Skip to main content



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

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bodhicaryavatara." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . 26 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Bodhicaryavatara." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . (March 26, 2019).

"Bodhicaryavatara." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . Retrieved March 26, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.