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 Section 291 / Stanza 31

From stanzas thirty-one through thirty-six, Śāntideva explains the qualities [yon tan] and the greatness [che ba] of a person endowed with a mind that has developed bodhicitta. In doing this, he distinguishes the bodhisattva from someone who is considered a good person in a worldly context.

In a worldly context, if someone has done you a favor and you return this favor, you are considered a good person since you did not forget the kindness that was done to you.

It is said,

“Returning a favor received delights the gods.”

Bodhisattvas help and benefit beings without having been helped by others in the first place. Their motivation to help others is based neither on gratitude nor on the duty to return a favor. If the world praises those who help others in return for favors received, it is needless to mention how much more worthy of praise are the bodhisattvas who help all sentient beings without having ever received the help of others.

Bodhisattvas do not expect any reward from their actions of benefiting others, and they help without being asked. They have only one thought—to free all beings from suffering and to establish them on the level of complete enlightenment.

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