Bodhisattva refers to someone on the path to Awakening and he has choosen the path of enlightenment. So, Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have put off entering paradise in order to help others attain enlightenment.The term bodhisattva literally means "essence of Bodhi" [budh- = awakening or, enlightenment;] hence, one on the way to Awakening. His efforts to attaiain the reddming insight, however, are not directed at his won release, but are directed by altruistic motivation: Compassion with all living beings becames more important than the finality of the redemption of oneself.When he has reached enlightenement, he doesn't enter nirvana, instead, he continues to actively help with the release of all beings who are sufferingin the cycle of rebirths.Unless all beings - not only human beings, but also animals and gods - have been led to enlightenment, a bodhisattva will not accept the nirvana he has earned for himself. In this way, bodhisattvas are understood as the embodiment of the qualities of the Buddha and are seen as emanations of the Buddhas so that they can be active for the good of all living beings. The ideal of the bodhisattva marks the beginning of a long and arduous life as Buddhist: One sets out on the path to evoke the thinking of elightenment with the idea not to do this for oneself, but for the benefit of all living beings.
Bodhisattva is an important feature of Mahayana Budhism. The Mahayana has conceived them as having renounced the ultimate state out of pure compassion towards all beings, and can therefore refers to anyone en route. For the flowers of the newer Buddhism it became the model of the realisation of the path of redemption. In non-Mahayana Buddhism, it usually refers either to Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, or to the historical Buddha Gautama prior to his enlightenment - either during the life in which he became enlightened or in one of the innumerable lives before that in which he was developing the requisite virtues for enlightenment, such as generosity. The stories of these lives are called the Jatakas, or 'birth stories', and they are a very frequent subject of Buddhist art.
The Buddha himself was described as a Bodhisattva in stories of his previous lives. People ask bodhisattvas for help with various problems. Monks ask for support in their striving for enlightenment, farmers for the fertility of their fields, or soldiers for protection from the threats of war.
All who comprise the great assemblage of Bodhisattvas are equally powerful and equally beneficial to countless beings, so that all things seem to be at their command. Sometimes beautiful lotuses and lotus trees are caused by them to grow from the middle of the ocean, or a teardrop is transformed into an ocean. Everything in nature is at the Bodhisattva's call. Fire can appear as water; water can appear as fire. It is all because of the strength of the Bodhisattva's attitude, the aspiration and action. For us this says that the practice of compassion must be given full consideration, and it must at all times be in our awareness and at all times performed.The Bodhisattva is a very important figure in Mahayana Buddhism where particular Bodhisattvas are revered. Bodhisattvas are considered to be of various degrees of attainment or rank relating to their level on towards buddhahood
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