Four Illusions Candrakirtis Advice to Travelers on the Bodhisattva Path
Author: Lang, Karen C.
Abstract: ?ryadevas Four Hundred Stanzas (Catu?ataka) is a Mah?y?na Buddhist text that describes the Bodhisattvas path toward enlightenment. In his commentary on this text, the Indian Buddhist philosopher Candrakiriti (c.550–650 c.e.) combines philosophical argument with the narration of popular stories to persuade beginners on the path of the value of the Buddhas teachings. In the first four chapters, Candrakiriti offers therapeutic advice to lay and monastic people on how to cope with death, suffering, lust, and egotism. Each chapter focuses on a different mistaken idea that must be abandoned by people who aspire to become Buddhas. Candrakiriti argues that people deceive themselves by believing in their immortality, in the pleasurable and pure nature of their bodies, and in the pride they take in themselves and their possessions. Part 1 of Four Illusions explores the broad range of his knowledge about Indian religious beliefs and practices, legal and political works, and the popular literature of his time, the Mah?bharata and the R?m?yana. Part 2 provides the first translation into a Western language of the first four chapters of Candrakiriti commentary on ?ryadevas Four Hundred Stanzas.