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" THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA "


47. Defilement are not in the object,
Nor within the faculties, nor somewhere in between.
And if not elsewhere, where is their abode,
Whence they inflict their havoc on the world?
They are simple mirages, and so take heart!
Banish all your fear and strive to know their nature.
Why suffer needlessly the pains of hell?

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Chapter 4

' Carefulness '

1. The children of the Conqueror who thus
Have firmly grasped this bodhichitta,
Should never turn aside from it,
Strive never to transgress its disciplines.

2. Whatever was begun without due heed,
And all that was not properly conceived,
Although a promise and a pledge were given,
It is right to reconsider: Shall I act or not?

3. Yet what the Buddhas and their heirs
Have scrutinized in their great wisdom,
I myself have probed and scrutinized.
Why should I now procrastinate?

4. For if I bind myself with promises
But fail to carry out my words in deed,
Then every being will have been betrayed.
What destiny must lie in store for me ?

5. If in the teachings it is said
That those who in their thoughts intend
To give a small and paltry thing but then draw back
Will take rebirth as hungry spirits,

6. How can I expect a happy destiny
If from my heart I summon
Wandering beings to the highest bliss,
But then deceive and fail them?

7. As for those who, losing bodhichitta,
Lead others nonetheless to liberation,
Karmic law is inconceivable
And only understood by the Omniscient.

8. This failure, for the Bodhisattva,
Is the gravest of all downfalls.
For should it ever come to pass,
The good of every being is thrown down.

9. And anyone who, for a single instant,
Halts the merit of a Bodhisattva
Wanders endlessly in evil states,
Because the welfare of all beings is reduced.

10. Destroy a single being's joy
And you will work the ruin of yourself.
No need to speak of bringing low
The joy of beings infinite as space itself!

11. And those who circle samsara,
Mixing powerful downfalls
With the power of bodhichitta back and forth,
Will long be hindered from the Bodhisattva grounds.

12. And so, according to my promise,
I will act attentively.
From this day forth, if I now fail to strive,
I'll fall from low to even lower states.

13. Striving for the benefit of all that lives,
Unnumbered Buddhas have already lived and
passed away.
But I, by virtue of my sins, have failed
To come within the compass of their healing works.

14. And this will always be my lot
If I continue to behave like this,
And I will suffer pains and bondage,
Wounds and laceration in the lower realms.

15. The appearance of the Buddhas in the world,
True faith and the attainment of a human form,
An aptitude for good: all these are rare.
When will they come to me again?

16. Today, indeed, I'm hale and well,
I have enough to eat and I am not in danger.
But this life is fleeting, unreliable,
My body is like something briefly lent.

17. And yet the way I act is such
That I shall not regain a human life !
And losing this, my precious human form,
My evils will be many, virtues none.

18. Here is now my chance for wholesome deeds,
But if I fail to practice virtue,
What will be my lot, what shall I do,
Bewildered by the sorrows of the lower realms?

19. Never, there, performing any virtue,
Only ever piling up my sins,
And for a hundred million ages,
I'll not even hear of happy destinies.

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' Carefulness '

20. This is why Lord Buddha has declared
That like a turtle that perchance can place
Its head within a yoke adrift upon the mighty sea
This human birth is difficult to find!

21. If though the evil action of a single instant
I must spend an aeon in the hell of Unrelenting Pain,
The evils in samsara stored from time without
beginning -
No need to say that they will keep me from the
states of bliss!

22. And mere experience of such pain
Does not result in being freed from it.
For in the very suffering of such states,
More evil will occur, and then in great abundance.

23. Thus having found this moment of reprive,
If I now fail to train myself in virtue,
What greater folly could there ever be?
How more could I betray myself?

24. If having understood all this,
I'm stupidly despondent still,
Then at the moment of my death,
My sorrows will be back indeed.

25. And when my body burns so long
In fires of hell so unendurable,
My mind, there is no doubt, will also be tormented,
Burned in fires of unendurable regret.

26. For it's as if by chance that I have gained
This state so hard to find, wherein to help myself.
If now, while having such discernment,
I am once again consigned to hell.

27. I am as if benumbed by sorcery,
As if reduced to total mindlessness.
I do not know what dulls my wits.
O what is it that has me in its grip?

28. Anger, lust, these enemies of mine,
Are limbless and devoid of faculties.
They have no bravery , no cleverness;
How then have they reduced me to such slavery ?

29. They dwell within my mind
And at their pleasure injure me.
All this I suffer meekly, unresenting -
Thus my abject patience, all displaced!

30. If all the gods and demigods besides
Together came against me as my foes,
They would be powerless to throw me down
To fires of hell of Unrelenting Pain.

31. And yet the mighty fiend of my afflictions
Flings me in an instant headlong down
To where the mighty lord of mountains
Would be burned, its very ashes all consumed.

32. O my enemy, afflictive passion,
Endless and beginningless companion!
No other enemy indeed
Is able to endure so long!

