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For the Benefit of All Beings: A Commentary on <i>The Way of the Bodhisattva</i> (Shambhala Classics)

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The fourteenth Dalai Lama, a living embodiment of the bodhisattva ideal, presents detailed practical guidance based on sections of The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, the best-known text of Mahayana Buddhism. The Dalai Lama explains this classic and beloved work, showing how anyone can develop a truly "good heart" and the aspiration for the enlightenment of all being The fourteenth Dalai Lama, a living embodiment of the bodhisattva ideal, presents detailed practical guidance based on sections of The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, the best-known text of Mahayana Buddhism. The Dalai Lama explains this classic and beloved work, showing how anyone can develop a truly "good heart" and the aspiration for the enlightenment of all beings. In this book, the Dalai Lama's profound knowledge is evident—the result of extensive training. Here he shares his extraordinary insight into the human condition and what it means to be a responsible and caring person.


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The fourteenth Dalai Lama, a living embodiment of the bodhisattva ideal, presents detailed practical guidance based on sections of The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, the best-known text of Mahayana Buddhism. The Dalai Lama explains this classic and beloved work, showing how anyone can develop a truly "good heart" and the aspiration for the enlightenment of all being The fourteenth Dalai Lama, a living embodiment of the bodhisattva ideal, presents detailed practical guidance based on sections of The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, the best-known text of Mahayana Buddhism. The Dalai Lama explains this classic and beloved work, showing how anyone can develop a truly "good heart" and the aspiration for the enlightenment of all beings. In this book, the Dalai Lama's profound knowledge is evident—the result of extensive training. Here he shares his extraordinary insight into the human condition and what it means to be a responsible and caring person.

30 review for For the Benefit of All Beings: A Commentary on <i>The Way of the Bodhisattva</i> (Shambhala Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary Overton

    "What do we mean by BODHISATTVA? BODHI means enlightenment, the state devoid of all defects and endowed with all good qualities. SATTVA refers to someone who has courage and confidence and who strives to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings. Those who have this spontaneous, sincere wish to attain enlightenment for the ultimate benefit of all beings are called Bodhisattvas. Through wisdom, they direct their minds to enlightenment, and through their compassion, they have concern for bei "What do we mean by BODHISATTVA? BODHI means enlightenment, the state devoid of all defects and endowed with all good qualities. SATTVA refers to someone who has courage and confidence and who strives to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings. Those who have this spontaneous, sincere wish to attain enlightenment for the ultimate benefit of all beings are called Bodhisattvas. Through wisdom, they direct their minds to enlightenment, and through their compassion, they have concern for beings. This wish for perfect enlightenment for the sake of others is what we call bodhichitta, and it is the starting point on the path." pg. 12 "Positive actions are difficult to perform and therefore do not occur frequently. It is hard to have positive thoughts when one's mind is influenced by emotions and confused by adverse conditions. Negative thoughts arise by themselves, and it is difficult to make our actions truly positive when our intentions and the way we carry them through are not perfectly pure. Our meager stock of hard-won positive actions is rendered powerless in an instant of anger. The damage is immeasurably more serious than if we had lost something more easily acquired." pg 53 "Anger is worse than any ordinary enemy. Of course, ordinary enemies harm us: that is why we call them enemies. But the wrong they do us is intended to help themselves or their friends, not just make us unhappy. On the other hand, the inner enemy, anger, has no other function than to destroy our positive actions and make us suffer. That is why Shantideva says, 'My foe who has no other purpose but to hurt and injure me.' From the moment it appears, it exists for the sole purpose of harming us. So we should confront it with all the means we have. Let us maintain a peaceful state of mind and avoid getting upset. "What irritates us in the first place is that our wishes are not fulfilled. But remaining upset does nothing to help fulfill those wishes. So we neither fulfill our wishes nor regain our cheerfulness! This disconcerted state, from which anger can grow, is most dangerous." pg 55

