The Bodhisattva's Way of Life: The Bodhisattva (Bodhi = Awakened; sattva = being) takes a path focused on altruism for the benefit of others, and indirectly for themselves. The principle is found as early as the Pali Tradition, but was emphasized in the Mahayana and is also important in Vajrayana. The classic text is A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life by Shantideva (several translations are available in English). The text is based on the core practices of the Six Perfections: generosity, ethical discipline, patience, diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom. It has been described as "the essence of all of Buddhism."

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Bodhicitta, the excellent and precious mind,
Where it is unborn, may it arise.
Where it is born, may it not decline
But ever increase higher and higher.

According to the legend, Shantideva was originally regarded as a lazy person by his fellow monks at the famous Nalanda (Buddhist) University around the seventh century. Not knowing that he was an enlightened being, they devised a scheme to embarrass him into leaving the university. They were sure that he would not be able to expound upon the Buddhist scriptures, so they requested that he teach. Shantideva agreed, gave the teaching, displayed miraculous powers, and disappeared into the sky. The words he spoke were later written down as the well-known Bodhisattva's Way of Life. His Holiness the Dalai Lama often says that his religion is lovingkindness and compassion, an expression of action Bodhicitta to benefit all beings.