Summary of The Way of the Bodhisattva, by Shantideva (Bodhicaryavatara)
Summary of The Way of the Bodhisattva, by Shantideva (Bodhicaryavatara)
Teacher: His Holiness Ratna Vajra Rinpoche
Year: 2013
Lessons: 8
Language: English


The Bodhicaryavatara by Shantideva is one of the most celebrated works of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It teaches in detail the Bodhisattva's practice of bodhicitta, the heart of awakening, cultivated both in daily life and in meditation. 

In 10 chapters, Shantideva lays out the complete path, starting with a beautiful praise of bodhicitta, followed by its gradual cultivation, and culminating in a detailed explanation of the insight into ultimate reality. 

Chapter 1: The benefits of bodhicitta 
Chapter 2: Purifying negative deeds
Chapter 3: Generating bodhicitta
Chapter 4: Using conscientiousness
Chapter 5: Guarding awareness
Chapter 6: The practice of patience
Chapter 7: The practice of joyous effort
Chapter 8: The practice of meditative concentration
Chapter 9: The perfection of wisdom
Chapter 10: Dedication

The text has been translated several times into English and other European languages. We recommend the following English publications:

  • Shantideva; Crosby, Kate and Skilton, Andrew (trans.) (1998): The Bodhicaryāvatāra: A Guide to the Buddhist Path to Awakening, Oxford (from the Sanskrit).
  • Shantideva; Padmakara Translation Group (2006): The Way of the Bodhisattva (revised ed.), Shambhala (from the Tibetan).
  • Shantideva; Batchelor, Stephen (trans.) (1992), A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (6th revised ed.), Snow Lion Publications (from the Tibetan).

In addition to these publications, two complete translations are available online for free:

  • The first by Dr. Alexander Berzin, here
  • The second includes the original Sanskrit, the Chinese, the Tibetan and an old English translation by Lionel Barnett, here

Course material for download:

  • Outline of the teachings