In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition Bodhisattvas are said to be of two kinds. One is Adi-karmika Bodhisattva who is a beginner, who has not realized perfect enlightenment and is still a learner. Firstly he or she develops enlightenment thought for the benefit of sentient beings and wishes for perfect enlightenment. Secondly there is a Bodhisattva who realizes emptiness face to face and attains the first Bodhisattva level. He gradually progresses till the tenth Bodhisattva level through the practice of the six perfections and Mahamudra.
Some of them even after attaining the level of Buddhahood, emanate forms and act like Bodhisattvas. As, for example, Buddhas like Avalokiteshvara, Manjusree, Vajrapani and some other high ranking Bodhisattvas emanate numerous forms to tame the sentient beings in the manner of beginner Bodhisattvas. Shakyamuni Buddha himself took three incalculable aeons to complete his career as a Bodhisattva. Those who have attained the first level up to the tenth level of Bodhisattva have enormous power to benefit others.
Eight high ranking bodhisattvas who are no less than Shakyamuni Buddha himself in wisdom, compassion and powers, will be dealt with in the subsequent chapters. It is to be noted that Bodhisattvas can be a male or a female. All female divinities of genre Tara and protrectress deities are Bodhisattvas who work for the benefit of sentient beings as male counterparts do.