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Title: Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wang ocheonchukguk jeon, UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, Karuṇā, Madhyamaka, Shedra
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Bodhisattvacharyāvatāra or Bodhicaryāvatāra, sometimes translated into English as A Guide to the Bodhisattva's[1] Way of Life, is a famous Mahāyāna Buddhist text written c. 700 AD in Sanskrit verse by Shantideva (Śāntideva), a Buddhist monk at Nālandā Monastic University in India.


It has ten chapters dedicated to the development of bodhicitta (the mind of enlightenment) through the practice of the six perfections (Skt. Pāramitās). The text begins with a chapter describing the benefits of the wish to reach enlightenment. The sixth chapter on the Pāramitā of patience (Skt. Kṣānti, kshanti) is considered by many Buddhists to be the pinnacle of writing on this subject and is the source of numerous quotations attributed to Śāntideva. Tibetan scholars consider the ninth "Wisdom" chapter to be one of the most succinct expositions of the Madhyamaka view. The tenth chapter is used as one of the most popular Mahāyāna prayers.

Chapter summary

  1. The benefits of bodhicitta (the wish to reach full enlightenment for others)
  2. Purifying bad deeds
  3. Adopting the spirit of enlightenment
  4. Using conscientiousness
  5. Guarding awareness
  6. The practice of patience
  7. The practice of joyous effort
  8. The practice of meditative concentration
  9. The perfection of wisdom
  10. Dedication

Exegetical discourse and commentary

Many Tibetan scholars, such as Ju Mipham, have written commentaries on this text.


Commentaries & Studies in English


  1. ^ Gyelsay Togmay Sangpo. "The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas". Ven. Thubten Chodron. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 

External links

  • Multilingual edition of Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, in the Bibliotheca Polyglotta
  • Śāntideva's Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra (html)
  • The Bodhicaryavatara at BuddhaNet
  • Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior - Shantideva english pdf at The Berzin Archives
  • Bodhicharyavatara Series - Lotsawa House
  • Translation of five chapters of a famous Tibetan commentary by Khenpo Kunpal
  • Bodhicaryavatara: Sanskrit
  • Extract from the Benefits of Bodhichitta (Chapter One) by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and Neil Elliott
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