Bodhisattva Vow: an oral teaching
Bodhisattvas, the great beings of Mahayana Buddhism, are those who have generated bodhicitta, resolving to gain enlightenment in order to bring about lasting happiness for all living beings. This volume of oral teachings by Geshe Sonam Rinchen explains this altruistic wish to attain enlightenment and the precepts of training which accompany it.
Implementing the resolve to gain enlightenment for the sake of all living creatures involves engaging in the marvelous activities of Bodhisattvas. In order to engage in these activities and live the life of an authentic Bodhisattva, one takes the Bodhisattva vow.
Before His Holiness the Dalai Lama bestows the Bodhisattva vow, he often teaches the short text known as the Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow by the Indian master Chandragomin. Chandragomin's text discusses some of the most important features regarding the vow, such as from whom it should be taken, how one should prepare for receiving it, what constitutes transgressions of the vow, and how they should be purified. In clear and accessible terms, Geshe Sonam Rinchen explains how to take and then safeguard the Bodhisattva vow.
Geshe Sonam Rinchen was born in Tibet in 1933. He studied at Sera Je Monastery and in 1980 received the Lharampa Geshe degree. He is currently resident scholar at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, where he teaches Buddhist philosophy and practice. Ruth Sonam has worked as his interpreter since 1983.