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Bodhisattva

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Europa
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« on: August 11, 2007, 03:59:27 am »




In Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva (Sanskrit) or bodhisatta (Pali) Thai: โพธิสัตว์ phothisat) is a being who is dedicated to attaining Enlightenment. Bodhisattva literally means "enlightenment ('bodhi') being ('sattva')" in Sanskrit; it also refers to the Buddha himself in his previous lives.

In the Mahayana tradition, Bodhisattvas take vows to work for the complete enlightenment of all sentient beings. A Bodhisattva strives to become fully enlightened as a Buddha so as to have the best abilities to help other beings, and takes the vow to not enter into (passive) Nirvana before all other sentient beings have achieved complete Buddhahood. This method is not really taught in Theravada philosophy, where indeed the majority of Enlightened Beings are Arahants who achieved Nirvana, not Buddhas.

The meaning of Bodhisatta in the Pali Canon and the Theravada tradition does not imply that a Bodhisatta made the vow not to enter Nirvana until everybody else is enlightened: this is a Mahayana innovation. Therefore, the 'Bodhisatta' and the 'Bodhisattva' are quite different in nature.

The Bodhisattvas are honored in many famous artworks, including one of the highest sculptures of the Bodhisattva at the Chinese Puning Temple, built in 1755.
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Europa
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 04:00:20 am »

Bodhisattas in Theravada Buddhism

The term Bodhisatta (Pali language) was used by the Buddha in the Pali Canon to refer to himself both in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life, prior to his enlightenment, in the period during which he was working towards his own liberation. When, during his discourses, he recounts his experiences as a young aspirant, he regularly uses the phrase "When I was an unenlightened Bodhisatta...". The term therefore connotes a being who is 'bound for enlightenment', in other words, a person whose destiny it is to become fully enlightened. The previous lives of the Buddha as a bodhisattva are featured in the Jataka Tales.

While Maitreya (Pali: Metteya) is mentioned in the Pali Canon, he is not referred to as a bodhisattva, but simply the next fully-awakened Buddha to come into existence.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 04:04:10 am »

Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism

In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva has the compassionate determination to aid all beings on their quest for the highest state of development, full enlightenment of a Buddha. This type of motivation is known as bodhicitta ('citta' means mind). Remaining in this world of uncontrolled rebirth (samsara), the bodhisattva has taken the bodhisattva vow to achieve Buddhahood as quickly as possible and thereby be most able to teach Dharma until all beings have likewise achieved enlightenment.
Another common conception of the bodhisattva is one who delays his own entering into Nirvana in order to save all sentient beings out of his enormous compassion. He is on a mission to liberate all sentient beings, and only then will he rest in his own enlightenment.
In brief, simply imagine the bodhisattva as saying, "If I know how to swim, and even one other being cannot, then it is right to remain behind in this world to assist them until they know how to save themselves from drowning".
Mahayana Buddhist philosophy sometimes poses the concept of the bodhisattva in opposition to that of the Śrāvakabuddha (conventionally referred to as an arhat). The arhat is seen as being liberated from samsara (or reincarnation), but he did not choose to save all and every other living being before passing away into Parinirvana, and thus is not a fully enlightened Buddha.
According to many traditions within Mahayana Buddhism, on his or her way to becoming a Buddha, the bodhisattva proceeds through ten, or sometimes fourteen, stages or bhumi. Below is the list of ten bhumis and their descriptions from The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a treatise by Gampopa, an influential teacher of the Tibetan Kagyu school. Other schools give variant descriptions.
Before a bodhisattva arrives at the first ground, he or she first must travel the first two of the five paths, which are said to correspond to words from the mantra that appears at the end of the Heart Sutra:
1.   the path of accumulation (gate)
2.   the path of preparation (gate).
The ten grounds of the bodhisattva then can be grouped into the next three paths
1.   Bhumi 1 the path of insight (paragate)
2.   Bhumi 2-7 the path of meditation (parasamgate)
3.   Bhumi 8-10 the path of no more learning (bodhi)
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 04:05:59 am »



