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Jan Willis: Shantideva – The Way of The Bodhisattva

October 12 @ 13:00 - 17:00

The Way of the Bodhisattva with Jan Willis

Join us for a thoughtful weekend with Professor Willis as she delves into Shantideva’s “The Way of the Bodhisattva.” This event welcomes everyone, whether you attend in person at Gablerstrasse or join us on Zoom. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to deepen your understanding of Buddhist philosophy with one of the most respected voices in the field.

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, 1:00 pm – 5.00 pm CET
WHERE: Teacher onsite at Gablerstrasse and on Zoom – see below for disclaimer
LEVEL: Everyone is welcome!
REGISTRATION: Please register here.

This special weekend involves reading, listening to, meditating upon, and otherwise closely exploring the great eighth-century text by Master Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (the Bodhicaryavatara).  We will read, aloud and together, this wondrous exposition of the Mahayana path, thereby softening our hearts and opening to the joys of our infinite capacity to benefit others. Jan will also provide explanations on the text, the practices, and the meanings of terms, as we investigate how best to nourish and increase compassion in ourselves.

Shantideva’s “Way of the Bodhisattva” (Bodhicaryāvatāra) is a seminal Mahayana Buddhist text outlining the path to enlightenment through the cultivation of bodhicitta, the altruistic intention to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. The text emphasizes the practice of virtues like generosity, patience, and meditation, and provides practical advice for overcoming obstacles on the spiritual path. Shantideva’s teachings are revered for their poetic expression and profound insight into the nature of compassion and wisdom. The work is divided into ten chapters, each focusing on different aspects of the bodhisattva’s journey.


Buddhist Scholar, Teacher, and Practitioner: Jan Willis

Buddhist Scholar, Teacher, and Practitioner: Jan Willis grew up in the Jim Crow South, marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Birmingham Civil Rights Campaign, and escaped the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama only to face racism of another kind while enrolled at an Ivy League university. Jan persevered and earned her BA and MA in Philosophy from Cornell University, and her PhD in Indic and Buddhist Studies from Columbia University. When she studied abroad in India and Nepal, she met the Tibetan Lama Thubten Yeshe who became her mentor for fifteen years, and one of the most influential Buddhist teachers in the West. Through his guidance, Jan learned to face down the demons of her past and embrace her whole identity – Black, Baptist, and Buddhist. She has studied and taught Buddhism for fifty years.

Jan is currently Professor of Religion Emerita at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and Visiting Professor of Religion at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. She is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist MeditationOn Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s BodhisattvabhumiDreaming Me: Black, Baptist and Buddhist; and Dharma Matters: Women, Race and Tantra.

Read more.

Disclaimer: Lhagsam may publish recorded sessions in the public domain (e.g., on YouTube). By joining 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. The teacher and staff are always in the spotlight on Zoom and the camera eye when onsite. To further enhance anonymity on Zoom, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using your first name.


Suggested donation: Please consider supporting us with a donation. Suggested donation per day is 80 CHF or 140 CHF for both days. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, yet we strongly encourage you to donate generously: The costs of a visiting teacher need to be covered. You can donate online (via Paypal, Twint or E-Banking).



Language: English

Level: Everyone is welcome!

Registration: Please register here.


October 12
13:00 - 17:00
Event Categories:


Lhagsam Tibetan Meditation Gablerstrasse 51
Zurich, 8002, Switzerland
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