Way of Awakening: A Commentary on Shantideva's Bodhicharyavataraby Yeshe Tobden
One of the great classics of Buddhist literature, the Bodhicharyavatara, or Way of the Bodhisattva, is required reading for understanding Tibetan Buddhism. Shantideva was a seventh-century Buddhist master who taught at the great monastic university of Nalanda. Presented in the form of a personal meditation in verse, the Bodhicharyavatara outlines the path of the bodhisattvas--those who renounce the peace of their own salvation, vowing instead to attain enlightenment for the sake of all others. The Dalai Lama once remarked that his own understanding of the bodhisattva path is based entirely upon Shantideva's text.
As long as space endures,
As long as sentient beings remain,
May I likewise remain
To dispel the sorrows of the world.
The Way of Awakening is without question the most comprehensive single commentary on this text available. Expounded by an accomplished scholar and deeply realized meditator, it is a resource for a lifetime of study. Chapter by chapter and verse by verse, it maps the Bodhicharyavatara, helping us to deepen our understanding of its teachings and apply them to our lives.
- Wisdom Publications MA
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Meet the Author
Geshe Yeshe Tobden was born in 1926 to a family of wealthy farmers in Ngadra, a village one day's walk south of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and became a monk at age twelve. After the Chinese invasion of his homeland in 1959, he was arrested, but escaped, and spent two years crossing the Tibetan Plateau on foot until reaching the border with India. He completed his geshe studies in India, and spent several years teaching at the university in Varanasi. When he was forty-four, he told the Dalai Lama of his desire to live out his days in meditation retreat, for, from his boyhood, he had deeply desired the realization of reununciation, bodhichitta, and emptiness. Released from his duties at the university, he made his main residence a one-room hut above McLeod Ganj, the town in India where the Dalai Lama lives. There he lived for the remainder of his life, apart from a few teaching tours abroad, notably to fledgling Buddhist centers in Italy where these teachings were delivered. Geshe Yeshe Tobden passed away in McLeod Ganj in 1999.
Fiorella Rizzi has been a student of Buddhism since 1980, when she met the late Geshe Yeshe Tobden. Since 1997, she has been translating and editing texts on Buddhist philosophy and practice and is the founder of the nonprofit cultural association La Ruota del Dharma. She lives in Pomaia, Italy.
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.
His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world's faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama's more serious and in-depth works.
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