UPSC Prelims 2020 Important topics: Bodhisattvas

A Bodhisattva is an ordinary person who takes up a course in his or her life that moves in the direction of Buddha. You’re a bodhisattva, I’m a bodhisattva; actually, anyone who directs their attention, their life, to practicing the way of life of a Buddha is a Bodhisattva.

In Buddhism, a bodhisattva (Sanskrit: बोधिसत्त्व , Bodhisattva; Pali: बोधिसत्त Bodhisatta) is an enlightened being (Bodhi). The Sattva part of the word means the quality (Tva) of truth or goodness (Sat) implying equanimity. Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated Bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Bhodisattva is defined as someone who has essence of enlightenment. Bodhisattva refers to all who are destined to become Buddhas in this life or another life.

There are 8 important Bodhisattvas who are as following:

Avalokitesvara

He is described as holding a lotus flower. He is known as Guanshiyin Pusa in China.

Manjusri

He is described as a male Bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. He is known as Wenshu in China and Jampelyang in Tibet.

Samantabhadra

It means Universal Worthy and he is associated with meditation. He is manifested through action and he is a major figure in Flower Garland Sutra.

Ksitigarbha

He is described as a Buddhist monk in the Orient/ East Asia. It means Earth Womb. He is revered as the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children. He carries a staff.

Maitreya

He is also known as Ajita Boddhisattva. It is believed that he will arrive when oceans will decrease in size. He keeps a Kumbha or phililal in his hand and is destined to rule Varanasi (Pure Land).

Vajrapani

He is described as one of the 3 protective deities around Buddha, other are Manjusri and Avlokiteshwara. Vajrapani manifests Buddha’s power while Buddha’s wisdom is manifested Buddha’s wisdom and Avlokiteshwara manifests Buddha’s compassion.

Sadaparibhuta

He is a Bodhisattva which manifests never disparaging spirit.

Akasagarbha

He is boundless as space. He was the twin brother of Ksitigarbha. He manifests wisdom.

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