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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 ?
In Tibetan Chenrezig (sPyan ras gzigs), one of the eight principal Boddhisatvas, considered the principal protector of Tibet, shown as holding a white lotus.
They depict people who have entered into a kind of happiness different from the kind determined simply by what we do ourselves, and it is also different, in ways that deserve exploration, from the beatitude depicted in images of the Buddha and his attendant Boddhisatvas.
According to Tibetan Buddhist theology, spiritually advanced beings known as boddhisatvas are said to choose the circumstances of their births so they can do the most good for others.