Debate Club
with Gus Cutz

Introductory Class with Gus Cutz

For new students but optional for returning students

Sundays, Jan 14, 21 & 28, 1-3pm EST ONLINE

Debate Sessions with Gus Cutz

Sundays, Feb 4, 18, Mar 3 & 17, 1-3pm EST/EDT ONLINE

Practice Sessions without Gus Cutz

Students only

Sundays, Feb 11, 25 & *Mar 10, 1-3pm EST/EDT ONLINE

* Daylight Saving Time on Sun Mar 10. Clocks are set forward one hour “spring forward” at 2am local time on the 10th of Mar.

Note: This is a continuation of the classes that started as a pilot program in 2021.

Our debate club makes its triumphant return, in a brand-new format, welcoming both newcomers and veteran debaters who are interested in gaining what Tibetans have called “the magical key that opens the door to all understanding”!

What Westerners often find most appealing about Buddhism is its insistence that nothing be taken on faith. And yet, few of us in the West are familiar with the sophisticated evidence presented in the Buddhist tradition for such claims as the existence of past and future lives, omniscience, emptiness, and the Four Noble Truths.

Likewise, few Westerners are conversant in the rigorous system of applied logic which in English has become commonly known as “Tibetan debate”—a system for methodically cultivating razor-sharp thinking, clarifying concepts with precision, internalizing logical connections, and uncompromisingly questioning our beliefs, to allow us to arrive at incontrovertible knowledge.

This system, while rigorous and nuanced, is also very practical and highly learnable, just like a new language. In this program, we will be setting off together as we familiarize ourselves with this basics of this method, in keeping with the Buddha’s advice to “come and see” for ourselves.

In the first three sessions, we will once again cover the fundamentals of the Tibetan debate system. Then, starting on the fourth week and for the remainder of the program, we will hit the virtual debate courtyard, and will from then on alternate between sessions facilitated by Gus and full sessions devoted to hands-on practice.

All newcomers, as well as anyone who would like a refresher on the mechanisms of debate, are invited to join the first three sessions, and all are invited to join starting with the fourth session.

In preparation for the first meeting, participants are encouraged to explore the resources freely offered on the website of the Nalanda Debate School of Sera Jey Monastery, including the excellent free online textbooks generously offered here.

Short Video

Gus Cutz discusses the benefits of Tibetan debate “the magical key that opens the door to all understanding”!

Important Note

This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link and/or other instructions. If you don’t immediately receive the system email(s) or you have any other questions, please contact us at

*Zoom is an interactive video-conferencing tool that allows participants to see one another and ask questions. You will need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with the Zoom application to attend. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.

Registration / Schedule

Introductory Class with Gus Cutz: Sundays, Jan 14, 21 & 28
Suggested: $20 per session
Other offerings: free, $5, $10, $30

Debate Sessions with Gus Cutz: Sundays, Feb 4, 18, Mar 3 & 17
Suggested: $20 per session
Other offerings: free, $5, $10, $30

Practice Sessions without Gus Cutz, students only: Sundays, Feb 11, 25 & Mar 10

The suggested amount helps support teacher offerings and expenses, direct costs and rent. Shantideva member benefits will apply automatically if you have a membership in MindBody.

Shantideva Center may publish recorded sessions in the public domain (e.g., on YouTube). By registering for this event, you are agreeing to give your consent to this process. To protect your privacy, we recommend being conscious about any personal information you share during the sessions. To further enhance anonymity, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using abbreviations.

Time zone: US Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC-5)

Starting on Mar 10: Time zone: US Eastern Daylight Time (GMT/UTC-4)

For questions regarding registration, please email for assistance.

Additional Materials

Free Resource: Nalanda Debate School of Sera Jey Monastery, including free online textbooks


Recordings for 2024 classes.

To jump to a particular session on the playlist, click the playlist icon (near the top-right corner) of the video frame to select video.

Recordings for Apr 30-Jun 18, 2023 classes.

To jump to a particular session on the playlist, click the top-right corner of the video frame to select video.

Recordings for Feb 12-Apr 23, 2023 classes.

To jump to a particular session on the playlist, click the top-right corner of the video frame to select video.

Dana for the Teacher

Shantideva Center makes offerings to our teachers and facilitators using the funds collected through registration. You can give additional support to the teacher or facilitator and create a stronger karmic connection by offering dana. Please make sure to select the teacher’s or facilitator’s name in the dropdown menu. Dana offered is passed entirely to them, but please note that it is not tax-deductible.

About the Teacher

Gustavo Cutz is an FPMT-certified teacher and has been an active volunteer with Shantideva Center since 2008.  Gus has been the facilitator for Discovering Buddhism since 2012 and he explains complex material with simplicity, making the Buddha’s teachings practical and always accompanied with enthusiasm and a delightful sense of humor.

In addition, Gus facilitates the Debate Club and leads one day retreats. He has also taught Dharma topics at other spiritual centers. He is working on interpreting and summarizing Geshe Thubten Soepa’s teachings on several topics such as the Four Noble Truths, the eight worldly concerns, and the six perfections.  

Gus previously worked as an editor at Wisdom Publications in Boston. Presently he works as a clinical psychologist and practices on Long Island.