OL TSTD 101: The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra) Part One

The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyāvatāra) is Śāntideva’s classic work on Mahāyāna philosophy. This text teaches the preciousness of bodhicitta, the awakened mind, and explains how to practice generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, and meditation while striving to recognize that awakened mind. Chapter Nine, the Wisdom Chapter, is both a refutation of the philosophical positions of other Indian philosophical schools of the time, and of Buddhist non-Madhyamaka (Middle Way) schools. In its entirety, this important text blends instruction in ethical conduct, meditation, and wisdom to show us how to follow the path of the Bodhisattva.

This online course assumes no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, history, or practice. This text is taught over the span of two semesters: Part One covers the first half of the text up to chapter 6, verse 86 and Part Two, which requires separate registration, completes the text. The methodology of the course combines traditional Tibetan monastic word-for-word text commentary with a Western-style academic contextualization. This approach mirrors the courses offered in our on-site classrooms in Kathmandu.

As this is a beginning text, students can expect to average five to eight hours of listening and studying per week. Each part of the course takes one semester to complete. Course content is presented as video lectures given by Khenpo Jampa Donden and translated into English by Sophie Greenewalt. Supplementary materials were created by Mort Ostensen.

The self-study plus format, where students work at their own pace, is available year-round.

Students will navigate the course material via Moodle, an open source e-learning environment. Internet access is required for studying this course. Students will have access to this course in Moodle for one year from the date of their registration.


Price: $495

Students can register for this course in the Self-study plus format anytime and begin studying immediately. Group study is available for this course. 

Resources for this course format include video and audio lectures in Tibetan with translation to English, English-only versions of these lectures, supplementary review classes created by a Western instructor to help contextualize the lectures, written transcripts of the lectures, and the root text in Tibetan as a PDF file. Tibetan-only audio files are also available.

Once registration is complete, students will have access to this course for one year.

Course Features:

  • Video available in English, and audio available in English-only, Tibetan-English, and Tibetan-only versions.
  • Transcripts of each class available in PDF.
  • Review classes available in PowerPoint with voice-over.

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