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Bodhicaryāvatāra (Introduction to the Conduct That Leads to Enlightenment; Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa la 'jug pa) is, with CandrakĪrti's seventh-century Madhyamakāvatāra (Introduction to Madhyamaka), the most important text integrating Madhyamaka philosophy into the bodhisattva path. The text is structured around meditation on the altruistic "awakening mind" or bodhicitta (thought of awakening) and its development through pĀramitĀ (perfection). The longest chapter is on prajÑĀ (wisdom) and treats philosophical analysis. Written by Śantideva (ca. 685–763), the poem was popular in late Indian Buddhism and has been enormously important in Tibet.

See also:Bodhisattva(s); Madhyamaka School


Brassard, Francis. The Concept of Bodhicitta in Ś āntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000.

Crosby, Kate, and Skilton, Andrew, trans. Ś āntideva: The Bodhicaryāvatāra. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang. Meaningful to Behold, tr. Tenzin Norbu. London: Wisdom, 1986.

Wallace, Visna A., and Wallace, B. Allan, trans. A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life (Bodhicaryāvatāra). New York: Snow Lion, 1997.

Williams, Paul. Altruism and Reality: Studies in the Philosophy of the Bodhicaryāvatāra. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 1998.

Paul Williams