Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior – Shantideva
translated from the Tibetan, as clarified by the Sanskrit
by Alexander Berzin, 2004
(1) Through my constructive act of having (reflected upon
and) composed Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior,
May all wandering beings become (adornments for the world,)
Engaged in the behavior of bodhisattvas.
(2) As many beings as there are in all directions,
Diseased with sufferings of body and mind,
May they all obtain oceans of happiness and joy
Through the forces of my positive acts.
(3) To the end of (their) recurring samsara,
May their happiness never become (old and) decrepit;
(Instead), may those who wander obtain, without interruption,
The (bodhisattvas') unsurpassed bliss.
(4) Whatever joyless realm beings, as many as there are,
Throughout the realms of the world,
May those beings with limited bodies all enjoy
The (joy and) bliss of a Pure Land of Bliss.
(5) May those tortured by cold find warmth;
And those tortured by heat be cooled
By the boundless (oceans of) water pouring down
From the billowing clouds of bodhisattvas.
(6) May the sword-leaved forest become for them
A beautiful pleasure-grove;
And may the diabolical trees of thorns
Transform into wish-granting trees.
(7) May the joyless realm regions become delights
With lakes fragrant from (lake-born) lotuses thickly (rising up),
And made enchanting with the bewitching cries
Of cranes, wild ducks, geese, swans, and the like.
(8) May those mounds of glowing charcoals become mounds of gems,
And the flaming ground a polished (mosaic) floor of crystal;
And may the mountains of the crushing joyless realms become
Celestial temples for offerings, filled with (Buddhas) Gone to Bliss.
(9) May the missiles of glowing charcoals and
From this day on, become a rain of flowers;
And may bombarding (battle) with those missiles, one against the other,
From this day on, become tossing (battle) with flowers,
for frolic sake.
(10) May those sunk in the Uncrossable Infernal River,
(with waters) like fire,
All their flesh fallen off, skeletons jasmine in color,
Gain the bodies of celestials, by the force of my constructive deeds,
And bask in the Gently Flowing Heavenly River,
in the company of celestial maidens.
(11) Wondering, "Why are the terrifying henchmen of the Lord of Death,
crows, and vultures here (suddenly) scared,
And whose is this soothing (moonlike) force
that's eclipsing the darkness everywhere
and giving rise to (our) happiness and joy?"
Gazing upward and having beheld a shining Vajrapani,
poised in the expanse of the sky,
From the strength of delight, their dark karmic forces dispelled,
may they (depart) in his company, together with him.
(12) Seeing the joyless realm fires fizzle and fade out
From a falling rain of water lilies, mixed with scented water,
And wondering, "What can this be?" suddenly relieved with joy,
May these joyless realm beings behold Kamalapani,
(Water Lily in His Hand).
(13) "Friends, shed your fears and come! (Come) here quickly!
(We're brought back to life!)
Who's come before us? It's the radiant Youth with (Five) Knots of Hair
(Manjushri), the bestower of fearlessness,
By whose power all suffering's removed,
rushing (streams) of joy flow forth,
And bodhichitta is born, as is loving affection, (the mother) nurturing
those who wander, everywhere.
(14) "(All of) you, behold him whose lotus feet are touched in honor
by the crowned (foreheads) of hundreds of celestial beings,
Whose gaze is moist with compassion, and on whose
head rains a shower of assorted flowers,
(Tossed) from rooftop chambers, delightful with the singing
of thousands of celestial maidens resounding his praise."
Seeing Manjughosha (before them) like that,
may the joyless realm beings instantly raise a cheer.
(15) Thus, beholding, through my constructive acts as the roots,
Unobscured clouds of bodhisattvas – Samantabhadra and the rest -
Showering cool fragrant rains of joy,
May those joyless realm beings rejoice.
(May the intense pains and fears
Of the joyless realm beings be stilled;
And may everyone living in the worse rebirth states
Be freed from the worse rebirth states.)
(16) May animals be parted from the fear
Of being devoured by each other;
And may the clutching ghosts
Become as happy as the people
of the Northern Island-World.
(17) May the clutching ghosts
Be satiated, bathed, and cooled forever
By streams of milk, pouring from the hand
Of Arya Avalokiteshvara.
(18) May the blind see sights,
And forever may the deaf hear sounds;
And may the pregnant give birth
Without any pain, as did (Shakyamuni's mother,) Mayadevi.
(19) May the naked find clothing,
The hungry food,
And the thirsty water
And delicious things to drink.
(20) May the poor find wealth,
Those stricken with grief find joy;
And may the discouraged become uplifted
And perfectly steadfast.
(21) May as many limited beings as are sick
Be swiftly set free from sickness;
And may the sicknesses of wandering beings,
Without exception, never recur.
(22) May those with fear become fearless,
Those in bondage be released,
Those lacking strength become strong,
And their hearts become friendly toward each other.
(23) May every direction
Be auspicious for all travelers;
And whatever aims they're going for
Be accomplished without any need for effort.
(24) May those who set out on boats and ships
Succeed in fulfilling their hearts' desires,
And safely returning to the water's shore,
Rejoice with their families.
(25) May those who've strayed onto desolate detours
Meet fellow travelers and, without fear
Of thieves, bandits, tigers, and the like,
Journey at ease, without fatigue.
(26) May those fallen asleep, become drunk, or deranged,
In danger in trackless tracts, such as jungles and the like,
As well as the young and the elderly without any guardian,
Be protected by the gods.