33. All other foes that I appease and wait upon
Will show me favors, give me every aid,
But should I serve my dark defiled emotions,
They will only harm me, draw me down to grief.

34. If thus my ancient and unceasing foes,
The wellspring only of my growing pain,
Can lodge so safe within my heart,
How can I live so blithe and fearless in this wheel of life ?

35. And if the jail guards of the prison of samsara,
The butchers and tormentors of infernal realms,
All lurk within me in the web of craving,
What joy can ever be my destiny?

36. I will not leave the fight until, before my eyes,
These enemies of mine are all destroyed.
For if, aroused to fury by the merest slight,
Incapable of sleep until the scores are settled,

37. Proud but wretched rivals, destined all to suffer
when they die,
Will draw the battle lines and do their best to win,
And careless of the pain of cut and thrust,
Will stand their ground refusing to give way,

38. No need to say that I will not lose heart,
Regardless of the hardships of the fray.
From this day forth I'll strive to crush
These foes whose very nature is to bring me pain.

39. The wounds inflicted by the enemy in futile wars
Are flaunted by the soldier as a prize.
So in the high endeavor, for so great a thing,
Why should I be dismayed by hurt or injury ?

40. When fishers, butchers, farmers, and the like,
Intending just to gain their livelihood,
Will suffer all the miseries of heat and cold,
Why, for beings'happiness, should those like me not
bear the same?

41. When I pledged myself to free from their afflictions
Beings who abide in every region,
Stretching to the limits of the sky,
I was myself not free from such defilement.

42. To speak like that, not knowing my capacity,
Were these not, truly, but a madman's words?
More reason then for ever drawing back
Abandoning the fight against defiled affliction.

43. This shall be my all-consuming passion.
Filled with rancor I will wage war!
Defilement of this kind will halt defilement.
And for this reason it shall not be spurned.

44. Better if I perish in the fire,
Better that my head be severed from my body
Than ever I should serve or reverence
My mortal enemies, defiled emotions.

45. Common, foes, when driven from the state,
Retreat and base themselves in other lands,
And muster all their strength the better to return.
But enemy afflictions are without such stratagems.

46. Miserable defilement, scattered by the eye
of wisdom!
Where will you now run, when driven from
my mind?
Whence would you return to do me harm?
But oh, my mind is feeble. I am indolent!

47. Defilement are not in the object,
Nor within the faculties, nor somewhere in between.
And if not elsewhere, where is their abode,
Whence they inflict their havoc on the world?
They are simple mirages, and so take heart!
Banish all your fear and strive to know their nature.
Why suffer needlessly the pains of hell?

48. This is how I should reflect and labor,
That I might apply the precepts thus set forth.
What invalids in need of medicine
Ignored their doctor's words and gained their health?

End of Chapter on ' Carefulness '

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' Meditative Concentration '

184. Therefore, free from all attachment,
I will give this body for the benefit of beings,
And though it is afflicted by so many faults,
i shall adopt it as my necessary tool.

185. And so, enough of all my childish ways.
I'll follow in the footsteps of the wise,
Recalling their advice on carefulness,
I'll shun all sleep andmental dullness.

186. Like the Buddha's heirs, in their compassion,
I will bear with all that should be bourne.
For if I do not labor night and day,
When will my sorrows reach their end ?

187. Thus to banish all obscuring veils
I'll bend my mistaken path;
And constantly upon the perfect object
I shall rest my mind in even meditation.

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' Diligence '

44. Through virtue I will rest within the cool heart
of a 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.

45. Or else as wages of my many sins, my skin
completely flayed, I shall be utterly brought low
By creatures of the Lord of Death, who on my
body our a liquid bronze all melted in the
dreadful blaze.
And pierced by burning swords and knives, my flesh
Dismembered in a hundred parts will fall upon the
white-hot iron ground.

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' Diligence '

43. But if, through seeking happiness, my deeds are wrong,
No matter where I turn my steps,
The knives of misery will cut me down,
The wage and retribution of a sinful life.

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' Diligence '

42. But if my acts are good, sincerely intended,
Then no matter where I turn my steps,
The merit gained will honor me
With its resulting benefits.

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' Diligence '

41. The body's pains, anxieties of mind,
And all our fears of various kinds,
To be deprieved of what we want -
Such is the harvest of our sinful deeds.

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' Diligence '

40. Aspiration , so the Sage asserted,
Is the root of every kind of virtue.
Aspiration's root in turn
Is constant meditation on the fruits of action.

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' Vigilant Introspection '

59. If, O mind you will not be aggrieved,
When vultures with their love of flesh
Are tugging at this body all around,
Why are you so besotted with it now?

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' Vigilant Introspection '

57. When acting irreproachebly,
For our sake or the sake of others,
Let us always bear in mind the thought
That we are self-less, like an apparition.

58. This supreme freedom of a human life,
So long awaited, now at last attained!
Reflecting always thus, maintain your mind
As steady as Sumeru, king of mountains.

