Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra | Bodhisattva | Enlightenment In Buddhism

The Bodhicaryavatara

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life

David Tuffley

To my beloved Nation of Four Concordia Domi – Foris Pax

the Buddha and all the Bodhisattvas who have gone before to show the Way to enlightenment. .Who looks outside. dreams. the Sugatas. awakens – Carl Jung Acknowledgement to Santideva. Who looks inside.

.......... ....................... 8 i ............... Another 9 chapters follow which progressively build towards how a sincere seeker might achieve enlightenment................ 2 Chapter 1 The Benefit of the Spirit of Awakening............Contents Introduction ............................... 3 End of sample.............................................................

Buddhist monk and scholar who lived at the Nalanda Monastic University in India. Every effort has been made to preserve the underlying spirit of the message. The Bodhicaryavatara roughly translates to A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life. Throughout. Australia. Earlier English translations of this text are accurate but difficult to understand for many readers living in the 21st Century. 2 . not me. A Bodhisattva is an enlightened being on their way to attaining full Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. There will be those who object to the changing of the outward form of this much-loved classic. The text has ten chapters that explain how to develop bodhicitta. While I respect the beauty of the original text. my greatest wish is to bring the even greater beauty of the underlying message to a whole new audience in the modern world who might otherwise find the original less than easy to fully understand. This book faithfully reexpresses in modern day language the underlying message of the original text. the first person “I” is Santideva.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment Introduction The Bodhicaryavatara is an ancient text written in Sanskrit around 700 CE by Santideva. or the enlightened mind. David Tuffley Redland Bay. The mode of expression and the figures of speech are the product of that far-off time.

After that. In the same way that flashes of lightning in the night sky illuminates the clouds. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this when so many people must work hard all day just to live. and vice is our constant companion in daily life. 4. I write simply to help me in my journey towards enlightenment. through divine providence. If it were not for the sublime spirit of 3 . If one has such an opportunity. it is important to use it for the benefit of as many people as possible. they are naturally drawn towards a fuller experience of the divine. It may also serve as a helpful guide to others who are in the same position as me. Being mindful of all that is holy I shall outline to those who are interested how to go about becoming enlightened. since who knows when another opportunity will arise? 5. 6. so too are peoples’ minds momentarily illuminated by glimpses of the divine. Nor do I consider myself to be an expert writer. so my work is unlikely to have much influence on others. then the power that these bad habits has over us is great indeed. This work is therefore an act of faith made in order to cultivate virtue. 2. 3. Nothing in this book is new. It has all been said before. But if divine virtue is experienced for only a moment and not very often.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment Chapter 1 The Benefit of the Spirit of Awakening 1.

They strongly recommend that aspirants hold tightly onto the spirit of awakening as the best way forward. 9. can be transmuted into an enlightened person by the spirit of awakening. The Holy Ones who have walked the path of enlightenment before me recognize the value of the spirit of awakening in achieving enlightenment. or to help as many people in the world as possible to do the same. even though they have been wretchedly bound in the cycle of suffering. 11. they must attend closely to the quicksilver flash of the spirit of awakening. The Holy Ones have been meditating for eons on the nature of enlightenment. They go into decline and gradually turn into their own opposite. But the tree of the spirit of 4 . 10. They know that this momentary flash of insight that leads a person to want to move towards the divine is a blessing that brings happiness into people’s lives and can help them towards enlightenment. that brief flash of lightning that dispels the darkness. The spirit of awakening should never be forsaken by anyone wishing to transcend the difficulties of their daily life. 7. 12.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment perfect awakening that draws us on towards the divine. Notice how an ordinary banana tree begins to die after it has finished bearing fruit. 8. It is the same with the various virtues of earthly life. bound in sorrows and misery. So it is that an impure person. But to do so. then it is likely that we would dwell in vice all our lives. When the spirit of awakening arises in a person they become worthy of being called a child of the Holy Ones.

