Religion Past and Present

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(367 words)

[German Version]

(Pāli bodhisatto, Sanskrit bodhisattva, Chin. pusa, Jap. Bosatsu: “one whose essence is enlightenment, one destined to be a buddha”). In the Pāli Canon or Jātakas, the term refers to the career of a buddha before achieving enlightenment. In the earliest stages of Buddhist history, the concept of the bodhisattva is relatively simple and of minor doctrinal importance: the ideal was the arhat, whose goal was to extinguish totally the causes of rebirth and hence never to be reborn. With the …

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Astley, Ian, “Bodhisattva”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 11 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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