KonchokZoepa wrote:actually the Shantidevas work was already very known in tibet in 3-4 centuries before Patrul Rinpoche but 3-4 centuries before Patrul Rinpoche the Shantidevas work became almost extinct in tibet, it was very rare to study it and it was found only in few monasteries. And what Patrul Rinpoche accomplished was to make the Shantidevas work re flourish in tibet, he brought it back to life.
I wasn't trying to say that the text wasn't known at all. The truth is far from that. In fact, the text was authored around the same time Buddhism was first entering Tibet in any real way via Guru Rinpoche, Shantarakshita, their disciples and the first great translators.
Padmakara Translation Group wrote:According to tradition, The Way of the Bodhisattva was first translated into Tibetan in the eighth century by the Indian master Sarvajñadeva and the Tibetan translator Kawa Peltsek, using a manuscript from Kashmir. It was later reworked during the eleventh century by the pandita Dharmashribhadra and the translator Rinchen Zangpo, on the basis of a manuscript and commentary from Magadha. A final revision was made by the pandita Sumatakirti and the translator Ngok Loden Sherab.
Based on that, the Bodhicharyavatara may well have been one of the first shastras translated into the Tibetan canon.
What I meant to say was that Patrul Rinpoche made knowledge of it widespread (i.e. giving teachings to people from all different walks of life, not just monastics). The Bodhicharyavatara was most assuredly well-known to monastics who had entered shedra (monastic college). It is, to this day, one of the first texts studied in shedras of all schools of Vajrayana. But beyond that sphere, it was likely not known to the "average" Tibetan layperson before Patrul Rinpoche's work in bringing it to the masses.
As you said, in Patrul Rinpoche's time there was a danger of certain texts gathering dust or their memories and oral traditions being lost altogether.
[...] at a time when many essential teachings were falling into disuse and unfamiliarity, Patrul Rinpoche taught the Bodhicharyavatara so often that he inspired most of the commentaries on it in the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Thanks to him, Shantideva's work became one of the texts most studied and practiced in the whole of eastern Tibet.
~ "The Text and the Translation," The Way of the Bodhisattva
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།