  2. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Wayne

    First of all I want to give thanks to the incredible translators of this book, the Padmakra Translation Group, for doing an incredible job. The editing was excellently executed and was all in all a pleasurable read in that regard. I also want to note that this book is my first study of Buddhism, but I understand that there are different kinds and this is a book that essentially transcribes a talk given by the Dalai Lama on the Bodhicharyavatara. All that being said, I found some of the content t First of all I want to give thanks to the incredible translators of this book, the Padmakra Translation Group, for doing an incredible job. The editing was excellently executed and was all in all a pleasurable read in that regard. I also want to note that this book is my first study of Buddhism, but I understand that there are different kinds and this is a book that essentially transcribes a talk given by the Dalai Lama on the Bodhicharyavatara. All that being said, I found some of the content troubling. Hypocrisy, victim-blaming, and disdain for all of reality here on earth seem to me like a rather unhealthy viewpoint. That is not to say there is no wisdom in here, I found chapter four on carefulness to be particularly interesting and insightful, and throughout the book there are many other diamonds of knowledge. To somebody considering reading this book I would recommend it. I think it gives the reader a handle on the basics of the practices of Buddhists and a peek into the philosophy of the Dalai Lama himself and his wealth of information. Very unique, definitely useful information to put in your brain.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This is the Dalai Lama’s commentary on Shantideva’s “The Way of the Bodhisattva.” HHDL has said, “If I have any understanding of compassion and the practice of the bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of this text that I possess it.” It is clear that the Shantideva is important to him, and he encourages the reader to approach any teaching, including his, with the attitude of “The four reliances”: Do not rely on individuals, rely on the teachings. Do not rely on the words, rely on the mean This is the Dalai Lama’s commentary on Shantideva’s “The Way of the Bodhisattva.” HHDL has said, “If I have any understanding of compassion and the practice of the bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of this text that I possess it.” It is clear that the Shantideva is important to him, and he encourages the reader to approach any teaching, including his, with the attitude of “The four reliances”: Do not rely on individuals, rely on the teachings. Do not rely on the words, rely on the meaning. Do not rely on the adapted meaning, rely on the ultimate meaning. Do not rely on intellectual knowledge, rely on wisdom. A full elucidation of the Wisdom chapter was beyond the scope of this book, which is unfortunate since that is the chapter that most needs clarification. Apparently there is a separate text dedicated solely to this chapter, which I suppose I’ll have to read soon: Practicing Wisdom. HHDL’s commentary makes it clear that Shantideva’s teaching encourages a pragmatic look at the consequences of our actions. When examining anger, “What irritates us in the first place is that our wishes are not fulfilled. But remaining upset does nothing to help fulfill those wishes. So we neither fulfill our wishes nor regain our cheerfulness!” He also discusses the interdependent nature of reality in a pragmatic way: “When others harm us, it gives us the chance to practice patience and thus to purify numerous negative actions and to accumulate much merit. Since it is our enemies who give us this great opportunity, in reality they are helping us. But because they are committing negative actions and we are the cause of these, we are actually harming them. So if there is anyone to get angry with, it should be ourselves. We should never be angry with our enemies, regardless of their attitude, since they are indeed useful to us.” In the Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck describes laziness as “love’s opposite” and characterizes evil as “laziness carried to its extreme.” It seems this is consistent with HHDL’s commentary: “Laziness has three aspects: having no wish to do good, being distracted by negative activities, and underestimating oneself by doubting one’s ability.” All three of these elements prevent one from acting out of love. The importance of balance appears several times throughout the commentary. For example, with regard to laziness versus effort, “Moderation is to be applied… we should not force ourselves, but we should stop and rest so that later whatever we do will be done properly and completely.” In the area of intellectual versus experiential understanding, both are necessary: “Having cleared away doubts intellectually, we should integrate our understanding with the experience of meditation. In this way our practice will be balanced and complete.” As with so many things, balance is key. Potent Quotables: The nature of the mind, clear and aware, is free from defects; it cannot be affected by obscurations. No phenomena, whether mental or occurring in the external world, can affect it. It is the very notion of enemies that is the main obstacle to bodhichitta.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Stepper

    I never imagined becoming fascinated by an 8th-century Buddhist monk, but it’s happened. My first introduction to Shantideva and Bodhisattvas was “No Time To Lose” by Pena Chödrön, which was excellent. I thought that was sufficient, but now I realize I only scratched the surface of what Shantideva had to teach. This short book is extremely well-written (despite undergoing a translation). The commentary is clear and compelling, and makes the ancient text accessible and interesting. In less than 1 I never imagined becoming fascinated by an 8th-century Buddhist monk, but it’s happened. My first introduction to Shantideva and Bodhisattvas was “No Time To Lose” by Pena Chödrön, which was excellent. I thought that was sufficient, but now I realize I only scratched the surface of what Shantideva had to teach. This short book is extremely well-written (despite undergoing a translation). The commentary is clear and compelling, and makes the ancient text accessible and interesting. In less than 130 pages, I found inspiration to learn more and also do (and be) more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Comely

    Speaking as a devout Christian, I found this to be an inspiring guide to living a compassionate life and becoming a Bodhisattva. Even if you don't agree with Buddhist doctrine, you can still benefit greatly from the Dalai Lama's commentary. Speaking as a devout Christian, I found this to be an inspiring guide to living a compassionate life and becoming a Bodhisattva. Even if you don't agree with Buddhist doctrine, you can still benefit greatly from the Dalai Lama's commentary.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Keuss

