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Mapping the Bodhicaryavatara' is an interpretive study of the great Mahayana ethical treatise focusing on Bodhisattvayana as it is variantly called. The Bodhicaryavatara is a world classic, and the author, Santidevais a hallowed name in Mahayana discourse, his views and ideas are regarded as of great authority, and the text is incorporated in the Tengyur, the Tibetan cannon of apocryphal writings.The Bodhicaryavatara is a philosophical poem, and the theme is the ethicised consciousness of a bodhisattva, the one who vows to dispel the misery of the human kind, and for that noble purpose alone he wishes to attain Buddhahood. His Holiness that the Dalai Lama's discourses are replete with inspiration drawn from Santideva's work.
The present study is an analytic-descriptive inquiry into the scope and extent of the paramitas or virtues, and how, when perfected, they lead to the apex of moral endeavour or prajna. The author seeks to situate the text in the continuum of the ethical thinking and literature of the East as well as the West, and even cutting across the so-called Theravada-Mahayana divide. In course of the study the author has raised points of doubt as regards conceptual linkages and ideas in Buddhist ethical thought and practice, and attempted to resolve the issues as well. This is a philosophical study with an East-West perspective in view.
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