Article

Bodhisattva

James B. Apple

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online December 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0048
Bodhisattva

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A bodhisattva (Pāli bodhisatta; Tib. byang-chub sems-dpa’; Ch. pusa; Jpn. bosatsu) is generally considered to be a person (sattva) in pursuit of awakening (bodhi) to become a buddha. All Buddhist traditions acknowledge the figure of the bodhisattva, but they differ on its interpretation. Bodhisattvas in non-Mahayana forms of Buddhism are mainly considered to be the previous lives of Siddhārtha Gautama that are worthy of veneration. The bodhisattva in Mahayana forms of Buddhism is an ideal that all Buddhists may cultivate and that is committed to attaining awakening for the benefit of all beings. The manner in which bodhisattvas are understood in different Buddhist cultures, such as in Tibet or Southeast Asia, is dependent on the Buddhist literature that is accessible or acceptable to the particular culture and the interpretative attention and practices affiliated with that literature.

Article.  12016 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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