MP Residential Program

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We are more than happy to hear from you if you would like to have more information about the Institute or have specific questions about our activities!

The heart of the FPMT Masters Program in Buddhist Studies is the full-time residential study program, which offers both lay and ordained students the opportunity to receive extensive teachings from the resident teachers, personal support from the staff, and invaluable interaction with other students—all of which is uniquely fashioned to assist and encourage the understanding and practice of the Dharma.


Masters Program classes are conducted nine months a year, mid-January to end June and the beginning of September to mid-December. These include daily teachings from the principal teachers Monday through Friday, along with regular classes conducted by the teaching assistants for review and discussion of the current material.


Teachings are translated from Tibetan into English and Italian. The texts and all supplementary study material are available in English and Italian. Separate review classes and discussion groups are conducted in English and Italian.


Students’ progress is measured by a combination of written and oral exams, research projects, and presentations. At the end of the entire program, students who have successfully completed all five subjects can participate in the review and complete the final assignments in order to qualify for the Masters Program Completion Certificate.


A one year lamrim retreat is a requirement for program completion; students who complete all five subjects and the review and final exam for each subject, and a total of twelve months of retreat qualify for the Masters Program Completion Certificate.


A completion card that attests to the successful completion of the five individual subjects as well as a final Masters Program Completion Certificate are issued by the FPMT Education Department. Criteria for certification include academic, meditation, service, training and behavior components as well as a minimum attendance in the various aspects of the program.



Full-time students in the Masters Program are encouraged to stay at the Institute in either a small shared dormitory or an individual room in one of the wooden cabins built to house students. The cabins are located in a quiet area with spacious views, within a very short walking distance from the main building. Each cabin has two rooms, with separate entrances and a shared bathroom, each room furnished with a bed, desk, chair, bookshelves, and ample room for storage.

The standard student accommodation rate includes three meals a day, but please be aware that, if you choose the accommodation option without meals, it is not possible to cook own food inside the Institute facilities. For ordained sangha, there is also the possibility of accommodation in Takden Shedrup Targye Ling Monastery or Shenphen Samten Ling Nunnery.


The costs per month for accommodation and meals are:

Attention: The option Lay “without meals” is not available for those who choose their accommodation inside the Institute, cabins included.
Notice: The male monastery is complete

Monks and nuns: The above prices for monks and nuns are for those who participate fully in the Masters Program classes and write all quizzes and exams. All resident sangha are required to pay a monthly fee of €55.00 for facilities, in addition to the cost for meals if they eat at the Institute. Cooking facilities are available for those who choose not to eat meals cooked at the Institute.

For information regarding the availability and costs of accommodation:

– for monks in the monastery, please contact Takden Shedrup Dargye Ling (Ven. Marco Castaldi) at

– for nuns in the houses belonging to the nunnery, please contact the MP coordinator at

Accommodation rates for Masters Program students are monthly rates that must be paid for a minimum of 9 months a year. The student rates are in effect also during the Christmas break (mid-December to mid-January), whereas they are not in effect for the two-month summer break (July-August).


Fees for tuition and materials are as follows:

Lay people

  • €110 per month if payments are made on a monthly basis
  • €100 per month if an entire course is paid for in advance

Ordained sangha

  • No cost, as long as they write all exams and meet the attendance requirements for teachings and retreats



Those people (both lay and ordained) who do not wish to participate fully in the program but would like to listen to the teachings are asked to pay €40 per month as an administrative fee, plus the cost of texts.

These fees support the running of the Masters Program as well as the costs of producing and photocopying the translations of texts and study material.
“Those who would like to participate in the MP Onsite as a listener should flag “auditors”, in the MP Onsite webform.


Note that the following fees are subject to change depending on Italian laws and regulations.

Prior to arriving in Italy, all non-European Union citizens must apply for a student visa (this is preferable to a religious visa, which generally costs more). In addition to the actual cost of the visa (please contact the Italian embassy in your home country for details), students must reimburse the Institute upon arrival for the cost of sending two invitation letters by courier—one to the student and one to the Italian embassy (approximately €30.00).

Upon arrival in Italy, all non-European Union citizens need to apply for a permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno). The costs include:

  • Actual permit: approximately €175.00
  • ILTK administrative fees: this may include costs for administrative help, travel, and other types of assistance provided by ILTK.


Before coming to Italy, all incoming students need to check in their own countries if their present health care coverage will cover them in Italy and to make appropriate arrangements.   

All non-European Union citizens are required either to show proof of having adequate personal coverage that covers health care in Italy or to pay an annual fee for health care in Italy.

