Friday, February 10, 2006

Complete Introduction to Chapter Nine of Bodhisattva Way Of Life

This is the opening lines in the ninth chapter of Master Shantideva's Bodhisattva Way of Life. You've seen the partial and the full translation before, but here's another translation of this verse.

The Able One has taught all these branches
For the sake of the Wisdom

This points out the importance of the Perfection of Wisdom, it is the tool that will perfect the other five perfections.

Now, how this is interpreted, especially what is meant with 'all these branches', is the next step. Root texts such as this one is short and to the point, and there's a need to further elucidate the meaning. There are many cases where even the author of the root text has written an auto-commentary based on the text.

Looking at this from a higher point of view, all the teachings about the Perfection of Wisdom are in the Sutras, but to understand those you need to read about it in the commentaries by Indian masters. To understand such commentaries you need a second level of a commentary, in the Tibetan tradition by a Tibetan master who further explains this. We will use Khedrub Je's commentary on Bodhisattva Way of Life to see how he explains this verse. At the same time you get a taste of how to read and translate commentary texts.

No comments: