Becoming Bodhisattvas: A Guidebook for Compassionate Action by Pema Chödrön is a book that guides the reader through the study and application of The Way of the Bodhisattva, which was written in the eighth century by Shantideva. The Way of the Bodhisattva is a much-loved guide to enlightened living and how we might commit ourselves to living as a bodhisattva warrior in order to transform both ourselves and the world we live in. Most of the available commentaries on this centuries-old text are quite scholarly in nature, and can therefore be challenging for the modern reader, but in Becoming Bodhisattvas, Pema Chödrön leads us on an exploration which is much more accessible.
As those of you who are already familiar with her work will be aware, Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun who has a remarkable ability to convey the deepest of spiritual truths in a friendly and down-to-earth way. That style of writing is apparent throughout this title and gives the reader the feeling of being led through Shantideva’s text by a wise, caring and knowledgeable friend.
Originally published under the title, No Time to Lose, Becoming Bodhisattvas opens with an introduction to Pema’s relationship with The Way of the Bodhisattva, as well as to Shantideva himself and the terrain which his famous text covers. With that orientation in place, the journey of discovery begins.
The approach taken in this book has a naturally comfortable pattern in which Pema walks us through The Way of the Bodhisattva from beginning to end, giving a brief overview of each chapter and then taking each verse in turn and providing her own informal commentary on it. This gentle and systematic exploration of Shantideva’s text is a pleasure to experience, and takes the reader on a journey that they will want to enjoy slowly. It is also a journey that we imagine most readers will want to take again and again, and that makes Becoming Bodhisattvas a title which will, for many, become a lifelong and much-loved companion.
We thank Pema Chödrön for sharing her valuable knowledge of The Way of the Bodhisattva, and would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to commit themselves to the path of the compassionate warrior.