The benefits of studying on Foundation Program:

Deepen your understanding and experience of Buddha's teachings and meditation.

Learn how to integrate Buddhist meditation and practice into your daily life.

Make spiritual friends and become part of a spiritual community.

Come to the Free Intro Talk:  Sunday, Sept 8, 10am-12pm

Time to switch it up?

If you have been coming to drop-in meditation classes for a while and want to take your practice to the next level, Foundation Program could be your next step.

Learn more by attending the Free Intro Class, in which Nick will explain how the program works.  This is followed by a two-week trial period before enrollment is required.

If you are interested in Foundation Program, please contact Kelsang Evam at to receive updates.

Study Universal Compassion this Fall on Foundation Program

Starting Sunday, September 8

Meets: Sundays, 10am - 12pm

Teacher: Nick Birdsall

Studying the book: Universal Compassion

Foundation Program offers a structured and thorough approach to learning modern Buddhism and taking meditation to a deeper level. The program works like this:

  • Study one book at a time, going through each section slowly
  • Meditate each week on what we studied the previous week
  • Discuss in pairs, as well as a group, to share and learn from each other

This program is enrollment-based. Both in-person and live-streamed options are available. Live-stream enrollment is available for those who live remotely or whose travel is limited by disability.

Class meets weekly, with term breaks throughout the program, including a longer break in the summer.

In addition to a teaching from the book, each class includes chanted prayers, guided meditation, and discussion. 

Learn more about Foundation Program

Universal Compassion

Inspiring Solutions for Difficult Times

By Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

Universal Compassion provides practical instructions showing how to transform even the most difficult daily life experiences into opportunities for spiritual growth through developing and enhancing minds of universal love and compassion. The heart of Buddha’s teachings is unconditional love and compassion. In this inspiring explanation of the popular Buddhist poem Training the Mind in Seven Points, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche reveals powerful and far-reaching methods for us to develop these altruistic states.

About the Teacher: Nick Birdsall

Nick is an experienced practitioner of Kadampa Buddhism. Having met these teachings in 1993 in his native England, Nick has received many teachings directly from Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. He is a regular volunteer at Heruka Center. Nick presents Buddha’s teachings and meditations with clarity and warmth and is appreciated for his sincerity and spiritual confidence.

Foundation Program Enrollment Information

Interested in joining Foundation Program? Please email Kelsang Evam at:

Cost for Foundation Program is Supporting Membership, which includes free access to all weekly classes and half-price for most events at Heruka Kadampa Buddhist Center. Please see the Membership page for details.

About the Foundation Program

There are three reasons why we need to study and practice the teachings of Buddha - to develop our wisdom, to cultivate a good heart and to maintain a peaceful state of mind.

Our Founder, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, specially designed the Foundation Program to provide a systematic presentation of particular subjects of Mahayana Buddhism to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge and experience of the spiritual path.

By studying on this program we shall gain confidence in our meditation practice – from basic techniques for overcoming our everyday problems to practices leading to heartfelt happiness and lasting inner peace.

In this way, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of Buddha’s teachings, maintain a daily meditation practice that is effective and focused, and make genuine spiritual progress.

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, teaching in New York in 2006

Learn these five essential topics of Buddhist practice:

Learn five essential topics of Buddhism in Foundation Program. These subjects and practices form the foundation for effectively integrating Buddhist meditation practice with our daily life. They are:

  1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim), based on the commentary Joyful Path of Good Fortune
  2. Training the Mind (Lojong), based on the commentary Universal Compassion and The New Eight Steps to Happiness
  3. The Heart Sutra (Emptiness), 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 (Lorig), based on the commentary How to Understand the Mind

The Benefits of Studying these Books

Joyful Path of Good Fortune – We gain the ability to put all Buddha’s teachings of both Sutra and Tantra into practice. We can easily make progress on and complete the stages of the path to the supreme happiness of enlightenment. From a practical point of view, the Stages of the Path, or Lamrim, is the main body of Buddha’s teachings, and the other teachings are like its limbs.

Universal Compassion and The New Eight  Steps to Happiness – We gain the ability to integrate Buddha’s teachings into our daily life and solve all our human problems, especially learning how to transform adverse conditions in to the path to enlightenment.

The New Heart of Wisdom – We gain a realization of the ultimate nature of reality, emptiness. By gaining this realization we can eliminate the ignorance of self-grasping that is the root of all our suffering.

Meaningful to Behold – We transform our daily activities into the Bodhisattva’s way of life of the six perfections, thereby making every moment of our human life meaningful.

How to Understand the Mind – We understand the relationship between our mind and its external objects. If we understand that objects depend upon the subjective mind we can change the way objects appear to us by changing our own mind. Gradually we shall gain the ability to control our mind and in this way solve all our problems.

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Heruka Kadampa Meditation Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit. A member of the New Kadampa Tradition - Internationals Kadampa Buddhist Union.