in Buddhism, a being who has developed a spontaneous wish and a compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings

A bodhisattva is a Buddhist who is on their way to become a Buddha. They have attained a certain level of enlightenment, but decide not to enter Nirvana so that they can continue helping living beings in the world.


Basic terms




The word Bodhisattva can also refer to certain specific bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani.

Many bodhisattvas made a special vow that defines their personality or method of helping people. For example, Kshitigarbha vowed not to attain enlightenment until there were no more beings in hell. Some Buddhas, such as Amitabha, made certain vows when they were bodhisattvas. He became a Buddha when these vows were fulfilled.

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