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Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Shantideva

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

Translation

6. Showing Patience

(1) Whatever generosity,
Offerings to the Blissfully Gone (Buddhas) and the like,
And positive deeds I've amassed over thousands of eons -
One (moment of) hatred will devastate them all.

(2) As no negative force resembles anger,
And no trial resembles patience,
I shall therefore meditate on patience,
With effort and in various ways.

(3) When the thorn of anger lodges in my heart,
My mind doesn't feel any peace,
Doesn't gain any joy or pleasure,
Doesn't fall asleep, and becomes unstable.

(4) Even those on whom he lavishes wealth and honor
And those who've become dependent on him
Get provoked to the point of murdering
A lord who's possessed with anger.

(5) Friends and relations get disgusted with him,
And though he might gather (others) with gifts,
   he isn't regarded with trust and respect.
In brief, there's no way at all in which
A raging person is in a happy situation.

(6) Hence the enemy, rage,
Creates sufferings such as those and the like,
While whoever clamps down and destroys his rage
Will be happy in this (life) and others.

(7) Finding its fuel in the foul state of mind
That arises from its bringing about things I don't want
And its preventing what I wish,
Anger, once enflamed, destroys me.

(8) Therefore, I shall totally eradicate
The fuel of that enemy,
For this enemy hasn't a mission
Other than injuring me.

(9) No matter what happens,
I shall never let it disturb my good mood.
For if I've fallen into a foul mood, what I want
   will not come about,
And my constructive behavior will fall apart.

(10) If it can be remedied,
Why get into a foul mood over something?
And if it can't be remedied,
What help is it to get into a foul mood over it?

(11) For myself and my friends,
Suffering, contempt, verbal abuse,
And disgrace aren't things that I'd wish for;
But for my enemies, it's the reverse.

(12) The causes for happiness rarely occur,
While the causes for sufferings are overly abundant.
But, without any suffering,
   there wouldn't be the determination to be free;
Therefore, mind, you must think to be firm.

(13) If devotees of Durga and people of Karnata
Pointlessly endure the torments of burning
And cutting themselves, and the like,
Then why am I such a coward for the sake of liberation?

(14) There isn't anything that doesn't become easier
Once you've become accustomed to it;
And so, by growing accustomed to minor pains,
Greater pains will definitely become bearable.

(15) Don't you see (this) with problems, (borne)
   without a (great) purpose,
From snakes and mosquitoes,
Discomforts such as hunger and thirst,
As well as rashes and the like?

(16) (So,) I shall not be soft
Regarding such things as heat and cold, rain and wind,
Also sickness, captivity, beatings, and the like;
For if I've acted like that, the injury is worse.

(17) There are some who, seeing their own blood,
Develop exceptional courage and resolve;
And there are some who, seeing the blood of others,
Collapse and faint.

(18) That comes from their states of mind being
Either of a resolute or a cowardly type.
Therefore, I must be dismissive of pains
And must not be thrown off by suffering.

(19) Even when he's in agony, someone skilled
Will never let the composure of his mind be stirred;
And in a war that's waged against disturbing emotions,
Bruises abound, when fighting the battle.

(20) Those who, having been dismissive of suffering,
Destroy the enemies, anger and so on,
They are the heroes who have gained the victory;
The rest (merely) slay corpses.

(21) Furthermore, there are advantages to suffering:
With agony, arrogance disappears;
Compassion grows for those in recurring samsara;
Negative conduct is shunned; and joy is taken in being constructive.

(22) As I don't get enraged
With great sources of suffering, for instance with bile,
Then why get enraged with those having limited minds?
All of them, as well, are provoked by conditions.

(23) For example, without being wished for,
Their sicknesses arise;
And likewise, without being wished for,
(Their) disturbing emotions also strongly arise.

(24) Without thinking, "I shall get enraged,"
People just become enraged;
And without thinking, "I shall arise,"
Likewise, rage arises.

(25) All mistakes that there are
And the various sorts of negative behavior -
All arise from the force of conditions:
There aren't any under their own power.

(26) A collection of conditions
Doesn't have the intention, "I shall create";
And what it's created didn't have the intention,
"I'm to be created."

(27) The darling (the Samkhyas) call "primal matter"
And what they imagine to be "the self" -
They don't think with some purpose, "I shall come into being
   (to cause some harm),"
And then come about.

(28) (In fact,) as they haven't arisen, they do not exist,
So what would have then had the wish to arise?
And, since (a static sentient self) would be something that was
   permanently occupied with an object,
It would never come to cease (being so).

(29) But if the self were static (and nonsentient, like Nyaya asserts),
It would obviously be without actions, like the sky;
So even if it met with other conditions,
What activity could something unchangeable have?

(30) If even at the time of the action, it (remains) as before,
What could have been done by it from the action?
And if there were something called "This is its action,"
Which is the one that made them connected?

(31) Thus, everything's under the power of others,
And the powers they're under aren't under their (own) power.
Having understood this, I shall not become angry
With any phenomenon – they're like magic emanations.

(32) And if I said, then, "Warding off (anger) would indeed be unfitting,
For who (or what) can ward off what?"
I'd assert that it's not unfitting,
Since, by depending on that, the continuity of suffering
   can be cut.

(33) Thus, when seeing an enemy or even a friend
Acting improperly, I'll remain relaxed,
Having reflected that it's arising
From some such condition as this.

(34) If all embodied beings had things
Turn out as they liked,
Then, since no one wishes ever to suffer,
It would never come about that anyone suffered.

(35) People hurt even themselves
With such things as thorns, because of not caring,
And, in a rage, because of desiring to obtain women

   and the like,

With such acts as refusing food.

 

(36) There are some who destroy themselves
By hanging themselves, jumping off cliffs,
Eating poison and unhealthy foods,
And through negative acts (bringing worse rebirth states).

(37) When people kill even their beloved selves
From coming under the power of disturbing emotions,
How can it be that they wouldn't cause injury
To the bodies of others?

(38) When I can't even develop compassion, once in a while,
For those like that, who, with disturbing emotions arisen,
Would proceed to such things as killing themselves,
At least I won't get enraged (with them).

(39) (Even) if acting violently toward others
Were the functional nature of infantile people,
Still, it'd be as unfitting to get enraged with them
As it would be for begrudging fire for its functional nature
   of burning.

(40) And even if this fault were fleeting instead,
And limited beings were lovely by nature,
Well, still it would be as unfitting to get enraged
As it would be for begrudging the sky for the (pungent) smoke

   that was rising (in it).

(41) Having set aside the actual (cause of my pain),
   a staff or the like,
If I become enraged with the person who wielded it,
Well he, in fact, was incited by anger, so he's secondary (too).
It would be more fitting to get enraged with his anger.

(42) Previously, I must have inflicted
Such pain on limited beings,
Therefore, it's fitting that harm comes to me,
Who've been a cause of violence toward limited ones.

(43) Both his weapon and my body
Are the causes of my suffering.
Since he drew out a weapon and I a body,
Toward which should I get enraged?

(44) Blinded by craving, I've grabbed hold of a painful boil
That's shaped like a human and can't bear to be touched,
And so when it's bruised,
Toward what should I get enraged?

(45) Childish me, I don't wish to suffer
And yet I'm obsessed with the cause of my suffering.
Since it's my own fault that I get hurt,
Why have a grudge toward anyone (else)?

(46) It's like, for example, the guards of the joyless realms
And the forest of razor-sharp leaves:
This (suffering too) is produced by my impulsive karmic behavior;
So toward what should I be enraged?

(47) Incited by my own karmic behavior,
Those who hurt me come my way,
And if, by their (actions), these limited beings should fall
   to the joyless realms,
Surely, wasn't it I who have ruined them?

(48) Based on them, my negative karmic force
Is greatly cleansed, because of my patience;
But, based on me, they fall
To the joyless realms, with long-lasting pain.

(49) Since I'm, in fact, causing harm to them,
And they're the ones who are benefiting me,
Why, unreasonable mind, do you make it the reverse
And get into a rage?

(50) If I have the advantage of wishing (to be patient),
I won't be going to a joyless realm;
But although I'm safeguarding myself (in this way),
What happens to them in this matter?

(51) And if I were to harm them back instead,
They wouldn't be safeguarded either,
While my (other bodhisattva) behavior would also decline,
And, consequently, those having trials would be lost.

(52) Because of its being immaterial,
No one can destroy my mind, by any means;
But because of its obsessive involvement with my body,
It's hurt by suffering (in connection) to the body.

(53) (Yet) Insults, cruel language,
And defaming words
Don't hurt my body,
So, why, O mind, do you become so enraged?

(54) Others' dislike for me -
That won't devour me,
Either in this life or in any other lifetime;
So why do I find it undesirable?

(55) If I don't wish for it
Because it would hinder my material gain;
Well, although my material gain in this life will have to be discarded,
My negative karmic forces will remain secured.

(56) Death today would in fact be better for me
Than long life through an improper livelihood;
For even having lived a long time, there will still
Be the suffering of death for someone like me.

(57) Someone who wakes up after having experienced
A hundred years of happiness in a dream
And another who wakes up after having experienced
Just a moment of happiness:

(58) Once they've awakened, that happiness
Doesn't return, after all, to either of the two.
(Similarly,) it comes down to exactly the same
For someone who's lived for long and someone who's lived
   for a short while.

(59) Though I may have obtained great material gain
And even have enjoyed many pleasures for long,
I shall still go forth empty-handed and naked,
Like having been robbed by a thief.

(60) Suppose I said, "While living off my material gain,
I'd consume my negative karmic force and do positive things."
Well if, for the sake of material gain, I became enraged,
Won't my positive karmic force be consumed
   and negative karmic force come about?

(61) If the very purpose for which I am living
Should fall apart,
What use is there with a life
Committing only negative deeds?

(62) Well, suppose I said, "Rage for someone who maligns (me)
Is because it makes limited beings lose (their trust)."
Well then, why don't you get similarly enraged
With someone defaming someone else?

(63) If you can tolerate distrust (when it's for someone else),
Because that lack of trust hinges on another;

Then why not be patient with someone who maligns (me),
Since that hinges on disturbing emotions arising?

(64) Even toward those who revile and destroy
Images, stupas, and the sacred Dharma,
My anger's improper,
Since there can be no harm to Buddhas and the rest.

(65) And toward those who injure my spiritual teachers,
My relatives and so on, and my friends as well,
My rage will be averted, by having seen that
This arises from conditions, as in the manner before.

(66) Since injury is inflicted on embodied beings
By both those with a mind and things having no mind,
Why single out and begrudge (only) those with a mind?
Therefore, be patient with harm!

(67) Some commit misdeeds because of naivety,
And, because of naivety, some get enraged:
Which of them can we say is without fault,
And which of them would be at fault?

(68) Why did you previously commit those impulsive actions,
Because of which others now cause me harm?
Since everything hinges on karmic behavior,
Why do I bear a grudge against this one?

(69) Seeing it's like that, I'll put effort
Into positive things in whatever way
Whereby everyone will become
Loving-minded toward each other.

(70) For example, when fire in a burning house
Is advancing to another home,
It's fitting to remove and throw out
Whatever it's in that would cause it to spread,
   such as straw and the like.

(71) Likewise, when the fire of anger is spreading,
Due to my mind being attached to something,
I shall throw it out at that instant,
For fear of my positive force being burned.

(72) Why would a man about to be put to death
Be unfortunate if, by having his hand chopped off, he were spared?
So why would I be unfortunate if, through human sufferings,
I were spared joyless realms?

(73) If I'm unable to bear
Even this minor suffering of the present,
Then why don't I ward off the rage
That would be the cause of hellish pain?

(74) On account of my impassioned (rage), I've experienced
   burning and the like
For thousands of times in the joyless realms;
But (through it), I haven't brought benefit to myself
Or benefit for others.

(75) But, since great benefits will be brought about
In this, which is not even a fraction of that damage,
Only delight is appropriate here
In the suffering dispelling (all) damage to wandering beings.

(76) If others obtain the pleasure of joy
From praising someone (I dislike) who possesses good qualities,
Why, O mind, don't you make yourself joyous like this,
By praising him too?

(77) That pleasure of joy of yours would be
An arising of pleasure that was not disgraceful,
Something permitted by the Ones with Good Qualities,
And superlative, as well, for gathering others.

(78) If you wouldn't like this pleasure of his,
"Such pleasure as that would be only his!"
Then, from stopping (as well) giving wages and the like,
(Your) ruin will come, both seen and unseen.

(79) When your own good qualities are being extolled,
You wish others, as well, to take pleasure;
But when others' good qualities are being extolled,
You don't wish yourself to take pleasure too.

(80) Having developed a bodhichitta aim
Through wishing for happiness for all limited beings,
Then why do you become angry instead
At the happiness that limited beings have found by themselves?

(81) (Having given your word) that you wish limited beings
To have Buddhahood, honored throughout the three realms,
Then why, when seeing them merely shown miserable respect,
Do you burn up inside at it?

(82) If there were someone needing care
Who's to be cared for by you and provided for by you,
And that family member were to get something to live on,
Wouldn't you be delighted, or would you be enraged in return?

(83) How could someone who doesn't want (even) that
   for wandering beings
Be anyone who wishes for them to be Buddhas?
Where is there bodhichitta in someone
Who becomes enraged at others' gain?

