Some Self Study Questions for the Bodhicharyavatara, Chapter 5

Last week we finished the Fifth Chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara, Vigilant Introspection. The New Year will begin with a new chapter — Chapter 6, Patience — which we will start next weekend.

This is again a set of questions you can use to self assess your knowledge and understanding of the teachings relating to the chapter we have just studied through. Please feel free to use these questions as you find helpful. Here you can download them as a pdf file.

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.

BA5_1             Vigilant Introspection
BA5_2-8        How All Harm Comes from Our Mind
BA5_9-12      How All Good Things Come from Our Mind
BA5_13-17    Mind Is the Source of All Positive Things
BA5_18-22   Resolving to Guard the Mind
BA5_23          Maintaining Mindfulness and Introspection
BA5_24-28   The Disadvantages of Not Having Awareness
BA5_29-33   How to Practice Vigilant Introspection
BA5_34-44   Maintaining the Purity of Our Actions
BA5_45-49   Protecting the Training from Declining. Part 1
BA5_50-53   Protecting the Training from Declining. Part 2
BA5_54-55   The Nine Points of Practicing Virtue
BA5_56-58   Maintaining the Discipline of Refraining from Negativity
BA5_59-70   Lessening Our Attachment to Our Body in Order to Accumulate More Positive Actions
BA5_71-75    How to Accumulate More Positive Deeds. Part 1
BA5_76-83   How to Accumulate More Positive Deeds. Part 2
BA5_84-90   How to Work for the Benefit of Others. Part 1
BA5_91-96    How to Work for the Benefit of Others. Part 2
BA5_97-109 Additional Instructions & Conclusion

Chapter 5 Questions


Questions 1 – 2 (BA5_1)

1.    What are the 4 main sections or topics of the Fifth Chapter, Vigilant Introspection, as outlined in teaching BA5_1?

2.    Why is it so important to have this vigilant introspection/awareness of what is going on within our mind?


Questions 3 – 4 (BA5_2-8, BA5_9-12, BA5_13-17)

3.      What are the three points in the above mentioned section 1? (BA5_2-8)

4.      “The Six Paramitas also come from the mind.” Elaborate on this in the context of the Fifth Chapter. (BA5_9-12, BA5_13-17)


Questions 5 – 8 (BA5_23, BA5_24-28, BA5_29-33 , BA5_34-44 , BA5_45-49 , BA5_50-53, BA5_54-58)

Concerning section 3:

5.      What is mindfulness and what is introspection/awareness, in terms of the Fifth Chapter? (BA5_23) What kind of disadvantages will follow if we don’t have them? (BA5_24-28)

6.      What are the three shilas of Mahayana discipline? (BA5_34-44)

Concerning the first shila:

7.     What are the 27 Sources of Misconduct that we should be mindful and aware of? (BA5_45-49, BA5_50-53) Why should we “remain like a log” in these and other similar situations? (From BA5_34-44 onwards)

8.     What are the Nine Points of Practicing Virtue that Shantideva gives as a guideline? (BA5_54-58)


Questions 9-10 (BA5_59-70, BA5_71-75, BA5_76-83)

Concerning  the second shila:

9.     Elaborate on some of the actions listed as accumulation practices. (BA5_71-75, BA5_76-83)

10.   What are the field of excellence, field of benefit and field of sorrow? (BA5_76-83)


Questions 11 – 12 (BA5_84-90, BA_91-96)

Concerning the third shila:

11.    What are the 3 points explained regarding the third shila? (BA5_ 84-90, BA5_ 91-96)

12.    Describe how to practice one day as a whole life cycle. (BA5_91-96)


Question 13 (BA5_97-109 and the whole chapter)


13.    While studying this chapter, have you become more aware of your actions and reactions of body, speech and mind? Have you applied some of the given practices, and/or used your daily life situations as a way of practice? Reflect on your experience.



1 thought on “Some Self Study Questions for the Bodhicharyavatara, Chapter 5

  1. van hoorn marlou

    Thank you for the ‘test’-questions. It is good to go over all the verses again and see how and what I understood, rememberd from them. It became much more clear, the difference between knowing what is virtuous and what not. And how to become more aware of the consequences and third…how to guard the mind even if among a busy crowd, in all kind of different situations and or alone. I see how and where I tend to forget, and am driven by not so good habits, like a first impulsive reaction (of self-defence) f.i out of pride, or self-interest, anger or lust… so much attached to my seemingly existing body and even the seemingly beautiful body of others:) Question: Does anyone has an advice on where to find and read some of the sutras mentionned in the last verses. like f.i. the Compendium of all Practices. Thank you, with pleasure!

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