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Meaning of Bodhisettva


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  • The Shakyamuni Buddha, as he was before his enlightenment in nirvana.
  • In Mahayana Buddhism, any being who has forestalled their enlightenment until they have completed a vow to bring all other beings into nirvana through the realization of sunyata and the practice of the six perfections.
  • In Theravada Buddhism, the Buddha Maitreya, from now until his enlightenment.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia



{ Bo"dhi*sat (?), ||Bo`dhi*satt"va, ||Bo`dhi*satt"wa (?) }, n. [Skr. bōdhisattva (perh. through Pali bōdhisattō); fr. bōdhi knowledge, enlightenment + sattva being, essence.] (Buddhism) One who has reached the highest degree of saintship, so that in his next incarnation he will be a Buddha, or savior of the world. -- Bo"dhi*sat`ship, n.

{ Bo"dhi*sat (?), ||Bo`dhi*satt"va, ||Bo`dhi*satt"wa (?) }, n. [Skr. bōdhisattva (perh. through Pali bōdhisattō); fr. bōdhi knowledge, enlightenment + sattva being, essence.] (Buddhism) One who has reached the highest degree of saintship, so that in his next incarnation he will be a Buddha, or savior of the world. -- Bo"dhi*sat`ship, n.

- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)



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