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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 ?
Instead of a club, however, he carries a vajra--the thunderbolt that flashes through ignorance and illuminates knowledge--making Herakles here serve the role of the Bodhisatva Vajrapani.
12.82ab ku bodhisatva ttu [] butte | ttye tta saitta .
Bodhisatva Sidhartha, which has now been restablished at a place of pride at the top of the Kabul Museum's staircase.
Dating back to 1931, it was built by Bodhisatva Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) from Sri Lanka.
But we are consciously looking for emerging artists who are in the process of establishing their distinct voices." Artist Yuvan Bodhisatva's ' Mind', Poorvesh Patel's ' Rusted Bottles' and Ankush Safaya's ' I C What Eye Can Not See' and his bouquet of green glass bottles are also good contenders for the prize.
The Mahavastu, Senart (2: 1,3) points out that "bodhisattvas are born in two types of families, warrior families or Brahmin families," dvThi kulehi bodhisatva jayanti, ksatriyakule va brahmanakule va.
Of the various sutras that accompanied the spread and popularization of Mahayana Buddhism around Asia, the most popular in Korea expounded universal salvation, especially The Lotus Sutra that also stressed the "compassion of the Bodhisatva Avalokitesvara [Guanyin]" and The Nirvana Sutra that asserted the "eternal life of the soul in a state of perpetual bliss" (Grayson, Korea 32).
According to Daniel Wright's account (1972:78) the Buddhist scriptures of Nepal credited Bodhisatva Arya Manjushree from China for making the Nepal Valley fit for habitation.
He invited his monks and nuns to come and chant the name of Avalositeshvara (the Bodhisatva of compassion, known in Vietnam as Qan Yin or Quan Te Am).
However, When we see the evolution of Buddhism through the last century or so we know that Mahayana Buddhism has been in the forefront in activities related to human welfare, in addition to the relative economic prosperity of the societies where Mahayana is practiced, there is no doubt that its emphasis on Bodhisatva practice has played a crucial role in this.
Caption: 6 Stucco head of a bodhisatva from Tope Kelan, showing a diadem with a crescent.