Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva 

Starting Wednesday 20 May, we will be exploring Shantideva's classic text on the Bodhisattva path on four consecutive Wednesday evenings. The book nights will be held on Zoom, hosted by Hanya, Sensei and senior students, and will be a chance to explore this text among Dharma friends. All are welcome - just join the Zoom meeting each Wednesday. You can join us for all four evenings, or just one or two, as you time allows.

Check out this useful Reader's Guide if the book is new to you. There are many translations, but two that are available as eBooks from the Auckland Public Library are 

  • The Way of the Bodhisattva by the Padmakara Translation Group 
and 
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chodron (this has text from the the Padmakara Translation Group and a warm-hearted and accessible commentary by Pema Chodron. It is also available as an audio book from the library).
Here are some of the other translations that we are using in the book group:

Format:

Wednesdays, 7 - 8 p.m. by Zoom.
Check the weekly email update for the Zoom link or email Robin (info@aucklandzen.org.nz).

The  format for each night will be roughly the same: time to catch-up with each other, a short talk from whoever is leading the night, small group discussion and then a wrap-up all together again. We won't have time to explore the whole text, but we will look into 5 of the 10 chapters: 

  • Wednesday 20 May: Led by Hanya. Introduction to Shantideva and the book. Focus will be on Chapter 1: "The Excellence of Bodhicitta"
  • Wednesday 27 May: Led by Robin. Exploration of Chapters 2 & 3: "Confession" and "Taking Hold of Bodhicitta"
  • Wednesday 3 June: Led by Sensei. Exploration of Chapter 6: "Patience".
  • Wednesday 10 June: Led by Hanya. Exploration of Chapter 10: "Dedication". 

Ideas for reading:

The text isn't always immediately accessible (but it is worth the effort!). Here are some ideas that might help, adapted from Pema Chodron's study guidelines in No Time to Lose.

  • Read out loud. Traditionally The Way of the Bodhisattva is read aloud, and it is an excellent way of hearing the poetry in the text.
  • Choose a stanza. After you have read a chapter, go back and select a stanza that really stands out for you. Write it down on a card and put it somewhere you can see it. You may want to memorise it and repeat it while out walking or just let it be with you through your week.
  • Record your responses. It can be helpful to keep a notebook and record your responses to each chapter you read, along with any other notes you want to make from the commentaries you might be reading too. Your might want to record your chosen stanza too and record what it means to you.
  • Keep a sense of enquiry. Approach with curiosity and a lightness of touch. You don't have to believe everything (or anything!) in the text.

Other links:

First Book night: Overview and Chapter 1.


Second Book Night: Chapters 2 & 3 and the 7-Fold Puja.