A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 04:07:40 am »

The 10 Grounds of the Bodhisattvayana

1.   Great Joy
o   It is said that being close to enlightenment and seeing the benefit for all sentient beings, one achieves great joy, hence the name. In this bhumi the bodhisattvas practice all virtues (paramita), but especially emphasizing generosity (dana).
2.   Stainless
o   In accomplishing the second bhumi, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of immorality, therefore, this bhumi is named 'Stainless'. The emphasized virtue is moral discipline (śila).
3.   Radiant
o   The third bhumi is named 'Radiant', because, for a bodhisattva who accomplishes this bhumi, the light of Dharma is said to radiate from the bodhisattva for others. The emphasized virtue is patience (kṣanti).
4.   Luminous
o   This bhumi is called 'luminous', because it is said to be like a radiating light that fully burns that which opposes enlightenment. The emphasized virtue is vigor (virya).
5.   Very difficult to train
o   Bodhisattvas who attain this bhumi strive to help sentient beings attain maturity, and do not become emotionally involved when such beings respond negatively, both of which are difficult to do. The emphasized virtue is meditative concentration (dhyāna).
6.   Obviously Transcendent
o   "By depending on the perfection of wisdom awareness, he [the bodhisattva] does not abide in either saṃsāra or nirvāṇa, so it is 'obviously transcendent'". The emphasized virtue is wisdom (praj˝a).
7.   Gone afar
o   Particular emphasis is on the perfection of skillful means, or upaya-kaushalya, to help others.
8.   Immovable
o   The emphasized virtue is aspiration.
o   This, the 'Immovable' bhumi, is the bhumi at which one becomes able to choose his place of rebirth.
9.   Good Discriminating Wisdom
o   The emphasized virtue is power.
10.   Cloud of dharma
o   The emphasized virtue is the practice of primordial wisdom.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 04:08:43 am »



Prince Siddhartha Gautama as a bodhisattva, before becoming a Buddha. He is characteristically depicted as a nobleman, posing with left hand on the hip, Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century.
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 04:10:13 am »

After the ten bhumis, according to Mahayana Buddhism, one attains complete enlightenment and becomes a Buddha. Various traditions within Buddhism believe in certain specific bodhisattvas. Some bodhisattvas appear across traditions, but due to language barriers may be seen as separate entities. For example, Tibetan Buddhists believe in Chenrezig, who is Avalokitesvara in India, Guanyin (other spellings: Kwan-yin, Kuan-yin) in China and Korea, Quan Am in Vietnam, and Kannon (formerly spelled and pronounced: Kwannon) in Japan. Jizo or Ti Tsang is another popular bodhisattva in Japan and China. Jizo is known for aiding those who are lost. His greatest compassionate Vow being: "If I do not go to the hell to help the suffering beings there, who else will go? ... if the hells are not empty I will not become a Buddha. Only when all living beings have been saved, will I attain Bodhi."

A modern bodhisattva for many is the 14th Dalai Lama, considered by many followers of Tibetan Buddhism to be an incarnation of that same bodhisattva Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The bodhisattva is a popular subject in Buddhist art.

The place of a bodhisattva's earthly deeds, such as the achievement of enlightenment or the acts of dharma, is known as a bodhimanda, and may be a site of pilgrimage. Many temples and monasteries are famous as bodhimandas; for instance, the island of Putuoshan, located off the coast of Ningbo, is venerated by Chinese Buddhists as the bodhimanda of Avalokitesvara. Perhaps the most famous bodhimanda of all is the bodhi tree under which Shakyamuni achieved buddhahood.

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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 04:11:26 am »



Chinese wood carving of Guanyin; Shanxi Province (A.D. 907-1125)
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 04:12:44 am »



The "Thousand-hand Bodhisattva" by Chinese military choreographer Zhang Jigang.
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 04:14:04 am »



A Chinese wooden Bodhisattva, Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 AD), Shanghai Museum.
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 04:16:00 am »

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