(In Mahayana Buddhism) a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.
- Realizing the intensity of suffering of all living beings in samsara, bodhisattvas have developed limitless compassion and love.
- They are the living presence of all the various aspects of enlightenment - both its qualities and its activities - envisioned as male and female Buddhas, bodhisattvas, protectors of dharma, and so on.
- In the Buddhist tradition, bodhisattvas aspire to enlightenment, dedicating their transformed minds and actions to the liberation of all beings.
Sanskrit, 'a person whose essence is perfect knowledge', from bodhi 'perfect knowledge' (from budh- 'know perfectly') + sattva 'being, essence'.
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