noun \ˌbō-di-ˈsət-və, -ˈsät-\

Definition of BODHISATTVA

:  a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshipped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism


bo·dhi·satt·va or bod·dhi·satt·va \ˌbō-di-ˈsət-və, -ˈsät-\


Sanskrit bodhisattva one whose essence is enlightenment, from bodhi enlightenment + sattva being — more at bid
First Known Use: 1828


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Term for the historical Buddha Gautama prior to his enlightenment as well as for other individuals destined to become buddhas. In Mahayana Buddhism the bodhisattva postpones attainment of nirvana in order to alleviate the suffering of others. The ideal supplanted the Theravada Buddhist ideals of the arhat and the self-enlightened buddha, which Mahayana deemed selfish. The number of bodhisattvas is theoretically limitless, and the title has been applied to great scholars, teachers, and Buddhist kings. Celestial bodhisattvas (e.g., Avalokitesvara) are considered manifestations of the eternal Buddha and serve as savior figures and objects of personal devotion, especially in East Asia.


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