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Foundation Program

Ready to go deeper?

Try Foundation Program 

with Resident Teacher Gen Kelsang Zamling 

Join Foundation Program for the opportunity to:

Become a confident and effective meditator

Gain skills to apply what you learn to everyday life

Deepen your understanding of the Buddhist path

Be part of a supportive and inspiring community

Learn from an experienced teacher with 20+ years of experience

Foundation Program classes

Oak Park

Sundays, 12:30 - 2:30pm *

Online option available for those outside Chicagoland

12:30 - 2:30pm: Teaching and meditation

2:30 - 3:00pm: Break & social time

3:00 - 4:00pm: Become inspired with group meditation prayers

Join any time. Interested students can try the class out for free. Please contact us to set up a trial.

currently studying: The New Heart of Wisdom

Wicker Park

Tuesdays, 7 - 9pm

This class is studying the inspiring book The New Eight Steps to Happiness: The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness, a practical step-by-step guide to enhancing our love, compassion, and wisdom, and learning how to transform our daily life into the spiritual path.

Join any time. Interested students can try the class out for free. Please contact us to set up a trial.

currently studying: The New Eight Steps to Happiness

Foundation Program students during meditation prayers

Unique Format


Foundation Program (FP) is a structured study and meditation program that is enrollment based (not drop-in).  Classes meet weekly (with a break over the holidays, and a longer summer break). All classes are structured to include guided meditation, chanted prayers, teachings, and discussion.


In order to receive the most benefit from FP, each student makes the personal commitment to:

  • attend class weekly

  • attend one group puja (or chanted prayer) per week

  • study the class material in preparation for class

  • participate in periodic group discussion classes

  • take an exam at the conclusion of the book (or particular sections of the book)


Students maintain a monthly membership year-round as a Standard Member* or higher. This membership includes Foundation Program classes, General Program classes, and discounts on other events.​

* Financial accommodations can be made for those in need.  Please contact our Administrative Director for details: or 312-767-1898 (call/text)

How to Enroll

Contact our Education Program Coordinator to arrange a free session at your convenience:


The Resident Teacher (principal teacher) at KMC Chicago is modern Buddhist monk Gen Kelsang Zamling. Gen Zamling has been a student of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for many years, and has taught in the United States and in the UK. Gen Zamling completed an intensive 6 month Special Teacher Training Program with our General Spiritual Director, Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, to further his qualifications as a teacher. 

Gen Zamling is known for his practical approach, warmth, and clarity. He is well-loved by his students, and sets an immaculate example of someone who has taken Buddha's teachings to heart.

Gen Kelsang Zamling
Geshe Kelsang ASSET5cwnt3zprwuh3p x800.jpg

The Origin of Foundation Program


Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, created this specially designed study and meditation program based upon traditional methods passed down in an unbroken lineage for generations since the time of Buddha Shakyamuni.  

The Program includes the study and practice of six authoritative texts covering the entire scope of Buddha’s Mahayana teachings, which generally takes several years to complete.


Its modern format makes it possible for anyone to develop authentic spiritual experience while living a busy, modern life. It is very blessed and powerful, and easily leads to quick and authentic spiritual development.


The program comprises the following five subjects, based on Buddha’s Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

  1. The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary Joyful Path of Good Fortune

  2. Training the Mind, based on the commentaries Universal Compassion and The New Eight Steps to Happiness

  3. The Heart Sutra, 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, based on the commentary How to Understand the Mind

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