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' Vigilant Introspection '

56. Let us not be downcast by the warring wants
Of childish persons quarreling.
Their thougts are bred from conflict and emotion.
Let us understand and treat them lovingly.

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' Vigilant Introspection '

55. With perfect and unyielding faith,
With steadfastness, respect, and courtesy,
With conscientiosness and awe,
Work calmly for the happiness of others.

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' Vigilant Introspection '

54. Examine thus yourself from every side.
Take note of your defilments and your
pointless efforts.
For thus the heroes on the Bodhisattva path
Seize firmly on such faults with proper remedies.

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' Vigilant Introspection '

51. And when you yearn for wealth, attention, fame,
A circle of retainers serving you,
And when you look for honors, recognition,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

52. And when you are inclined to overlook
another's need
And want to get the best thing for yourself,
And when you feel the urge to speak,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

53. Impatience, indolence, faintheartedness,
And likewise arrogance and clearless speech,
Attachment to your side - when these arise,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

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' Vigilant Introspection '


48. When the urge arises in your mind
To feelings of desire or angry hate,
Do not act! Be silent, do not speak!
And like a log of wood be sure to stay.

49. And when your mind is wild or filled with mockery,
Or filled with pride and haughty arrogance,
Or when you would expose another's secret guilt,
To bring up old dissensions or act deceitfully,

50. Or when you want to fish for praise,
Or criticize and spoil another's name,
Or use harsh language, sparring for a fight,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

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' Carefulness '

30. If all the gods and demigods besides
Together came against me as my foes,
They would be powerless to throw me down
To fires of hell of Unrelenting Pain.

31. And yet the mighty fiend of my afflictions
Flings me in an instant headlong down
To where the mighty lord of mountains
Would be burned, its very ashes all consumed.

32. O my enemy, afflictive passion,
Endless and beginningless companion!
No other enemy indeed
Is able to endure so long!

33. All other foes that I appease and wait upon
Will show me favors, give me every aid,
But should I serve my dark defiled emotions,
They will only harm me, draw me down to grief.

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' Carefulness ''


28. Anger, lust, these enemies of mine,
Are limbless and devoid of faculties.
They have no bravery , no cleverness;
How then have they reduced me to such slavery ?

29. They dwell within my mind
And at their pleasure injure me.
All this I suffer meekly, unresenting -
Thus my abject patience, all displaced!

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' THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA '

Meditative Concentration

127. Wanting what is best for me -
Stupidity, inferiority, and lower realms result!
Let this be changed, applied to others -
Honors and the realms of bliss will come !

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' THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA '

Meditative Concentration

121. Because of our attachments to our bodies,
Even little things alarm us.
This body, then, this source of so much terror -
Who would not detest it as the worst of foes?

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' THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA '

5. VIGILANT INTROSPECTION

14. And thus the outer course of things
I myself cannot restrain.
But let me just restrain my mind,
And what is left to be restrained?

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THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA

5. VIGILANT INTROSPECTION

11. Where could beings, fishes, and the rest,
Be placed to keep them safe from being killed?
Deciding to refrain from every harmful act
Is said to be transcendent discipline.

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WISDOM

5. THE NEED FOR RELINQUISHING ATTACHMENT TO ONE'S BODY

[Verse 87] On investigation of it's true mode of being, how could anyone cling to this physical form, which is so like a dream , appearing but devoid of inherent existence ? It does not make sense to cling to it! Since the body is thus without inherent existence, what is the status of its particular character as man or woman? Neither category has ultimate existence.
Just as one analyzes one's own body, so too should one analyze the bodies of other living beings, as well as other phenomena in the outer universe, such as mountains and continents, arriving at the firm conviction that they are like space, without inherent existence. Once this has been understood, and when all dualistic clinging to one's body and the bodies of others has been rejected, all that manifests in the postmeditative state should be regarded as illusory - appearing but without inherent existence. And when meditating, one should rest in the natural state, spacious and free from conceptual activity. As it is said in the sutras,"Whoever, O Manjushri, sees that his body is like space is applying to his body the close mindfulness of the body."

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Those who cause me suffering
Are like Buddhas bestowing their blessings.
Since they lead me to liberating paths
Why should I get angry with them?

"Don't they obstruct your virtuous practice?"
No! There is no virtuous practice greater than patience;
Therefore I will never get angry
With those who cause me suffering.

If, because of my own shortcomings,
I do not practice patience with my enemy
It is not he, but I, who prevents me from practicing patience.

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THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA



6. PATIENCE

67. Some do evil things because of ignorance,
Some respond with anger, being ignorant.
Which of them is faultless in such acts ?
To whom shall error be ascribed ?

68. Instead, why did they act in times by
That they are now so harmed at others' hands ?
Since everything depends on karma,
Why should I be angry at such things ?

69. This I see and therefore, come what may,
I'll hold fast to the virtuous path
And foster in the hearts of all
An attitude of mutual love.

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PATIENCE

66. Beings suffer injury alike
From lifeless things as well as living beings.
So why be angry only with the latter ?
Rather let us simply bear with harm.

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