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A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life Paperback – January 1, 1997

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Frequently Bought Together

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life + For the Benefit of All Beings: A Commentary on the Way of the Bodhisattva (Shambhala Classics) + The Way of the Bodhisattva: (Bodhicaryavatara), Revised Edition (Shambhala Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These two volumes present perspectives on the Boddhisattva ideal, the distinguishing characteristic of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes the desire for enlightment as an act of altruism toward all beings. A Guide to the Boddhisattva Way of Life is a classic of Tibetan Buddhism, composed in the eighth century by a Buddhist monk. The Wallaces (a professor and a student in religious studies, Stanford Univ.) translated this work with careful attention to Tibetan and Sanskrit versions, which makes their translation unique. The main text has been re-created from the Sanskrit with attention to the Tibetan. Where the nuances in the originals differ significantly, the translation of the Tibetan version is given in the notes. The Thirty Seven Practices of Boddhisattvas is a transcription of an oral teaching by a Buddhist scholar and teacher. The text on which the teaching is given is a set of verses written in the 14th century by a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Like the first title, this work seeks to elucidate the day-to-day practice of the Boddhisattva. The original verses are short and fairly clear, and the commentary by Rinchen makes the meaning and the demanding character of the Boddhisattva ideal realistic for the contemporary reader. The two titles offer insight upon insight as to the way a life should be lead. Rinchen's is perhaps the more accessible to general readers. For the price, any library with an interest in Buddhism would do well to acquire both.?Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Will stand for many years as the standard English translation of this key Tibetan Buddhist text."—Publishers Weekly

"The Wallaces have produced a concise, literal, and elegant translation. The extant Sanskrit edition frequently differs from the one used in Tibet a millennium ago, and the Wallaces have noted these differences in copious footnotes. These features make their translation both highly readable and an excellent source for scholars of the original languages."—Tricycle

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559390611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559390613
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com). He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.

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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Steve Uhlig on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This translation of the Bodhicaryavatara certainly consitutes the highest quality English translation. The coupling of the Sanskrit and the Tibetan versions provides a definitive accuracy in the meaning of the text. The Sanskrit version alone is cryptic from time to time so that relying on the Tibetan version is very helpful, through its closeness to the western way of expressing things.
Although i feel this translation is the best English one, this version should not be used as a first version of the Bodhicaryavatara by newcomers. The translation from Crosby and Skilton is better suited for people not used to the context and the meaning of this text...thanks to its many excellent comments.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By mickeylearn@yahoo.com on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have no understanding the of Tibetan or Sanskirt languages, so it is good to have Buddhist ideas put into English which is easy to comprehend. The translators have translated the Sanskirt as the main verse, but they have also included translations of the Tibetan verse, in the footnotes when the two read differently. They have also explained various names and terms so that new or non Buddhist will have a better understanding of this SPIRITUAL CLASSIC. I hope that you find this book to be as spiritually uplifting as I have found it to be. May this book encourage all who read it, or hear teachings from it to strive to have the Awakening Mind.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth R. Walter on May 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Probably the most inspirational book I have ever read. If you have made your way through any of the Dalai Lama's books, especially "Transforming the Mind," you will notice that he quotes Shantideva constantly. It's great to be able to go back and refer to this book for further insight.
Compassion is a path that takes constant work in order to walk steadily upon it. Even then, it's a pretty rough road to travel in the beginning. It is my hope that books such as these will open some minds to that path, and also to the plight of the Tibetan people. Wiping this culture from the face of the earth would be a great detriment to all of humanity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pellerine on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you like to sit, think, reflect, and learn this is a wonderful book on Buddhist philosophy. It, I found, is not an easy read - but one well worth the mental energy.

I would recommend that if you are new to such philosophies that you attempt Thích Nh't H'nh or Dali Lama literature to develop a clearer background in more laymen's terms before attempting this - but I would not hesitate putting it in the same amazon cart.

Read it little by little and digest the words. I don't think it's a sit down and plough through book, but it could just be one of the most brilliant books you read - if you are interested in such concepts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lonedog TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a practicing Buddhist but I do read widely on the subject. This book is deceptively short but full of big concepts, and is centered around the six perfections: generosity, ethical discipline, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all components of a successful bodhisattva. It's a classic work written by an 8th century Indian Buddhist monk named Santideva and translated from Sanskrit and Tibetan. It's very hard to live up to the ideals presented in this work, but one can make a start at least.

This is an honest review written by a real customer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aaron J. Nelson on February 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just holding this book in your hands may transform your entire worldview. It is one of the most profound philosophical treatises I have ever encountered. I will also add that of all the various translations of this text I have read this one is easily the most lucid and poetic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Combs on November 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is essential for the Buddhist philosophy, however, I would recommend this guide to someone who is already familiar with the basic teachings. As the title implies, it is a guide for how to live life, and it is written as a list of guiding principles. For someone new to Buddhism and wanting to learn more, I would first recommend an introduction. But I definitely recommend reading this guide to anyone interested in eastern religion or philosophy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyler P Gannon on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of everything I have ever read in my life, this is the most convincing treatise inspiring me to learn and practice the teachings of the Buddhas.

This is appropriate reading for readers with a very strong comprehension of English as well as some relationship with Buddhist terminology. While any student should attempt to get teachings on this text directly from a living teacher who has had the text "transmitted" to her or him, some students will nonetheless have a much easier time relating to the text immediately, while others may find it to be dense and difficult to understand.

Speaking from over a millenium back, Śāntideva accomplishes what few other Buddhist teachers do: in so few words he will describe with shocking prose and precision, both how and why to become a Buddhist. While other classic texts such as the Seven-Point Mind Training may be found more immediately practical in their application, Śāntideva takes the cake for the breadth of material covered, and the profound clarity of his arguments.

Having already read a number of modern books on Buddhism, by the time I reached Śāntideva I think I still had not grasped the incredible importance of basing one's aspiration in the actual experience and appreciation of the suffering of others as well as the suffering brought to one by the world of confused beings. He manages to get this across with stunning beauty, clarity and cogency.

The book reads a teensy bit like a bible, what with its frequent talk of arriving in hell realms as a consequence of misconduct. But you can get past that. It's not a doctrine, and there's no Pope (and he has no minions) who will force you to take it literally. You can interpret it how you like without losing what he's saying there, which is that our actions all have broader effects than we foresee.
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