Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Compassion: Śāntideva’s Introduction to the Way of Life of a Bodhisattva

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Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Compassion: Śāntideva’s Introduction to the Way of Life of a Bodhisattva

William Edelglass
June 1, 2023 - June 4, 2023

Please check back for information about residential and online components, pricing, and the opening of registration.


Our compassionate witnessing of an other’s suffering shows that the mind can be free from the constricted life of excessive self-preoccupation and become open and attentive to others.  In An Introduction to the Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra), the eighth century north-Indian Buddhist author, Śāntideva, invites his readers on a path to nourish the liberating attention to others. He presents the text as a guidebook on the path from the darkened perception of self-cherishing to an awakened life. In Śāntideva’s terminology, this is the path of the bodhisattva, the awakened or awakening (bodhi) being (sattva) who, guided by insight and compassion, works to alleviate the sufferings of others, and in doing so, finds freedom from dissatisfaction and anguish.

An Introduction to the Way of the Bodhisattva became a primary inspiration for Tibetan writings on the stages of the Buddhist path and mind training. In recent decades, Western teachers in a variety of Buddhist traditions have drawn on Śāntideva’s presentation of the interconnections between the components of the Buddhist path: wisdom (prajñā), moral discipline (śīla), and contemplation (samādhi).  In this hybrid (residential and online) program, we will explore Śāntideva’s text, which is at once a poem, a meditation manual, a moral teaching, and a philosophy textbook. We will follow Śāntideva’s lead on emphasizing setting up the conditions for practice through ritual and imagery, paying attention to the place of faith, offering, and ritual on the path. We will also focus on Śāntideva’s understanding of the ethical dimension of mindfulness and how Buddhist insights—for example, dependent arising, non-self, and emptiness—can be skillfully employed in or daily lives.  Throughout, we will attend to the ways the text insists on the interweaving of compassion and wisdom, and how the most fruitful field of practice can be our daily lives and relations with others.

This program will integrate elements of a more typical retreat (including ritual, chanting, and periods of silent sitting) together with elements of a seminar (including close reading, interpretation, and discussion of Śāntideva’s text, both in small groups and all together).  To make this exploration of Śāntideva’s text accessible to both residential participants and to online participants, there will be some teaching that uses slides to present material.


SCHEDULE – Subject to change

Wednesday, May 31
7:00–8:00 pm            Introductory gathering for online participants only

Thursday, June 1
7:00–7:15 pm            Orientation
7:15–9:00 pm            Opening session
6:30–6:45 pm            Orientation
6:45–8:00 pm            Evening Session

Friday, June 2 & Saturday, June
7:00–7:30 am            Sitting in the Meditation Hall
9:00 am–12:00 pm    Morning session in Meditation Hall
2:00–5:00 pm            Afternoon session in Meditation Hall
4:00–5:00 pm            Dharma Talk and Discussion
7:00–9:00 pm            Evening session in Meditation Hall

Sunday, June 4
7:00–7:30 am            Sitting in the Meditation Hall
9:00 am –12:00 pm   Morning session in the Meditation hall
2:00–3:00 pm            Concluding session with online participants only
11:15 –11:45 am        Group Guided Meditation
12:00–12:30 pm        Closing Session

All times are Eastern time.



Information about pandemic safety protocols in place can be found on this page of our website. For details about Wonderwell itself, registration procedures, pricing, cancellation policy, and other FAQs, please use this link.

SHARED ROOMS: If you register for a shared room, you are agreeing that you accept that you may be sharing it with someone you don’t know. If you are not willing to make that agreement, please do not register for a shared room.  Note:  Men and women who don’t know each other will never be assigned to the same room.

Retreatants may always register for a shared double room with someone they know, as long as space is available. There is a box on the registration to indicate who you’d like for a roommate, and we’ll do the best we can.

You may want to consider registering for the commuter option instead. Scroll down on this page for information about nearby accommodations. 

VACCINATION REQUIRED: All onsite retreatants must be *fully vaccinated* and will need to present proof of vaccination at check-in. We cannot admit you to Wonderwell without this proof. Per CDC guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. In addition, NDF defines “fully vaccinated” as 2 weeks after having received an eligible booster shot. We will accept your original Covid card or a photo as proof of vaccination.

TESTING: A negative COVID-19 test result is required before admittance to the retreat. Please test within 24 hours prior to your expected arrival at Wonderwell, using either a PCR test or a rapid (at-home) test kit. Please bring a rapid test kit with you to Wonderwell. We will have a limited number of test kits available for during-retreat testing.

MASK REQUIREMENTS: We are continuing to monitor this ever-changing situation and will adjust our mask policy accordingly. For the time being, we require that all retreatants and staff wear masks, preferably K(N)95, indoors during all programs. Masks must be worn in all public areas of the building, including the meditation hall. Exceptions: when retreatants are in their room or when actively eating or drinking. Teachers can be unmasked while on the teacher’s seat, as long as they can maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from retreatants.



Wonderwell Mountain Refuge strives to offer retreats in a manner that is inclusive for persons of all means. If the full retreat cost would create an undue financial burden, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. Please visit this page on our website learn more about financial aid.



Wonderwell charges a $75 cancellation fee for residential (onsite) retreat cancellations more than 4 weeks before the start of a retreat. Any cancellations between 4 weeks to 11 days prior to the program are charged a $150 cancellation fee. For any cancellations 10 or fewer days prior to the start date of the program, no refunds are offered. However, if you are feeling ill or feel you might have been exposed to the COVID virus, please cancel your attendance at any Wonderwell retreat even at the last minute. In this case, we will provide a full refund of your payment.



The user account feature of our website provides a secure place where materials from your retreats can be posted and accessed. If you don’t have an account already, you’ll want to set one up as soon as you register.

  • If you haven’t already created an NDF user account, please visit our website to Create an account as soon as possible.
  • User accounts are manually synced after the retreat. Please be aware that this does not happen automatically with registration. It is a separate, manual operation.
  • Resources and Recordings: The retreat resources and recordings will be available in your user account. Recordings must be edited before they are posted. We appreciate your patience!  You will receive an email letting you know they are available in your dashboard.  If you have any questions about resources and recordings, please email support@naturaldharma.org.

Please visit the Technical FAQ page on our website for useful information about user accounts, helpful tutorials, as well as answers to many other questions. You can contact support@naturaldharma.org with questions about your user account.

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge Full Calendar


Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, June 4, 2023. Both residential and online components will be offered.

[email protected]

Full access to all recordings and retreat materials through your user account.

About the Teachers

William Edelglass

Visiting Teacher
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