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Home > eBooks > Unpublished Manuscripts > Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Shantideva > 3. Gaining Hold of a Bodhicitta Aim

Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Shantideva

(sPyod-'jug, Bodhisattvacharyavatara)
by Shantideva
translated from the Tibetan, as clarified by the Sanskrit
by Alexander Berzin, 2004

Translation

3. Gaining Hold of a Bodhicitta Aim

(1) With pleasure, I rejoice in the positive actions
That relieve the sufferings of the worse rebirth states
For all limited beings and that place these, who suffer,
In better rebirth states.

(2) I rejoice in that build up of positive (force)
That became the causes for the (arhats’) purified state;
I rejoice in the definite freedom of (these) embodied beings
From the miseries of uncontrollable rebirth.

(3) I rejoice in the purified state of the Guardian (Buddhas)
And also in the levels of mind of their spiritual offspring;
And with pleasure, I rejoice in the ocean of positive force
From their having developed bodhichitta aims
To bring every limited being joy
And in their deeds that have aided limited beings.

(4) With palms pressed together, I beseech
The Buddhas of all directions:
Please shine Dharma’s lamp for limited beings
Suffering and groping in darkness.

(5) With palms pressed together, I beseech
The Triumphant who would pass beyond sorrow:
I beg you, remain for countless eons
So as not to leave in their blindness these wandering beings.

(6) By whatever positive force I’ve built up
Through all of these that I’ve done like that,
May I remove every suffering
Of all limited beings.

(7) So long as wandering beings fall sick,
May I serve as the medicine,
The doctors and their nurse,
Until they’ve been cured of their illness.

(8) May I eliminate the pain of hunger and thirst
With a shower of food and drink;
And, in the times of the middle eons of famine,
May I myself change into food and drink.

(9) For limited beings, destitute and poor,
May I become a treasure that never runs out
And remain in their presence
As a variety of sorts of useful things.

(10) To fulfil the aims of all limited beings,
I give, without sense of a loss,
My body and likewise my pleasures,
And all my positive forces of the three times.

(11) Giving everything away (brings) release with nirvana,
And my mind is (aimed) for realising nirvana.
As giving away all comes together (with death),
It’s best to give (now) to limited beings.

(12) Having given this body to all those with limited bodies
To do with as they like,
It’s up to them to do what they want:
Let them kill it, revile it, always beat it, or whatever.

(13) Let them toy with my body,
Make it into a source of ridicule or a joke.
Having given away this body of mine,
For what should I hold it dear?

(14) Let them do whatever to (my) body,
So long as it doesn’t cause them harm;
But may anything focused on me
Never turn out to be meaningless.

(15) If anyone, having focused on me,
Develops an angry or negative mind,
May that always turn into a cause
For fulfilling all of his or her aims.

(16) And may everyone who speaks badly of me,
Or does something else that’s of harm,
Or likewise hurls ridicule at me,
Become someone with the fortune for a purified state.

(17) May I be a guardian for those with no guardian,
A pathfinder for those who are on the road,
And a boat, a ship, and a bridge
For those who would cross.

(18) May I be an island for those seeking an island,
A lamp for those desiring a lamp,
A bed for everyone wishing a bed,
And a servant for every embodied being
   who would want a servant.

(19) May I be a wish-granting gem, a vase of excellence,
Mantras of pure awareness, magnificent medicine,
Wish-granting trees, and cows of plenty
For embodied beings.

(20) And eternally, like earth and so on –
The great elements – and space,
May I serve, in a plenitude of forms, as the basis for life
For fathomless numbers of limited beings.

(21) And till they pass to nirvana,
May I serve, as well, in all ways,
As the causes for life in the realms
Of limited beings till the ends of space.

(22) Just as the Blissfully Gone (Buddhas) of the past
Have generated a bodhichitta aim,
Then lived by the stages
Of bodhisattva training;

(23) So, too, do I generate a bodhichitta aim
To help those who wander,
And shall train in the stages
Of bodhisattva training.

(24) Purely gaining hold, like this,
Of bodhichitta with (this) sound state of mind,
Afterwards, as well, to enhance it further,
Celebrate (that) mind in this way:

(25) Now my life’s become fruitful,
For having wonderfully attained a human existence,
Today I’ve awakened my Buddha-nature
And now have become a Buddha’s spiritual child.

(26) Now, in whatever way possible,
I shall undertake actions that accord with its traits,
And never defile this impeccable nature
That lacks any fault.

(27) Just like a blind man
Finding a gem in a pile of trash,
Likewise, it’s come about by some force
That within me has developed a bodhichitta aim.

(28) It’s the supreme nectar, indeed, for defeating
The Lord of Death of wandering beings;
It’s the inexhaustible treasure as well
For dispelling the poverty of those who roam.

(29) It is the best medicine, too, that brings to full rest
The diseases of those who are passing through;
It’s the tree that shelters all wandering beings,
Roaming and exhausted on the roads of their compulsive lives.

(30) It’s the public bridge for freeing
All wandering beings from the worse rebirth states;
It’s the risen mind-moon for dispelling the fever
Of the disturbing emotions of those who roam.

(31) It’s the magnificent sun for clearing away
The mist of not knowing of wandering beings;
It’s the fresh froth of butter that rises to the top
From the churning of the milk of the sacred Dharma.

(32) For wandering beings roaming, as guests,
on the roads of compulsive existence,
Wishing to enjoy a share of bliss,
This is the best for setting (them) with bliss,
Satisfying the entirety of beings (who’ll come) as guests.

(33) Today, before the eyes of all sources of direction,
I’ve summoned as guests (all) wandering beings
For bliss up to the state of a Blissfully Gone (Buddha).
Gods, anti-gods, and so on, take joy!