Mahayana Buddhism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religious Practices

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 105 pages of information about Mahayana Buddhism.
This section contains 4,778 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
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The Bodhisattva

In all Buddhist traditions a sentient being (sattva) striving for enlightenment (bodhi) is called a bodhisattva, but with the Mahayana the bodhisattva became the supreme ideal. Mahayana followers believe that the pre-Mahayana ideal of the arhat, or enlightened individual, does not represent full enlightenment. Thus, the arhat does not deserve the title mahasattva (great being), which is reserved for those striving after Buddhahood—that is, the Mahayana bodhisattva.

According to the Mahayana, the bodhisattva, at the beginning of his or her career, vows to reach Buddhahood and, with it, consummate enlightenment for the good of all living creatures. Enlightenment, an individual affair in the pre-Mahayana traditions, thus became a universal event with the advent of the Mahayana. Throughout an arduous career spanning innumerable lifetimes, the bodhisattva cultivates karuna (compassion) and prajna (the right insight into the nature of reality) until he or she becomes a...

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This section contains 4,778 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Mahayana Buddhism Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Religious Practices
Mahayana Buddhism from Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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