FAQ

What does FDCW do?

The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom (FDCW) promotes Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom (Universal Education for short).

This non-dogmatic system of lifelong learning is rooted in Buddhist philosophy and psychology, combined with contemporary scientific research and the universal insights of the world’s philosophical, spiritual and religious traditions.

On a day to day basis, FDCW connects an international network of educators and carers, healthcare, youth and social workers, prison officers and other individuals working in business and government who seek to bring more happiness and meaning to their personal and professional lives.

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Do I need to join FDCW?

No. The underlying goal is for Universal Education programmes and courses to enable you to help yourself and others to find genuine happiness.  FDCW exists to support you on your personal journey to develop the qualities and skills you need to make a positive difference in the world. FDCW will also help connect you with like-minded people in your area, country and across the globe. You decide your own level of engagement and involvement.

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What is Universal Education?

Universal Education is a pedagogical framework that aims to equip people of all ages, cultures and traditions to live happy and meaningful lives in accord with the interdependent nature of our existence. Universal Education investigates how our perceptions, thoughts, emotions and motivations condition our experience of the world - whether we experience stress and frustration or contentment and happiness. It also provides the tools and methods for positive transformation on a personal, family, community and global level.

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Who is Universal Education for?

Universal Education is for anybody who believes that it is possible to make the world a better place through cultivating a sense of compassion for our own and others' difficulties and through developing the wisdom to take appropriate action to alleviate that suffering.

It is for people at any stage of their personal or professional development and in any walk of life, for example:

Parents, carers and anybody who wants to improve the lives of their families and communities through promoting positive ways of relating to each other based on kindness and social responsibility;

Teachers who work with toddlers, children, young people or adults and seek a way to connect with their students in a more meaningful way and to encourage them to become more caring and discerning;

Youth and social workers who are looking for greater meaning and purpose in their work and wish to inspire young people and adults to achieve their full potential;

Nurses, therapists, doctors and other healthcare professionals who want to learn how to deal with stress, have more meaningful interactions with their patients and find a greater sense of purpose in their work;

Prison officers who are looking for ways to strenghten their own resilience and to bring a greater sense of peace to their work and the inmates they look after.

Employees and employers who seek a way to approach their work life with a greater sense of joy and social responsibility and who want to help their co-workers do the same;  

Please be aware that

Universal Education is not an alternative to medical treatment. If you are suffering from physical or mental health problems, please discuss with your doctor or therapist whether Universal Education programmes and tools are suitable for you.

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What is the relationship between Universal Education and Buddhism?

Universal Education is rooted in the wisdom and methods of Buddhist philosophy and psychology but it is not a form of Buddhist religion and does not depend on faith in the historical Buddha or any other Buddhist religious figures.

In common with Mahayana Buddhism, Universal Education emphasises both the interdependent nature of our own existence and the universal responsibility of any human to alleviate difficulties and suffering not just for themselves but for all those around them. At the same time, Universal Education is committed to thorough analysis of each person’s own experience using logical reasoning and introspection.

FDCW is affiliated with the FPMT (The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition), an international Tibetan Buddhist organisation founded by the late Lama Yeshe and led by Lama Zopa, following the guidance of the Dalai Lama.

Universal Education is completely non-dogmatic - it is up to you to test the principles and methods offered and to apply what you find beneficial within your own circumstances and living conditions.

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Do I have to be a Buddhist to be involved in Universal Education?

No. Universal Education is for people of any faith or none. The only requirement is personal openness to the idea that positive social transformation is the result of developing compassion and wisdom at the personal level.

It may help to be at least sympathetic to Buddhist philosophy and psychology, or to the notion of 'secular ethics' as promoted by The Dalai Lama. But your scepticism is also welcome because Universal Education is committed to critical enquiry.

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What is the role of other philosophical, spiritual and religious traditions in Universal Education?

Universal Education is based on the insight that we all share the same fundamental human reality, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, nationality or religion. We all seek happiness and meaning, and none of us want difficulties and suffering. Moreover, we all have the same potential to develop our innate capacity for compassion and wisdom, alongside the potential to live in accord with the interdependent nature of human existence.

Universal Education proposes that at the core of all philosophical, spiritual and religious traditions lies the same motivation to understand and achieve our universal human potential. It also recognises that each tradition emerges from its specific cultural and historical context and gives explanations that are appropriate to a particular time and place.

While rooted in the profound insights of Buddhist philosophy and psychology, as well as contemporary science, Universal Education draws on this common understanding of the world’s wisdom traditions, using whatever methods are most appropriate to help each person become more kind, caring and discerning so that we can face the complex challenges of the 21st century more effectively.

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Is contemporary science compatible with Universal Education?

Yes. Universal Education sits at the interface between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ sciences and their emerging understanding of the complex nature of human existence. Universal Education draws on both the findings of the world’s contemplative traditions, especially Tibetan Buddhism, and contemporary science, especially the recent findings of the neurosciences, such as neuroplasticity.

Universal Education can also be seen as complementary to 'objective' scientific research, because it explores the nature of subjective experience and how we find personal meaning. Through gaining a deeper awareness of our perceptions, thoughts, emotions and motivations it becomes possible to make ethical choices that promote both our own wellbeing and that of those we interact with.

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Is Universal Education unique to FDCW?

Universal Education was founded by the late Tibetan Lama Yeshe who inspired people from all walks of life around the world to promote a more holistic system of education, many of whom founded their own organisations.

Since Lama Yeshe’s death in 1984 his successor Lama Zopa has elaborated Lama Yeshe’s vision and suggested to change the name to Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom (UECW). While the name 'Universal Education' is used by several individuals and organisations, UECW is unique to FDCW and its partner organisations.

However, while FDCW’s function is to preserve the authentic ‘Universal Education tradition’ of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa, it does not claim to be the exclusive guardian of this tradition. FDCW is also part of the wider movement of organisations that promote positive human values, such as The Dalai Lama Foundation, The Mind & Life Institute, The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, The Garrison Institute and others.

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How do I get involved?

Please click here for ways to get involved. Why not join FDCW's mailing list to get up-to-date information of courses and events. Also, check out volunteer opportunities or consider making a donation to support the development and dissemination of Universal Education. Please also contact the FDCW office if you have a specific query or request that is not answered on this website.

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