Homage to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
1. To those who go in bliss, the Dharma they have mastered, and to all their heirs, to all who merit veneration, I bow down. According to tradition, I shall now in brief describe. The entrance to the bodhisattva discipline.
2. What I have to say has all been said before, and I am destitute of learning and of skill with words. I therefore have no thought that this might be of benefit to others; I wrote it only to sustain my understanding.
3. My faith will thus be strengthened for a little while; that I might grow accustomed to this virtuous way. But others who no chance upon my words, may profit also, equal to myself in fortune.
4. So hard to find such ease and wealth, whereby to render meaningful this human birth! If I fail to turn it to my profit, how could such a chance be mine again?
5. As when a flash of lightning rends the night, and its glare shows all the dark black clouds had hid, likewise rarely, through the Buddha’s power, Virtuous thoughts rise, brief and transient, in the world.
6. Thus behold the utter frailty of goodness! Except for perfect bodhicitta. There is nothing able to withstand. The great and overwhelming strength of evil.
7. The mighty buddhas, pondering for many ages, have seen that this, and only this, will save. The boundless multitudes, and bring them easily to supreme joy.
8. Those who wish to overcome the sorrow of their lives, and put to flight the pain and sufferings of beings, those who wish to win such great beatitude, should never turn their back on bodhicitta.
9. Should bodhicitta come to birth, in one who suffers in the dungeons of samsara, in that instant he is called the buddha’s heir, worshipful alike to gods and men.
10. For like the supreme substance of the alchemists, it takes the impure form of human flesh, And makes of it the priceless body of a buddha. Such is bodhicitta: we should grasp it firmly!
11. If the perfect leaders of all migrant beings, have with boundless wisdom seen its priceless worth, We who wish to leave our nomad wandering, should hold well to precious bodhicitta.
12. All other virtues, like the plantain tree, produce their fruit, but then their force is spent, alone the marvelous tree of bodhicitta, will bear in fruit and grow unceasingly!
13. As though they pass through perils guarded by a hero, even though weighed down with dreadful wickedness, will instantly be freed through having bodhicitta, who then would not place his trust in it?
14. Just as the fires at the end of time, great sins are utterly consumed by bodhicitta, thus its benefits are boundless, as the wise and loving lord explained to Sudhana.
15. Bodhicitta, the awakening mind, in brief is said to have two aspects: first, aspiring, bodhicitta in intention; then active bodhicitta, practical engagement.
16, Wishing to depart and setting out upon the road, this is how the difference is conceived. The wise and learned thus should understand, this difference, which is ode red and progressive.
17. Bodhicitta in intention bears rich fruit. For those still wandering in samsara. And yet a ceaseless stream of merit does not flow from it, for this will rise alone from active bodhicitta.
18. For when, with irreversible intent, the mind embraces bodhicitta. Willing to set free the endless multitudes of beings, at that instant, from that moment on.
19. A great and unremitting stream, a strength of wholesome merit, even during sleep and inattention, rises equal to the vastness of the sky.
20. This the Tathagata, in the sutra subahu requested. Said with reasoned demonstration, teaching those inclined to lesser paths.
21. If with kindly generosity, one merely has the wish to soothe, the aching heads of other beings, such merit knows no bounds.
22. No need to speak, then of the wish, to drive away the endless pain, of each and every living being. Bringing them unbounded virtues.
23. Could our fathers or our mothers, ever have so generous a wish? Do the very gods, the rishis, even brahma, harbor such benevolence as this?
24. For in the past they never, even in their dreams, conceived. Such profit even for themselves, how could they have such aims for other’s sake?
25. For beings do not wish their own true good, so how could they intend such good for others’ sake? This state of mind so precious and so rare, arises truly wondrous, never seen before.
26. The pain-dispelling draft, this cause of joy for those who wander through the world. This precious attitude, this jewel of mind, how shall it be gauged or quantified?
27. For it the simple thought to be of help to others, exceeds in worth the worship of the Buddhas, what need is there to speak of actual deeds, that bring about the weal and benefit of beings?
28. For beings long to free themselves from misery, but misery itself they follow and pursue. They long for joy, but in their ignorance, destroy it, as they would a hatred enemy.
29. But those who fill with bliss, all beings destitute of joy, who cut all pain and suffering away, from those weighed down with misery.
30. Who drive away the darkness of their ignorance, what virtue could be matched with theirs? What friend could be compared to them? What merit is there similar to this?
31. If they who do some good, in thanks. For favors once received, are praised. Why need we speak of bodhisattvas, those who freely benefit the world?
32. Those who, scornfully with condescension, give, just once, a single meal to others. Feeding them for only half a day, are honored by the world as virtuous.
33. What need is there to speak of those, who constantly bestow on boundless multitudes, the peerless joy of blissful buddhahood, the ultimate fulfillment of their hopes?
34. And those who harbor evil in their minds, against such lords of generosity, the Buddha’s heirs, will stay in hell, the Mighty One has said, for ages equal to the moments of their malice.
35. By contrast, good and virtuous thoughts, will yield abundant fruits in greater measure. Even in adversity, the bodhisattvas, never bring forth evil, only an increasing stream of goodness.
36. To them in whom this precious sacred mind, is born — to them I bow! I go for refuge in that source of happiness, that brings its very enemies to perfect bliss.
(The Way of The Bodhisattva ~ Shantideva)