bo·​dhi·​satt·​va ˌbō-di-ˈsət-və How to pronounce bodhisattva (audio) -ˈsät- How to pronounce bodhisattva (audio)
variants or boddhisattva
: a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshipped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism

Examples of bodhisattva in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That’s because there’s a bodhisattva among them. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 23 Nov. 2021 Six represent the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, while the other five likely depict Tara, who is known as a deity in Hinduism and a female bodhisattva—central figures who delay personal enlightenment in order to offer earthbound worshippers salvation—or Buddha in different Buddhist traditions. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Feb. 2021 Loo was dubious about a Tang Dynasty statue of a bodhisattva, bought by the Meyers and included here. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2022 Yeoh portrays Guanyin, Wei-Chen's unassuming auntie who helps her nephew navigate the challenges of high school — all while maintaining a secret identity as the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion. Jessica Wang,, 11 Sep. 2022 The actress plays a character named Guanyin, who helps her nephew navigate the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion. Clark Collis,, 12 Apr. 2022 Such lavish adornment identifies him as a bodhisattva, a being committed to helping others reach spiritual enlightenment. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2020 Gwaneum, also known as Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, is the most popular bodhisattva in East Asia. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, 18 Oct. 2019 Hike through lush cedar forests, passing old tea houses which provided rest to pilgrims until the early 20th century, and small jizo bodhisattva statues placed by locals to protect travelers. National Geographic, 12 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bodhisattva.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Sanskrit bodhisattva one whose essence is enlightenment, from bodhi enlightenment + sattva being — more at bid entry 1

First Known Use

1801, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bodhisattva was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near bodhisattva

Cite this Entry

“Bodhisattva.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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