Exploring Buddhism: The Bodhisattva Vows
(Mind Training, Part II)
with Gen Don Handrick

Exploring Buddhism is a new program currently being developed by FPMT to serve as a bridge between Discovering Buddhism and The Basic Program. It is designed to help students of Buddhism delve more deeply into a broad array of topics that form a solid foundation for furthering one’s study and practice. The program will initially be run as a pilot program in FPMT centers to further test and refine the curriculum.

To progress on the path to enlightenment the motivation of bodhichitta alone is not enough; we need to learn especially how to keep the bodhisattva vows well, and an investigation into them is beneficial whether one has formally taken them or not. In this module, we will discuss the importance of vows, their purpose and benefit, and how to take and renew them. We will then proceed to examine the elements involved in avoiding each of the eighteen root downfalls as well as the forty-six secondary transgressions, coming to appreciate how living in the bodhisattva vows provides a unique guide for engaging in the six perfections of a bodhisattva in daily life.


This module on The Bodhisattva Vows will be offered as a self-study course interspersed with two live online Q&A sessions with Don Handrick on November 10 and December 8, 2022.

All the recordings for this module are available on the password protected page so students can listen to the recordings at their own pace. Students may send questions related to this material to info@shantidevanyc.org at any time and we will forward them to Don Handrick or students may ask their questions during the live online Q&A sessions.

This course is divided into 8 self-paced sessions, each consisting of:

  • Approx. 1:35 hour pre-recorded video teaching by Gen Don Handrick (with PDF access to slides)
  • Optional self-study homework questions
  • Optional additional resources for further learning

The recommended reading list for the course is:

  • The Bodhisattva Vows: A Practical Guide to the Sublime Ethics of the Mahayana by Dagpo Rinpoche Jhampa Gyamtshog, published by Éditions Guépèle (available in print and ebook from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Please check the Registration Receipt for the password to access the recordings.

Previous study of at least some modules of Discovering Buddhism, either in a center or online is highly recommended before enrolling in this program. 

Please review the syllabus before registering for the course.

This program is offered jointly by:

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.