(84) If, whether he receives it from him
Or it remains in the benefactor's house,
It will in no way be yours,
So what does it matter whether or not it's given (to him)?

(85) Throw away your positive force or (others') faith (in you),
And even your own good qualities? For what?
Don't hold on to what could bring you gain?
Tell me, with whom don't you get enraged?

(86) Not only do you not feel sorry
About the negative things you've done yourself,
You wish to compete against others
Who've enacted positive deeds?

(87) Even if your enemy lacks any joy,
What's there in that for you to take delight?
The mere wish in your mind
Won't become the cause for (any) harm to him.

(88) And even if his suffering came about through your wish,
Still, what's there in that for you to take delight?
If you said that you'd become gratified,
Is there anything else more degenerate than that?

(89) This hook cast by the fishermen, the disturbing emotions,
Is horrendously sharp. Procuring (you) from them, O mind,
The joyless realm guards will cook me, for sure,
In the cauldrons of hell.

(90) Praise and fame, (these) shows of respect,
Won't bring positive force, won't bring a long life,
Won't bring bodily strength, nor freedom from sickness;
They won't bring physical pleasure either.

(91) If I were aware of what's in my self-interest,
What in my self-interest would there be in them?
If just mental happiness were what I wanted,
I should devote myself to gambling and so on, and to alcohol too.

(92) For the sake of fame, (people) would give away wealth
Or would get themselves killed;
But what use is there with words (of fame)?
Once they've died, to whom will they bring pleasure?

(93) At the collapse of his sand castle,
A child wails in despair;
Similarly, at the loss of praise and fame,
My mind shows the face of a child.

(94) Because an impromptu word is something lacking a mind,
It's impossible that it has the intention to praise me.
But, proclaiming, "The other one (offering me praise)
   is delighted with me,"
If I consider that a cause (also) to be delighted;

(95) Well, whether it's toward someone else or toward me,
What use to me is another person's joy?
That pleasure of joy is his alone;
I won't get (even) a share of it.

(96) If I take pleasure in his pleasure (with me),
I must do like that in all cases, in fact.
How is it that I don't take pleasure
When he has the pleasure of joy with another?

(97) So joy is arising in me
(Simply due to), "Me, I'm being praised!"
But there, in fact, because (thinking) like that is just nonsense,
It comes down to nothing but the behavior of a child.

(98) Being praised and such things cause me distraction;
They cause my disgust (with samsara) to disintegrate as well.
I become jealous of those with good qualities,
And that makes me demolish success.

(99) Therefore, aren't those who are hovering close by
For striking down praise and the like for me
Actually involved in protecting me from falling
Into a worse rebirth state?

(100) For me, whose primary interest is in gaining freedom,
Bondage to material gain and shows of respect are things I mustn't have.
So how can I get enraged with those who are causing me
To be freed from my having been bound?

(101) For me, who would enter into (a house) of suffering,
How can I get enraged with those who've come,
As if from Buddha's inspiration,
In the nature of a door panel not letting me pass in.

(102) "But this one is impeding my positive practices!"
Still, it's unfitting to be enraged with him.
There isn't any trial that's equal to patience,
So shouldn't I be staying just close to that?

(103) If, in fact, it's through my own fault
That I'm not acting patiently here,
Then while a cause for positive practice is biding nearby,
It's actually me who's causing the impediment here.

(104) If there were something that wouldn't come about
   if something were absent,
But if something were present, would also be present,
That very thing would be the cause of that,
So how can it be said that it's an impediment to it?

(105) There's no impediment to giving caused by a mendicant (monk)
Gone out (for alms) at the proper time;
And it can't be said that the coming of someone conferring vows
Is an impediment for becoming a monastic.

(106) Alms-seekers are plentiful in this life,
But scarce are those who cause (me) harm,
Because no one will cause me harm
If I haven't harmed them like this (in past lives).

(107) Therefore, I shall be delighted with an enemy
Who's popped up like a treasure in my house,
Without having had to be acquired with fatigue,
Since he becomes my aide for bodhisattva behavior.

(108) It's because of its having been actualized
   through this one and me (having met)

That a fruit of patience (comes about);
(So,) let me award it first to him,
For he was, like this, the (earlier) cause of my patience.

(109) Suppose I said, "But he had no intention for (me)
   to actualize patience,
So this enemy isn't someone to be honored."
Well, how is it that the hallowed Dharma is honored
As suited to be a cause for actualizing (it)?

(110) Suppose I said, "But this enemy's intention was to cause me harm,
So he can't be honored."
Well, how could patience be actualized by me
If, like a doctor, he were intent on my benefit?

