Andy and Shan have kindly made time in their busy teaching schedule to begin a class on what is probably one of the most important texts in all of Mahayana Buddhism – Shantideva’s ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.’
Following on from their classes in 2017 and January this year, we plan to cover chapter 3 this time around. You can catch up with Chapters 1 and 2 here if you wish. Those of you who studied in 2017 with us with Jan Willis will remember how inspiring this text is. (And if you missed that event, you can catch up here.)
“If I have any understanding of compassion and the practice of the bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of this text that I possess it.”
HH Dalai Lama
We plan to continue studying the text in the months (and years) ahead. This Mind of Enlightenment (Bodhicitta) is an altruistic attitude of universal compassion. It is possible for any human to develop it through study and practice. It brings great happiness to oneself and others, and it clears away all the obstacles and problems of our life.
This course is suitable for beginners and for experienced practitioners. The text used is ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ by Shantideva, trans. Batchelor, pub. LTWA. It will be beneficial to read through Chapter Three of this translation before the class and to bring it with you for the session if you can.
“…the Bodhicaryavatara (The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’) is not a work to be devoured in our normal greedy way, nor is it book to be skimmed through. That changes nothing.This is a meditation manual (however you do your meditation), a work for the proverbial desert island, a work to be slowly contemplated. And when our desert island dweller is rescued he or she will have perceptibly changed and will henceforth, to use a Zen saying, ‘move among us with bliss-bestowing hands’.”
Dr Paul Williams
Andy’s first Dharma course was on the first two chapters of Bodhicaryavatara back in 1980, taught by the late Khensur Jampa Tekchog. Since then he has studied it with the Dalai Lama and other teachers, and has taught the entire text a couple of times. He is registered with FPMT to teach up to the level of Basic Programme, and to lead retreats. His commitment to spreading the Buddha’s teachings is firmly based in his concern for the planet and the beings who share it.
Shan first met the dharma in 1975 and became a student of Lama Yeshe. She was the director for the London FPMT centre in the 80’s and in the 90’s formed the Saraswati Study group in Somerset with her husband Andy Wistreich. Shan was a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist and has worked for many years with young people with mental health and well-being difficulties and their families. Shan leads Buddhist meditations and facilitates dharma discussions in a variety of settings.
“May the frightened cease to be afraid,
And those bound be free.
May the weak find power,
And may their hearts join in friendship”
Shantideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life