Calming the Mind and Opening the Heart: Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Chapter 8
with Gen Don Handrick

Co-hosted with the Namdrol Ling Study Group

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhicaryāvatāra), one of the great classics of Indian Buddhist literature, was written by the distinguished eighth-century scholar Shantideva. This revered text is widely regarded as the most authentic and comprehensive guide for the spiritual practitioner dedicated to the enlightenment of all sentient beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama cites this work as one of the greatest influences in his life and repeatedly stresses the benefits of studying it.

One of the most important elements of our practice of the bodhisattva path is the skill of meditative concentration that is essential as a support for our advancement towards the goal of enlightenment. With the attainment of calm abiding, a meditative state in which all obstacles to stable concentration have been removed, we can then use the power of our minds to achieve greater and greater realizations. In Chapter Eight of the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Master Shantideva first provides instruction on developing this meditative skill to calm our minds, and then proceeds to explain how to use our meditation on exchanging our self-concern with an altruistic concern for others as a way to open our hearts and dedicate our lives fully to the welfare of all beings.

Recordings of Earlier Chapters

About the Teacher

Gen Don Handrick is the resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling (TNL) in New Mexico and teaches for FPMT at the Ksitigarbha Tibetan Buddhist Center in Taos. Gen Don also serves as a Board member and Buddhist teacher for Liberation Prison Project, which includes teaching Buddhism at a local prison in New Mexico. Gen Don’s study and practice of Buddhism began in 1993 when he read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Over the next two years, he practiced with Rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche’s organization, until he began attending classes with Venerable Robina Courtin at Tse Chen Ling, the FPMT center in San Francisco. At the beginning of 1998, Gen Don left the Bay Area to attend the FPMT’s Masters Program of Buddhist Studies. in Sutra and Tantra, a full-time seven-year residential study program in Tuscany, Italy, taught by Geshe Jampa Gyatso. By 2004, he successfully completed the program and received an FPMT final certificate with high honors. Soon after, Don moved to Santa Fe and served as the Spiritual Program Coordinator for TNL, and in 2006 he was appointed Resident Teacher.

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