Skip directly to content

Spiritual Program

The purpose of Buddhist teachings is to end suffering and help bring all beings to happiness through enlightenment. Our spiritual programs form the core of what we do, following the advice of our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and the policies of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).

We offer a wide range of study and practice opportunities. Our goal is to meet the varied spiritual needs of our community. In general, the teachings are structured around the graduated path to enlightenment (lamrim) taught in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition. We invite our guests to participate in as many or as few activities as each person finds beneficial. Unless specified, there is no preregistration required for our programs.

Introductory Programs

  • Buddhism in a Nutshell - a five-week course introducing an overview of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.
  • Meditation 101 - a five-week course for students who are completely new to meditation, to introduce a number of different methods of meditation based on Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Dharma for a Happy Life - our Sunday morning programs at 9:00am and 10:45am are for all levels and a good way to become more familiar with applying Buddhism to live a happier daily life.
  • Food for Thought - a monthly group that meets to discuss and practice mindfulness and eating habits.

Beginner Programs

  • Discovering Buddhism - a two-year course designed to give a comprehensive overview of the lamrim, the step-by-step path to enlightenment practiced in Tibetan Buddhism. To get the most benefit of the program, it combines class instruction as well as readings, homework, and experiential meditations and practices to do at home. Students have the opportunity to apply for a completion certificate if all components, tests, and assigned practices are succesfully completed.
  • Medicine Buddha puja - prayers to the Medicine Buddhas for healing and world peace.
  • Tara Practice - a monthly practice to Buddha Tara, whose enlightened qualities include swiftly removing obstacles to achieve all wishes. This practice is particularly recommended for Kadampa Center's community and harmony working together.

Intermediate Programs

  • How to Get Enlightened, Step-by-Step - Geshe Gelek is teaching an extensive commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo, a core text in the Gelug tradition. Before joining this class, it's recommended students listen to the recordings of past classes to catch up on the material. Recordings are available in the Members section of the website.
  • Guru puja with tsog - Prayers and offerings to the Guru inseperable with the Buddha, based on the seven limb practice. According to our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, students who have taken Hightest Yoga Tantra initiation have a commitment to do tsog on the 10th and 25th days of the Tibetan calendar, however anyone can attend and participate in these pujas. Prior knowledge of Buddhism is helpful to understand the purpose of the ritual and prayers.
  • The Basic Program - A five-year course covering nine main texts in the Buddhist tradition. Pre-requisites and pre-registration is required to participate. Students need to have completed the 13 classroom modules of Discovering Buddhism among other pre-requisited, and are recommended to take the How to Get Enlightened Class in conjunction with the Basic Program. To get the most benefit from the program, students should be committed to doing all homework, practices, tests, and if all componenets are succesfully completed to apply for a completion certificate.


  • Weekend retreats - throughout the year weekend retreats are offered both at the center and in a residential setting. 
  • Light of the Path Retreats - a series of annual special two-week retreats with our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, at a facility in Black Mountain, NC. The basis for the teachings are the fundamental text Lamp of the Path by Lama Atisha, but Rinpoche has taught on many other aspects of practice as well. The next in this series is tentatively planned for Fall of 2015.

Families and Children

  • Sunday Children's Program - during the 10:45am Dharma for a Happy Life program, children and teens have the option of participating in a program especially for their respective ages. 
  • Children's Camp - a yearly camp experience for families to learn about the Dharma through fun activities.

Other Programs

  • Holy Days - a variety of practices and celebrations on the Buddhist holy days.
  • New Year's Eve Purification Practice - based on a fire puja to Dorje Khadro, who out of compassion devours our negative karma, this popular program is friendly for all levels and ages. As part of the ritual, our bad karma is visualized with black sesame seeds and thrown into the fire to Dorje Khado. By regretting our past mistakes and resolving to start the new year fresh, it's a wonderful way to start the new year.
  • Animal Blessing and Liberation - at least once a year we offer the opportunity to bless pets and free sentient beings that would otherwise be killed (typcially insects sold for pet food and bait) in a special ceremony. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their pets anytime and circumambulate the stupa for incredibly powerful blessings!
  • Sunday Morning Silent Meditation - an hour for interfaith silent meditation, with opportunities to both doing sitting and walking meditation.
  • We have many other programs not listed here as well - please see our calendar for more information!

Donations to Support Programming

To help ensure our spiritual programs are accessible to everyone, teachings and classes are offered on the basis of "dana". This is a Sanskrit word that means "giving" or "generosity". We do not charge a fee or even "suggested donation". Instead, each person is encouraged to look into his or her heart to see how best to support the programs at Kadampa Center. This opportunity to practice generosity freely is an integral part of our spiritual practice.

First-time Visitors

We welcome visitors. Though Kadampa Center follows an ancient holy tradition, we strive to remain informal and welcoming of all guests and newcomers. When you come to Kadampa Center for the first time we would love to have you introduce yourself to us. For answers to commonly asked questions, please see our newcomers FAQ page. For students wanting to visit as a class assignment, please see our guidelines.

We look forward to seeing you at Kadampa Center!