(27) May they be free from all states that lack respite,
Be endowed with belief in the facts, discriminating awareness,
and affectionate care,
Have a splendid sustenance, (appearance,) and demeanor,
And always be mindful of previous lives.
(28) May everyone have inexhaustible wealth
As with a Treasury of Space,
And without dispute and without any violence,
Use (it) according to their personal wills.
(29) May those limited beings who have little splendor
Come to have magnificent splendor;
And may those in difficult straits, with disfigured bodies,
Come to have splendid beautiful bodies.
(30) As many women as there are in the world,
May they attain the status of men;
And may the lowly attain high position,
And the arrogant become humble.
(31) By this positive force of mine,
May all limited beings, without an exception,
Rid themselves of all negative acts
And always engage in what is constructive.
(32) May they never be parted from a bodhichitta aim;
May they be absorbed in bodhisattva behavior;
May they be taken care of by the Buddhas,
And be rid of Mara's demonic acts.
(33) May all limited beings
Have immeasurably long lives;
May they always live happily,
Without the word "death" being even known.
(34) May all directions abound
With pleasure groves of wish-granting trees,
Replete with Buddhas and Buddhas' spiritual offspring,
Proclaiming the melodious Dharma.
(35) May the ground everywhere
Lie as smooth as the palm of the hand,
Free of pebbles and the like,
Gentle, and be made of beryl.
(36) As the circles of disciples,
May hosts of bodhisattvas be seated all around,
Gracing the surface of the earth
With their personal splendor.
(37) May all embodied beings
Unceasingly hear the melodious Dharma
From birds, from trees,
From all beams of light, and even from the sky.
(38) May they always encounter the Buddhas
And the Buddhas' spiritual offspring,
And make offerings to the Spiritual Teacher of the World,
With clouds of offerings without any end.
(39) May the gods cause timely rains to fall
And may there be bountiful harvests;
May kings rule in accord with the Dharma
And the people of the world thrive well.
(40) May medicines be potent,
And the chanting of hidden mantras be successful;
May dakini-witches, cannibal demons, and the likes
Be endowed with compassionate minds.
(41) May no limited being ever have pain,
Nor act with negative force, nor be sick,
Nor be frightened, nor be derided,
Nor ever be depressed.
(42) May the monasteries be well-established,
Spread with reading and recitation;
May the monastic community be always in harmony,
And the monastic purpose be fulfilled.
(43) May monks who wish to train (their minds)
Find isolated places,
And being rid of all distractions,
Absorb themselves in meditation,
their minds fit for the task.
(44) May nuns have material support,
And be rid of conflict and harm;
And likewise may all renunciates
Have unbroken ethical discipline.
(45) May those with poor ethical discipline,
(Devote themselves) always to cleansing themselves
of their negative karmic force;
And once they've reached the better rebirth states,
May their (vows of) tamed behavior remain unbroken.
(46) May the learned be shown respect,
And receive alms (and material support).
May their mental continuums be completely pure,
And (their fame) renowned in all directions.
(47) Without experiencing the sufferings
of the worse rebirth states,
And without conduct that's difficult to carry out,
May (wandering beings) swiftly attain Buddhahood,
With bodies superior to those of the gods.
(48) May all limited beings honor all the Buddhas,
Numerous times (and in numerous ways),
And may they always be happy (to the highest degree)
With the inconceivable bliss of the Buddhas.
(49) May the bodhisattvas' heart-wishes
(To be able) to benefit the world be fulfilled,
And may whatever those guardians have intended
Indeed come to pass, for limited beings.
(50) May the self-realized pratyekabuddhas be happy,
And likewise the shravaka listeners,
(Always being honored with respect
By gods, anti-gods, and by men.)
(51) And may I too, through the kindness of Manjughosha,
Always gain mindfulness of previous lives
And ordination as a renunciate,
Till attaining the (realized bodhisattva first) stage of mind,
the Joyous One.
(52) May I live (filled with strength)
On a simple (diet) of food, even (just) grain;
And may I obtain isolated places to live in,
Filled with perfection, in all of my lives.
(53) Whenever I might wish to see
Or might wish to ask about any little thing,
May I behold the Guardian, Manjunatha himself,
Without any impediment.
(54) Just as Manjushri works
To fulfill the aims of all limited beings
To the far reaches of space in the ten directions,
May my behavior become just like that.
(55) For as long as space remains,
And for as long as wandering beings remain,
May I too remain for that long,
Dispelling the sufferings of wandering beings.
(56) Whatever sufferings wandering beings might have,
May all of them ripen on me,
And through the bodhisattva assembly,
May wandering beings enjoy happiness.
(57) May the teachings, the sole medicine
for the sufferings of wandering beings
And the source of all happiness,
Continue to endure for a very long time,
With material support and shows of respect.
(58) I prostrate to Manjughosha, through whose kindness
My thought has become constructive;
I prostrate as well to my spiritual teacher and friend,
Through whose kindness, I've been able to have it expand.
This concludes Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior, composed by the great teacher Shantideva (first half of the eighth century C. E.). It was translated (into Tibetan), edited, and settled upon from a Kashmiri manuscript by the learned Indian master Sarvajna-deva and the editor-translator monk Peltseg (early ninth century C. E.). It was then corrected in accordance with a Magadha edition and commentary, retranslated and settled upon by the learned Indian master Dharma-shribhadra and the editor-translator monks Rinchen-zangpo (958 – 1051) and Shakya-lodro. Then, at a later time, it was further corrected, retranslated, and finalized by the learned Indian master Sumati-kirti and the editor-translator monk Loden-sherab (1059 – 1109).
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