The Sangha and Laity Training Programs are Buddhist vocational training programs that were granted course approval by the Department of Education of the State of California on May 19th, 1982.

Program Goals:
• To make sure that the Buddhist teachings are understood in principle and embodied in practice so that the Proper Dharma contained in them will be perpetuated.
• To develop in trainees moral character and a value system based in ethics.
• To prepare trainees who have entered monastic life for their vocations as members of the Buddhist Sangha. To prepare trainees who are laity for their roles as members of the Buddhist lay community and as Buddhists in the world community.
• To teach trainees to gain insight into their spiritual nature and to develop inherent wisdom.

The Sangha and Laity Training Programs are vocational training programs for current and aspirant members of the Buddhist Sangha and for Buddhist laymen and laywomen of at least eighteen years of age. The purpose of the programs is to provide a solid foundation in Buddhist studies and practice for those whose goal is an occupation in a Buddhist institution or community setting, in social service areas, or in educational institutions. These programs of study and training came in response to the growing number of Buddhist institutions, such as temples, monasteries, convents, schools, colleges and universities, and health centers, in America and in other countries that require their staff to be knowledgeable and proficient in Buddhist doctrine and practice. These programs also fill a need in the Buddhist world community for Buddhist training centers that provide education in orthodox teachings and training in traditional monastic systems and structures.

The training programs emphasize the application of traditional moral, spiritual, and intellectual principles to the formation of character and to one’s daily life and work in the modern world. Learning through actual practice in this way requires a serious commitment.

The Sangha Paramita Training Program leads to the awarding of the Sangha Diploma and represents a four-years course of study, based both on campus and at approved in-service training facilities, combining instruction and training in religious practices, monastic discipline, social and educational services. Applicants must be members of the Buddhist Sangha, either Sharamaneras (novice monks) or Shramanerikas (novice nuns), who aspire to full training necessary to augment their vocation. The Sangha Training Program is designed to provide its students with the requisite skills and understanding for vocational opportunities within monasteries, educational institutions, and social service areas that require monastics who are knowledgeable and proficient in Buddhist doctrine and practice.

The Laity Paramita Training Program leads to the Buddhist Laity Diploma and entails a four-year course of study combining instruction and training in religious practices and moral conduct, discipline appropriate for laity, and social and educational services. Applicants must be individuals of good character with a sincere desire to gain knowledge necessary to benefit the world and be models among the Buddhist laity. Graduates of the Laity Training Program who possess additional professional training and education may qualify for employment in Buddhist religious communities, schools, universities, health centers, and related social service activities, in administrative or special capacities where intercultural skills are required.

The Programs are located at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talmage, California, and at the City of the Dharma Realm in West Sacramento, California, where resident housing is available for trainees, instructors, and administrators. The Program’s administrators, instructors, and trainees in these programs are primarily in residence, either at one of the main campuses or at field experience locations. The administrators and instructors, most of whom are volunteer, work in close connection with each other and join in the study and practice of Buddhism and in community events regularly where they are able to observe and interact with the trainees.