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Studying Bodhicharyavatara

We are a small group currently studying Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara together with help and guidance of three commentaries. Our main source as we proceed is Ringu Tulku Rinpoche's commentary, which is based on Khenpo Kunpal's famous commentary. In addition we are going through A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night by HH Dalai Lama and also have No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron as our third commentary source.

These are all amazingly helpful texts, and each one gives us a little bit different tools for our learning and illuminates various different points of the root text, which is the famous and much studied Mahayana Buddhist classic by Shantideva.

Bodhicharyavatara means a guide to the conduct of a bodhisattva, and this text lays down the bodhisattva path and way of life. A bodhisattva is someone who aspires to always work for all sentient beings, until every one of them is totally enlightened. Furthermore, a bodhisattva not only aspires that, but he or she also takes up the conduct of a bodhisattva and takes all the necessary steps towards the liberation and enlightenment of all beings. First a person has to awaken the bodhicitta in oneself, the great wish that all the sentient being will be enlightened and perfectly happy and free from all suffering. Then he or she will put that wish into action, and take up the practice of six paramitas and gradually perfect them, nurturing and growing up the seed of bodhicitta until complete buddhahood. It is the whole Mahayana path.

The structure of the root text follows the six paramitas, after first introducing us to the benefits of having bodhicitta and then guiding us through the accumulation practices of offerings, prostrations, purification and so on. A story tells that while Shantideva was giving the Bodhicharyavatara teaching in Nalanda university and finally came to the sixth paramita, Wisdom, he rose up in the air and floated away, with the last chapter of the text, dedication, only heard as a sound of his voice from the distance, the "lazy monk" himself no more visible to the earthbound audience.

This is of course such an interesting and huge study in so many ways. We will take our time and look into the three commentaries and discuss the Bodhicharyavatara in a relaxed athmosphere and according to our own understanding in our own current life situations. We also have time for shiné meditation during the sessions.

We are based in Helsinki, Finland. We meet twice a month on Thursday evenings. You are welcome to join us anytime you like. You can contact us by email bodhistudy@gmail.com or phone +358 (0) 40 559 5979. This blog is mostly in Finnish and so is the group, but you are welcome no matter if you speak Finnish or not. The texts we study now are in English.

Our Bodhicharya study group is connected with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and his international Bodhicharya network of many friends, students, groups and centers around the world. Our group is open to all interested students from all Buddhist schools and groups and non-Buddhist alike.

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Viimevuotiset opetukset ovat kuunneltavissa Ringu Tulkun opetusarkistossa, jossa voi rekisteröitymisen jälkeen kuunnella kaikkia Rinpochen tallennettuja op…