Buddhist Philosophy Class II

Teacher: Geshe Monlam Sangpo
Time: MON - SAT : 11:00 am to 12:00 am
Translator: Julia Wilson and Umarabjampa Tsering Norbu

Buddhist Philosophy Class II

Date: March 19—May 20
Text: Impermanence: The First Chapter of the Udanavarga (Mi rtag pa'i tshoms: Ched du brjod pa'i tshoms)

The Udanavarga is an early Buddhist collection of topically organized chapters of proverbial verses, or utterances, attributed to the Buddha and his followers with an overall format similar to the Pali Canon’s Dhammapada. Impermanence is the first of the Udanavarga’s thirty-three chapters. The understanding of impermanence is central to the Buddhist path. It is the indispensable basis for the development of the path within one’s own being, whether it is renunciation, the generation of the mind of enlightenment or the realization of emptiness.

Date: May 21—December 31
Text: The Meditation and Wisdom Chapters of Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacharyavatara, spyod ‘jug) 

A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life is one of the great classic works of Indian Buddhism and particularly beloved by those belonging to all four traditions of Buddhism in Tibet as one of the principal Mahayana works about the spirit of enlightenment (bodhichitta) and the conduct and practices of Bodhisattvas. This year, Geshe Lobsang Tsondu will teach two chapters from this text: chapter 8 and chapter 9.

Chapter 8 is about the practice of concentration. It explains how to overcome the factors that prevent the development of concentration and the way to stop physical and mental busyness. Shantideva combines this with the method of developing and strengthening the spirit of enlightenment through the practice of equalizing and exchanging self and others.

Chapter 9 is about the reasons why it is essential to develop the understanding of emptiness; a concise presentation of the two truths from the Svantantrika-Madhyamika and Prasangika-Madhyamika points of view with an emphasis on the way they are divided and their identity; the need for even those who wish only to gain liberation from cyclic existence to understand emptiness; the reasoning that establishes selflessness of persons; the reasoning that establishes the selflessness of other phenomena, drawing on close placement of mindful attention on the body, feelings, the mind and other phenomena.

Geshe Lobsang Tsondu

Geshe Lobsang Tsondu
Geshe Lobsang Tsondu was born in Reting of U-Tsang in Tibet. He began his religious studies at the age of twelve at Sera Monastery in Tibet. He continued to study Buddhism until he was forced to flee Tibet in 1985.

In India he completed his studies for the degree of Geshe from Sera Monastic University in 2003. After that he joined the Gyutoe Tantric University for one year.

He taught Buddhist philosophy to the nuns of Kopan Monastery in Nepal before he joined LTWA in 2005.


Julia Wilson
Julia Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Francisco in comparative cultural studies. She studied Tibetan language and culture at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah from 2006-2008. She has been studying Buddhism and translating at the LTWA since May 2008.