Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara

The Bodhicaryavatara, a sacred text of Mahayana Buddhism, was written in the 7th century CE by Shantideva, a Buddhist monk from India. These teachings address how to cultivate the mind of enlightenment. Here’s a taste from this deep well of Buddhist wisdom.


1
I myself shall generate the spirit of awakening for the sake of the world.

2
Just as a blind man might find a jewel amongst heaps of rubbish, so this spirit of Awakening has somehow arisen in me.

3
It is the supreme medicine that alleviates the illness of the world. It is the tree of rest for beings exhausted from wandering on the pathways of mundane existence.

4
May I be a protector for those who are without protectors, a guide for travelers, and a boat, a bridge, and a ship for those who wish to cross over!

5
Those who have not cultivated the mind, which is the mystery and the very essence of Dharma, uselessly wander.

6
Upon recognizing what needs to be undertaken, with a mind focused on that, one should attend to nothing else until one accomplishes it.

7
A friendly disposition, which is honorable, is the very greatness of sentient beings.

8
The Buddhas … are oceans of good qualities with endless portions.

9
Today with my entire being, I place myself in the service of the world.

10
There is no doubt whatsoever that those Compassionate Beings regard all beings as themselves.  … Therefore, let this alone be my resolve.

11
Upon mounting the chariot of the Spirit of Awakening, which carries away all despondency and weariness, what sensible person would despair at progressing in this way from joy to joy?

12
May the Bodhisattvas’ wishes for the welfare of the world be fulfilled … for as long as space endures and for as long as the world lasts.


NOTES

1.   (III, 23)
2.   (III, 27)
3.   (III, 29)
4.   (III, 17)
5.   (V, 17)
6.   (V, 43)
7.   (VI, 115)
8.   (VI, 116)
9.   (VI, 125)
10.  (VI, 126 and 127)
11.  (VII, 30)
12.  (X, from The Post-Dedication)

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