Self Study Questions for Bodhicharyavatara, Chapter 4

This is a set of questions you can use to self assess your knowledge and understanding of the teachings relating to the fourth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara, Carefulness. Please feel free to use these questions as you find helpful.

You may answer these questions either from your memory alone or by referring to the materials you have available. Answers can be found in the video teachings listed below, but you can also refer to the root text The Way of the Bodhisattva, the transcript of Rinpoche’s teachings from 1997-2001 or the commentary book by Khenpo Kunpal, and the seven videos of Questions and Answers on Chapter 4.

BA4_1 Carefulness
BA4_2-12 Preventing Our Bodhichitta Aspiration from Degenerating
BA4_12-20 Diligence and Precious Human Life
BA4_21-27 The Sufferings of Samsara & The Need to Seize the Opportunity
BA4_28-32 Reflecting on the Faults of Negative Emotions
BA4_33-35 More on the Faults of Negative Emotions
BA4_36-43 Enduring the Hardships
BA4_43-48 How to Get Rid of the Defilements


Chapter 4 Questions

1. The Bodhicharyavatara can be divided to four main parts. The first three chapters form part one, which is about generating bodhichitta where bodhichitta has not yet arisen. The second part consists of chapters 4-6.  What is it about?  (Video BA4_1)

2. The first three chapters explored the bodhichitta aspiration. The fourth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara begins the section on discipline. The title of this chapter is, in Tibetan, pag yü, which is translated here as Carefulness. What is pag yü, carefulness/heedfulness? What might this mean to you in your daily life? (Videos BA4_1, BA4_43-48)

3. What are the three main points, given in this chapter, to be considered regarding our practice of carefulness? (Video BA4_2-12)

4. What are the two main things to be careful of in the training itself? (Videos BA4_2-12, BA4_12-20)

5. What are the reasons why we should keep the bodhichitta aspiration from degenerating, and why is wavering in this aspiration not helpful? (Video BA4_2-12)

6. What are the three points to take into consideration when reflecting on our precious human life? (Video BA4_12-20)

7. In your opinion, why is it so necessary to reflect on the sufferings of samsara, the faults of the negative emotions and the necessity to seize the opportunity. Why do we need such a passionate attitude as proclaimed by Shantideva in these stanzas? (Videos BA4_21-27, BA4_28-32, BA4_33-35, BA4_36-43, BA4_43-48)

8. What are the three points to contemplate when examining the kleshas we wish to free ourselves of? (Video BA4_28-32)

9. How are the negative emotions different from any common enemies we might have and why are they so harmful? (Videos BA4_28-32, BA4_33-35, BA4_36-43)

10. What is our primary tool or weapon against the kleshas, our negative emotions? Elaborate on how it is possible to get rid of such powerful enemies. (Video BA4_43-48)

11. What can be taken as a measure of the effect of our practice? If you like, you can reflect on Gampopa’s words:  “Don’t do Dharma practice as work, do it as transformation.”  (Videos BA4_33-35, BA4_43-48)

12. In the light of these teachings what do you see as your enemy and how do you feel you are working on it with carefulness and presence of mind, considering all the points given in Chapter 4?


Download the Self Study Questions for Chapter 4 as a pdf file 

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