Author Topic: Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva & Pure Land Buddhism  (Read 1739 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva & Pure Land Buddhism
« on: October 14, 2017, 01:21:58 am »
Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva is one of the most well-loved and influential texts in the history Buddhism:

Shantideva hopes, though the cultivation of virtue, to be reborn into the Pure Land, where he can more swiftly and easily attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings:

Through virtue I will rest within the cool heart of a fragrant spreading lotus,
With splendor nurtured by the sweet words of the Conqueror.
Then from the lotus opened in the Sage’s light, in supreme form I will arise
To dwell, the blissful Buddha’s heir, in presence of Victorious Ones.

For the same attainment of Buddhahood, Shantideva hopes that others will be reborn into the Pure Land as well:

Throughout the spheres and reaches of the world,
In hellish states as many as there are,
May beings who abide there taste
The bliss and peace of Sukhāvatī.

While Shantideva teaches that we must work on cultivating good deeds to be reborn into the Pure Land, the thought of wanting to do good can itself be a gift from the Buddha:

Just as on a dark night black with clouds,
The sudden lightning glares and all is clearly shown,
Likewise rarely, through the Buddhas’ power,
Virtuous thoughts rise, brief and transient, in the world.

The book also begins by taking refuge in and offering homage to all Buddhas who’ve attained the Dharma-body:

Homage to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
To those who go in bliss, the dharmakāya they possess, and all their heirs,
To all those worthy of respect, I reverently bow.
According to the scriptures, I shall now in brief describe
The practice of the Bodhisattva discipline.

At the same time, the relationship between the Buddhas and ourselves (and between ourselves and all other beings) is non-duality, transcending self and other:

Those desiring speedily to be
A refuge for themselves and others
Should make the interchange of “I” and “other,”
And thus embrace a sacred mystery.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 02:29:29 am by Dharma Flower »


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