Discovering Buddhism

How to Develop Bodhicitta

“The most precious mind of all, that which cherishes all beings, can become a genuine part of our life, a real gut feeling that motivates us in everything we do, and not just a vague wish.”

–Geshe Tashi Tsering, The Awakening Mind

After spending some time considering how the spiritual path can bring joy and peace to our lives, we may notice the countless living beings all around us who also want to be happy and free from problems. Steadying our love and compassion, we may ask what we can do to bring joy to others, and to help them with their troubles. According to Mahayana Buddhism, the answer is straightforward, though not easy: attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. A mind focused on that goal is called bodhicitta.

Delve deeply into the rich topic of bodhicitta with Gus Cutz as he takes you through the step-by-step instructions on how to kindle a vague wish to help others so that it becomes the blazing mind of enlightenment. Gain clarity on often-confused concepts, such as the differences between self-esteem and self-cherishing, equanimity and indifference, compassion and pity, and bodhicitta and compassion. Learn beginner techniques and advanced aspirations, including meditating on exchanging self for others and the 18 bodhisattva vows. Cultivating bodhicitta makes our lives meaningful, and it is at the very heart of the Buddha’s teachings!

This is the tenth of 14 modules in the Discovering Buddhism series. Students may join at any point in the cycle. Discovering Buddhism was designed for students interested in deepening their understanding of fundamental Buddhist concepts, and provides an experiential taste of the Buddha’s teachings and the skills we need to make our lives most meaningful. Each module includes teachings, meditations, readings, discussions, and a short retreat. For more information on the Discovering Buddhism program, please click here.

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

The course is 5-weeks.

Suggested: $20 per session, or $90 for all 5-weeks of the course
Other offering options: free to $30

The review session or assessment on Wed Jun 9 is optional. Discovering Buddhism Daylong Retreat will be on Sun Jun 13, 10:30am—3:30pm. 

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 Daylight Time (GMT/UTC-4)

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.

Discovering Buddhism Certification

FPMT certification is available for those who complete all the components of the course. The completion certificate confirms the satisfaction of having accomplished a comprehensive engagement with the path to enlightenment and is symbolic of your commitment to spiritual awakening.

If you are interested in receiving credit for completing each module, please indicate your commitment to completing all of the module’s requirements by printing, completing, and signing the first page of this document. You can bring it to the first session of the module or email it to [email protected].

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.