Buddhist blessing

By Nigel Benson, Otago Daily Times, 6 Jan 2014

The house is on fire and you can only grab one thing on your way out. What would it be? Nigel Benson grills a local on his favourite thing.

<< Peter Small with the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva. Photo by Nigel Benson.

What is your favourite possession? Just an old book.

Why? It was written about 1200 years ago and has been lovingly translated from Sanskrit to Tibetan and now English and preserved by being studied by generations of Buddhists, because it is so thoughtful and challenging.

How did you get it? A friend gave it to me. This translation is from a teaching given in India in the 1970s by my first lama, Geshe Dhargyey.

What is it made of? It is a hardback edition. I haven't seen any other hardback copies.

How old is it? 35 years or 1300, depending on how you look at it.

Where do you keep it? On my bedside table.

What's it worth? About $30.

Is it insured? It is my insurance.

Could you get another one? Maybe, but it would take a long time.

Does it have a name? Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva.