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The Bodhicaryavatara, The: A Guide to the Buddhist Path to Awakening Hardcover – 1 Aug 2002
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New Translation of a Key Buddhist Text --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Kate Crosby is Tutor in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Pali at Oxford University. Andrew Skilton a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Paul Williams is Codirector of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The paperback (1995) edition contains 191 numbered pages and consists of a General Introduction, a Translators' Introduction and ten distinct chapters:
General Introduction: Santideva and his world.
1) Praise of the Awakening Mind.
2) Confession of Faults.
3) Adopting the Awakening Mind.
4) Vigilance regarding the Awakening Mind.
5) The Guarding Awareness.
6) The Perfection of Forbearance.
7) The Perfection of Vigour.
8) The Perfection of Meditative Absorption.
9) The Perfection of Understanding.
The Bodhicaryavatara Sutra can be translated from the Sanskrit into English as 'A Guide to Bodhisattva Behaviour', other renderings include 'Engaging in Bodhisattva Behaviour', and 'A Guide to the Buddhist Path to Awakening' - the latter being the preferred translation of the authors. Santideva flourished between 685 and 763 CE, and is believed to have been a Buddhist monk resident at Nalanda University, the ruins of which can still be observed at Bihar, modern India. This sutra is the recording of an extended verbal teaching that Santideva gave at the university, as a means of demonstrating his wisdom and understanding to the Buddhist professors of his day. A number of monks had gathered together in an attempt to have Santideva expelled on the grounds that he did not appear to be following the discipline correctly, and was, therefore, not cultivating Buddha-Mind. This sutra, in one expression, obviously demonstrates a fully functioning and enlightened mind, full of wisdom and compassion. Furthermore, such is the depth of enlightenment with Santideva, that his insight transcends the daily routines of the uinversity and sees through the unenlightened 'rote' learning pursued by many of the other students. Santideva teaches that emptiness 'sunyata' pervades all matter without exception, and that to realise this truth is to have compassion and understanding. A remarkable translation.
I also recommend The Way of the Bodhisattva (Shambhala Classics) which is another fine version, this time taken from the Tibetan. This work also includes a fine introduction and several helpful appendices. Also available is A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, translated by V A Wallace and B Allan Wallace. This edition, also taken from the Sanskrit, includes the Tibetan variations as well.
To me, apart from some good inspirational phrases, I only liked chapter 9 on prajnaparamita.
If you want a good manual on boddhicitta, look instead to The Flower Ornament Scripture: Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra.
And if you do, then you know what you can expect from Skilton (as far my feeling goes about his History of Buddhism): a sober exposition with an unsatisfactory elaboration which eventually leaves you 'unsaturated'. But let this not sound too harsh: the format of his and Kate Crosby's BCA allows to be sober and 'digestive'. And that's what makes this book a good one.
For afficionados having some background in Sanskrit, though, a Sanskrit transliteration would have completed this translationof the BCA to semi-perfection.