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[boh-duh-suht-vuh] /ˌboʊ dəˈsʌt və/
noun, Buddhism.
a person who has attained prajna, or Enlightenment, but who postpones Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment: individual Bodhisattvas are the subjects of devotion in certain sects and are often represented in painting and sculpture.
Compare Arhat.
Origin of Bodhisattva
1820-30; < Pali, Sanskrit Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Bodhisattva
Historical Examples
  • As they thus went away, the Bodhisattva arose and walked (after them).

  • Then the Bodhisattva said, “I will deliver the king from this snake.”

    The Kath Sarit Sgara Somadeva Bhatta
  • Have you not heard the story of the adorable Bodhisattva in his former birth as a boar?

    The Kath Sarit Sgara Somadeva Bhatta
  • Have I in my delusion eaten an incarnation of a Bodhisattva?

    The Kath Sarit Sgara Somadeva Bhatta
  • Miroku, too, is frequently to be seen, but Miroku is not yet a Buddha but only Bodhisattva.

    Korean Buddhism Frederick Starr
  • He praised the Bodhisattva again, saying: 'Excellent, excellent!'

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
  • One time the Bodhisattva, it is said, lived in the forest as a ruru-deer.

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
  • In that forest the Bodhisattva lived, it is said, a chief of a troop of monkeys.

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
  • One time the Bodhisattva, it is said, was an ascetic who had forsaken the world.

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
  • The Bodhisattva answered: 'Hear then, great prince, for what reason I urged you.

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
British Dictionary definitions for Bodhisattva


/ˌbəʊdɪˈsætvə; -wə; ˌbɒd-; ˌbəʊdiːˈsʌtvə/
(in Mahayana Buddhism) a divine being worthy of nirvana who remains on the human plane to help men to salvation Compare arhat
Word Origin
Sanskrit, literally: one whose essence is enlightenment, from bodhi enlightenment + sattva essence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Bodhisattva

1828, from Sanskrit, literally "one whose essence is perfect knowledge," from bodhi "perfect knowledge" (see Buddha) + sattva "reality, being."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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