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I want to share about a Buddhist text I studied in RYI that has been extremely helpful for me to embark on the Buddhist studies. This text is The Way of The Bodhisattva.Since it is in verse, it was easier to study with a commentary. First of all, a Bodhisattva is a being who possesses bodhichitta, which is the mind that wishes to obtain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. This definition shows the main characteristic that a Buddhist (in the Mahayana tradition) must possess. In the broad view, Buddhas teach the dharma, the path towards cessation of suffering. Meanwhile, they also help and protect sentient beings from immediate sufferings such as deprivations for survival and fear from the adversaries, through their generosity. The intention behind this, which is bodhichitta, is solely to relieve the beings from suffering in this life and future lives. That is the reason why bodhisattvas are called sometimes heroic beings. Heroic is their practice and supreme is the fruition of their practice. So, this text, composed by Indian master Shantideva in eighth century, consists of ten chapters, dedicated to the generation of bodhicitta, mainly through the practice of the six perfections (generosity, ethical discipline, patience, diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom).
This text has been an effective guidance for me to understand more about the proper conduct of adopting positive actions and avoiding negative actions, about the antidotes to our afflictions and concerning how important it is to cherish others more than oneself. It should be approached not simply to obtain intellectual knowledge, but rather to put it into practice. It is a manual of conduct for Buddhist practitioners who aspire to be bodhisattvas.