(111) Therefore, since patience arises dependently
From his vicious intention,
This one himself is fit to be honored like the hallowed Dharma,
Because he's a cause of my patience.

(112) Thus, the Sage has spoken of the field of limited beings
As well as the field of the Triumphant,
(For,) having made them happy, many have gone, thereby,
To the far-shore of excellence.

(113) When the acquisition of a Buddha's Dharma (attainments)
Is equally due to (both) limited beings and the Triumphant,
What kind of order is it that the respect shown to limited beings
Is not like that to the Triumphant?

(114) The preeminence of an intention is not from itself,
But due to its result, and by that, the preeminence
Of that which is had by limited beings is, in fact, the same;
And because of that, they are equal.

(115) Whatever is honored in having a loving intention (toward them),
That, in fact, is the greatness (coming) from limited beings;
And whatever positive force there is in confident belief in the Buddhas,
That, in fact, is the greatness from the Buddhas.

(116) It's the share they have
   in actualizing a Buddha's Dharma (attainments),
And because of that, they're asserted as their equals;
But, of course, no one can be the equal of the Buddhas
In endless oceans of excellent qualities.

(117) If even a speck of the excellent qualities
Of the unique syntheses of the best excellent qualities
Were to be seen somewhere, an offering of the three planes of existence
Would be inadequate for honoring it.

(118) Since a share giving rise to a Buddha's
Foremost Dharma (attainments) exists in limited beings,
It's fitting that limited beings be honored,
In accordance with this very share.

(119) Further, besides making limited beings happy,
What other repayment is there
For those who befriend them without pretension
And help them beyond any measure?

(120) Since it would repay them to benefit those for whose sake
They sacrifice their bodies and plunge into joyless realms
   of unrelenting pain,
Then even if these (limited beings) should cause great harm,
Everything wholesome is to be done (for them).

(121) For the sake of even, in this case, my master himself,
They disregard even their own bodies.
So how can I, bewildered about this, act with pride
And not act in the nature of a servant?

(122) The Sages delight in their happiness
And enter into distress at their injury;
And so, in (my) bringing them joy,
   the Sages will all have become delighted,
And in bringing them harm, the Sages will have been hurt.

(123) Just as there could be no mental pleasure from desirable objects
For someone whose body were completely on fire,
Likewise, there's no way to delight the Greatly Compassionate Ones
When limited beings have, in fact, been harmed.

(124) Therefore, whatever displeasure I've brought
   to all the Greatly Compassionate Ones,
By my having caused harm to limited beings,
I openly admit, today, that negative deed,
And request the Sages, please bear with that displeasure you have.

(125) From now on, for the sake of delighting
   the Thusly Gone (Buddhas),
I shall act, with definite restraint, as a servant to the world.
Let mobs of people kick me in the head with their feet or
   even beat me to death, I shall not venture (anything back).
Let the Guardians of the World take delight!

(126) There's no doubt that Those with a Compassion Self-Nature
Have taken all wandering beings (to be the same) as themselves.
The very nature they've seen as the essential nature of limited beings
Is those Guardians' self-nature,
   so why don't I show (them the same) respect?

(127) Just this, is what brings pleasure to the Thusly Gone (Buddhas);
Just this, is what perfectly accomplishes my own aims as well;
Just this, is what dispels the world's suffering too;
Therefore, let it be just this, that I always shall do.

(128) For example, even when some member
   of the royal court
Is harming the public,
Farsighted people do not hurt him back
Even if they're able,

(129) For that one, (acting) like this, is not alone:
On the contrary, the king's power and might are his military forces.
Likewise, some lowly person creating harm
Is not to be belittled,

(130) For his armed forces are the guards of the joyless realms
And all the Compassionate Ones.
So, like a commoner toward a violent king,
I shall make all limited beings be pleased.

(131) Should even such a king be enraged (with me),
Could he inflict the pain of a joyless realm,
Which is what I'd be brought to experience
By having made limited beings displeased?

(132) Should even such a king be pleased (with me),
It's impossible that he could bestow Buddhahood,
Which is what I'd be brought to attain
By having made limited beings be pleased.

(133) (Leave aside) seeing that the future attainment of Buddhahood
Arises from making limited beings be pleased,
Don't you see that, at least in this life, great prosperity,
Fame, and happiness come?

(134) (Moreover), with beauty and so on,
   freedom from sickness, and fame,
Someone with patience, while still in samsara,
Gains extremely long life and the abundant pleasures
Of a universal chakra king.