Debate Club
with Gus Cutz

Our debate club is back, welcoming veterans and newcomers alike to join us as we gain 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 pilot 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.

Basing ourselves on Daniel Perdue’s Course in Buddhist Reasoning and Debate, our sessions will focus on discussions and practice exercises. Materials covered in previous sessions will be reviewed and introduced to those joining us before we continue to explore this system more deeply.

In preparation for the first meeting, participants are asked to purchase the below book, and to read (or review) the first five 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

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

Short Video

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

Recordings

About the Teacher

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.