New to Buddhism

New to Buddhism? Want to see what it’s all about, or just use its teachings to improve your daily life? FPMT’s Introductory Programs are short courses that allow students to learn the basics and try Buddhist concepts on for size.

Meditation 101 is an introductory course on basic Buddhist meditation techniques for complete beginners. It teaches basic Buddhist meditations that can be used by anyone to create more peace and happiness in daily life.

Meditation 101 is presented in five sessions and covers these basic Buddhist meditation techniques:

  • what is meditation?
  • meditation posture and arranging the body
  • purposes and benefits of meditation
  • different skills that are used in meditation and useful in daily life
  • the difference between meditation and relaxation
  • two main types of meditation – analytical and stabilizing
  • obstacles to meditation and their antidotes
  • setting up a meditation session
  • advice for establishing a long-term meditation practice
  • using the benefits of meditation in everyday living
  • meditation practice
  • breathing meditations such as counting the breath and nine-round breathing
  • mindfulness meditations such as scanning the body, bare attention, mind like the sky, and mind like the ocean
  • visualization meditations such as body of light, purification with light
  • analytical meditations such as meditation on equanimity, and transforming negative experiences into positive

Buddhism in a Nutshell

Buddhism in a Nutshell is an introductory course on Buddhism for complete beginners. It presents basic Buddhist philosophy and principles within the Tibetan Mahayana context, and provides simple meditation instruction.

Buddhism in a Nutshell is presented in five sessions and covers these basic principles of Buddhism:

  • Life of Shakyamuni Buddha; the similarities of Shakyamuni Buddha’s life to ours; how the Buddha answered the big “meaning of life” questions that we all have
  • The Four Noble Truths
  • The structure of the Four Noble Truths based on the medical model
  • Truth of Suffering — the diagnosis of our existential situation
  • Truth of the Cause of Suffering — karma, delusions, ignorance
  • Truth of the Cessation of Suffering — nirvana
  • Truth of the Path to the Cessation of Suffering — practices of the wisdom and methods taught by the Buddha
  • Buddha’s teachings in a gradual form for the practice of one individual … where to start, what next, etc.
  • What does it mean to be a Buddhist, an “inner being”
  • Specifics of the path: three principles of the path using Foundation of All Good Qualities
  • Different kinds of Buddhism: Theravadan, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Zen, Ch’an, Pure Land, etc.
  • Different schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Gelug, Kagyu, Sakya, Nyingma
  • A little history of Buddhism