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.
About the Teacher
Gen (Tibetan for “elder”) Don is a touring teacher for the FPMT, sharing the Dharma with centers and study groups in North America and other parts of the world, both in-person and online. He connected with Tibetan Buddhism in 1993 through the teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
In 1996 he commenced formal study at Tse Chen Ling Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, the FPMT center in San Francisco. In 1998, he entered 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. After the completion of his studies, Gen Don moved to Northern New Mexico and in 2005 and began teaching for the FPMT.
In 2015, he had the honor of being selected by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to lead the renowned November Course, a one-month teaching and meditation retreat held annually at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Gen Don has received teachings from many esteemed lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Ribur Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, and Khensur Jampa Tegchok.
Students appreciate his humble, compassionate demeanor and his capacity to explain profound ideas with precision, contemporary examples and humor.
Visit his website at https://www.donhandrick.com.