from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Buddhism An enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An person,generally who has taken specific lay or monastic vows; is on the road to perfect knowledge; specifically, one who foregoes personal nirvana in order to help others achieve enlightenment.
- n. An enlightened being existing in a form of existence beyond the ordinary forms of physical reality understood and acknowledged by Western scientific thought, resembling the Western notion of angels, but with a wealth of its own nuances and expectations. These include the compassionate working for enlightenment of all sentient beings.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Buddhism of the northern school, or the later development called the Mahayana, one of a numerous class of beings who, having arrived at supreme wisdom (bodhi), have to pass through human existence only once more before attaining to Buddhahood, or complete enlightenment, and entrance into Nirvana.
- n. Also, any religious teacher.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. Buddhist worthy of nirvana who postpones it to help others
The term bodhisattva is Sanskrit whose essence is basically "enlightenment" (bodhi) and
My personal bodhisattva is unhappy with the size of her breasts
The example used in the texts is somebody called a bodhisattva a monkey and was reborn as a monkey five hundred times.
These are known as the bodhisattva and tantric vows.
In the Mahayana one takes a vow called the bodhisattva vow, in which one promises to help all other sentient beings to enlightenment before attaining enlightenment oneself, or to attain enlightenment for their sake.
That is, the bodhisattva is the referent, and she has different names in different languages: guan yin in Mandarin, Gun Yam in Cantonese, Kannon in Japanese.
Then, we will take the vowed restraints, namely the bodhisattva and the tantric vows.
Grace informs us in her introduction "that Buddhists believe that a bodhisattva is a particular kind of enlightened being - one whose compassion runs so deep that he or she resists a final dissolution of the soul into Eternity until all sentinent beings have themselves attained liberation from suffering."
(A bodhisattva is a person who has attained Enlightenment, but who postpones Nirvana in order to help others on earth to attain Enlightenment.)
(In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a "bodhisattva" is an enlightened being who refuses Nirvana and stays in this world to help others.)