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An Appropriate Response: Embodying the Heart of a Bodhisattva

On-Demand Course

Available Now!

What does it take to respond rather than react? Work towards embodying the heart of a Bodhisattva with Pamela Weiss.

In an old Zen story, a student comes to visit his dying teacher.

“What is the teaching of your entire lifetime?” he asks.

The teacher replies, “an appropriate response.”

We live in an increasingly complex, divisive world.

What does it take to respond rather than react?

What is needed to meet the profound challenges of climate change, growing economic disparity, and entrenched systems of misogyny, racism and oppression?

Based on the ancient Buddhist archetype of the Bodhisattva, this four-week program will introduce a path and set of practices to help address the significant issues of our time.

bodhi (awake) sattva (sentient being) is a wise, sensitive person dedicated to alleviating individual and collective suffering.

Bodhisattvas understand that we are intricately interconnected; that no one of us can wake up and be free unless all of us are free.

This radical reorientation lies at the heart of the Buddha’s awakening and is the ground for walking the Bodhisattva Path.

In our time together we will explore steps and stages of the path including: discovering sources of inspiration, articulating our heartfelt aspiration, and uncovering our unique gifts and capacities.

Together we will open ourselves to embodying the heart of a Bodhisattva.

Each week, in addition to video teachings, you will be given readings, reflections and practices to deepen the teachings and help integrate them into the fabric of your daily life.

Module 1 – Being Bodhisattvas

Guan Yin Goddess of Compassion

The first module will ground us in the first Noble Truth: dukkha — the suffering, angst and dis-ease we experience in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world — and our wish to help ease it. We will explore what it means to be a modern Bodhisattva, and what it takes to walk the Bodhisattva Path.

The module will focus on three aspects of being Bodhisattvas:

1. The truth of the Buddha’s great discovery of pattica samupaddha, our fundamental interconnectedness, which underlies the orientation and activity of walking the Bodhisattva Path.

2. The importance of finding true refuge as the ground and support for addressing the pain and divisiveness of the world.

3. How we can shift from habitual reactivity to responding with kindness and clarity

This module lays the direction and groundwork for the rest of the program, leaving you with clear direction for how to discover your heartfelt intentions and support your ability to embody these in your life. Between sessions you will begin to articulate a personal vow that integrates your aspiration and clarifies your commitments.

Module 2 – The Hero’s Journey and Life of the Buddha

The second module will draw on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and stories from the life of the Buddha to illuminate the stages of our own spiritual path. Specifically, we will explore:

  • The Call: Cultivating the capacity to listen deeply, and the 4 Heavenly Messengers. Here you will explore what is calling you now.
  • The Departure: Stepping into the unknown, and the teaching of the 4 Upadanas. Here you will examine what needs to be let go of — old habits, beliefs and points of view — so you can step into new ways of being and engaging with life.
  • The Struggle: Meeting the inevitable obstacles that arise, and the voices of Mara. Here you will look at the major obstacles that keep you from moving toward your Calling, and ways to work with them.
  • The Awakening: Opening to new insights and perspectives, and deepening wisdom. Here you will deepen your understanding of what it means to awaken and how to move toward embodying the truth of our interconnectedness and realization of non-divisiveness.
  • The Return: Clarifying our unique gifts, and cultivating qualities of the heart. The Path does not end with Awakening, but with the ability to return to our familiar lives with insights and capacities to share with others. Here you will explore the gifts you wish to awaken and offer the world.

This module offers a map of key steps on the spiritual path, illuminated by the life of the Buddha. It will offer a clear picture of the universal stages of the path and insight into your own spiritual journey.

Module 3 – Individual and Collective Struggles

Embodying the Heart of a Bodhisattva with Pamela Weiss

The Buddha is said to have summed up his teaching like this, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.”

In this module we will look more closely at the struggles we encounter on the path, extending from the individual to the collective.

Investigating more deeply at how to disarm our inner critic, and will how the practice of mindfulness and teachings from Buddhist psychology can help reveal our fundamental reactivity, ignorance and bias.

We will work with the teaching of the Five Skandhas, Karma, and Buddha’s advice to his son, Rahula, to expose and begin to dismantle our individual and collective ignorance.

You will leave with greater clarity about your own struggles and understand how the difficulties we face can become doorways to awakening compassion.

Module 4 – Staying Awake

The final module will explore the Buddha’s awakening, and the expression of waking up as the embodiment of gratitude, generosity and giving. We will unfold the teaching of the Buddha’s Three Watches of the Night and the cultivation of Dana Paramita to deepen our understanding of what awakening is and how we can stay awake as we go forward.

You will leave with specific practices for deepening the cultivation of generosity, and ways to bring your unique contribution and gifts alive in the world.


I have been blessed to have known and studied with Pam Weiss for over eighteen years. Using stories, poems, and personal examples from real life, Pam shares her deep knowledge and understanding of the Dharma and makes it come alive. An amazing teacher from the beginning, her ability to teach in ways that connect powerfully with the mind, heart, body, and soul just grows and grows.

- Kathy Burke
Santa Clara, California

Pam has been my teacher and coach for many years now. After every session I wonder what it is she does to make me feel so seen. It is as if, afterwards, I understand new parts of my personality and life. It is like being in an old fashioned darkroom where exactly the right amount of exposure creates the most magnificent photos. I don’t understand the chemical process, just as I don’t understand how Pam brings the best of me forward, but I am totally and forever grateful for having her as my teacher and coach.

- Flemming Christiansen
Copenhagen, Denmark

Pam possesses rare qualities as a teacher. My studies with her are ongoing for 20+ years now. Embodying the heart of a bodhisattva is an exquisite teaching that brings hope and wisdom. I can attest that students of all levels will find her teachings accessible. I find with each class I take with Pam, I come away refreshed and inspired in my own practice.

- Ellen Connelly
Bainbridge Island, Washington

On-Demand Course Details

Pamela Weiss Embodying The Heart Of A Bodhisattva

4 Hours of recorded video teachings

Filmed in high definition with only you in mind, having an intimate and personal feel that will keep you engaged as your body, mind and heart tune in.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

If you're unsatisfied with the course for any reason, please contact us within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Daily Dharma Meditation

Guided Meditations

Pam offers guided meditations within the course to support you in integrating the teachings.

Supplemental Readings and Exercises

In addition to the video teachings, you will be given readings, reflections and practices to deepen the teachings and help integrate them into the fabric of your daily life.

About Pamela Weiss

Pamela Weiss

Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist teacher authorized in both Zen and Theravada, and author of A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism (2020). She is a guiding teacher at San Francisco Insight, a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, and co-leader of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader program. Pamela is also an executive coach, entrepreneur, and pioneer in bringing Buddhist principles and practices into the workplace. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and little dog, Grover. Click here to learn more about Pamela Weiss.