Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In the Siksasamuccaya Santideva, a Madhyamika philosopher of the early eighth century A.D., builds upon the philosophy of sunyata (emptiness) to demonstrate its practical implications in religious life. In his portrayal of the Bodhisattva Santideva focuses on this religious hero's ascent from imperfection toward the realisation of prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom. Wisdom, philosophically the end of all false ideas about reality, in the sphere of behaviour is an ethical ideal characterised by compassion and altruism. The Bodhisattva is one who has mastered wisdom and whose conduct is permeated with this ethical ideal. Santideva's presentation of the Bodhisattva is not ,limited to the ideal, but also explores the many levels of achievement through which an aspiring novice-Bodhisattva must progress toward fulfilment of the ideal. Though Santideva refers to certain levels in a Bodhisattva's development and to certain turning points in his career these factors as presented in the Siksa do not explain how Santideva understands the novice-Bodhisattva in terms of the ideal. The concept of bodhicitta, the thought of enlightenment which all Bodhisattvas possess, parallels in its development with the Bodhisattva's development, and as a possible equivalent to wisdom itself serves to link the imperfect to the ideal. Santideva's use of comparison between the imperfect and the ideal suggests that his presentation of the Bodhisattva is designed to encourage novice-Bodhisattvas to strive for perfection. The themes of teaching, example, and purpose indicate that Santideva's understanding of the Bodhisattva and wisdom which the ideal of moral perfection and wisdom has effect in the imperfect world.
Bastien, Leigh Ann, "THE BODHISATTVA AND THE IDEAL OF MORAL WISDOM IN SANTIDEVA'S SIKSASAMUCCAYA" (1982). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5626.
McMaster University Library