Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Figure: Bodhisattva Main Page

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- Religious Definition


Video: Bodhisattva: Three Definitions

The Sanskrit language term 'bodhisattva' (Tibetan: jang chub sem pa. English: heroic aspirant to enlightenment) is an abstract religious technical term. In art the term has three basic meanings.

There are three very different meanings for the term bodhisattva depending on context. The first [1] is a descriptive art meaning. The second [2] is a category of deity within Buddhist art and iconography. The third [3] is the abstract religious definition of a bodhisattva as a level of achievement along the Buddhist path.

Jeff Watt 7-2003 [updated 12-2019, 8-2020]

(The images below are of unidentified Bodhisattva figures).