Debate Club with Gus Cutz

Sundays, Sep 12, 19, 26, Oct 3 & 10, 7–8:30pm EDT ONLINE

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 pilot program, we will be setting off together as we familiarize ourselves with the basics of this method, in keeping with the Buddha’s advice to “come and see” for ourselves.

Basing ourselves on Daniel Perdue’s Course in Buddhist Reasoning and Debate, our sessions will focus on discussions and practice exercises.

In preparation for the first meeting, participants are asked to purchase the below book, and to read the first four chapters in advance.

Daniel Perdue. (2014). The course in Buddhist reasoning and debate: An Asian approach to analytical thinking drawn from Indian and Tibetan sources. Boston: Snow Lion

Important Note

This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom, as the center is currently closed due to COVID-19. 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.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link or other instructions. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login a few minutes earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.

If you don’t immediately receive the email(s) with the Zoom information, or you have questions about Zoom or accessing the class online, please contact us at [email protected].

Registration / Schedule

Suggested: $20 per session or $90 for all 5-weeks of the course
Other offering options: free, $5, $10, $30

The suggested amount helps support teacher offerings and expenses, direct costs and rent. Shantideva member discounts or benefits will be applied 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 Daylight Time (GMT/UTC-4)

For questions regarding registration, please email [email protected] for assistance.

Additional Materials


About the Facilitator

Gustavo Cutz has been an active volunteer with Shantideva Center since 2008 and previously worked as an editor at Wisdom Publications in Boston. He was the facilitator for Discovering Buddhism until 2012 and has taught the course since 2017. He is in the process of becoming an FPMT-certified teacher. Gus also interprets and summarizes Geshe Thubten Soepa’s teachings on topics such as the Four Noble Truths, the eight worldly concerns, the six perfections, the “Eight Verses of Thought Transformation,” and, most recently, Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, chapters 1-3. Gus is a clinical psychologist and currently practices on Long Island.