Bodhisattva Training

In the Buddhist vision of life, each one of us is called to uplift the world, to help others and to be an agent of good on the scene. Yet, the work of helping others is complex, requiring firm inner work, pure motivation, clear understanding of our boundaries and clarity of values. Buddhism offers copious resources for living a life of service, imbued with wisdom, and expressed with balance. This course focuses on cultivating awakened leadership, a mindset in which the ends and means are both equally valued; it allows us to offer our work in the world as loving service that comes from a sense of wholeness and presence, rather than from a sense of hectic tension or unconsciousness busy-ness.

The lessons of the Bodhisattva Training course focus on application of Mahayana and Vajrayana principles to working with others. It offers a concentrated period of practice and study of the beloved text, the Bodhicaryavatara — Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.

Who Is This Course For?

Pema Khandro offers these ground-breaking Bodhisattva Training classes that focus on cultivating awakened leadership for leaders, teachers, practitioners, business people, artists, and health educators who want to bring the potent ingredient of Buddhist wisdom to the work that they do. It is as practical as it is inspirational, consisting of short lectures, question and answer sessions, and heart-felt advice from one of the few female Buddhist leaders and teachers in Tibetan Buddhist history.

Enlightened Intent is a universal bridge to freedom
Leading us all from the lower realms
And it is a rising moon within the mind
To cool the passions of all living beings
– Bodhicaryavatara

What Is A Bodhisattva?

A Bodhisattva is a person dedicated to awakening themselves and others. Sometimes it is used as a term to refer to a highly-realized being, someone who is almost a Buddha. At other times the term is used to describe someone who has stable bodhichitta or enlightened intent – as the term is used here. The Bodhisattva Training is a course for leaders to work through their sense of service, their motivation, identity, boundaries and potential in terms of the Bodhisattva teachings.

A Bodhisattva has a strong intention to “wake up,” and a strong motivation to relieve the suffering of others. Buddhism understands these two motivations as inextricably bound together. It is impossible to truly benefit others when we are not dedicated to awakening ourselves. It is impossible to fully awaken ourselves without taking our interdependence with others seriously. To aspire to be a Bodhisattva is to cultivate enlightened intent, driven by altruism, to use one’s life to benefit others and to relieve their suffering.

Through whatever virtue I have gained
By all these actions now performed,
May the pain of every living being
Be cleared away entirely, never to return.

This course focuses on the study and practices outlined in the text known as the “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” and “The Brightly Shining Sun.” The greatest scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism studied the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life repeatedly throughout their lives. This Guide was written in the eighth century and became one of the most beloved texts of Mahayana Buddhism. It describes how to develop and maintain enlightened motivation; how to act in the world in the ways that matter most; how to resolve negative karma; how to cultivate joy; which obstacles in the path of service one should be most wary of; and how to overcome those obstacles.

The course will also feature Patrul Rinpoche’s commentary on the Guide, known as The Brightly Shining Sun. Patrul Rinpoche is one of the most important figures of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Nyingma lineage in particular. His commentary provides a road map to the path of enlightened intent.

You can read more about the Bodhisattva path here
Pema Khandro’s Bodhisattva Teaching.

Course Format

The Bodhisattva Training meets in three online-retreat modules.
Module 1 –  Fall 2017;   Module 2  – Fall 2018;   Module 3  – Fall 2019

Our classes vary. Some are study-oriented, some practice-oriented, some community-oriented and some are discussion-oriented. We also have classes that are beginner-oriented. The tone of these classes are divided between *practice *study and *discussion

This course is designed and taught by Lama Pema Khandro Rinpoche. She has been teaching Tibetan Buddhism for two decades and has served as the founder and CEO of Ngakpa International and Spiritual Leader of the Buddhist Yogis Sangha. In the course of her teaching she has taught dozens of teacher trainings and health practitioner trainings, opened two dozen centers, given over one thousand public lectures all over the world, and nourished her own community of personal students. Additionally, she has a Master’s degree in Tibetan Buddhism and is finishing a PhD in Tibetan Buddhist studies. For a full description of Pema Khandro Rinpoche’s biography visit here. 

The workshop will be led by Satya Shiva and Aruna Rigzin. They have each served as leaders of the Buddhist Yogis Sangha and Ngakpa International for more than a decade and trained closely with Pema Khandro Rinpoche, serving as the Directing Officers of Ngakpa International, teaching as Meditation Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Ayurvedic Practitioners and Health Educators. For a full biography of Aruna Rigzin and Satya Shiva click here.

Those who long to triumph over life’s distress,
And who wish to put an end to others’ sorrows,
Those who seek to experience abundant joys—
Let them never turn their backs on enlightened intent.

