Note: Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the center's programs are now being offered online only. Other programs may be cancelled. Click here for details.

Discovering Buddhism

The Spiritual Teacher

ONLINE (Must register to receive Zoom login information)

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?

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.


Wednesdays, 7 – 9 pm
Course (5 weeks): March 11, 25, April 15, 22 and 29
Optional review session or assessment: May 6


To register, click here.

Course Fee

Suggested: $20, or $90 for all five-weeks

Other offering options: free to $30

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. If you need assistance transferring your membership in PayPal, please contact [email protected].

The optional review session or assessment on May 6 is by open donation. 


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



Assessment questions available soon.


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 this 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.

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