Discovering Buddhism

The Spiritual Teacher

Wednesdays, Nov 2, 9, 16, 30 & Dec 7, 7–9pm EDT ONLINE

Optional Review Session on Wed Dec 14, 7–9pm EST ONLINE

Registration will be available soon.

Note: Clocks change from Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)(GMT/UTC-4) to Eastern Standard Time (EST)(GMT/UTC-5) on Nov 6, 2022. Clocks will “fall back” one hour.

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” –Japanese Proverb

“Whoever makes your mind become Dharma, that is the Tsaway lama, the root guru.” –Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The best way to learn anything is to rely on a skilled and experienced teacher. In Tibetan Buddhism, the guru-disciple (teacher-student) relationship is considered essential for making spiritual progress. Yet for many people, this most important relationship can seem mysterious or even challenging. What are the benefits of having a teacher, and how does one identify a suitable one?

In this five-session course, we will discuss such topics as:

  • The need for a teacher
  • The challenges we face when thinking of entering into a teacher-student relationship, and learning how to overcome these skillfully
  • The qualities of a teacher, and the qualities of a student
  • How to relate to a teacher to derive the greatest benefit in one’s spiritual life

This is the fourth 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

Registration will be available soon.

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 Dec 14 is optional. Discovering Buddhism Daylong Retreat will be on Sun Dec 11, 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 Standard Time (GMT/UTC-4)

Nov 6 onwards, 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.

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 is an FPMT-certified teacher and has been an active volunteer with Shantideva Center since 2008.  Gus has been the facilitator for Discovering Buddhism since 2012 and he explains complex material with simplicity, making the Buddha’s teachings practical and always accompanied with enthusiasm and a delightful sense of humor.

In addition, Gus facilitates the Debate Club and leads one day retreats. He has also taught Dharma topics at other spiritual centers. He is working on interpreting and summarizing Geshe Thubten Soepa’s teachings on several topics such as the Four Noble Truths, the eight worldly concerns, and the six perfections.  

Gus previously worked as an editor at Wisdom Publications in Boston. Presently he works as a clinical psychologist and practices on Long Island.