The Dalai Lama has said his deepest spiritual aspiration comes from these words from the Bodhicaryavatara:
‘As long as space abides, and as long as beings abide, so long may I abide, destroying the sufferings of this world.’
Can we let ourselves take in the radical vision of the Bodhisattva, the aspiration to live for the benefit of all - even when we feel we may be so far away from it ourselves? And can we engage with the Bodhicaryavatara’s pragmatic path of transformation? During this week, we will explore how to engage our intelligence, our heart, and our soul and guts, as Shantideva does. The retreat will include talks, discussion groups, ritual and meditation, to find out how can we bring ourselves, just as we are, and our highest aspirations together onto the path to awakening.
What I love about the Bodhicaryavatara is that it’s so passionate - the Dharma life as a passionate quest. Yet it’s also so clear, practical and down-to-earth, offering us different antidotes, different medicines to transform our practice in our everyday lives.
Shantideva composed the spiritual classic ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva Path’ in the 8th century, but this ancient text speaks to me whether I’m on the heights of inspiration or in the depths of greed, hatred and delusion. Whenever I meet this text, I feel Shantideva is speaking from alongside me on the path. Sometimes he’s angry, lustful, afraid, stupid, dispirited - and sometimes so am I. But Shantideva never loses the bigger vision, his aspiration to gain Enlightenment for the sake of all that lives. He’s always in touch with the vision of total transformation - our potential to become ‘the priceless image of the Buddha-gem’. What would our lives look like if we were genuinely able to live for the benefit of all?