Moderators are experienced course graduates who volunteer to help new groups because they benefited by doing the course and want to help others deepen their understanding of Dharma.
They have been chosen by Geshe Tashi not only because they have a good knowledge of the topics the course covers, but because they have the ability to keep the moderator groups engaged and stimulated.
Whilst FBT moderators act as guides for you, it is important not to expect them to be like academic tutors at a university. They won’t always offer a conclusion or a “right answer” to the discussion questions, but will encourage students to answer for themselves, using the material provided. This is an exploration of the philosophies of Buddhism and, as such, the emphasis is not merely on acquiring knowledge but on actively investigating the truths that lie within Buddhism.
One of the roles of the moderator is to be a group facilitator, rather than a teacher. They will be there to support students through the study of the material, to encourage participation, to feedback on essays and to make sure the discussions and various activities are delivered on time.
Understandably, on occasion there could arise a situation where a student encounters a difficulty in the course, giving rise to a grievance. The administration of Jamyang Buddhist Centre stands ready to discuss any matter causing a grievance with the student involved. However, we firmly request that under no circumstances should a student bearing a grievance approach fellow students. Buddhist practitioners understand that such action brings serious, and sometimes irreparable, division to a Sangha.
You will be part of a tutor group of about 10 to 15 people. Your moderator will be a course graduate. This is where the course really takes off. Receiving discussion questions every two weeks linked to what the timetable says you should be studying, you are invited to respond via the forum. You receive all the responses from the other students in your group and so it becomes an online forum discussion.
There is a real sense of “virtual sangha” about the groups. No matter where you live you are all studying the same topic at the same time. No one person has more to offer than another, and experiential anecdotes are as important as book knowledge.
You can also join the “Tea Room”, a forum for general Dharma chat, open to all students starting at the same time as you. Here the conversations range beyond the topics of the course to setting up altars, dealing with the death of a pet, where the Dalai Lama is currently teaching, etc.
Students have the option of disclosing their personal email address in their profile if they wish – however, they bear full responsibility for receiving any undesired emails in the future.