MP Residential Program


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.

testo-tibetanoStudents will study five principal subjects, receiving teachings on and oral transmissions of the main texts and their principal Gelug commentaries from geshes who are qualified lineage-holders. When time permits, the teachers may supplement the teachings with additional texts and commentaries as they see appropriate.

  • Ornament for Clear Realization (Abhisamayalamkara)
  • Supplement to the ‘Middle Way’ (Madhyamakavatara)
  • Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramanavarttika)
  • Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra
  • The Two Stages of Guhyasamaja Tantra

Applications for the next subject of the Masters Program:
Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramanavarttika) (January 2019—December 2019) will be accepted until January 15, 2019


Ornament for Clear Realization (Abhisamayalamkara)

April 2015—March 2017

Maitreya’s root text presents the stages of clear realization gained on the various spiritual grounds and paths of hearers, solitary realizers, and bodhisattvas that lead to the attainment of omniscience, as well as detailed explanations of fundamental Buddhist topics such as bodhichitta, the Three Jewels, the two truths, the four noble truths, and the four Buddha bodies.

Main texts:

  • Ornament for Clear Realization by Maitreya
  • The Commentary: Clear Meaning by Haribhadra
  • The Explanation: Ornament of the Essence by Gyeltsab Je


Supplement to the ‘Middle Way’ (Madhyamakavatara)

April 2017—December 2018

Chandrakirti’s treatise extensively presents the ten perfections, with specific emphasis on the perfection of wisdom and the many reasonings of the Consequentialist (Prasangika) school for understanding emptiness, as well as other Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools of thought.

Main texts:

  • Supplement to the ‘Middle Way’ by Chandrakirti
  • Explanation of the ‘Supplement to the “Middle Way”’ by Chandrakirti
  • Illumination of the Thought: An Extensive Explanation of Chandrakirti’s “Supplement to the ‘Middle Way’” by Lama Tsongkhapa


Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramanavarttika)

January 2019—December 2019

Dharmakirti’s Commentary on Valid Cognition is a fundamental treatise on Buddhist logic and epistemology, presenting the reasons that prove the possibility of past and future lives, liberation, buddhahood, and so forth through “valid cognition” (pramana). Vasubandhu’s Treasury of Manifest Knowledge is a vast description of the outer and inner world according to Buddhism—the various types of migrating beings and realms and their causes, actions and afflictions, minds and mental factors, and the spiritual paths and persons who traverse them.

The teachings on Valid Cognition will focus on logical inference and the establishment of valid authority, while the teachings on the Treasury will focus mainly on the chapters presenting actions (karma) and afflictions.

Main Texts:

  • Treasury of Manifest Knowledge by Vasubandhu
  • Clarifying the Path to Liberation: An Explanation of the ‘Treasury of Manifest Knowledge’ by Gedun Drub, the First Dalai Lama
  • Commentary on Valid Cognition by Dharmakirti
  • Elucidating the Path to Liberation According to the Pramanavarttika by Gyeltsab Je


Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra

January 2020—June 2020

Students will study commentaries including Ngawang Palden’s Illumination of the Texts of Tantra to get an overview of the essential points of the four classes of tantra, with particular emphasis on the spiritual grounds and paths of highest yoga tantra.

Main Texts:

  • Illumination of the Tantric Tradition: The Principles of the Grounds and Paths of the Four Great Secret Classes of Tantra by Choje Ngawang Palden
  • Great Exposition of the Stages of Mantra by Lama Tsongkhapa


The Two Stages of Guhyasamaja Tantra

September 2020—June 2021

The class will focus on in-depth analysis of the generation and completion stages of highest yoga tantra, based on the Guhyasamaja Tantra, using commentaries such as Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages.

Main Texts:

  • A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages: Core Teachings on the Glorious Guhyasamāja, King of Tantras by Lama Tsongkhapa
  • A Guide to the Generation Stage Path of Guhyasamaja Called “Sacred Words of Akshobhya” by Aku Sherab Gyatso
  • A Memorandum to the Expository Commentary on the Five Stages of the Completion Stage of Glorious Guhyasamaja Called “Nectar
  • From the Mouth of Akshobhya” by Aku Sherab Gyatso
  • Self-generation Rite of the Glorious Secret Assembly, The King of Tantras: Arranged for Convenient Recitation in Accordance with the
  • Oral Tradition of the Jang Tse College of Ganden

After the conclusion of the studies, there will be a three-month review period and final exam.

Download the calendar in pdf >>

In each calendar year, Masters Program classes are suspended two months for summer vacation (from the end of June until the beginning of September) and one month at Christmas (from mid-December until mid-January), with a study-break of one week immediately following the Easter weekend. A two-week lam rim retreat will be scheduled each year from mid-January to the beginning of February. In addition, classes stop for a few days around the Tibetan new year (Losar), which falls in February or March. Resident students are welcome to remain at the Institute during these breaks, whereas the student housing rates do not apply during the summer months.

