Spring 2023 - PHIL 853 G100

Selected Topics in Medieval Philosophy (5)

Gyalse Tokme: 37 Practices

Class Number: 7195

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Thu, 5:30–8:20 p.m.




Selected Topics: Gyalsé Tokmé’s 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

 [Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 451W E100.]

Important note regarding enrollment: All seats are reserved for Philosophy Graduate students. Enrollments from other departments will be considered only upon submission of the Graduate Course Add Form, and with instructor's permission. All such enrollments will be done in or after the first week of classes.

This course will be a close reading of Gyalsé Tokmé Zangpo’s classic ethical text The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. Writing in 14th century Tibet, the text gives an overview of Mahāyāna ethical thought and practice.


Successful completion of this course will satisfy the "Value Theory" stream or the“History of Philosophy" stream distribution requirement towards the MA degree for Philosophy graduate students.


  • Short weekly response assignments 60%
  • Final paper 40%


Students will need to match their term paper to the stream designation towards which they'd like to count the class.



The primary text is available online here: https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/gyalse-thogme-zangpo/37-practices-all-bodhisattvas

Students may do the primary reading in their language of choice. (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Mandarin are available online).

In addition to the primary reading, students must choose at least one of the following commentaries to read:

Geshe Sonam Rinchen and Ruth Sonam, The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. Snow Lion. ISBN: 1-55939-068-9

Dzatrul Ngawang Tenzin Norbu, A Guide to the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva. Snow Lion. ISBN: 9781559394918

Dalai Lama, Commentary on the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. ISBN: 81-85102-97-X

Dilgo Khyentse, The Heart of Compassion. Shambhala. 
ISBN: 978-1-59030-457-0


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html