When the spirit of awakening is embraced. I become part of a vast flowing river of divine 5 . For example. In their proud ignorance. I must also be able to discern the subtle difference in the spirit of awakening within myself. 15. The spirit of aspiring to awaken brings many benefits to my earthly life. and those who actually do travel. From the moment of whole-hearted commitment onwards.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment awakening is beyond this earthly cycle. it protects me from the various misfortunes of earthly life. 14. 18. however these are out-weighed by the far greater benefits that derive from the spirit of venturing to awaken. It calms my fears and gives me confidence. The spirit of awakening is expressed in these two ways. The spirit of awakening has a powerfully transformative effect on the extremes of earthly existence. In the same way that I can learn to recognize the difference between these two. the spirit of aspiring to awaken. there are those who would like to travel. 17. 16. The Buddha has told us this. 19. This greater and continuous stream of benefits begins to flow from the time I embrace the spirit of venturing to awaken with a whole-hearted and irreversible commitment to help with the liberation of all sentient creatures. and the spirit of venturing towards awakening. It bears perpetual fruit that never decays. they overlook or dismiss it. 13. It is puzzling why more people do not seek refuge from the ills of the world in the spirit of awakening. moderating them into an ideal state.

even when it is in their own-self-interest to find it? 26. 25. they must first wish to end their own suffering. 21. “I”) in the holy scriptures of both the greater (Mahayana) and lesser (Theravada) vehicles of Buddhism. Before anyone can have the desire to help all sentient beings. 20. Was there ever a mother or a father who had such benevolent altruism towards their children? Would even the gods and sages have such altruism? 24. The truth of this is confirmed by Tathagata (the name by which the Buddha referred to himself instead of the personal pronoun “me”.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment energy that continues even when I am asleep or distracted by worldly affairs. how much more virtuous then is wishing to end the suffering of all sentient being? 6 . How much more virtue is derived by the person who wishes to go further and not only release sentient beings from their suffering but also then endow them with immeasurable happiness? 23. If altruism is more virtuous than simply being reverential towards the Buddha. 22. myself”. But how does this magnificent jewel come into existence when it can not normally be found in the hearts and minds of people. And how can one measure the virtue of this jewel of the heart and mind that has the potential to remedy the world’s suffering? 27. A person who embraces the spirit of venturing to awaken and aspires to help all sentient beings to be released from their suffering therefore accumulates virtue in great measure.

30. The person who embraces the spirit of venturing to awaken and seeks to end the suffering of all sentient beings seeks to bestow great happiness on those who are starved of it.Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment 28. they experience happiness at the spontaneous generation of virtue. It is rightly said by the Holy Ones that a person who is ungrateful for the blessings they have received will experience great suffering. 7 . most people hurry straight towards it. or any greater friend than this? 31. 29. How much more praiseworthy is the person whose good deed is unsolicited? 32. Could there be any more saintly a person. the world will often praise them for it. When a person reciprocates someone’s kind deed. Such a person dispels delusion and ignorance. The person who desires happiness often succeeds in destroying their happiness through ignorance and delusion. How much more virtuous is the person who wishes to end the suffering of all sentient beings? 34. It is a great irony in life that in seeking to escape from suffering. 35. If however a person cultivates an attitude of gratitude for the many blessings received. The philanthropist who makes a small gift to a needy person is praised by the world as being virtuous. even when extreme events occur. 33. This creates a buffer between them and the world which protects them. and in so doing eliminate the various sorrows that afflict them.

Santideva's Guide to Enlightenment 36. even when in my own ignorance I cause them harm. The jewel of their mind transforms the harm into happiness. Another 9 chapters follow which progressively build towards how a sincere seeker might achieve enlightenment. 8 . Therefore I pay great respect to those enlightened people in whom this precious jewel of the mind has arisen. End of sample. It is to these enlightened ones that I go for refuge and protection. They are praiseworthy indeed.

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