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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).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Bodhisattva - Buddhist worthy of nirvana who postpones it to help others
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Another Vairocana spell brings Siva and his host of gods into the assembly and an extended duel ensues in which Vajrapani inflates himself into his wrathful Trailokyavijaya or 'conqueror of the three worlds' form, trades insults and intimidating displays with Siva in his equally wrathful Mahabhairava shape, until the Bodhisattva tramples the pan-Indic Hindu god and his consort Umadeva and 'kills' them, before reviving Siva in the Vajradhatu mandala as the Tathagata-bhasmesvara-nirghosa ('Buddha, soundless lord of ashes').
bodhisattva stretching by the river or the sleepwalking knife-thrower,
Truly Kathy is a bodhisattva in her heart and action.
(OTTAWA) In Buddhism, Tara is an important bodhisattva, a person who attains Buddhahood.
[Kannon is the Japanese name for the Buddhist Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion.
Hence, it was used to suggest the difficulties facing those who set forth on the bodhisattva path as well as to praise them for such aspiration.
difficult if I'm not a bodhisattva myself, to recognize one.
Mertz, he argues, was a Bodhisattva, master of "such sophisticated techniques as Senseless Bickering, Scathing Indifference, Bad Timing, Advanced Balding and the Five Secrets of Stinginess." There is, or was, a First Arachnid Church whose deadpan tracts honor "the Great Spider and the True Web," and there's probably a similar church out there devoted to t he Great Pumpkin, though I haven't been able to locate it yet.
A magnificent image of a Bodhisattva, that had survived the Civil War and which the museum put back on show in 2000, fell victim to the Taliban hardening in attitude and now stands as a shattered hulk -- smashed in 2001.
Among the masterpieces in the exhibition is the sixth-century statue of the "Bodhisattva Guanyin" from Qin'an County, just to the northwest of Maijishan.
With: Madhabi Mukherjee, Pradeep Mukherjee, Alakananda Roy, Arpita Pal, Bodhisattva Mazumdar, Anuradha Roy, Vinit Ranjan Maitra, Mamata Shankar, Ratul Shankar Ghosh, Rituparna Sengupta, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Dipankar Dey.
The suit was filed by five residents in the village over the 6-meter stone statue of Kannon (bodhisattva) which was erected in March 1997 at a tourist spot in the village which opened last May.