  • Annual basic health care fee (emergency coverage): approximately €100.00. This covers all basic emergency medical expenses.

All European Union citizens are required to ensure that the national health board of their respective country will cover medical care while they are studying in Italy. This generally means acquiring a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or a similar document, from the national health board.

Applications for the Masters Program 2015 has been accepted beginning August 10, 2014 until March 8, 2015.

Applications for subsequent modules can be submitted up to ten days before each module begins.

Application packets for enrollment in the Masters Program must include the following:

  • Application Form: fill in and submit the form below
  • Resume (CV) of education and work experience
  • Brief summary of your Dharma experience: this should include information on how and when you fulfilled the prerequisites and requirements listed in the section “admission requirements.”
  • Statement of purpose: a short essay stating your motivation for wishing to enroll in the Masters Program and explaining how this program suits you.
  • Statement of financial status: a brief description of your financial situation in terms of whether your finances are sufficient to allow you to dedicate yourself full-time to the Masters Program for the period of time for which you plan to attend.
  • Two reference letters: at least one of these should be from a recognized and qualified Dharma teacher.

Upon completion, application packets should be sent by email to:

ILTK Study Programs:

Please send all the requested documents together as attachments in one e-mail, not as text copied into the body of the message. The documents need to be named as above, with your name and last name in the title. For example: “statementofpurpose_Jane_Doe.doc”

Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. Once you have completed your application and all the materials have been reviewed, we will contact you regarding the next steps in the process.

Click here to apply



In addition to offering students a profound deepening of their Dharma understanding and practice, the Masters Program aims at providing the FPMT with highly qualified Western teachers of Buddhist theory and practice.

The program was developed to specifically address FPMT centers’ need for native teachers who are qualified to teach, both in terms of their academic knowledge and their exemplary conduct.

The FPMT issues two types of certificates in relation to the residential Masters Program:

  • a Subject Completion Card that indicates that a full-time student has fulfilled all the requirements in relation to an individual subject
  • a Masters Program Completion Certificate that indicates that a full-time student has successfully completed all five subjects, the review and final exam, and a total of one year of lamrim retreat

Criteria for certification include evaluation of students’ academic performance, appropriate ethical conduct, contemplative practice, and service components, as well as regular attendance in the various aspects of the program.

Students who receive the Masters Program Completion Certificate are eligible for FPMT teacher registration and can apply to become Foundational or In-Depth level teachers in FPMT centers. Several additional options to offer service and help provide the FPMT education programs are also open to Masters Program graduates.

Although it is possible to join the program for one’s own personal spiritual development without intending to obtain the completion certificate or to be come an FPMT registered teacher, residential students are expected to regularly attend classes and retreats and to write all exams, as they are intended to stimulate an in-depth review and study of the material.


MP Online students interested in obtaining FPMT certification will also need to meet specific requirements for academic performance, retreat, and ethical behavior. Graduates of MPOL qualify for the FPMT Masters Program Homestudy Completion Certificate and will be eligible to become registered teachers of foundational-level FPMT education programs.



New students are accepted at the beginning of each of the five main subjects. All full-time students are requested to follow the program of study and practice for the duration of an entire subject. For example, a student who enrolls in the first subject, Ornament for Clear Realization, should commit to staying the entire period devoted to the study of that text.


Community service is an integral part of the Master Program and forms part of the subject completion requirements.

All residential students in the Masters Program are required to contribute five hours per week to the Institute as community service, also called “karma yoga.” This is a way for students to share in making this course of study possible by helping with the day-to-day running of the program and the Institute. Assignments of specific tasks are determined based on a number of factors, including the skills that are needed for each job. When possible, the preferences of the student are considered but students are asked to be flexible in their assignments. The karma yoga schedule does not interfere with attendance at teachings, review classes and meditations.


Lama Thubten Yeshe, the founder of the FPMT, asked that the five following precepts be respected at all times in the FPMT centers:

1. No killing
2. No stealing
3. No sexual misconduct
4. No lying
5. No using intoxicants, including alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes

All students who attend classes at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute are requested to abide by these five precepts (although smoking is permitted in certain areas on the premises). Students who reside on the property are also required to follow the general rules of the Institute which enable the community to live together harmoniously and safely.

For more information about the Masters Program, please contact:

office telephone: (+39)050-685009, ext. 1

Education Coordinator
Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa
Via Poggiberna 15
Pomaia (Pisa)


“The aim of the center is to serve others. This is an international center, open to everyone, every race, nationality, and background. It is a place to learn how to free the mind from deep-seated harmful conceptions, and to live in harmony with others by putting meditation into practice in daily life.”
Lama Thubten Yeshe
Founder of the FPMT