In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva (Chinese: 菩薩; pinyin: púsà; Japanese pronunciation: bosatsu; Korean pronunciation: bosal) is a being who is dedicated to achieving complete Buddhahood. Conventionally, the term is applied to beings with a high degree of enlightenment. Bodhisattva literally means a "bodhi (enlightenment) being" in Sanskrit. Mahayana practitioners have historically lived in many other countries that are now predominantly Hindu, Muslim or Theravada Buddhist; remnants of reverence for bodhisattvas has continued in some of these regions.
Chinese: 虛空藏; pinyin: Xūkōngzàng; Japanese pronunciation: Kokūzō; Korean: 허공장, Tibetan: ནམ་མཁའི་སྙིང་པོ།, THL: Namkha'i Nyingpo) is a bodhisattva who is associated with the great element (mahābhūta) of space (ākāśa).
The bodhisattva of compassion, the listener of the world's cries who uses skillful means to come to their aid; the most universally acknowledged bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism and appears unofficially in Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia under the name Lokeśvara. This bodhisattva gradually became identified predominantly as female in East Asian Buddhism and its name may originally have been Avalokitāśvara.
Kṣitigarbha is a bodhisattva primarily revered in East Asian Buddhism and usually depicted as a Buddhist monk. His name may be translated as "Earth Treasury", "Earth Store", "Earth Matrix", or "Earth Womb". Kṣitigarbha is known for his vow to take responsibility for the instruction of all beings in the six worlds between the death of Gautama Buddha and the rise of Maitreya, as well as his vow not to achieve Buddhahood until all hells are emptied. He is therefore often regarded as the bodhisattva of hell-beings, as well as the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses in Japanese culture.
Mahāsthāmaprāpta (Korean: Daeseji) is a mahāsattva representing the power of wisdom, often depicted in a trinity with Amitābha and Avalokiteśvara, especially in Pure Land Buddhism. His name literally means "arrival of the great strength".
In some Buddhist texts such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita. Chinese: 彌勒; pinyin: Mílè; Japanese pronunciation: Miroku; Korean: 미륵; Vietnamese: Di-lặc, Tibetan: བྱམས་པ་, THL: Jampa).
According to both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, Maitreya is regarded as the future buddha. Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya refers to a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world. This prophecy is found in the canonical literature of all major schools of Buddhism. Maitreya has also been adopted for his millenarian role by many non-Buddhist religions in the past such as the White Lotus as well as by modern new religious movements such as Yiguandao.
Mañjuśrī is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā (transcendent wisdom) in Mahayana Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is also a yidam. His name means "Gentle Glory". Mañjuśrī is also known by the fuller Sanskrit name of Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta, literally "Mañjuśrī, Still a Youth" or, less literally, "Prince Mañjuśrī".
Samantabhadra Universal Worthy is associated with practice and meditation. Together with the Buddha and Mañjuśrī, he forms the Shakyamuni trinity in Buddhism. He is the patron of the Lotus Sutra and, according to the Avatamsaka Sutra, made the ten great vows which are the basis of a bodhisattva. In China, Samantabhadra is associated with action, whereas Mañjuśrī is associated with prajñā. In Japan, Samantabharda is often venerated by the Tendai and in Shingon Buddhism, and as the protector of the Lotus Sutra by Nichiren Buddhism. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, Samantabhadra is also the name of the Adi-Buddha - in indivisible Yab-Yum union with his consort, Samantabhadrī.
Vajrapāṇi (Sanskrit, "Vajra in [his] hand") is one of the earliest-appearing bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. He is the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha's power.
Vajrapāṇi is extensively represented in Buddhist iconography as one of the three protective deities surrounding the Buddha. Each of them symbolizes one of the Buddha's virtues: Mañjuśrī manifests all the Buddhas' wisdom, Avalokiteśvara manifests all the Buddhas' compassion and Vajrapāṇi manifests all the Buddhas' power as well as the power of all five tathāgatas. Vajrapāṇi is one of the earliest dharmapalas and the only Buddhist deity to be mentioned in the Pāli Canon as well as be worshiped in the Shaolin Monastery, in Tibetan Buddhism and in Pure Land Buddhism, where he is known as Mahasthamaprapta and forms a triad with Amitābha and Avalokiteśvara.
Manifestations of Vajrapāṇi can also be found in many Buddhist temples in Japan as dharma protectors called the Niō (仁王) or "Two Kings". The Niō are two wrathful and muscular guardians of the Buddha standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in East Asian Buddhism. They are said to be dharmapala manifestations of Vajrapāṇi. According to Japanese tradition, they traveled with Gautama Buddha to protect him, reminiscent of Vajrapāṇi's role in the Ambaṭṭha Sutta of the Pali Canon. Within the generally pacifist tradition of Buddhism, stories of dharmapalas justified the use of physical force to protect cherished values and beliefs against evil. The Niō are also seen as a manifestations of Mahasthamaprapta in Pure Land Buddhism and as Vajrasattva in Tibetan Buddhism.
There are several lists of four Bodhisattvas according to scripture and local tradition.
Popular Chinese Buddhism generally lists the following, as they are associated with the Four Sacred Mountains:
The Avataṃsaka Sūtra mentions four bodhisattvas, each of whom expounds a portion of the Fifty-two Stages of Bodhisattva Practice.
