Home Institution

Lehigh University

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

India: National Identity and the Arts


A study of the ideas presented in 8th century Buddhist monk and scholar Shantideva’s text called the Bodhicaryavatara or The Way of the Bodhisattva. The paper discuses the historical background of the text: 8th century India and its Buddhist rulers as well as the culture surrounding the large university and monastery that Shantideva attended called Nalanda. The ideas presented in his text illustrate the path to becoming a bodhisattva and developing universal compassion—the path of Mahayana Buddhism. It text discusses the need for these qualities for those who wish to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings (a Buddha). This paper will address preparing for the path, dealing with anger, becoming enthusiastic, and practicing meditation. In order to understand the topic fully and to get more insight into the modern-day relevance of the text, the paper will also mention my experiences with the 10-day Introduction to Buddhism course and meditation retreat at Tushita Meditation Center. This paper will touch upon the ninth chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara, Wisdom, which is the Buddhist philosophy of emptiness and dependent arising, but will not go into detail on the complicated subject.


Arts and Humanities