What is a bodhisattva?

The word is Sanskrit and translates literally as “enlightenment” (bodhi) and “being” or “existence” (sattva). Buddhists believe that a bodhisattva is a particular kind of enlightened being – one whose compassion runs so deep that he or she resists a final dissolution of the soul into Eternity until all sentient beings have themselves attained liberation from suffering. The bodhisattva will continue to reincarnate in unenlightened worlds, at great personal risk and at times with considerable agony, in order to serve as a beacon of light, guiding seekers to higher consciousness and, hopefully, Ultimate Freedom.

- From the Introduction to Bodhisattva

“Who burns with the bliss
And suffers the sorrow
Of every creature
Within his own heart,
Making his own
Each bliss and each sorrow:
Him I hold highest
Of all the yogis.”

- Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God
translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

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