What is Bodhicitta?

Bodhicitta is a form of Buddhist compassion and enlightenment. The person practicing this is to be completely dedicated to others. It is a way of overcoming emotional distress, helping to get everyone else into a tangled state free from suffering. Once achieved, it is meant to bring true happiness.

Bodhicitta is a means of completing enlightenment, and thus Buddha. It represents an ultimate way of Buddhist thinking, where the person practicing commits himself to others and denies the escape from samsara, the cycle of life in Buddhism. These are both important and extreme thoughts and practices in the world of Buddhism.

Those who have attained bodhicitta are known as Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva is capable of attaining nirvana, a state free from suffering and free from the cycle of rebirth important in Buddhism. However, because of his or her compassion, he or she does not go in to save other living beings. These living beings are trapped in this cyclical existence and are then knocked out by the Buddha.

This practice has two different forms: ambitious and committed. The ambitious type involves the pursuit of this status, and the complete heartfelt desire to become a Buddha. This is followed by a desire to help everyone else become a Buddha. Also involved is the pledge never to abandon this goal of bodhicitta. The engaged type has the potential of Bodhisattva engaging in behavior to become a Bodhisattava, and also avoiding behaviors that would prevent it. Bodhisattva has promised to avoid a certain eighteen actions that involve a fall, and forty-six other types of “wrong behavior.”

Learning from this practice also requires positive mental states, awareness, and wisdom. It requires helping others with all the means at their disposal, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Bodhicitta is an important term in many Buddhist schools thought, Vajrayana and Mahayana differentiate Buddhism from other types of Buddhism. It began in the Mahayana Buddhist world with the Path to Awakened Life, written by Santideva around the year 700. Other Buddhist teachings emphasize the escape from the cycle and personal liberation. But these two forms suggest a selflessness and a fall of this liberation before the inevitable liberation of every other soul. The person following bodhicitta practices either this relative bodhicitta, which works for all other souls, or absolute bodhicitta. The absolute type denies the existence of a “self” in the form of a philosophical view of “nothing” in the world.

All forms, whether absolute or relative, ambitious or committed, are meant to compliment each other. They serve for the attainment of the Bodhisattava of all souls before all others are saved, and nirvana is reached by all.

  • An Indian prince is believed to be the first teacher of Buddhism.
  • Bodhicitta involves staying and helping others become a Buddha.

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