Online Course & Home Retreat

1 week – 1 day – 1 hour

The course is designed to bring the retreat to you and to your home.
Click Here to Register Now

Seven Daily Sessions 
The class will meet once a day for seven days online to do meditation practice, study a passage from the text and have a discussion. The daily classes will last 90 minutes. They will meet every night at 9pm EST/6pm PST (except Wednesday).

One-Day Workshop
On the eighth day you will attend two sessions. In the first session, you will meet in an online group workshop to prepare for taking bodhisattva vows. If you have already taken your bodhisattva vows, you may prepare for renewing them at this time. This session will be lead by Aruna Rigdzin and Satya Shiva.

In the second session you will meet individually with Pema Khandro Rinpoche to review any questions you have and to take your bodhisattva vows.

One-Hour Closing Ceremony
The Bodhisattva Training Module will culminate in a one-hour meditation and final teaching with Pema Khandro.

This course is an interactive online course. During each teaching you will be on screen live with your camera on, in a virtual classroom with the other students.

Students who successfully complete one module are invited to participate in the Bodhisattva Training refresher meetings with Pema Khandro Rinpoche which will take place three to five times yearly, when there is a fifth Wednesday of the month.

Training Schedule
*Participants are strongly advised to attend all the Live Online Sessions in Real Time.
**Videos will be posted within 48 hours and will remain accessible for 30 days.

  • Saturday, Sept 30 – Tuesday, Oct 3rd:  Live Online Class
    • 6pm PST / 9pm EST
  • Wednesday, Oct 4
    • 7:15pm PST / 10:15pm EST
  • Thursday, Oct 5 – Friday, Oct 6
    • 6pm PST / 9pm EST
  • Saturday, Oct 7:  Live Online Group Workshop
    • 10am – 12pm PST / 1pm – 3pm EST
  • Saturday, Oct 7:  Bodhisattva Vow Ceremony w/Pema Khandro
    • 6pm PST / 9pm EST
  • Sunday, Oct 8:  Final Meditation and Transmission
    • 6pm PST / 9pm EST

Limited Enrollment

In order to facilitate an intimate setting – we have an enrollment limit of twenty-five students. Because of limited enrollment, the course is limited to students who can attend the entire course live in real time. However, the videos will be available afterwards to watch again as a resource for students.

If there are currently 25 participants in the Bodhisattva Training, you may be on the waiting list to join when another place opens up.

Three Modules

 The Bodhisattva Training meets in one module per year.
Module 1 –  Fall 2017;   Module 2  – Fall 2018;   Module 3  – Fall 2019

Module One – Natural Heroism

Generating Enthusiasm
Power of Intention
Cultivating Enlightened Intent
Inseparability of Oneself and Others’ Benefit
The Equality of Self and Others
Clearing Negative Karma
Aspiration & Action
Living a Life of Service
Accomplishing Limitless Benefit in Limited Time
Training the Mind
Freedom from Sorrow
Cultivating Joy
Mind Training
Discerning What is Most Important
Haters, Enemies, & Obstacle Makers
Tonglen Meditation
The Bodhisattva Vow

This source of joy for all who wander in existence,
This elixir that heals the sufferings of all beings,
This priceless jewel within the mind—
How could such merit ever be evaluated?

Module Two – Purification & Offerings

Seven Branch Offering
Connecting with the Field of Support
Offering One’s Body, Speech and Mind in Service
Cultivating Boundless Benevolence
Generosity Without Manipulation
Dealing with Mistakes and Faults
Developing Firm Resolve
Cleansing Past Karma
Cultivating Joy
White Tara Meditation
The Bodhisattva Vow

Module Three – Stabilizing Enlightened Intent

The Six Perfections
Restraint & Discipline
Disciple as Inspiration
Working Within the Scope of One’s Training
Sympathetic Joy & Heartfelt Appreciation
Arousing Natural Confidence
Conquering Laziness
Working with Adversity
Stabilizing Concentration
Role of Public Figure As a Practice
The Eight Worldly Concerns
Exchanging Oneself And Others
Mindfulness of Body, Feelings, Mind and Limitations
Patience in the Face of Difficult Situations
Tonglen Meditation
The Bodhisattva Vow



  • Application
  • Interview with Pema Khandro
  • “Mandala Holder” Level Membership or Higher
  • Engaged in a Leadership Role
This class is geared towards leaders, teachers, counselors and other helping professions. This requirement may also be fulfilled by being a a meditation teacher in any tradition, or group leader or have attended one of the trainings with Pema Khandro (Meditation Instructor Training, Group Leader Training) to attend.
* If a student has been a Vajrayana Training student for at least six months and is in a leadership role in their lives, they are eligible to attend the course. 
Inquire at


