Bodhi, aka: Bodhī; 12 Definition(s)


Bodhi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Bodhi (बोधि) is the name of the tree (vṛkṣa) associated with Gahvara: the northern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. The tree associated with the north is sometimes given as Aśvattha. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These trees (eg., Bodhi) that are associated with the cremation grounds are often equated with the eight bodhi-trees of the Buddhas (the current buddha plus the seven previous one). According to the Śmaśānavidhi each tree has a secondary tree (upavṛkṣa) that is depicted as lovely and covered in vaṅga flowers and fruit. In each tree lives a naked rākṣasa who is wrathful in form, who eats human flesh and who has the animal face or the mount of the dikpati in his cremation ground.

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Daughter of Kassapa I. Cv.xxxix.11.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

(from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge. "(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (kilesa) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (sacca)" (Com. to M. 10).

The enlightenment of a Buddha is called sammā-sambodhi, 'perfect enlightenment'. The faith (saddhā) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as "he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One" (saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhim: M.53, A.III.2).

As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga = bodhi-anga) and the 37 'things pertaining to enlightenment' (bodhipakkhiya-dhammā). In one of the later books of the Sutta-Pitaka, the Buddhavamsa, 10 bodhipācana-dhammā are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (pāramī).

There is a threefold classification of enlightenment:

  • 1. that of a noble disciple (sāvaka-bodhi, q.v.). i.e. of an Arahat,
  • 2. of an Independently Enlightened One (pacceka-bodhi, q.v.), and
  • 3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (sammā-sambodhi).

This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapātha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sāvaka-pāramī, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhūmi (see Khp. Tr., pp. 247f.).

The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavamsa, Cariyapitaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi:

  • 1. the tree of enlightenment,
  • 2. the holy path (ariya-magga),
  • 3. Nibbāna,
  • 4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabbaññutā-ñāna).

As to (2), the commentaries quote Cula-Nidesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catūsu maggesu ñāna).

Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Theravāda countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Bodhi (बोधि) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VII).—“Bodhi is the path of the Buddhas (buddhamārga); Sattva is either a being or a great mind. The Bodhisattva is the being who is going to obtain the mind, indestructible (aheya) and infrangible (acyuta) like a diamond mountain (vajra-parvata), of the qualities (guṇa) of the path of the Buddhas. Such is the great mind”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

A term used in both Sanskrit and Pali, meaning perfect wisdom or enlightenment.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Bodhi is both the Pali and Sanskrit word traditionally translated into English as "enlightenment." The word "buddha" means "one who has achieved bodhi." Bodhi is also frequently (and more accurately) translated as "awakening."

Bodhi is attained when the ten fetters that bind a human being to the wheel of samsara have been dissolved; when the Four Noble Truths have been fully understood and all volitional conditioning has reached cessation (nirodha), giving rise to transcendent peace (nibbana). At this moment, the psychological roots of all greed (lobha), aversion (dosa), delusion (moha), ignorance (avijja), craving (tanha) and ego centered consciousness (atta) are completely uprooted.

Bodhi is the ultimate goal of Buddhist life (brahmacarya). It is achieved by observing the eightfold path, the development of the paramitas (virtues) and profound wisdom into the dependently arisen nature of phenomena.

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

A Sanskrit term used for enlightenment. The term is generally applied to those individuals who have understood the effectiveness of four noble truths and achieved the results of completing the eightfold path.

Source: Buddhism Tourism: Glossary of Buddhist Terms

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Bodhi in Pali glossary... « previous · [B] · next »

bodhi : (f.) supreme knowledge; the tree of wisdom.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Bodhi, 2 (=bodhi1) the tree of wisdom, the sacred Bo tree, the fig tree (Assattha, Ficus religiosa) under which Gotama Buddha arrived at perfect knowledge. The tree is near the spot where Buddhagāya is now, about 60 miles fr. Patna. It is regarded by pilgrims as the centre of the world (cp. pathavī-nābhi mahā-bodhimaṇḍo Mbvs 79). It is also spoken of as Mahābodhi (e.g. J. IV, 228; Vism. 403).—Vism. 72, 299, 342; DhA. I, 105; ThA. 62; VbhA. 473.—aṅgaṇa the courtyard in which the Bo tree stands DA. I, 191; Vism. 188 (°vatta); VbhA. 349.—tala “Bodhifoundation, " i.e. the place or ground of the B. tree, otherwise bodhi-maṇḍa J. I, 105; Mhbv 9; DhA. I, 117.—pakka fruit of the Bo tree J. IV, 229.—pādapa the Bodhi tree Mbhv 1.—pūjā veneration of, or offerings to the Bo tree Mhbv 81.—maṇḍa (for °maṇḍala) the ground under the Bodhi tree, hence the spot (or “throne"), on which the Buddha was seated at the time of attaining highest enlightenment. The term is only found in very late canonical and post-canonical literature. Bu II. 65, 183; Vism. 203; J. IV, 228, 232; Mhbv 79; SnA 2, 30, 225, 258, 281, 340, 391, 441; DhA. I, 86; II, 69; IV, 72; ThA. 2. Cp. BSk. bodhimaṇḍa Divy 392.—maha feast in honour of the Bo tree J. IV, 229.—mūla the root or foot of the Bo tree SnA 32, 391; cp. Bodhiyā mūle Nd1 172, 458=Ps. I, 174.—rukkha the Bodhi tree Vin. I, 1. (Page 491)

2) Bodhi, 1 (f.) (fr. budh, cp. Vedic bodhin-manas having an attentive mind; RV V, 75, 5; VIII, 82, 18) (supreme) knowledge, enlightenment, the knowledge possessed by a Buddha (see also sambodhi & sammā-sambodhi) M. I, 356; II, 95=D. III, 237 (saddho hoti, saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhiṃ); D. III, 159 (anuttaraṃ pappoti bodhiṃ), 165 (id.); S. I, 103, 196; V, 197 sq. ; A. II, 66; VbhA. 310 (def.). Bodhi consists of 7 elements called bojjhaṅgā or sambojjhaṅgā, and is attained by the accomplishment of the perfections called bodhi-pācanā dhammā (see under cpds. & cp. bodhi-pakkhiya-dhammā). The Buddha is said to have found the Path followed by former Buddhas, who “catusu satipaṭṭhānesu supatiṭṭhitacittā satta-bojjhaṅge yathābhūtaṃ bhāvetvā anuttaraṃ sammā-sambodhiṃ abhisambujjhiṃsu" S. V, 160. The moment of supreme enlightenment is the moment when the Four Truths (ariya-saccāni) are grasped S. V, 423. Bodhi is used to express the lofty knowledge of an ascetic (Bodhi-paribbājaka Np. J. V, 229 sq.), and the stage of enlightenment of the Paccekabuddha (paccekabodhi J. III, 348; pacceka-bodhi-ñāṇa J. IV, 114; paccekasambodhi SnA 73), as distinguished from sammāsambodhi.—ṭṭhāna the state of Bodhi, state of enlightenment. Dpvs 2. 61.—pakkhika=pakkhiya (& pakkhika, e.g. A. III, 70=300; Th. 1, 900; cp. bodha°) belonging to enlightenment, usually referred to as the 37 bodhipakkhiyā dhammā qualities or items constituting or contributing to Bodhi, which are the same as enumd under bojjhaṅga (q. v.). They are enumd & discussed at Vism. 678 sq. and mentioned at many other passages of the Abhidhamma, e.g. Vbh. 244, 249; Nett 31, 197, 240, 261; and in the Commentaries, e.g. J. I, 275; III, 290; V, 483; DhA. I, 230. When they are increased to 43 they include the above with the addition of aniccasaññā; dukkha°, anatta°, pahāna°, virāga°, nirodhasaññā, thus at Nett 112, 237. In the older texts we do not find any numbered lists of the b. -p. -dhammā. At A. III, 70 only indriyesu guttadvāratā, bhojane mattaññutā and jāgariy’ânuyoga are mentioned in connection with bodhipakkhikā dhammā in general. At S. V, 227, 239 sq. (so read in Vbh. preface XIV. for 327, 337!) the term is applied to the 5 indriyas: saddh’indriyaṃ, viriy°, sati°, samādhi°, paññ°. A more detailed discussion of the bodhi-p-dhammā and their mention in the Piṭakas is found in Mrs. Rh. D. ’s preface to the Vbh. edition, pp. xiv. -xvi. Of BSk. passage may be mentioned Divy 350 (saptatriṃśad-bodhi-pakṣān dharmān amukhī — kṛtya pratyekāṃ bodhiṃ sākṣātkṛtavantah) & 616 (bodhipakṣāṃs tān dharmān Bhagavān saṃprakāśayati sma).—paripāka the maturing of enlightenment Vism. 116.—pācana ripening of knowledge (of a Buddha); adj. leading to enlightenment Bu II. 121 sq. ; Cp I. 11 (cp. J. I, 22). It is a late term. The b. dhammā are the 10 perfections (pāramiyo), i.e. dāna°, sīla°, nekkhamma°, paññā°, viriya°, khanti°, sacca°, adhiṭṭhāna°, mettā°, upekhā°.—satta (1) a “bodhi-being, " i.e. a being destined to attain fullest enlightenment or Buddhaship. A Bodhisatta passes through many existences & many stages of progress before the last birth in which he fulfils his great destiny. The “amhākaṃ Bodhisatto, " or “our Bodhisatta" of the Buddhist Texts (e.g. Vism. 419 (imasmiṃ kappe ayam eva Bhagavā Bodhisatta-bhūto); DA. I, 259) refers to Gotama, whose previous existences are related in the Jātaka collection. These tales illustrate the wisdom & goodness of the future Buddha, whether as an animal, a god, or a human being. In his last existence before attaining Buddhahood he is a man. Reference is made to a Bodhisatta or the B. at very many places throughout the Canon. See e.g. M. I, 17, 163, 240; S. II, 5; III, 27; IV, 233; V, 263, 281, 317; A. II, 130; III, 240; IV, 302, 439; Vism. 15, 116, 499; SnA 52 (pacceka°), 67, 72.—(2) N. of the author of a Pali grammar, used by Kaccāyana (not extant): see Windisch, Proceedings of XIVth Or. Congress, Vol. I. 290.—sambhāra (pl.) conditions (lit. materials) necessary for the attainment of bodhi J. I, 1; VI, 595; Mbvs 12. (Page 491)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bodhi (बोधि).—[budh-in]

1) Perfect wisdom or enlightenment; इत्यभिहितो बोधौ जिनः पातु वः (ityabhihito bodhau jinaḥ pātu vaḥ) Nāg.1.1. स रतिमुपसिषेवे बोधि- मापन्न यावत् (sa ratimupasiṣeve bodhi- māpanna yāvat) Bu. Ch.2.56.

2) The enlightened intellect of a Buddha.

3) The sacred fig-tree.

4) A cock.

5) An epithet of Buddha.

Derivable forms: bodhiḥ (बोधिः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 391 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Bodhisattva (बोधिसत्त्व).—(= Pali °satta), person destined for enlightenment, Buddha-to-be, pas...
Bodhichitta Skt., lit., “awakened mind”; the mind of enlightenment, one of the central no&sh...
Bodhyaṅga.—cf. bojjhaṅga (EI 5), Buddhist; seven in number. Note: bodhyaṅga is defined in the “...
Mahābodhi (महाबोधि).—1) the great intelligence of a Buddha. 2) a Buddha. Derivable forms: mahāb...
Bodhimaṇḍa (बोधिमण्ड) refers to the “area of enlightenment”, according to a note at Mahāpr...
Bodhidruma (बोधिद्रुम).—the sacred fig-tree, Derivable forms: bodhidrumaḥ (बोधिद्रुमः).Bodhidru...
Bodhimaṇḍala (बोधिमण्डल).—Name of the place where Gautama Buddha attained to perfect wisdom. De...
Bodhi Tree
The Bodhi tree at the Mahāvihāra in Anurādhapura.—The received tradition is that the Bodhi Tree...
Bodhivṛkṣa (बोधिवृक्ष).—the sacred fig-tree, Derivable forms: bodhivṛkṣaḥ (बोधिवृक्षः).Bodhivṛk...
Bodhitaru (बोधितरु).—the sacred fig-tree, Derivable forms: bodhitaruḥ (बोधितरुः).Bodhitaru is a...
Bodhiyaṣṭi (बोधियष्टि).—f. (oblique °ṭīye, °ṭiye; unrecorded except here), = bodhi-druma: Mv ii...
Bodhida (बोधिद).—an arhat (of the Jainas). Derivable forms: bodhidaḥ (बोधिदः).Bodhida is a Sans...
Bodhipākṣika (बोधिपाक्षिक) refers to thirty-seven “auxiliaries” to enlightenment, according to ...
Bodhicaryāvatāra (बोधिचर्यावतार) is another name for the Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, which is a ...
Śrāvakabodhi (श्रावकबोधि).—the enlightenment of (i.e. peculiar to) śrāvakas (contrasting with p...

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