Program introduction from Ven. Robina
About the program
Discovering Buddhism is an FPMT study program aimed at giving Buddhist and non-Buddhist students a solid footing in the practice of Mahayana Buddhism. The program is not meant to be an academic study of Buddhism, it is meant to change our daily lives through experiential training in meditation and thought transformation.
The program takes place online and onsite in Zurich on Thursday evenings from 18:30 – 21:00 CET. Each of the 13 modules consists of four two and a half hour sessions and starts on the first Thursday of each month. The sessions are taught by Venerable Robina Courtin. The session opens with a 20-minute guided analytical meditation moderated by a Lhagsam Meditation Facilitator. Then we have and hour and a half teaching by Ven. Robina followed by group discussions. For access to the study materials, the Google Classroom joining instructions will be provided to registered students. We also offer one Intensive Practice Day meditation session Sunday after the last teaching in the module.
Certificates of Achievement for completing the requirements will be awarded to students who meet the criteria (see Practical Information Tab).
Do you want to know more? Watch the video of the Open Door Session here!
At Lhagsam we embrace diversity and equal opportunity with respect to race, religion, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, and physical abilities. Everyone is warmly welcome!
About the teacher
Ven. Robina Courtin, Australian-born, has a powerhouse personality and has been a Buddhist nun for nearly 40 years. Well known for her work with people in prisons, Ven. Robina’s life and work is the subject of the award-winning documentary ‘Chasing Buddha‘. She teaches full time around the world at the centers of her teachers’ organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Read more
If you have any questions, please contact the DB Coordinator at email@example.com
Each of the 13 modules includes the following:
- 4 sessions on Thursdays from 18:30 to 21:00 CET to include:
- Guided meditation led by a Lhagsam Meditation Facilitator at 18:30 CET
- Teaching by Ven. Robina Courtin at 19:00 CET
- Group discussion at 20:30 CET
- An Intensive Practice Day moderated by a Lhagsam Meditation Facilitator on Sunday at the end of the month, 10:00 – 16:00 CET (except in December and April, see events calendar)
- Reading materials provided for each Module in the Google Classroom
- An open-book assessment
All activities are optional for the Total Freedom Path students. The students aspiring to acquire Certificates of Achievement and the Lhagsam Discovering Buddhism Program Certificate can find the Certificate Path requirements in the Practical Information tab.
See all events in the event calendar!
Watch all the recordings of the past events on Discovering Buddhism via our Google Classroom or by clicking here YouTube playlist!
|1 - Mind and its Potential||Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to create a positive and joyous mind!||2 - 23. Sept, 2021|
|2 - How to Meditate||Learn the definition and purpose of meditation, how to sit, how to set up a meditation session, different meditation techniques, and how to deal with obstacles to meditation||7 - 28. Oct, 2021|
|3 - Presenting the Path||Get an overview of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study the life story of the Buddha and discover a unique system for putting Buddhist philosophy into practice – the lam-rim, or “graduated path to enlightenment.”||4 - 25. Nov, 2021|
|4 - The Spiritual Teacher||Investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path: the need for a teacher, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher for greatest benefit.||2 - 23. Dec, 2021|
|5 - Death and Rebirth||Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. Learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.||6 - 27. Jan, 2022|
|6 - All About Karma||Learn the essential facts about the law of cause and effect. Explore ways to deal with life most effectively and take control of your future!||3 - 24. Feb, 2022|
|7 - Refuge in the Three Jewels||Find out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the essential practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and their role in enhancing our spiritual growth.||3 - 24. Mar, 2022|
|8 - Establishing a Daily Practice||Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and find out the elements necessary to generate realizations. Get some tips for making every action meaningful.||7 - 28. Apr, 2022|
|9 - Samsara and Nirvana||Investigate what “samsara” is and how we are stuck in it. Find out what “nirvana” is and how to achieve it. Learn how to be free from suffering and empower yourself with practical tools to deal with and eliminate disturbing emotions forever.||5 - 26. May, 2022|
|10 - How to Develop Bodhichitta||Discover practices that develop our innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate the mind of bodhichitta, known as the very heart of Buddha’s teachings.||2 - 23. Jun, 2022|
|11 - Transforming Problems||Learn the disadvantages of self-cherishing and the advantages of cherishing others. Learn to employ the special techniques of mind training (lojong) to transform problems into happiness.||7 - 28. Jul, 2022|
|12 - Wisdom of Emptiness||The realization of emptiness is crucial for the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. Learn to develop calm abiding and different methods of meditation on emptiness.||4 - 25. Aug, 2022|
|13 - Introduction to Tantra||Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is a powerful form of practice. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to practice simple Kriya tantric methods. Learn to integrate tantra with lam-rim meditation for optimal results.||1 - 22. Sep, 2022|
|14 - Special Integration Experiences||By undertaking intensive practices of purification and a two-week lam-rim retreat, you prepare your mind in the best way to realize the path to enlightenment. Purification practices include: 100,000 prostrations, 3-month Vajrasattva retreat, and Nyung Nä. This is a great way to seal the blessings of this program!||At student's discretion|
Lhagsam Discovering Buddhism Study Paths
Total Freedom Path
- Drop in and out at will, no requirements or obligations.
