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

Two live online Q&A sessions with Don Handrick on Thursdays, Nov 10 & Dec 8, 7–8:30pm EST ONLINE

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.

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 [email protected] 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:

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: $80 for course
Other offering options: free, $20, $40, $120

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 Standard Time (GMT/UTC-5)

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

Additional Materials

If you are a registered student, you may access the readings on our password protected page. After registering, an online receipt will be sent to the email address that you used to register. The page link and password will be on the receipt. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have questions about accessing this page.

Dana for the Teacher

Shantideva Center makes offerings to all of our teachers using the funds collected through registration. You can give additional support to the teacher and create a stronger karmic connection by offering dana. Please make sure to select the teacher’s name in the dropdown menu. Dana offered is passed entirely to the teacher, but please note that it is not tax-deductible.

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.