by Andreas Kretschmar | 233,817 words

The English translation of the Bodhisattvacharyavatara (“entering the conduct of the bodhisattvas”), a Sanskrit text with Tibetan commentary. This book explains the bodhisattva concept and gives guidance to the Buddhist practitioner following the Mahāyāna path towards the attainment of enlightenment. The text was written in Sanskrit by Shantideva ...

Following the accounts of Śāntideva's biography, Khenpo Kunpal turns to a series of praises paying homage to Śāntideva's bodhisattva qualities. The first master quoted, Jetāri[1] [dze ta ri], was a great Indian scholar of Mādhyamaka as well as a logician.

Prajñākaramati[2] [shes rab 'byung gnas blo gros] was a scholar from the Buddhist universtiy Vikramaśīla and belongs to the famous grouping of the six paṇḍitas of the gates [mkhas pa'i sgo drug]. According to Tāranātha's History of Buddhism,[3] Prajñākaramati was the keeper of the southern gate; according to the Blue Annals,[4] he was the keeper of the western gate.

Prajñākaramati was a great scholar in Mādhyamaka philosophy and the Prajñāpāramitā scriptures, and he wrote a famous commentary on the Bodhicaryāvatāra.[5] This is the only commentary still extant in the Sanskrit language on the Bodhicaryāvatāra. In the preface to his commentary, Prajñākaramati refers to Śāntideva as 'This noble Śāntideva' ['phags pa zhi ba'i lha de].[6]

Another master who extols Śāntideva's qualities is the Indian scholar Vibhūticandra'.[7]

The quote comes from the metrical preface to his commentary on the Bodhicaryāvatāra:[8]

In the (history of) the Victor's doctrine
Many great beings and persons have appeared,
But I have found none whose
Experience and realization compare with Śāntideva's.

rgyal ba'i bstan pa bdag nyid che
skyes bu mang po byin (byon) mod kiy
zhi ba'i lha yi mdzad dang 'dra / (mdzad pa 'dra)
nyams dang dgongs pa can mi rnyed

The master Kṛṣṇapāda [slob dpon nag po pa] wrote in the metrical preface to his commentary on the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra the following:[9]

He who for a long time has utterly dedicated himself to meditation with the power of faith and diligence,
And who has also touched the supreme crown of his head to the lotus at Mañjughoṣa's feet,[10]
Who has been praised by the scholars to be the second Mañjughoṣa on earth, the author of this treatise,
In order to praise him, I will scatter with my mind a handful of the flowers of devotion.

yun ring dad dang brtson pa'i stobs kyis bsam grtan mchog la rab gzhol zhing /
gang gi spyi gtsug mchog gis 'jam dbyangs zhabs kyi pad ma la reg pa /
sa steng 'jam dbyangs gnyis pa yin zhes mkhas pa rnams kyis bstod pa bstan bcos rtsom pa po /
bstod phyir bdag gis yid kyis dad pa'i me tog snyim pa bkang bas 'thor /

It is very beneficial to recite praises such as these as part of one's study of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra in order to immerse one's mind in the stream of Śāntideva's blessings and bodhisattva qualities.

Footnotes and references:


For biographical notes on Jetāri [dze ta ri] see Tāranātha's History of Buddhism, pages 290-292 and Crystal Mirror Vol. VIII, page 393.


For biographical notes on Prajñākaramati [shes rab 'byung gnas blo gros] see Tāranātha's History of Buddhism, pages 296-297. As kun dpal 'grel pa reads only Prajñākara [shes rab 'byung gnas], one should not confuse Prajñākaramati with Prajñākaragupta [shes rab 'byung gnas sbab pa].


See Tāranātha's History of Buddhism, page 295.


See Blue Annals, page 206.


See sher 'byung bka' 'grel.


See sher 'byung bka' 'grel, page 1, folio 45b5.


For biographical notes on Vibhūticandra see mkhas btsun bzang po Vol. I, pages 867-868.


See vibhūti dgongs 'grel, page 236, folio 229b.


See kṛṣṇa dka' gnas, page 186, folio 106b1-2.


The soles of Mañjuśrīghoṣa's feet are marked with the design of a lotus [pad ma'i ri mo]. The phrase means that Śāntideva constantly meditates on Mañjuśrīghoṣa above his head.

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