Shantideva's presentation of the methods to harmonize one's own way of life with the Bodhisattva ideal begins with a praise of the spirit of awakening, the Bodhisattva's altruistic aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all beings. In the chapters that follow, Shantideva inspires the reader to cultivate each of the six perfections that provide the basis for the Bodhisattva way of life -- generosity, ethics, patience, zeal, meditative concentration and wisdom.
Just as earth and other elements are useful in various ways to innumerable sentient beings dwelling throughout infinite space,
So may I be in various ways a source of life for the sentient beings present throughout space until they are all liberated. --From Chapter III.