Study Questions on the Bodhicharyavatara - Here you can test your knowledge of [the first 4 chapters of] Shantideva's classic text, the Bodhicharyavatara.
- What does the title Bodhicharyavatara mean?
- The first three verses of the text contain four important points. What are they?
- Give the outline of the main body of the text according to the four-line bodhichitta prayer.
- How do the ten chapters of the text relate to the six paramitas?
- Give the general structure for the first chapter.
- What is the purpose of this chapter?
- Why is Bodhichitta superior to all other virtues?
- What happens to our identity when we give rise to Bodhichitta?
- Give the five examples (or images) which describe the benefits of Bodhichitta.
- What do these examples mean?
- What is the limit to the merit of bodhichitta in aspiration?
- How are benefits of bodhichitta proven by scripture?
- What is the reasoning which demonstrates the benefit of bodhichitta in aspiration?
- Why is a person who practises bodhichitta great?
- How can it be that to harm a bodhisattva leads to rebirth in hell yet any connection with a bodhisattva is beneficial?
- What is the point of reflecting on the benefits of bodhichitta?
- What are the four main topics of chapter 2? And how do they support the generation of Bodhichitta?
- Why is it important to make offerings in this context?
- To make the very best of offerings they should be made with the three purities. What are they?
- How is it possible for us to offer things that we do not own?
- What are the different types of offering made by Shantideva?
- Why does refuge come at this point in the text?
- What are the four powers of confession in the order presented in this text?
- Why is it necessary to confess our faults swiftly?
- What are the eight branches for accumulating merit taught in the Bodhicharyavatara?
- What are the three kinds of virtues one can rejoice in?
- What is the result of requesting the Buddhas to turn the wheel of the Dharma?
- Why is mind training presented before the Bodhisattva vow?
- What are the three foundations of ego-clinging?
- Bodhisattvas’ prayers are so sublime that it seems unlikely that they can become reality. What is their purpose?
- In which verse is the reasoned demonstration of the need for mind training explained?
- Why is it best to take the bodhichitta vow from a fully qualified teacher?
- When do you actually receive the Bodhichitta Vow and what kind of conviction should be born at that moment?
- What are the two traditions for taking the bodhisattva vow?
- Who are the two masters who founded them?
- Which two verses constitute the actual vow of Bodhichitta?
- What are the benefits of training “progressively” or “step by step”?
- Why should we rejoice after having generated bodhichitta?
- What are the definitions of emotional and cognitive obscurations?
- What is carefulness and why do we need to practise it?
- Which three factors make the practice of discipline possible?
- What are the Bodhisattva precepts in general?
- What are the three main topics we reflect on in order to develop carefulness?
- How does reflecting on the precious human birth encourage us to take care in our actions?
- What is it that makes us squander this immensely rare and precious human life?
- Why are destructive emotions more harmful than any other enemy?
- Overcoming our negative emotions may result in hardships. What should be our attitude in this case?
- How do we eliminate our destructive emotions?
- Why are destructive emotions weak?
- What does it mean in this context to be like a lion and not like a dog?