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This book is the first translation of the oldest known copy of the Bodhisattvacaryavatara. The Dunhuang Bodhisattvacaryavatara manuscripts are over 1000 years old. Three manuscripts were examined, each written in a different hand, minor spelling corrections were made, and then the manuscripts were combined into one complete text. The combined manuscript has nine chapters and approximately 700 stanzas or shlokas. The Tibetan text is included with this translation.
The Bodhisattvacaryavatara is the most respected and well know text that teaches how to train the mind of a bodhisattva. This text focuses on bodhicitta, mindfulness, attentiveness and the six paramitas. It is an important and foundational text for anyone interested in training their mind following the Buddhist Mahayana tradition. Chapters one through seven focus on relative bodhicitta while chapter eight focuses on absolute bodhicitta. This book teaches how to live in this world in an ethical and moral way that brings happiness and contentment to both self and others.
The author, Shantideva, was born in the south of India sometime around the early part of the 8th century and became one of the great scholar practitioners of Nalanda University. This first version of the text was translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan in the late 8th century by the great Nyingmapa translator, Kawa Peltsek, together with the Indian pandit, Sarvajnadeva.