    So many simple, beautiful teachings on mindfulness, patience, compassion, and wisdom. An especially important book to read right now, as we contemplate what we can do to help "drive away the sorrows of the world." So many simple, beautiful teachings on mindfulness, patience, compassion, and wisdom. An especially important book to read right now, as we contemplate what we can do to help "drive away the sorrows of the world."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diana Beckham

    Heavy reading It was a bit hard for me to grasp all of this. Its a book that needs to be read and reread.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ulf Wolf

    This is a kind book. It is possibly the kindest book I have ever read. The Dalai Lama’s good wishes for your well-being literally (pun intended) seeps through his words sentences and you feel in strong, safe hands reading it. I’d call it a blessing. The book is a very helpful commentary on Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara (A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life), one of the most revered Buddhist Scriptures. HH Dalai Lama examines most relevant points and passages (to examine and comment on each and e This is a kind book. It is possibly the kindest book I have ever read. The Dalai Lama’s good wishes for your well-being literally (pun intended) seeps through his words sentences and you feel in strong, safe hands reading it. I’d call it a blessing. The book is a very helpful commentary on Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara (A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life), one of the most revered Buddhist Scriptures. HH Dalai Lama examines most relevant points and passages (to examine and comment on each and every one would take a much longer book than this) and explains them from a very commonsensical standpoint—clearly communicated. At times, Santideva can be quite terse and it can be hard to ascertain—with certainty—precisely what he means. It is clear that the Dalai Lama indeed knows what Santideva means and so he renders the meanings quite understandably for us mere mortals. Yes, I’d call this book a blessing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    There are many commentary on the famous work Bodhicaryavatara (The Way of Bodhisattva) by Santideva and HH the Dalai Lama’s commentary is the first one I read. It gave me chills and deepened my understanding about compassion. Later when I listened to his teacher (Dilgo Khyentse)’s commentary, I had moments where I sobbed with lots of emotions. This is the power of great beings who have high realization of bodhicitta. Their words can shake your world and greatly increase your level of bodhicitta. There are many commentary on the famous work Bodhicaryavatara (The Way of Bodhisattva) by Santideva and HH the Dalai Lama’s commentary is the first one I read. It gave me chills and deepened my understanding about compassion. Later when I listened to his teacher (Dilgo Khyentse)’s commentary, I had moments where I sobbed with lots of emotions. This is the power of great beings who have high realization of bodhicitta. Their words can shake your world and greatly increase your level of bodhicitta. Books/commentary like this are to be read and contemplated over and over again when you’re embarking on a journey to become a bodhisattva and eventually a buddha, or even just to become a better human being and live a meaningful life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Campaniolo

    Since I'm in the beginning process of learning about Buddhism, this was a challenging read for me. I had a lot of questions (which probably isn't a bad thing!) I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of reincarnation, and how we act in this life affects our next life. Isn't the point to live in the moment and not dwell on future happiness/unhappiness? Who will be my judge at the end of this life into the next? And can we completely surrender ourselves to the service of others? Humans are fallible Since I'm in the beginning process of learning about Buddhism, this was a challenging read for me. I had a lot of questions (which probably isn't a bad thing!) I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of reincarnation, and how we act in this life affects our next life. Isn't the point to live in the moment and not dwell on future happiness/unhappiness? Who will be my judge at the end of this life into the next? And can we completely surrender ourselves to the service of others? Humans are fallible and I find it hard to believe that we can achieve this perfect state of altruism (though we can of course strive to be a kinder, more loving person.) I would be curious to talk about this book with someone else and get their reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Thoughtful commentary on Shantidevas teachings. I found it more in depth and philosophical/'technical' than the arguably more accessible No Time to Lose by Pema. Take your pick. For me Shantideva, as a reflection on emptiness, talks in circles. At times DL just added to that experience for me. Saying that not one invaluable word. Pema though in contrast seems to (relatively) cut right to the heart-feel of the teachings without providing more mental gymnastics. Thoughtful commentary on Shantidevas teachings. I found it more in depth and philosophical/'technical' than the arguably more accessible No Time to Lose by Pema. Take your pick. For me Shantideva, as a reflection on emptiness, talks in circles. At times DL just added to that experience for me. Saying that not one invaluable word. Pema though in contrast seems to (relatively) cut right to the heart-feel of the teachings without providing more mental gymnastics.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Some great ideas. I could definitely see some overlap with my belief system. Difficult to get through some parts but good introduction to Budhist beliefs.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shauna

    This was a little over my head.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kavitha

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Dickerson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kate Suel

  17. 4 out of 5

    R

  18. 5 out of 5

    Florence

  19. 5 out of 5

    stefan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margo Barnard

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Mamani

  22. 5 out of 5

    D

  23. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Panravee Suksaengrat

  26. 4 out of 5

    Frank McKennedy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amir

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kylan Atkinson

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