss part of the text with another student in the class. I’m fairly introverted so I immediately thought that the Foundation Program wasn’t for me. Besides that, I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t like change, so I decided that I would just continue to attend the drop-in class. I was still learning new things every week and, as they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Which Path to Take?
Then something happened that nudged me into changing my mind. A few weeks after the drop-in class had re-started after the summer break, I learned that the teacher of my drop-in class was going to be teaching the new Foundation Program and that there would be another teacher taking over the class I was attending. So, either I was going to have to join the Foundation Program to keep the same teacher or I was going to have to adjust to a new teacher but continue attending the drop-in classes. Surprisingly enough, I found that I didn’t have to give it much thought: I decided to join the new Foundation Program. Maybe that was because it had already been percolating in the back of my mind.
The Foundation Program is certainly different than the drop-in classes. I think the thing that I notice
the most is that the Foundation Program is more active learning while the drop-in classes are more passive. For the Foundation Program, students are supposed to read the relevant section of the book before the class, and of course there are the pairs discussions (which are actually fun, so I shouldn’t have worried). I really enjoy the structure of the Foundation Program classes: the prayers at the beginning, the reading of the text with additional explanations, the break with an opportunity to get to know my fellow students, and the pairs discussions.
Studying in a structured manner is working well for me, and I am finding it easier to integrate the things I learn into my life. Somehow when I was only dropping in to the classes, I didn’t feel the same motivation to practice or think much about what I had learned during the rest of the week. Now, possibly because I have to read the material beforehand, I find I spend more time thinking about the things I have learned and how I could use them to improve my life and the lives of the people around me.
written by Allison
Read more about our Foundation Program and how to join it here.
This post was written by Allison