Teachings with the principal teacher will be held five days a week, from Monday to Friday. The schedule for review classes, discussion groups, and group meditations will be decided in conjunction with the MP staff.

Geshe Jampa Gelek

Geshe Jampa Gelek was born in 1966 in the eastern region of Kham, Tibet. He decided to become a monk early in life. At the age of 16 he left Lhasa, due to the Chinese invasion (1959) and went to India. He studied at Sera Je Monastic University, where, at a very early age of 19, he became a fully ordained monk. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Choden Rinpoche are his main teachers. In 1999, being awarded the title of Lharampa Geshe, he continued his education with the study of tantra, qualifying him to give empowerments and commentaries. Since 2012, together with Geshe Tenzin Tenphel, he is resident teacher at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute.
Geshe Gelek teaches the Masters Program in a very dedicated and enthusiastic manner, sharing his amazing vast and profound knowledge with us.

From Tibetan into English
Ven. Tenzin Sangmo

After ordaining at Chenrezig institute, Australia, at age eighteen, she went to India to pursue her goal of becoming a Tibetan-English interpreter and translator. Understanding that language skills alone were not sufficient, she entered the traditional geshe studies program at Drolmaling Nunnery Dharamsala, India, and then later moved to Kopan Nunnery, Nepal, to continue the geshe studies there.
She has an excellent grasp of spoken and classical Tibetan from nine years of traditional training in the geshe studies program. She has complemented and strengthened her studies with professional training in interpretation, and a further acquisition of classical Sanskrit. She has since gained experience through interpretation for Chenrezig Institute’s Basic Program, conference interpretation, extensive written translations, and editing projects.

MP Teaching Assistant
Sze Gee Toh

She was a college Mathematics teacher before embarking on studies in the Masters Program in 1998. Since graduating with high honors, she has been working for various organizations in Asia, Europe, and America. She enjoys sharing the precious Dharma through her tutoring and translation work.
Sze Gee is since September 2017 our resident teacher assistant through Skype.

Tibetan language teacher

Anastasia graduated from Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Programme, (LRZTP) a two-year intensive Tibetan language study course in Dharamsala, India, in 2014 (LRZTP-6 taught by Sherab Dhargye and Teresa Bianca). For the next two years, Anastasia continued her Tibetan language and Dharma studies in Dharamsala. In 2016 she moved to Bodhgaya to work as a FPMT Basic Program interpreter at the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture.

Anastasia has been teaching Tibetan since a student at LRZTP giving Skype lessons and short intensive courses. She has also assisted as a conversation partner for the subsequent LRZT Programme.
Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Anastasia has worked as a translator and interpreter from Tibetan into English and Russian. She has collaborated with the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, the Root Institute, Russian FPMT centers and the Tergar Dharma community. Anastasia has translated for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mingyur Rinpoche, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche and various Geshes at FPMT centers.
Teaching Tibetan Anastasia prefers a full immersion approach and puts a lot of emphasis on the use of practical language skills rather than the simple acquisition of linguistic structures. Having studied English, Tibetan, Japanese, Hindi and German Anastasia is an experienced language learner and knows how to make the process of acquiring a new language easy and fun.
In her own words, “Language learning is a natural process we all go through in our childhood making our native language our own. In the same way we can engage in learning a new tongue – by simply allowing ourselves to be kids again and open ourselves up to a new dimension that will soon become a part of us. Certain techniques and strategies will help our mind integrate new habits and our brain build new neural connections, but most importantly is our attitude – we should simply play with this new world that’s opening up before us. Playfulness, humor and joy are the key to making the learning process quick and easy. My task as a teacher is to show you the rules of the game and help you become a successful and happy gamer”.



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.
Please note: The accommodations for the students are only available during the study period and during the winter break, but not during July and August!


Students, who live outside of the Institute and would like to make use of the dining service at the Institute, please send an email to
The costs per month for accommodation and meals are:

For information regarding the availability and costs of accommodation:
Please contact

  • Monks please contact Takden Shedrup Dargye Ling (Notice: The male monastery is complete)
  • Nuns please contact Shenpen Samten Ling


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.

For the subject Valid Cognition and Treasury, please submit your application by January 15, 2019.
Application for enrolment for this subject 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:
  • Self-certification of one’s economic situation (being able to sustain oneself for the entire year of studies)
  • Motivation letter: please write why you would like to study this subject of Valid Cognition and Treasury

Please fill in and submit the application form, including a picture of yours, and send at the same time the requested documents attached by email to:

If you are accepted into the program, we will contact you via e-mail and send you information about the payment and your enrolment.

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)