Shantideva never sounded like this!, or, Glass Compassion (Movement 8)

As a tie-in with Khandro Rinpoche’s teachings on the Bodhicharyavatara, I thought it would be cool to include Movement Eight of Symphony No. 5: Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakaya by ‘New York Minimalist Composer Phillip Glass *‘ which draws most of the words of the choral piece from Chapter 3 of Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara which Khandro Rinpoche specifically stressed should be brought into the continuum of one’s being.

Mr. Glass also uses words from Chinese philosopher Mencius and from a 1st Century wandering ascetic Rabbi that seem to be conveniently ‘forgotten’ by some of his supposed modern-day followers.


All people have the heart
which cannot bear to see the sufferings of others.

– Mencius 2.A.6

Gladly do I rejoice
In the virtue that relieves the misery
Of all those who suffer
And place them in happiness.

Thus by the virtue collected
Through all that I have done,
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.

May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Til everyone is healed.

May a rain of food and drink descend
To clear away the pain of thirst and hunger
And during the aeons of famine
May I myself change into food and drink.

May I become an inexhaustible treasure
For those who are poor and destitute;
May I turn into all the things they could need
And may these be placed close beside them.

– Bodhicharyavatara 3:1, 7-10

The heart of compassion
Is the seed of benevolence.

– Mencius 2.A.6

May I be protector for those without one,
A guide for all travelers on the way;
[May I be] a bridge, a boat and a ship
For all who wish to cross the water.

May I be an island for those who seek one
And a lamp for those wishing light,
[May I be] a bed for all who wish to rest
And a slave for all who want a slave.

May I be a wishing jewel, a magic vase,
Powerful mantras and great medicine,
[May I become] a wish-fulfilling tree
And a cow of plenty for the world.

Just like space
And the great elements such as earth,
May I always support the life
Of all the boundless creatures.

And until they pass away from pain
May I also be the source of life
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach unto the ends of space.

– Bodhicharyavatara 3:18-22

I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you covered me,
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.

Truly I say to you, as you did it
for the least of [these] my brothers and sisters
You did it for me.

– Matthew 25: 35-36, 40

* As Philip Glass was described on the episode of ‘South Park’ on which he appeared, to great comedic effect.

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Filed under black swan, Dharma teachings

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