The Way of the Bodhisattva
The classic Buddhist text and “essential guidebook” on the ideal of compassion and the methods of attaining it (Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall Apart)
Treasured by Buddhists of all traditions, The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyavatara) is a guide to cultivating the mind of enlightenment, and to generating the qualities of love, compassion, generosity, and patience. This text has been studied, practiced, and expounded upon in an unbroken tradition for centuries, first in India, and later in Tibet. Presented in the form of a personal meditation in verse, it outlines the path of the Bodhisattvas—those who renounce the peace of individual enlightenment and vow to work for the liberation of all beings and to attain buddhahood for their sake.
This version, translated from the Tibetan, is a revision by the translators of the 1997 edition. Included are a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a new translator's preface, a thorough introduction, a note on the translation, and three appendices of commentary by the Nyingma master Kunzang Pelden.
One of the many Buddhist masters who have written profoundly and with clarity about the wellsprings of the Buddhist traditions is Shantideva, a seventh-century Buddhist scholar who taught at Nalanda, one of the great monastic universities of ancient India. Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara, one of the foundational texts of Tibetan Buddhism, deeply influenced the Dalai Lama, who once remarked that his own understanding of the bodhisattva path is based entirely upon Shantideva's text. Bodhisattvas are beings who renounce nirvana and vow to work for the welfare of all beings. The Bodhicharyavatara, which means "An Entry Into the Activities of Enlightenment," is an outline of the path that bodhisattvas should follow as they seek to teach others the path to nirvana. Thus, this collection contains meditation exercises and moral instruction for bodhisattvas to practice as they engage in their work. Shantideva's work is required reading for an understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, and the clarity and crispness of this new translation make it an accessible way into the world of Tibetan Buddhism.