The Way of the Bodhisattva

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The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Outside of Tibetan Buddhism, how influential us this text by Shantideva? Do schools such as Zen or Pure Land take much stock in it?
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:14 am

As far as I know, East Asian schools don't give much importance to that text like the Tibetans do.
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:29 am

It wasn't available in Chinese until modern times, but it has become somewhat popular after having been translated. I don't get the sense it is widely read in Japan, but a lot of Chinese Buddhists take an interest in it.
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:42 pm

I'm having trouble getting into the text myself, which is why I ask. Zen doesn't seem to place much stock in it, but it does seem like it's an interesting text. I think one of the main reasons why I'm having trouble, is the concept of bodhicitta itself. I know what the idea is, but I'm not sure how much it's taught outside of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in Zen. Of course, it does seem to be taught outside Tibetan Buddhism, just not using the same term or the same terminology. But this makes it just a bit confusing to me, especially in attempting to judge it's veracity, say, especially for Zen practice.
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby kirtu » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:23 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:I think one of the main reasons why I'm having trouble, is the concept of bodhicitta itself. I know what the idea is, but I'm not sure how much it's taught outside of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in Zen.


Shantideva's "Way of the Bodhisattva" is virtually unknown in Zen Buddhism. Almost no Indian texts are referenced in Zen Buddhism. More or less Nagarjuna is the only Indian teacher outside of the short lineage from Mahakashyapa mentioned in Zen. Nagarjuna is also not generally read.

Bodicitta is Bodhi Mind in Zen although Bodhi Mind can also be used in different contexts. Bodhi Mind is the mind of awakening for all beings - "Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all"

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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby longjie » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:56 pm

kirtu wrote:Shantideva's "Way of the Bodhisattva" is virtually unknown in Zen Buddhism. Almost no Indian texts are referenced in Zen Buddhism. More or less Nagarjuna is the only Indian teacher outside of the short lineage from Mahakashyapa mentioned in Zen. Nagarjuna is also not generally read.

If you mean "Zen in Japan," then perhaps it is true that sutras from India play little role. However, if you mean Zen in other countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, etc., then Buddhist sutras from India do play a substantial role, and have from the beginning. Many texts still have a major place in these traditions, such as the Diamond Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, Surangama Sutra, etc. Historically, the Avatamsaka Sutra, Mahaparinirvana Sutra, and the Srimaladevi Simhanada Sutra were also important. Looking through the Platform Sutra, or even the compendiums of koans, there are many references to the Mahayana sutras, showing that people associated with the Zen school during its formative period had studied many of these texts.

FWIW, the lineage of Zen Patriarchs includes 28 Indian monks including some famous teachers such as Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, and Vasubandhu.
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby coldwater » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:52 am

The translation of The Bodhisambara Treatise Commentary (one of those texts...) put out by Kalavinka press mentions that this text was more popular than Shantideva's text in China. Shantideva's text made it around at some point but not given much attention. The Bodhisambara came in earlier and is essentially the "equivalent" text. I like Shantideva's because it is more concise and poetic but these texts provide a lot more detailed information/clarification which I found also very helpful. I am not near the book at the moment to put the exact intro Bhikshu Dharmamitra wrote here...maybe someone else has it.

So..excluding Zen/Japanese Buddhism...but from the translator's intro this text seemed to have equivalent status in the formation of Chinese Buddhism as Shantideva's did for Tibetan Buddhism.

Instead of seeing why a text didn't make it one country...it could be because they had something sufficient/serving a similar role? Either way f you have a hard time with Shantideva's work maybe the style of these texts will be different for you while covering the same topics?
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Re: The Way of the Bodhisattva

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:31 pm

just a follow-up to coldwater's excellent post:

http://www.amazon.com/Bodhisambhara-Tre ... 184&sr=8-4

this text is affordable & available in English for those who are interested in making a careful study of it.
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