by Andreas Kretschmar | 246,740 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 ...

Text Sections 281-282 / Stanza 26

The merit of bodhicitta of application cannot be fathomed for the following reasons:

  1. the reaches of space are immeasurable [nam mkha’i mtha’ tshad med pa],
  2. the number of sentient beings is immeasurable [sems can gyi grangs tshad med pa],
  3. the suffering of sentient beings is immeasurable [sems can gyi sdgu bsngal tshad med pa],
  4. the qualities of the Buddha are immeasurable [sangs rgyas kyi yon tan tshad med pa] , and
  5. time is immeasurable [dus tshad med pa].

By contemplating on these five immeasurable objects, you realize that the qualities of bodhicitta of application are equally immeasurable and, therefore, cannot be fathomed.

Sentient beings are said to exist as far as space extends. To the farthest reaches wherein sentient beings exist, there also do exist karma and afflictions [las dang nyon mongs pa]. To the farthest reaches wherein karma and afflictions exist, there also does suffering exist. Three kinds of suffering [sdug bsngal gsum] torment sentient beings: suffering of change [’gyur ba’i sdug bsngal], suffering upon suffering [sdug bsngal gyi sdug bsngal], and suffering in the making [khyab pa ’du shes kyi sdug bsngal].

In a logical argument one would say,

“The subject under consideration, bodhicitta [byang chub sems chos can], has infinite benefits [chos la phan yon tshad med pa thal ste] because it focuses on the five immeasurable qualities [chos tshad med pa lnga la dmigs pa yin pa’i phyir].”

If one states that the wish to merely relieve the headaches of other beings has merit without bounds, then it is only logical that the wish to free all beings from suffering and to establish them on the level of perfect buddhahood has much greater merit.

Buddha himself repeatedly taught about the importance of precious bodhicitta. He did so to inspire his followers to generate the bodhicitta attitude constantly. Generating bodhicitta is not at all difficult. Once you have become used to it, you should remember it as often as possible during your daily activities.

Beginners as well as old practitioners should read this commentary on the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra frequently and fuse their minds with the contents of this text. The Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra is not a book to be studied for a few months or years and then to be left behind when one moves on to the next book. This book should accompany you through your entire life, until the very end. Its ultimate purpose is the attainment of enlightenment.

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