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Shantideva's Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva with Commentary by Drukchen Padma Karpo

Shantideva's Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva with Commentary by Drukchen Padma Karpo

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Description Table of Contents
Title Shantideva's Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva
Sub-title with Commentary by Drukchen Padma Karpo
Author Texts by Shantideva and Drukchen Padma Karpo, book and translation by Tony Duff
Details 444 pages, 6" X 9", US$45, available in paper, and in PDF and Kindle e-book formats
ISBN paper book 978-1-7923-7440-1, e-book 978-9937-572-66-8
Texts Tibetan text in Tibetan script not included

The Bodhisatvacaryavatara or Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva by Shantideva is one of the favorite texts for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. And its popularity has spread far beyond that because it presents a completely selfless view of how to live one’s life, which many have found very inspiring. Therefore, several translations of it have been made into English and other languages.

Shantideva wrote his text in very beautiful but very terse verse, often making it hard for the reader to understand exactly what he was saying. To solve this problem, Indian and Tibetan masters wrote commentaries to clarify its meaning. Many of them are long and hard to read, so have not been translated for Westerners.

However, there is a very nice commentary by the great Tibetan author Padma Karpo, which takes the approach of inserting sufficient words into the text that its meaning is clarified while not adding so many words that they detract from the original. This type of commentary is called an interspersed commentary because it takes the words of the text bit by bit, adding a word or words here and there as needed to clarify the text. In this way, Padma Karpo gives us a particularly useful guide to Shantideva’s work, one that is useful to scholars, but especially useful to the average person who would simply like to understand this brilliant piece of work better.

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Shantideva’s work was written in Sanskrit verse, which usually does not go easily into Tibetan (and the same is true of English). Padma Karpo, knowing this, did not try to render Shantideva’s work in verse but turned it into prose. The prose form with clarifying words included reveals a new dimension of meaning in the prayer that is not gained from reading existing translations of the text.

One of the special features of Padma Karpo’s commentary is that it gives a very long commentary to the especially famous ninth chapter, the chapter on prajna. This part of the commentary is particularly useful for practitioners wanting to study the Madhyamaka or Middle Way teachings.

The book contains a translation of the following texts:
Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva by Shantideva
An Interspersed Commentary on Entering the Conduct, Called “A Lamp for the Path of the Middle Way” by the fourth Drukchen, All-Knowing Padma Karpo

Download Tibetan text in TibetD format: • available here

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 3 Write a review »

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Highly recommend! January 11, 2022
Reviewer: Bill  
I purchased this book and highly recommend it to any one serious about "Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisatva". There are relatively many English translations of Shantideva's Bodhisatvacharyavatara and even more partial translations. I have several of them. This one is a bit different. There is a very short introduction that only covers the bare necessities followed by an exceedingly straightforward prose translation forsaking any rhyme or constraints on line count and no footnotes. Yet it reads aloud very nicely, which is important. You can recite this text in English! Separate from the translated text is a commentary by Padma Karpo. Much of the commentary is not technical and with a little thought elucidates Shantideva’s text. There are useful footnotes for the commentary but the translator lets the text speak for itself. But warning: the ninth chapter is daunting and requires multiple reads. Read the ninth chapter with the help of the commentary.

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  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Very clear and patient translation and commentary January 10, 2022
Reviewer: Robert  
This particular translation of Shantideva's classic text, together with the wonderful commentary by
Padma Karpo and additional helpful notes for students and teachers by the translator himself, makes deep
study of the bodhisatva path more possible. It is the first version of this text, for me, which has facilitated
study and contemplation of the entire text, including the difficult chapter 9, the famous “wisdom” chapter.
I had never thought to chant the text with others, but this presentation facilitates that as well, which can be
a real help to study groups. For me, this time around, a number of obscurities were clarified,
misconceptions were corrected, and parts of the text which I had no clue how to approach were made
accessible through this very clear and patient translation and commentary.

This translation is unique in a number of ways, not the least of which is the inclusion of the great
commentary by the Drukpa Kagyu master Padma Karpo. Previous translations of this text have relied on
other sources, and Padma Karpo's offerings are especially rich and clear.

In translation work, the accurate meaning of words and their contexts is very important. Tony Duff makes
a special point, not only in the accuracy of translation, but explaining the meaning of technical terms in a
straightforward way, especially when they differ from previous translations. In general, translations of
classic texts by Tony Duff are aimed at serious student-practitioners who are interested in accuracy,
contemplation, practice and study. "Serious" does not necessarily mean experienced or well-read – just
people who take care and interest in understanding and practicing with what they read. He does translate
for a broader audience, of course, but he also translates for the sake of his students, which brings a special
level of care and consideration to this work. This text has passed the test of being helpful to a number of
his students with different capacities, experience, and levels of sophistication, and final revisions were
made by Tony Duff in the context of actual feedback he was receiving from students studying with him.

Students who are interested in buddhadharma could do well to dip into this translation of this classic
Indian text, as well as other translations by Tony Duff. He also offers classes from time to time using the
texts he translates. It is rare to encounter study opportunities which are facilitated by someone which such
depth of study, practice, and skill in teaching, and who himself encourages students to mix study with
practice in the way that other authentic teachers do and have done in the past.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Incredible gift to the world January 10, 2022
Reviewer: Zach  
I cannot say enough good things about this text. This translation of the bodhisatvacaryavatara is of the highest quality and the interspersed commentary by the All-Knowing Padma Karpo beautifully and seamlessly illuminates the good qualities of enlightenment mind and the conduct of a bodhisatva as presented by Shantideva. The recitation chapters are invaluable from a practice standpoint for cultivating the Great Vehicle teachings. And typically, the ninth chapter (prajna) is especially difficult to comprehend, even for great masters, but this text makes it clear and truly increases prajna through studying it. I highly recommend this book.
"Someone who wants to defeat his own abundant sufferings of becoming and wants to dispel the unhappiness of sentient beings, and who wishes that all others will live in abundant happiness will never let go of the enlightenment mind"

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