“Engaging in the Bodhisattva’s Deeds” with Ven. Thubten Chodron

Saturdays, 8:00 am Pacific Time on YouTube

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The text

There are several good translations of Shantdeva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara or” Engaging in the Bodhisattva’s Deeds.” also translated as “Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.”

Ven. Chodron will also be referring to the outline of a Tibetan commentary on the text by Gyaltsab Je. Find a free, downloadable translation of the root text and commentary here. Or refer to your own favorite translation of the root text.

Recitations before and after teaching

Before teachings

Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha

To the teacher, endowed transcendent destroyer, one thus gone, foe destroyer, completely and fully awakened one,
perfect in knowledge and good conduct, one gone to bliss, knower of the world, supreme guide of beings to be tamed,
teacher of gods and humans, to you the Buddha, endowed transcendent destroyer, glorious conqueror Shakyamuni,
I prostrate, make offerings and go for refuge.  (3x)

When, O supreme among humans, you were born on this earth,
You paced seven strides,
Then said, “I am supreme in this world.”
To you, who were wise then, I bow.

With pure bodies, form supremely fine;
Wisdom ocean, like a golden mountain;
Fame that blazes in the three worlds,
Winner of the best – supreme guide, to you I bow.

With the supreme signs, face like the spotless moon,
Color like gold – to you I bow.
You are immaculate, the three worlds are not.
Incomparable wise one – to you I bow.

Great compassionate Protector,
All-knowing Teacher,
Field of merit and good qualities vast as an ocean –
To the Tathagata, I bow.

Through purity, freeing from attachment,
Through virtue, freeing from the lower realms,
Unique, supreme ultimate reality –
To the Dharma that is peace, I bow.

Having freed themselves, showing the path to freedom too,
Well established in the trainings,
The holy field endowed with good qualities –
To the Sangha, I bow.

Do not commit any non-virtuous actions,
Perform only perfect virtuous actions,
Subdue your mind completely –
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

A star, a mirage, a flame of a lamp,
An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble,
A dream, a flash of lightning, a cloud –
See conditioned things as such!

Through this merit may sentient beings
Attain the state of all-seeing, subdue the foe of faults,
And be delivered from the ocean of cyclic existence,
Perturbed by the waves of ageing, sickness, and death.


Short Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you
May all beings enjoy this pure land.

Mandala Offering to Request Teachings

Venerable holy gurus, in the space of your truth body,
from billowing clouds of your wisdom and love,
let fall the rain of the profound and extensive Dharma
in whatever form is suitable for subduing sentient beings.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami

Refuge & Bodhicitta

I take refuge until I have awakened
in the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
By the merit I create by listening to the Dharma,
I will attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings. (3x)

After teachings

Mandala Offering after Teachings

May the spiritual teachers who lead me on the sacred path
and all spiritual friends who practice it have long life.
May I pacify completely all outer and inner hindrances –
grant such inspiration, I pray.

May the lives of the venerable spiritual mentors be stable,
and their divine actions spread in the ten directions.
May the light of Lobsang’s teaching, dispelling the darkness of the beings in the three worlds, always increase.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami


Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the awakened state of Guru Buddha,
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.

May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.