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But royal birth was a standard feature of Indian Buddhist hagiographies, possibly because the historical Buddha himself was the son of a rāja, so there is some reason to be skeptical of this aspect of his biography.Scholars of Indian history before the second millennium are often frustrated by our lack of reliable and precise chronological information; and so it is for the dates of Śāntideva.Two major works are unanimously attributed to Śāntideva.
On the day of the festival, Śāntideva ascended the throne and asked the audience whether they would like to hear something old or something new; or in other words, whether he should recite something he had memorized, or an original composition of his own.
Perhaps in amusement, the monks asked for something new, and Śāntideva began the first-ever recitation of the .
No doubt the audience would have been surprised to hear their lazy fellow-student present one of the greatest works of poetry ever composed in the Sanskrit language.
Some highly respected scholars (including Harrison in his 2007) argue that the shorter version of about seven hundred verses, sometimes known as the also contains many verses, including twenty-seven “root verses” that express important themes of the book, and numerous others composed by Śāntideva or quoted from sources; but these verses are scattered unevenly through a quite long prose text.
The now-standard way to cite passages from the is associated with a famous legend of Śāntideva’s life, recounted by Butön (2013: 258–259) and often retold in Tibetan religious contexts.