Bodhisattva (devanāgarī: बोधिसत्त्व) is a Sanskrit term that means enlightened (bodhi) existence (sattva). In Buddhism, especially in the Mahayana tradition, a bodhisattva is anyone who, full of compassion, desires to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
H. P. Blavatsky defines it as follows:
Bodhisattva (Sk). Lit., “he, whose essence (sattva) has become intelligence (bodhi)”; those who need but one more incarnation to become perfect Buddhas, i.e., to be entitled to Nirvâna. This, as applied to Manushi (terrestrial) Buddhas. In the metaphysical sense, Bodhisattva is a title given to the sons of the celestial Dhyâni Buddhas.
- Bodhisattva at Theosopedia
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 59.