  • Embodying Buddhist principles: generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, compassion, equanimity, respect for teachers and sangha, harmony with teachers and sangha
  • Ethical integrity: upholding the five precepts and Commitment to Buddhist ethics – especially maintaining sobriety (in terms of being free from substance addictions) and refraining from sexual misconduct (includes refraining from breaking vows or causing others to break their vows.)  Refraining from hate speech (including hate speech on social media).
  • Psychological health and stability, a history of emotional and psychological development, a history of emotional and psychological stability and well-being for the previous ten years.
  • Continuing psychological and emotional stability and well being throughout the duration of the course.
  • Wish to lead based on service, gratitude, humility, and kindness rather than ego-driven ambition or narcissism. This includes: a conscious awareness of one’s own limitations; understanding the scope of one’s competence and authority; the willingness to draw on support from teachers and other professionals; adopting the practice of referring when students/others have needs outside one’s scope of competence; attribution of credit to sources/teachers when repeating or using their works.
  • Personal and interpersonal maturity: ability to maintain harmonious relationship with teachers and peers, emotional maturity to work through difficulties in practice and interpersonal difficulties, maintaining respect for past teachers and dharma community
  • Respect for diversity: Respect towards other religious views, expressing kindness towards all beings regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or sectarian affiliation; respect for all types of Buddhism.

This course is based on the influential Buddhist text, The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life by Shantideva, a fourteenth-century Mahayana Buddhist text focused on putting Buddhism into action through a life of clear intention and altruistic service.

Click Here to Register Now


  • Early Bird Tuition: $600 Registration by July 1st, plus suggested teacher donation $108
  • Regular Tuition: $695 July 1st – Sept 1st, plus suggested teacher donation $108
  • Late Tuition: $$750 after Sept 1st, plus suggested teacher donation of $108
  • Free Tuition for ‘Sustainer Members’: with minimum three-month pledge
  • 50% Off Tuition for ‘Snow Lion Members’: with minimum six-month pledge
  • Other Member Discounts Available:See Membership for details
  • Registration Fee: 50% non-refundable deposit is due upon registration to reserve space in the course, balance due by September 21, 2017.
  • Remaining Openings: Course is limited to 25 students. 12 Spaces Remaining.
  • Financial aid considerations: The course costs are set at a minimum fee already, with financial aid built into all tuition rates. Because we are a non-profit organization, the costs of all activities and overhead of our organization must be covered by the participants of the courses. For those who are experiencing genuine financial hardship and wish to enroll in the course, two financial aid scholarships at a 50% discount are available. Financial Aid applications are due by April 1st.

On Natural Heroism

“It’s time for a story of a new kind of hero and heroine. The time has passed for the outdated story of the hero who conquers through aggression and is doomed to be isolated from the people he loves the most. The story of the successful CEO that dies of a stress-induced heart attack at a young age must also fade into the past. It’s time for a new hero story to emerge – time for a story of new leadership to emerge. The hero/ine and leader of the future is based courage, compassion, and connection. It is based on service and vision. It is based on another kind of strength besides aggression – the power of communication, and the strength that comes from love and humor.

There are some legends like this in Buddhism, stories of dharma heroes and heroines who conquered the cause of war altogether by finding impeccable awareness. In these legends, the key was always magic. A secret we have to realize is that this magic isn’t about super-powers – it is the magic of having unrelenting enlightened intent (bodhichitta). This doesn’t have to remain the stuff of legends. This can be the story of a new leadership, a new hero, a new heroine who shows up in the world with a clarity of being that is itself transformative. The telling of that story is up to us – we must live it and be it in a world that has largely lost sight of skillful means as a possibility. Each one of us should do what we can to bring whatever rays of sanity we can to dark times. We can’t wait until we are perfect, or have more time. We have to act on our most enlightened intentions in daily life now. There are no small acts. It all adds up. So this bodhichitta way of being is a matter of discipline; a discipline of bringing constant vigilance to our actions.

This is the message behind Buddhist teachings on karma: we have to question our motivations and mindsets. Because aggression and compulsive busy-ness that has no vision behind it permeates our cultural mindset, we must be vigilant. We must also be prepared. Our training must be thorough, in-depth, and constant—, interwoven with our daily lives. We are called to a way of being that is beyond brute force – the path of skillful engagement on the uneasy ground of real life circumstances. Showing up with the mind set on awakening to the power of our every day existence opens up the kind of epic space where we can be heroic—for the benefit of ourselves and all beings

~ Pema Khandro