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Of the progresse of the bodhisattva

Of the progresse of the bodhisattva

the bodhisattvamārga in the Śikṣāsamuccaya

by Richard Brian Mahoney
Publication Date: 24/10/2016
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The Buddha is credited with clearly and succinctly expounding the Buddhist path (marga). Despite the eloquence and brevity of the Buddha's exposition, the corpus of Buddhist scriptures explaining the path is prolix.

It is generally thought that the moral precepts (siksapadas), correct practices (samudacaras) and restraints (samvaras) for a bodhisattva are to be found in Mahayana sutras. Yet it seems that the most likely outcome of reading these sutras is not enlightenment, but confusion. Mahayana sutras appear too extensive and complex to be of much practical benefit to an incipient bodhisattva.

This paper asserts that the Siksasamuccaya (SS) and Siksasamuccayakarika (SSKa) are composed by Santideva (S) to counter the bewilderment which results from reading Mahayana sutras. Both works explicate the essential principles (marmasthanas) of these sutras for the benefit of a bodhisattva new to the way.

Further, this paper asserts that of all the various practices described in Mahayana sutras, S believes that the practice of giving (dana utsarjana) is fundamental. In the SS and SSKa the way of the bodhisattva (bodhisattvamarga) is essentially the way of giving (danamarga).

In short, S expects a bodhisattva:

to give everything (sarva+ da sarva+ut+ srj) in order to attain perfect enlightenment (samyaksambodhi);

to make a worthy gift of his person (atmabhava), enjoyments (bhogas) and merit (punya) in order to give everything;

to preserve ( raks), purify ( sudh), and increase ( vrdh) his gift in order to make a worthy gift; and

to practice the four right strivings (samyakpradhanas) in order to preserve, purify and increase his gift.

It is asserted in this paper, then, that S considers the unsurpassed and perfect enlightenment of the Buddha attained by the practice of complete giving (sarvadana sarvotsarjana) and complete giving attained by the practice of the right strivings. ...

Overall, this paper attempts to provide a comprehensive analysis of the content, structure, theme and meaning of the SS and SSKa. To the knowledge of the present writer, it is the first of its kind. ...
Buddhist sacred texts
Publication Date:
Indica et Buddhica Limited
Country of origin:
United States
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