A program of courses on Buddhism has been created under the direction of Venerable Dagpo Rinpoche. The courses are held by a group leader during the monthly weekend sessions at Veneux-Les Sablons on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings and a group study on Sunday afternoon, from September to June.
The aim of the courses is to favor a deeper understanding of the Buddha's teachings and their content. This allows those who so wish to become better practitioners by applying their new knowledge in everyday life, by identifying precisely the faults that they have to weaken and the good qualities they have to strengthen. Gaining a solid foundation in Buddhist philosophy and deepening it, gives the opportunity to overcome more forcefully the difficulties of everyday life, feel happier and thus be better able to help others.
Furthermore, the courses also prepare one to attend the major annual Lamrim retreats.
There are currently three courses: The first is on the Basics of Buddhism. The second is on the Five Physical and Mental Aggregates. The third is on Learning, Reflection and Meditation
Course I is covered in three years. It is for those who wish
to learn the basics of Buddhism and its terminology. This course is recommended for newcomers, even if they
have some prior knowledge of the subject.
Course synopsis: defining Buddhism, the goals pursued by Buddhists, the categories of phenomena, mental factors, Buddhist philosophical terminology, the three kinds of practitioners, the three Dharma Wheels, the three Higher Trainings, karma and its effects, the spirit of enlightenment, the three Jewels, tantra, perceptions, the schools of tenets, the individual or self and selflessness. The course is based on the lessons that Venerable Dagpo Rinpoche prepared for his students at I.Na.L.C.O. It gives an overview of the vast domain that Buddhism encompasses, and the concepts are explained in a clear, concise and precise way, and intended to be detailed later.
Course II presents the five aggregates and the mind and mental factors. It is based on Gyeltsap Je's commentary of Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya. It is open to students who have successfully completed the course on the Basics of Buddhism (course I) and is covered in three years as well.
Course III is devoted to the subject of ‘Learning, Reflection and Meditation’ and relies on a text by Kunkhyen Jamyang Zhepa. It is open to students who have successfully completed courses I and II. It is covered in one year and a half.
The explanations in these courses are given progressively, therefore regular attendance of the monthly sessions is preferable, as well as passing two exams per year (January and June).
For those who cannot attend the sessions regularly a separate study group is available that follows the same timetable and covers the same material as the other classes.
The principle of these studies continues the tradition followed in the monasteries, a tradition starting with learning (memorizing new concepts), then reflection (comparing the concepts studied through reasoning) and finally meditation (familiarizing the mind to now apply these concepts.)