Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verse 127

Transglomeration: It is just this that both honours and delights the Tathāgatas, it is just this that also wins fulfilment of my own true purpose, it is just this that ends the suffering in the world, therefore it is just this which is my life-long Vow and practice.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 126 because Buddhas see the nature of beings as themselves
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 127 serving beings serves Buddhas serves my own ends ending suffering = my Vow & practice

Text: Sanskrit has this verse as ‘my Vow’; Tibetan has it as ‘I shall always practise it’ – they are saying the same thing, Sanskrit names it from the point of view of the result (the Vow – vrata), Tibetan describes it from the point of view of maintaining the Vow (what else do you do with vows in order for it to be named the Vow you have taken…?)

Abstract: being the benefitting of beings by recognising and responding to their true nature as being identical with the compassion of the Buddhas … pleases the Buddhas, source of infinite personal virtue, dispels the suffering of the world

Reflection: Geshe Kelsang makes it explicit (in Meaningful to Behold), but what is otherwise referred to as a ‘Vow’ or ‘my Practice’ is actually keeping patience with beings and holding them as the same nature as the Buddhas in compassion, which is the other side of the coin of practising patience

Embroidery: is this Vow different from the Bodhichitta Vow taken in chapter 3: no, this is the very same Vow, but that the practice of patience, now, has enhanced and deepened it; the Perfections in general are the practice of that self-same Vow (‘… may I become a fully Enlightened Buddha in order to benefit all migrating beings’), which practice implements and deepens the Vow, each in their particular ways (giving, discipline etc.); the practice of patience is based both on developing the understanding that everything is subject to causes and conditions (and therefore there is no basis on which to get angry – so this stops anger) and (and this makes it the practice of the Perfection of Patience) realising the nature of sentient beings is that they are embraced by the compassion of the Buddhas; sentient beings are not just subject to causes and conditions rendering them like phantoms (cf. verse 31) and that’s all they are; they are also sentient, they want happiness and do not want suffering (a glimmer of that ultimate true nature of theirs (of ours) which is stuck in conditionality) and whose ultimately empty nature is infused with the compassion of the Buddhas; so they are more than phantom nuisances who just keep pushing my buttons and stop me practising patience, damn them, there is much more to them than this; and this ‘infusion’ is not some boon or grace bestowed from benevolent ones who have chosen to bestow it (maybe on some, maybe not on others … is it a punishment if I don’t get this infusion …?), rather it cannot not be infused, the same as water being poured into a body of water will become water without any transformation (of the nature) of either the water added or the body of water to which it was added; therefore the recognition of the empty-and-compassion-infused nature of sentient beings (a wisdom) and the response to that recognition (by deepening one’s Vow through determining to benefit beings according to this empty-and-compassion-infused nature, rather than vie with them as rivals to my self-grasping/cherishing nature) like water pouring into water (a method) is dissolving that trichotomy, benefitting both myself and others; this is the Bodhichitta Vow; with this recognition (of beings’ and Buddhas’ nature) and commitment to see them and myself as of the same nature, I and all beings become like water in water and the Bodhichitta that has taken birth, increases infinitely

Determination: therefore “just this” will be my Vow and practice, certainly for the rest of this life, and hopefully with enough momentum for future existences too