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n. Buddhism
An enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others.

[Sanskrit bodhisattvaḥ, one whose essence is enlightenment : bodhiḥ, perfect knowledge; see bheudh- in Indo-European roots + sattvam, essence, being (from sat-, existing; see es- in Indo-European roots).]


(ˌbəʊdɪˈsætvə; -wə; ˌbɒd-; ˌbəʊdiːˈsʌtvə)
(Buddhism) (in Mahayana Buddhism) a divine being worthy of nirvana who remains on the human plane to help men to salvation. Compare arhat
[Sanskrit, literally: one whose essence is enlightenment, from bodhi enlightenment + sattva essence]


(ˌboʊ dəˈsʌt və)

n., pl. -vas.
a Buddhist who has attained prajna, or Enlightenment, but who postpones Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment.
[1820–30; < Pali, Skt]


A person who vows to become a Buddha by leading a virtuous and wise life. At the highest level, this is a person who postpones entering nirvana by doing charitable work.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Bodhisattva - Buddhist worthy of nirvana who postpones it to help others
References in periodicals archive ?
Bosatsu - Year of the Dragon - Directed by Siddharth Ahluwalia
While she is the center of this triad with Fudo and Aizen, Faure takes a brief tangent to explore a network of deities centering on Amaterasu, among them, Memyo Bosatsu, Matouniang, Hayagriva, Oshirasama, Enmaten, Taga Myojin, and several others.
The principal statue, a Seated Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu (Ekadasamukha), is approximately three meters high, exhibiting overwhelming presence.
Half hidden among tall grasses and bushes, one still can discern a block of andesite covered with Bodhisattvas, twenty-five of them, cut in low relief: the Niju-go Bosatsu.