Shantideva was an 8th century Buddhist scholar. The story goes that he was, like the Buddha, born into a princely life.
And, like the Buddha, he gave up his kingdom to become a monk.
He couldn’t be bothered with politics and court proceedings.
As a student, he was known to avoid his fellow monks. He would rather be alone.
No one ever saw him study. Most of them ridiculed him.
None of this phased him.
At one point, his fellow students elected him to give a very serious lecture to the whole student body including the teachers.
They thought for sure that he was going to embarrass himself.
Boy, did he surprise them.
Shantideva came up with one of the most beloved teachings of his time.
Wishing Happiness for Others
Here is a quote from one of the passages.
All the joy the world contains has come through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.
His teachings have come down to us with various translations for the title of his lecture. One such rendering is, “The Way of the Bodhisattva.”
A bodhisattva is a person who devotes his or her life to bringing happiness and reducing suffering for other people.
She or he does this by expressing a life of love, compassion, generosity, and kindness to others.
A bodhisattva not only wishes for the happiness of others. Through their generosity, they bring others joy and relieve suffering.
Bodhisattva’s take upon themselves the following vows:
- Sentient beings are numberless, we vow to save them.
- Desires are inexhaustible, we vow to put an end to them.
- The Dharmas are boundless, we vow to master them.
- The Buddha Way is unsurpassable, we vow to attain it.
Here, dharmas refers to the many teachings of the Buddha.
Obviously, these vows are unobtainable. The right effort is to do what you can to bring happiness and relieve the suffering of others.
What have you done to bring happiness to the people you love? What have you done to reduce the suffering of people you care for?
Do you know anyone who you would consider to be a bodhisattva? What are his or her qualities? How does she or he manifest them?
Do you know anyone who could benefit from wishing happiness for them? What could you do to show them you care?
Please share these bodhisattva ideals with your friends. They will appreciate it gratefully.
|The Way of the Bodhisattva
Old Price: $19.00
|Bodhisattva Mind by Pema Chodron
Old Price: $69.98
Both of these recordings have inspired me for years. They are worth having.