With devotion I pay homage to the buddhas gone to bliss, To their Dharma body, noble heirs and all worthy of respect. Therefore I do not expect this to be of much use to others, And write it only to acquaint it to my mind. Through this, my faith will be strengthened for a while, And I will grow more accustomed to what is virtuous. Then should others, somehow equal to myself in fortune, Chance upon these words, they might find them beneficial.
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We are shipping to all international locations. Learn more here about our many free resources and special digital offers. The text with the Sanskrit title Bodhicharyavatara shortened from the longer Bodhisattvacharyavatara - usually known in English as either The Way of the Bodhisattva or A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life - is by far the best-known work attributed to the eighth-century Indian monk Shantideva.
It would be impossible to adequately summarize its importance and impact in this small space, but what follows is a brief account of the origin of this classic that has come to be considered an indispensable guide for anyone on the Mahayana path.
Shantideva was born a prince in a kingdom located in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat. Moved by the Buddhist teachings - and by a vision of Manjushri - he renounced his royal inheritance and became a simple monk at Nalanda, that vast center of Buddhist learning that flourished for more than seven hundred years in what is today the state of Bihar, near the sites where the Buddha is said to have given many of the teachings recorded in the sutras.
As the story goes, some of his fellow monks observed that Shantideva seemed to spend his time doing nothing other than sleeping, eating, and wandering about. Judging him to be lazy or to be wasting the generosity of the monastery's patrons, they hatched a plan to expel him: Every week at Nalanda a public teaching was given, usually by one of the senior monks.
Thinking to shame Shantideva into leaving, the monks requested that he give the weekly teaching. After declining their first few requests, to their surprise, he finally agreed. On the appointed day, he took his place on the teaching throne set up in front of the monastery. He asked those congregated if they would rather hear a well-known teaching or one they had never heard before.
Curious, and perhaps hopeful at the prospect of Shantideva demonstrating his lack of knowledge and diligence in front of a large audience, they asked for a new teaching. And so he began. We can imagine that his audience responded with incredulity, followed by humility, inspiration, and, ultimately, awe - for the astonishing words that came out of his mouth were the teaching we now know as The Way of the Bodhisattva.
Many reported seeing Manjushri appear in the sky above Shantideva as he taught. When he reached the ninth chapter, on Transcendent Wisdom, both Shantideva and Manjushri ascended into the sky above and disappeared - though Shantideva's voice continued to be heard as he completed his exposition. Members of the congregation, many of whom had extraordinary abilities of recollection, hurried to write down what they had heard, but their accounts varied, and this text was clearly so important that they were concerned about recording it faithfully.
When, some time later word reached Nalanda that Shantideva was living in South India, several of the panditas set off to find him in order to confirm the definitive version. Shantideva not only identified the correct rendering of the text for them, he also alerted them to the existence of his other two texts, The Compendium of Sutras and The Compendium of Training , which they found in a place he indicated, hidden in a beam in his meditation hut back at Nalanda.
Of these two, only the latter survives. However, several shorter versions of the Bodhicharyavatara were known about in Tibet. They have come to light from the eleventh-century Dunhuang cave manuscripts, rediscovered in the early twentieth-century. For well over a millennium now, Shantideva's Way of the Bodhisattva has been revered and studied as a manual for the development of bodhicitta, the mind of awakening both in the aspiring and engaged forms of relative bodhicitta and absolute bodhicitta.
Some of the results of that study can be be found in the books below related to this text, a few of which also include further details of Shantideva's exploits and teachings. Shantideva was a scholar in the eighth century from the monastic university Nalanda, one of the most celebrated centers of learning in ancient India. According to legend, Shantideva was greatly inspired by the celestial bodhisattva Manjushri, from whom he secretly received teachings and great insights. Join Judith L.
Menu Search. Cart You have no items in your shopping cart. Search: Search. My Account Login. Shambhala logo. The Story behind the Bodhicharyavatara.
Shantideva Shantideva was born a prince in a kingdom located in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat. Related Books. Manjushri And so he began. Online Course Join Judith L. Related Topics Way of the Bodhisattva.
The online teachings on chapters 1—6 of this classic text were given in We hope that Rinpoche will again continue these teachings very soon. In the meantime, all the videos and materials collected so far are here, freely available for individual or group study. A new teaching will be published online approximately once in every two weeks.
Bodhicharyavatara Skt. It is included among the so-called " thirteen great texts ", which form the core of the curriculum in most shedras and on which Khenpo Shenga provided commentaries. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said:. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche said:. Khenpo Namdrol said:. His Holiness the Dalai Lama advises:. For Western students who are non-Buddhists, or who may be new to Buddhism , but who do not yet have a teacher and may not have a clear understanding of Buddhist concepts such as karma and interdependence , a commentary such as Pema Chodron's No Time to Lose may be the most suitable introduction to this text.
These are the video commentaries on Chapter 1 — The Excellence of Bodhichitta. If you have trouble viewing the playlist on mobile devices, you can also see them directly in YouTube here. Below are the playlists of all the original English and translated audio files for this chapter. There is also a list of transcripts from each teaching and other supporting material.
Bodhicharyavatara - About this course
It has ten chapters dedicated to the development of bodhicitta the mind of enlightenment through the practice of the six perfections Skt. The text begins with a chapter describing the benefits of the wish to reach enlightenment. Many Tibetan scholars, such as Ju Mipham, have written commentaries on this text. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Buddhism History.