Revered as king of the Bodhissatvas-Shanti Deva lived in 8th century AD. His poetic and philosophical teaching on the Bodhissatva and its life (Bodhicaryavatara) have captivated hearts of millions of people across the world. Equivalent to Muslims’ Quran or Christians’ Bible, his book is also one of the daily inspirational prayer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Infinite rays of happiness and compassion, Bodhicitta-an evergreen mind
Bodhicitta is an appealing blissful state of mind where compassion is boundless radiating happiness and pure wisdom to whoever it connects. And for Bodhissatvas, friend or foe is a same being whose sheer pursuit in its life is to seek happiness, pleasure, name, fame and every bit of comfort. As such Bodhissatvas are neither gladdened by the praise from their friends nor are they saddened by the defamation from their foes. They are the spiritual practitioners who strive to maintain a compassionate attitude for all beings.
The veil of Bodhissatvas-a shield of humility
A typical tradition in Mahayana Buddhism is that the Bodhissatvas often veil their profound insights by disguising themselves in an idiotic appearance or by resorting to bizarre activities, they shield themselves from falling into the pitfall of mundane fame.
From Tilopa working as an oil maker to Milarepa wandering as a homeless beggar, from Naropa giving up his throne of scholar to Drukpa Kunley famous for his insanity. Every now and then the unusual tales of the heroes of Bodhissatvas echoed in the Himalayan kingdom time after time.
“Busukhu” Shanti Deva the lazy bone of Nalanda University
At Nalanda University in 8th century A.D, Shanti Deva was nicknamed “Busukhu” by his colleagues simply meaning three actions; eating, sleeping and defecating. Except for the eyes of few, no one really knew he had transcended all the worldly illusions and had realized the ultimate nature of every phenomena. But in his monastic community, he was known as a “Lazy Bone” and a filthy burden tagged to be dump out at the earliest note of breach.
In fact he was doing nothing outwardly except for the three very tasks he had been executing everyday. He never let anybody know his profound realizations. Until when he was subjected to mockery by his companions to give teaching in front of a big gathering hoping he would embarrass himself and thereby expel him from the monastery. But to everybody’s surprise, he gave one of the most reflective teaching on the Bodhissatva and its life titled as “Bodhicaryavatara” (The Guide to the Bodhissatva’s way of life) which later served as an encyclopedia of spiritual sojourn to almost every high Lamas and Yogis that lived throughout ages in Tibet.
“Bodhicaryavatara” Bible of millions of people
Equivalent to Muslims’ Quran or Christians’ Bible, Shanti Deva’s book on Bodhissatva’s way of life is also one of the daily inspirational prayer of H.H the Dalai Lama. Revered by all Tibetans as the king of Bodhissatvas, Shanti Deva’s mystical figure and his soul healing words have captivated the hearts of millions of people across the world. Every verse he said has a supple touch of a cool poet and a subtle wisdom of an accomplished sage. His book is loved, read, memorized and reflected deep upon the pragmatic advice it carries by many even to this day.
The verses of cool poet and an accomplished sage, Shanti Deva-the king of Bodhissatvas
As he set forth on a spontaneous discourse on Bodhissatva and its conducts, Shanti Deva offered this praise to the Buddha Shakyamuni remembering his great compassion and pure wisdom.
He went on elucidating dense concepts of Bodhissatva and validating brave acts of Bodhissatva through sound reasoning, he made a beautiful remarks on how to look at a bad situation we encounter in our life.
“If there is a way, then there is no need to worry,
And if there is no way, then there is no use in worrying”
And he further said,
“If one does not cherishes the others, there is no way to the Buddha-hood,
And even in this world, one will have no happiness”
Legend has it that Shanti Deva rose up into the sky as he finishes recital of the dedication of his merit and finally disappeared from the sight yet his voice heard by everyone. One of the verse he said at the end is so powerful and invoking that it offers an ethical purpose to live one’s life as an inspiration to many. It goes,
“As long as space endures, and as long as sentient beings remain,
May I too remain, and dispel the misery of all”
Although Shanti Deva passed away long time ago, his contribution in the uplift of human spirit towards a fearlessness, compassionate, caring and more openness is still visible in this time of rapid change.
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Tags: Buddhism, Bodhisattva's Way of Life