New Mandala readers with interests in the pre-modern history of Southeast Asia will find some interesting material and arguments emanating from the Bodhicaryavatara Historical Project. The project’s starting point is that:
Although there has been quite a bit of confusion in regard to the historical Acharya Shantideva, including questions about the original number of chapters and various dates assigned to the Bodhicaryavatara, this is more related to a politically motivated preference for the Tibetan tradition and a failure within Buddhist scholarship to examine the history of southeastern Bangladesh, the region which has always been associated with Acharya Shantideva.
Because of this, the Ven. Master Shan-jian Da-shi and the regents of the Mahabodhi Sunyata Seminario de España established the Bodhicaryavatara Historical Project (BHP), not only to document what is known about the historical Acharya Shantideva and the composition of the Bodhicaryavatara, but also to evaluate the academic research of the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project, with the Ven. J.M. Dharmakara Boda (Shan-tao Shi-Ixong), the guardian of the Shantideva Society, serving as the project’s exectutive director.
The Ven. Dharmakara has also written a book titled The Kingdom of the Bodhisattvas which will soon be published. It “reconstructs the history of the Deva dynasty from authenticated sources and years of personal research, painting a vivid picture of the capital city at Devaparvata (Skt., the mountain of the gods) with it’s commanding view of the mountains of Tripura”.