The Way of the Bodhisattva

The Way of the Bodhisattva

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by Shantideva

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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. Presented in the form of a personal


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. 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 is translated from the Tibetan and includes a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a translator’s preface, a thorough introduction, a note on the translation, and three appendices of commentary by the Nyingma master Kunzang Pelden.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Shantideva's work is required reading for an understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, and the clarity and crispness of this translation make it an accessible way into this world."—Publishers Weekly

"If I have any understanding of compassion and the practice of the bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of this text that I possess it."—H. H. the Dalai Lama "The Way of the Bodhisattva was composed in India over twelve centuries ago, yet it remains remarkably relevant for our times. This classic text gives surprisingly up-to-date instructions for people like you and me to live sanely and openheartedly, even in a very troubled world. It is the essential guidebook for fledgling bodhisattvas, those spiritual warriors who long to alleviate suffering, their own and that of others."—Pema Chödrön

Product Details

Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
Shambhala Classics Series
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.63(d)

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Meet the Author

Shantideva was a scholar in the eighth century from the monastic university Nalanda, one of the most celebrated centers of learning in ancient India. According to legend, Shantideva was greatly inspired by the celestial bodhisattva Manjushri, from whom he secretly received teachings and great insights. Yet as far as the other monks could tell, there was nothing special about Shantideva. In fact, he seemed to do nothing but eat and sleep. In an attempt to embarrass him, the monks forced Shantideva's hand by convincing him to publicly expound on the scriptures. To the amazement of all in attendance that day, Shantideva delivered the original and moving verses of the Bodhicharyavatara. When he reached verse thirty-four of the ninth chapter, he began to rise into the sky, until he at last disappeared. Following this, Shantideva became a great teacher.

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The Way of the Bodhisattva 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Paul_G More than 1 year ago
This has to be, by far, one of the greatest treatises of spiritual instruction ever composed. Although some traditionalists might isolate it as a phenomena of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, it is as universal and applicable to this Western age as it was centuries ago. Due to the ever-increasing prevalence of moral bankruptcy in our world today, wars, famine and widespread cruelty, the need for lasting, genuine ethics has never been more urgent. The Way of the Bodhisattva stands out as a call for action on an intimate and personal level, so as to procure the benefit of all sentient beings, regardless of discrimination, gender or culture. This scripture is the height of expression for Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophy, renown for its subtle dialectics on compassionate ethics and the nature of emptiness (Sunyata), expressed in the cultivation of Bodhichitta ("the awakened mind"). One does not even have to be a Buddhist to benefit from this text. I am a Gnostic Christian and have studied numerous scriptures in conjunction with my own tradition, and I have been able to benefit tremendously from the awe-inspiring logic of this work. Shantideva takes many of the egotistical assumptions we all have (and this takes sincerity to admit while reading such a text) and shows the futility and destructiveness of such habits. This text proposes with great elegance that there is a better alternative to anger, lust and pride, based upon a re-orientation of perspective, or a mind that works for the benefit of others (compassionate love which is based upon an understanding of the impermanence of phenomena: Bodhichitta). This encompasses all human beings, since all persons seek to avoid suffering and acquire happiness. This really has to be one of the most genuine self-help books on the market, spiritual or otherwise. Whereas many self-help books have appeared and sustained in popularity for a decade, The Way of the Bodhisattva has been used amongst Mahayana Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners for centuries with concrete results. The 14th Dalai Lama stated that if he possessed any understanding of compassion, it is solely on the basis of this work, astounding for a man who has been exiled from his own country by foreign invaders, who have committed unspeakable genocides against his people. If you are looking for a way to develop genuine concern for others that is lasting and profound, this is an essential book. It is not necessary to be religious, for one can yet be spiritual (which I believe in these times has a different connotation) and apply these techniques for a better life. I also recommend, in conjunction with this Buddhist text, "The Revolution of the Dialectic" by Samael Aun Weor, since it serves as a good companion to many of these psychological and meditative techniques from the Madhyamaka school, being in itself a dissertation on these subtle spiritual dialectics, including Mahayana Buddhist thought. The Shambala Library publishes very fine hard cover editions of spiritual works, including The Rumi Collection and The Bhagavad-Gita. The printing and paper is very nice, with strong binding that will last a long time; very suitable for an altar or place of dedication (even if it is just a bedside table).
FaceMan More than 1 year ago
A great text about Shantideva and the Way of the Bodhisattva. It also goes well with "A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life" also by Shantideva/¿¿ntideva ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ Any practicing Buddhist will appreciate and engage the writing of Shantideva. Enjoy, Namaste
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Monshin More than 1 year ago
The Way of the Bodhisattva was composed by the Indian scholar Shantideva, a renowned Tibetan teacher. The book focuses on the practice and enhancement of bodhichitta, meaning having an open heart and an open mind. The book is written in beautiful verse-type language. It encourages and inspires the reader to look into oneself and practice transforming the mind by facing the situations we encounter with courage and a calmness of spirit. The teachings, though written many years ago, are definitely relevant today. I am studying this book with a book-discussion dharma group at the Dae Yen Sa International Meditation Temple in New Hartford, CT. The book is having a most positive effect on all the participants.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago