Article

Śāntideva (Bodhicaryāvatāra)

Francis Brassard

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online April 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0026
Śāntideva (Bodhicaryāvatāra)

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Śāntideva is a Buddhist philosopher and teacher who lived in India around the beginning of the 8th century ce. The details of his life, which are for the most part legendary, are known through the biographies of three Tibetan historians and one Nepali manuscript. Modern scholars agree on the fact that Śāntideva is the author of two treatises, the Bodhicaryāvatāra and the Śikṣāsamuccaya, both dealing with the spiritual practice of the bodhisattva and its philosophical foundation. From the point of view of his doctrinal presuppositions, Śāntideva is considered to be a representative of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism, most probably its Prāsaṅgika branch. From the early beginning of modern Buddhist studies, Śāntideva’s thoughts have attracted much attention among Western scholars. Numerous translations of his works, especially of the Bodhicaryāvatāra, have appeared since the early 20th century, and, more recently, analytical studies focusing on specific themes and issues related to his ideas have been published. In addition to scholarly works, Śāntideva’s thoughts have generated new commentaries to support the spiritual endeavor of Buddhist practitioners. As such, Śāntideva’s treatises are still very much part of a dynamic and evolving spiritual tradition as well as a privileged source of information for our understanding of the structure of the bodhisattva’s path as a whole.

Article.  6765 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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