[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bodhisattva

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 salvationCompare arhat

Word Origin for Bodhisattva

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

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