SHANTIDEVAS’ BODHISATTVA VOWS

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SHANTIDEVAS’ BODHISATTVA VOWS

(Bodhicaryavatara chapter 3) 

 

In the spiritual energy that relieves

The anguish of beings in misery and

Places depressed beings in eternal joy

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

In the goodness producing illumination

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

I rejoice in the beings who have gained

Eternal liberation from suffering.

And I rejoice in those attained to Buddhahood

As well as in their offspring, the noble Bodhisattvas.

In the ocean-like virtue of the Bodhimind

That brings joy to all beings

And in accomplishing the well-being of others,

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

To the Buddhas of the ten directions

I join my hands in respect

Let blaze the light of Dharmas truth

For the beings lost in darkness

To the Buddhas considering parinirvarna

I join my hands in prayer

Do not abandon the beings in sorrow

But remain and teach for countless ages.

May any spiritual energy thus generated

By my devotion to the enlightened ones

Be dedicated to dispelling the misery

Of living beings without exception.

As long as diseases afflict living beings

May I be the doctor, the medicine

And also the nurse

Who restores them to health.

May I fall as rain to increase

The harvests that must feed living beings

And in ages of dire famine

May I myself serve as food and drink.

May I be an unending treasury

For those desperate and forlorn.

May I manifest as what they require

And wish to have near them.

My body, every possession

And all goodness, past, present and future

Without remorse I dedicate

To the well-being of the world

Suffering is transcended by total surrender

And the mind attains to nirvana.

As one day all must be given up,

Why not dedicate it now to universal happiness?

My bodily powers I dedicate

To the well-being of all that lives.

Should anyone wish to kill, abuse or beat me,

The responsibility is purely their own.

Should anyone wish to ridicule me

And make me an object of jest and scorn

Why should I possibly care

If I have dedicated myself to others?

Let them do as they wish with me

So long as it does not harm them.

May no one who encounters me

Ever have an insignificant contact.

Regardless whether those whom I meet

Respond towards me with anger or faith,

May the mere fact of our meeting

Contribute to the fulfilment of their wishes.

May the slander, harm

And all forms of abuse

That anyone should direct towards me

Act as a cause of their enlightenment.

May I be a protector to the helpless,

A guide to those travelling the path,

A boat to those wishing to cross over;

Or a bridge or a raft.

May I be land for those requiring it,

A lamp for those in darkness,

May I be a home for the homeless,

And a servant for the world.

In order to fulfil the needs of beings

May I be as a magic gem,

An inexhaustible vase, a mystic spell,

A cure-all medicine, and a wish granting tree.

May I act as the mighty earth

Or like the free and open skies

To support and provide the space

Whereby I and all others may grow.

Until every being afflicted by pain

Has reached nirvanas shores,

May I serve only as a condition

That encourages progress and joy.

Just as all previous Buddhas

First gave rise to the precious Bodhimind

And just as then carefully followed

The stages of the Bodhisattva disciplines.

Likewise for the sake of sentient beings

Do I now myself generate the Bodhimind,

And likewise will I train myself

In the disciplines of a Bodhisattva.

They who out of wisdom

Have seized the supreme Bodhimind

Praise, glorify and rejoice in it,

That it may grow to fulfilment.

From today I will reap the fruit of life;

Having well won the state of man,

Today I am born in the Buddha-family

And am now a child of the Buddhas.

Thus in future I should make every effort

To live in accord with the Bodhisattva Ways,

And never should I act as would bring shame

To this noble faultless family.

Like a blind man fumbling in garbage

Happens to find a rare and precious gem,

Likewise I have discovered

The jewel of the precious Bodhimind.

Thus was found this supreme ambrosia to dispel

The Lord of death, destroyer of life;

An inexhaustible treasure able to cure

The poverty of all sentient beings.

It is the highest of medicines

To quell the ills of the living,

And it is a tree giving shade

To those wandering on the paths of life.

It is a strong and mighty bridge

By which beings can cross from misery,

And it is a moon to shine in the mind

To clear away the pains of delusion.

The Bodhimind is a great radiant sun

To disperse the darkness of unknowing,

And it is the very essence of butters

Gained from churning the milks of Dharma.

For all guests on the roads of life

Who would take the very substance of joy,

Here is the actual seat of true happiness,

A veritable feast to satiate the world.

Thus today in the presence of all awakened Ones

I invite every living being to this festival

Giving both immediate and lasting joy.

May the gods and all others rejoice.

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