Shantideva (8th century) was the Indian source for the bodhisattva teachings found in all traditions of Tibet, especially regarding the practice of the six paramitas (the six perfections).

Shantideva was born in the eighth century as the son of the king of a land in the Bengal region of East India. When he was about to ascend to the throne, he had a dream of Manjushri, who said, “The throne is not for you.” Heeding Manjushri’s advice, he renounced the throne and retreated to the jungle. There he met and studied with various non-Buddhist gurus, meditated intensely and achieved advanced states of absorbed concentration. But, as was the case with Shakyamuni, he realized that withdrawing into deep states of concentration did not eliminate the roots of suffering. Relying on Manjushri, he eventually had actual visions of this embodiment of the wisdom of all the Buddhas and received teachings from him. Continue reading »

Shantideva: Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Bodhisattvacharyavatara

Shantideva: May no limited being ever have pain, 
Nor act with negative force, nor be sick, 
Nor be frightened, nor be derided, 
Nor ever be depressed.

Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Shantideva

(sPyod-‘jug, Bodhisattvacharyavatara) 
by Shantideva 
translated from the Tibetan, as clarified by the Sanskrit 
by Alexander Berzin, 2004


Introductory Note on the Translation

The Diversity of Textual Versions and Editions

Translation Method for Resolving Discrepancies between Tibetan and Sanskrit



1. The Benefits of Bodhichitta Continue reading »

Bodhicaryavatara’s Commentary by Geshe Tenzin Zopa

Shantideva: Just as by the fires at the end of time
Great sins are utterly consumed by bodhicitta Thus its benefits are boundless
As the Wise and Loving Lord explained to Sudhana

Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhicaryavatara) by A Commentary of Geshe Tenzin Zopa

Editor’s Note – Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche said it best: “Buddhas are born from Bodhisattvas; Bodhisattvas are born from bodhicitta.” The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life or in Sanskrit, Bodhicaryavatara, is the most celebrated and spectacular exposition on the mighty altruistic intention and conduct of the Bodhisattva.

To embark on the reading, let alone the study of, the Bodhicaryavata takes guts. Its 914 verses challenge every fibre in your body, every corner or your mind and when you complete the book, it leaves you feeling embarrassed at having your innermost thoughts and deeds spread out on a page in front of you. Yet, hope is a little brighter because the possibilities are infinite. Continue reading »

Prayer to the Lineage of the Bodhicaryāvatāra

Patrul Rinpoche: All dualistic clinging to ourselves and objects may be cut right through,

Patrul Rinpoche: All dualistic clinging to ourselves and objects may be cut right through,

Prayer to the Lineage of the Bodhicaryāvatāra

by Patrul Rinpoche

སྟོན་མཆོག་ལྷ་མའི་བླ་མ་ཤཱཀྱའི་གཙོ། །

tön chok lhamé lama shakyé tso

Supreme guide, teacher of gods and men, chief of the Śākyas,

རྒྱལ་སྲས་དཔལ་དཔལ་དབྱངས་དང་ཞི་བ་ལྷ། །

gyalsé pal pal yang dang shyiwa lha

The bodhisattva Mañjughoṣa, Śāntideva, Continue reading »

Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara 9th Chapter Analysis

Shantideva: When wisdom has demonstrated the foolishness and self-destructive nature of the mistaken view of an all important and truly existing self, the logical foundation for the practice of compassion becomes clear.

Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara, The Way of the Bodhisattva, Ninth Chapter Analysis By Nick Barr (Spring 2004) Emory-IBD Tibetan Studies Program Dharamsala, India.

Before beginning, I would like to offer my deepest respect, prayers and thanks to all those who continue to serve as teachers of bodhicitta. This paper would not have been possible without my teachers in Dharamsala, most notably Geshe Dorji Damdul-la or Gen-la, to whom I owe whatever philosophical understanding I have gained over the last six months. It was, in addition, the goal of this project to further my own familiarity with and understanding of the text, rather than to offer any real “commentary”, which would require a lifetime of study.

This paper is meant to be read alongside the Padmakara Translation Group’s version of the ninth chapter of The Way of the Bodhisattva, a copy of which I have included. Continue reading »

The Brightly Shining Sun

Dza Patrul Rinpoche

The Brightly Shining Sun

A Step-by-Step Guide to Meditating on the Bodhicaryāvatāra

by Patrul Rinpoche

With devotion I pay homage to the buddhas gone to bliss,
To their Dharma body, noble heirs and all worthy of respect.
In accordance with the scriptures, I shall now in brief describe
How to adopt proper conduct, the way of buddhas’ heirs.[1]

In this, there are four sections:

  1. the practitioner, the person who is the support;

  2. the attitude with which one practises;

  3. the practices themselves; and

  4. the result of practising in that way.

Continue reading »