Shantideva expresses tremendous courage, which transcends all boundaries
of space and time, in a verse of his "Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life"
(Bodhicaryavatara). He writes:
As long as space endures,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world.
When the altruistic intention is supported by insight into emptiness, and
particularly by the direct realization of emptiness, one is said to have
attained the two dimensions of bodhichitta which are known as conventional and
ultimate bodhichitta. With both these practices of compassion and wisdom, the
practitioner has within his or her hands the complete method for attaining the
highest spiritual goal. Such a person is truly great and worthy of
If one is able to cultivate these spiritual qualities within oneself then,
as Chandrakirti writes very poetically in his Entry to the Middle Way
(Madhyamakavatara), with one wing of altruistic intention and another wing of
insight into emptiness, one can traverse the whole of space and soar beyond
the state of existence to the shores of fully enlightened buddhahood.
...make an effort to contemplate, study and meditate, but without any
shortsighted expectations. You should have the same attitude as Shantideva --
that as long as space exists you will remain to dispel suffering in the world.
When you have that kind of determination and courage to develop your capacity,
then a hundred years, an aeon, a million years are nothing to you.
Furthermore, you will not consider that the different human problems we have
here and there are in any way insurmountable. Such an attitude and vision
bring some kind of real inner strength.
-- H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama, in "Transforming the Mind: Teachings on
Generating Compassion", translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, edited by
Dominique Side and Geshe Thupten Jinpa.