Chapter 7 of the Humane King Sutra provides an enumeration of five bodhisattvas, known as the "Five Bodhisattvas of Great Power (五大力菩薩)." There are two Chinese translations of this text, each providing an entirely different name to these figures. Their association with the cardinal directions also differs between versions. They are as follows:
|Old translation (Kumaravija)||Direction||New translation (Amoghavajra)||Direction|
The Niṣpannayogāvalī provides a list of bodhisattvas known as the "Sixteen Honored Ones of the Auspicious Aeon." They also appear in a Sutra with the same title (賢劫十六尊). They are as follows, along with their respective associated directions:
Another set of sixteen are known as the "Sixteen Great Bodhisattvas" and make up a portion of the Diamond Realm Mandala. They are associated with the Buddhas of the cardinal directions.
According to the Sūtra on Ten Methods of Rebirth in Amitābha Buddha's Land (十往生阿彌陀佛國經), those people who are devoted to attaining rebirth in the Western Pure Land are protected by a great number of bodhisattvas. Twenty-five of them are given by name:
Padmasambhāva "Lotus-Born", also known as Guru Rinpoche, is a literary character of terma, an emanation of Amitābha that is said to appear to tertöns in visionary encounters and a focus of Tibetan Buddhist practice, particularly in the Nyingma school.
Only revered in Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, Sangharama refer to a group of devas who guard viharas and the faith, but the title is usually referring to the legendary Chinese military general Guan Yu, who became a dharmapala through becoming a Buddhist and making vows.
Sitātapatrā "the White Parasol" is a protector against supernatural danger. She is venerated in both Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. She is also known as Uṣṇīṣa Sitatapatra. Sitātapatrā is a powerful independent deity as she was emanated by Gautama Buddha from his uṣṇīṣa. Whoever practices her mantra will be reborn in Amitābha's pure land as well as gaining protection against supernatural danger and black magic.
Chinese: 韋馱; pinyin: Wéituó; Japanese pronunciation: Idaten; Korean: 위타천; Vietnamese: Vi Đà, Tibetan: གདོང་དྲུག་, THL: Dongdruk, Mongolian: Арван Хоёр Нууд) Skanda is regarded as a devoted guardian of viharas and the Buddhist teachings. He is the leader of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra. In Chinese temples, Skanda faces the statue of the Buddha in the main shrine. In others, he is on the far right of the main shrine, whereas on the left is his counterpart, Sangharama, personified as the historical general Guan Yu. In Chinese sutras, his image is found at the end of the sutra, a reminder of his vow to protect and preserve the teachings.
Mentioned in Shantideva's Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra.
(Ch. 多羅, Duō luó) Female bodhisattva, or set of bodhisattvas, in Tibetan Buddhism. She represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Also a manifestation of Avalokiteśvara.
Vasudhārā whose name means "stream of gems" in Sanskrit, is the bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. She is popular in many Buddhist countries and is a subject in Buddhist legends and art. Originally an Indian bodhisattva, her popularity has spread to Theravadin countries. Her popularity, however, peaks in Nepal, where she has a strong following among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and is thus a central figure in Newar Buddhism. She is named Shiskar Apa in Lahul and Spiti.
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva ( BOH-dee-SUT-və) is any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood.
In the Early Buddhist schools as well as modern Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva (Pali: bodhisatta) refers to anyone who has made a resolution to become a Buddha and has also received a confirmation or prediction from a living Buddha that this will be so.In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.List of Buddha claimants
The people described below have claimed to have attained enlightenment and become buddhas, claimed to be manifestations of bodhisattvas, identified themselves as Gautama Buddha or Maitreya Buddha, or been honored as buddhas or bodhisattvas.List of the named Buddhas
In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 25 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 24 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three main sections of the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.
The first three of these Buddhas—Taṇhaṅkara, Medhaṅkara, and Saraṇaṅkara—lived before the time of Dīpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dīpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).Lists of deities by cultural sphere
This is an index to deities of the different religions, cultures and mythologies of the world, listed by region or culture.Outline of Buddhism
Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".
The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.Saint
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.While the English word saint originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the appellation "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people", with the Jewish tzadik, the Islamic walī, the Hindu rishi or Sikh guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva also being referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either by official ecclesiastical declaration, as in the Catholic faith, or by popular acclamation (see Folk saint).Sitatapatra
Sitātapatrā (Sanskrit: "White Parasol") is a protector against supernatural danger in Buddhism. She is venerated in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. She is also known as Uṣṇīṣa Sitātapatrā. It is believed that Sitātapatrā is a powerful independent deity emanated by Gautama Buddha from his uṣṇīṣa. Whoever practices her mantra will be reborn in Amitābha's pure land of Sukhāvatī as well as gaining protection against supernatural danger and witchcraft.Thirty-five Confession Buddhas
The Thirty-Five Confession Buddhas (Wylie: gsheg lha so lnga) are known from the Sutra of the Three Heaps (Sanskrit: Triskandhadharmasutra; Tib. phung po gsum pa'i mdo), popular in Tibetan Buddhism. This Mahāyāna sutra actually describes the practice of purification by confession and making prostrations to these Buddhas, and is part of the larger Stack of Jewels Sutra (Sanskrit: Ratnakutasutra; Tib. dkon mchog brtsegs pa'i mdo).
In Tibet there were two distinct traditions of the Thirty-five Confession Buddhas which arose from the two main Indian schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism: one from the Madhyamaka school founded by Nāgārjuna, and the other from the Yogācāra school founded by Asaṅga and Vasubandhu. Both of these schools developed their own rituals for conferring the Bodhisattva vows, each incorporating a visualization of the Thirty-five Buddhas along with the recitation of the confession from the Triskhandhadharma Sutra.
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