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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 ?
The Caves comprise of relics of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, with pillared corridors chiseled out in the rocky outcrop.
One side of the base of the votive stupa still has the stucco relief representing Buddha and Bodhisattvas, which is well preserved.
Defined by its use of bodhisattvas, Sangha and resolution in facing and overcoming obstacles, it has suffused itself onto the Korean character.
After he got better, father delved deeper into his spiritual quest, praying to various deities and bodhisattvas.
The painting and diagrams pertain to the Mandala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas, she says, an iconographic template in which a central deity, typically the cosmic Buddhi Vairocana or Mahavairocana, is attended by eight bodhisattvas.
A new inclusivity in the precepts also opened the way to "engaged Buddhism" by going beyond the ethics of restraint (samvara) to uphold personal wholesomeness and the welfare of other beings--as exemplified by Avalokitesvara and most high-level bodhisattvas who were portrayed as actively engaged in helping beings (Harvey Buddhism 177)--meaning worth as a leader would be perceived in terms of the benefit brought to others.
The main part of each chapter contains sections of texts explaining the principles of repentance interspersed with bowing in full prostration (head, hands and knees to the ground) to various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Each chapter concludes with a poem.
A thirteenth-century Buddha surrounded by bodhisattvas at first seems an odd match for a circa-1230 Madonna and Child by Berlinghiero, until we notice how the hand gestures of the central figures echo one another.
A great option for Zen beginners, the book playfully works with sutras (teachings), Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) and jataka tales (parables).
It begins with a story of Shantideva's teaching about practicing kindness, and wisdom, like the bodhisattvas, superheroes of supreme kindness and wisdom, extending both even towards their enemies.
When Buddhism reached the mountain, the five tai turned into the homes of Bodhisattvas. Although only two of the five most important peaks mentioned above carry the name of a Bodhisattva--Guanyin and Wenshu ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (Manjusri)--it is common for visitors to associate the five tai with five Bodhisattvas.
139-41 are three superlative large-scale bronze Bodhisattvas from Prasat Hin Khao Plai Bat II in northeastern Thailand, all datable to the 8th century, and now variously in the Asia Society, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Metropolitan itself (Fig.