Written in India in the early eighth century AD, Santideva's
Bodhicaryavatara became one of the most popular accounts of the
Buddhist's spiritual path. The Bodhicaryavatara takes as its
subject the profound desire to become a Buddha and save all beings
from suffering. The person who enacts such a desire is a
Bodhisattva. Santideva not only sets out what the Bodhisattva must
do and become, he also invokes the intense feelings of aspiration
which underlie such a commitment, using language which has inspired
Buddhists in their religious life from his time to the present.
Important as a manual of training among Mahayana Buddhists,
especially in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Bodhicaryavatara
continues to be used as the basis for teaching by modern Buddhist
teachers. This is a new translation from the original language,
with detailed annotations explaining allusions and technical
references. The Introduction sets Santideva's work in context, and
for the first time explain its structure.