- You just need to register once with your email address, so we can send you the Zoom link and online Google Classroom invitation link.
- You are welcome to join any of the program events as you wish.
- You will receive all study materials and program communication.
- If you wish and meet the requirements listed below, you may earn Certificates of Achievement for each of the 13 modules offered by Lhagsam
- Sign up for this path if you aim to receive all 13 Certificates of Achievement for the modules and the Lhagsam Discovering Buddhism Certificate of Achievement. We will do our best to support you on the way.
- You will need to complete the Special Integration Experiences Module 14 at your discretion in order to apply for the FPMT Discovering Buddhism Final Completion Certificate.
- You can switch to Total Freedom Path at any time.
Requirements to receive a Certificate of Achievement for each module
- You participated in all Thursday teachings or watched them on video recording.
- *You have practiced the guided meditations at least 3 times each (with Lhagsam and/or individually using the recordings or the Prayer and Meditation Guide).
- You completed reading the Module Student Handbook, including the required readings by either 1) the specified due date or 2) you plan to complete the readings at your own pace.
- You participated in at least two live Discussion sessions on Thursdays or posted in at least two Discussion threads in the Google Classroom for the given module.
- You completed one Intensive Practice Day per module (with Lhagsam or individually).
- You submitted the open-book Assessment per module
*You have practiced all the guided meditations at least 3 times each. For example, once during the teaching on Thursdays, once during the Intensive Practice Day, and the third time individually by using the recordings or the Prayer and Meditation Guide.
Note: You may unsubscribe from the program at any time.
Other information about the Lhagsam DB Online Program
Donation options (everything included):
1 session: 0 – 30 CHF
Monthly subscription: 0 – 150 CHF
One-time donation: 0 – 1500 CHF
Lhagsam members and volunteers: all included. You find more information about how to become a member here.
You would make us very happy by supporting us with a donation! Donate here. Please don’t forget to add ‘DB Robina’ as the payment purpose.
And please be assured, no one will be turned away due to lack of funds!
Level: No prior knowledge required.
You only need to register once for the entire 13-month program. The Zoom links and online Google Classroom invitation link will be provided in your confirmation e-mail and they will not change throughout the program. Please make sure to check your Spam folder, in case you don’t receive the confirmation e-mail within a few minutes from registration.
If you have any questions, please contact the DB Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the expected study time commitment for each module?
The amount of study time is individual, however we estimate about 2 hours of reading per week on average in addition to the teachings.
Do I need to register?
Yes, you need to register at least once, to obtain the ZOOM link for participation. In the event of a change, we will use your contact information provided to contact you about changes and updates periodically.
Is the course online or at the Center in Zurich?
The course is both at the center in Zurich being broadcast on a large TV, as well as online via ZOOM. Ven. Robina will be teaching from her home in the US and will not be physically at the center in Zurich.
How do I register?
You can find the registration form here.
Can I join at anytime, even if I missed some of the classes or modules?
Yes, drop in and out at will. There are no requirements or obligations to attend all the classes if following the Total Freedom Path. You just need to register with your email address, so we can send you the ZOOM link.
Intensive Practice Day: Can I do it alone or do I have to join live?
You are encouraged to join us live in the center or via ZOOM if possible. If not, then you will be able to do the Intensive Practice Day with the support of a Intensive Practice Handout Guide (to be provided at a later date) or you can follow the recorded Intensive Practice via YouTube.
If I can’t join the live teachings or sessions, how do I receive credit for watching them at a later time?
First, if you missed a live teaching or mediation session, you may watch the recording at a later date on our Discovering Buddhism YouTube playlist. For the group discussions, we are evaluating student forum options to give students an alternative to live group discussions. Then at the end of each Module, there will be an open book self-assessment questionnaire. You will confirm your attendance and your completion of the Module’s requirements (Practical Information Tab) by filling out a Certificate of Achievement form.
Where and how do I complete Module 14 - Special Integration Experiences?
Module 14 is a self-study module, and we will provide you with guidelines to support your completion, as well as possibilities for meeting the requirements (e.g. where you can complete the Vajrasattva Retreat) at the completion of the DB course. Until the guide is available, please review the FPMT Module 14 description here.