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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.[1]

Online resources



  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 59.