Atiśa’s Essence of Bodhisattva Vows (bodhisatvasaṃvarahṛdaya)

Atiśa’s Essence of Bodhisattva Vows (bodhisatvasaṃvarahṛdaya)

2023, Manuscripts for Life -Essays in Memory of Seishi KARASHIMA
This paper provides an analysis and translation of Atiśa Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna’s (982–1054 CE) The Essence of Bodhisattva Vows (bodhisatvasaṃvarahṛdaya). The Essence of Bodhisattva Vows is introduced with a brief overview explaining its relation to Atiśa’s Stages of the Path to Awakening (byang chub lam gyi rim pa ≈ *bodhipathakrama) and the work’s textual influences including the Bodhisattvabhūmi. The eighteen downfalls and forty-six faulty actions of bodhisattvas listed within The Essence of Bodhisattva Vows are also discussed. The introduction is followed by a Tibetan diplomatic edition and English translation of this previously unknown work.
Dedication: To Seishi Karashima-sensei, who always took the time to provide guidance in my research endeavors.

The Ten Worlds of Tiantai Zhiyi within Atiśa’s Stages of the Path.

The Tiantai master Zhiyi (智顗, 538-597 CE) is famous for popularizing the Buddhist cosmological concept of the ten worlds (十界, shijie) while the Indian Buddhist paṇḍita  from Bengal, Atiśa Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna (982-1054 CE), is celebrated for his stages of the path (lam rim) system. The ten worlds of Zhiyi are constituted by six realms (六道) and four noble ways (四聖). Atiśa’s system, onthe other hand, articulates a series of stages of realizations made by three types of spiritual individuals, those of small, medium, and superior spiritual capacity. This paper compares how the ten worlds as conceived by Zhiyi are related to Atiśa’s Buddhist cosmology as found in his Stages of the Path (byang chub lam gyi rim  pa). The paper also examines the points of difference between the two Buddhist cosmologies to illustrate important distinctions between these select examples of Indian Buddhist and East Asia Buddhist soteriology.
Dr. James B. Apple

From Basketball to Buddhism: Jim’s journey

James B. Apple: Stairway to Atiśa (#149)

James B. Apple: Stairway to Atiśa (#149)


This episode of the Wisdom Podcast features James B. Apple, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary. James’ research focuses upon critical analysis of Mahāyāna sūtras and topics within Indian and Tibetan Buddhist scholasticism. His numerous books and articles include Stairway to NirvāṇaA Stairway taken by the LucidJewels of the Middle WayAtiśa Dīpaṃkara Illuminator of the Awakened Mind, and An Old Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscript of the Avaivartikacakrasūtra.

In this episode, host Daniel Aitken and James discuss

  • how college athletics set James on his path to Buddhism and academia;
  • his investigations into the root of suffering with teachers such as Bhante Gunaratana, Gelek Rinpoche, and Geshe Lhundub Sopa;
  • the unique lineage and views of the highly influential Indian master Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna;
  • fine points of Atiśa’s contemplative Madhyamaka philosophy and emphasis on meditation;
  • Kadampa systems of Tantric practice and the Twenty-One Taras;
  • Atiśa’s Mahamudra lineage and interactions with some of the Mahasiddhas;
  • the secret stages of the path of Dromtonpa;
  • and much more

James Apple, “one of the foremost scholars of Atisha and his works.”

A review of Atisa Dipamkara by Dr. Renee L Ford in Himalaya, Fall 2021

In the Fall 2021 issue of Himalaya, Vol 40, Number 2, pp 159-160,
Renee L Ford published a detailed and illuminating review of Atisa
Dipamkara: Illuminator of the Awakened Mind. 
She succinctly explains
the book’s organization and reviews the concepts and structure.
Dr. Ford is a part-time lecturer at the University of North Carolina
at Wilmington and a project assistant for The Oral History of
Tibetan Studies at the University of Oxford.  The link is below:

Ford 2021 Review of Atiśa Dipamkara Illuminator of the Awakened Mind