Bodhicitta, Bodhi-citta: 9 definitions


Bodhicitta means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Bodhichitta.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Bodhicitta in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Bodhicitta (बोधिचित्त) refers to the “mind of (supreme) bodhi”, according to  the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 46.—Accordingly, “Beings who hear these exhortations are ‘established in the perfection of exertion’. [...] Speaking to beings, the Bodhisattva again tells them: Buddha activity being like that, you must produce the mind of supreme bodhi (anuttara-bodhicitta). By diligently practicing exertion and by acting in accordance with the Dharma, you will attain it without any difficulty. [...]”.

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Bodhicitta (बोधिचित्त) refers to the “thought of awakening”, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly: “Śāriputra asked: ‘Son of good family, how long will the thought of awakening (bodhicitta) be continued after having been generated by you?’ Gaganagañja answered: ‘It is known by the knowledge of the Tathāgata’. The Śāriputra the Elder addressed himself to the Lord: ‘O Lord, how long the thought of awakening will be continued after the Bodhisattva Gaganagañja produced it?’ The Lord said: ‘If the Tathāgata teaches this subject, all of the world including the gods will be confused’”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Bodhicitta (बोधिचित्त) refers to the “mind” of the “worshipper” (bodhisattva) in Vajrayāna or Tantric Buddhism.—In the realisation of the deity, there are thus three elements, the worshipper, the deity and their connection or identity. These are named in the Tantric works as the Bodhicitta, the Mantrapuruṣa (Mantra body) and the Ahaṃkāra (identity). The worshipper is called the Bodhisattva (Bodhi essence), and, his mind is known as the Bodhicitta (Will to Enlightenment). [...]

The Vajrayāna conception of the Bodhi mind (bodhicitta) appears to be the same as advocated in Yogācāra, an idea of which can be gained by a reference to the Tattvasaṅgraha of Śāntarakṣita. The Bodhi mind is like a continuous stream of consciousness which changes every moment, the consciousness of the previous moment giving rise to or causing the consciousness of the succeeding moment. The chain of momentary consciousness which is without a beginning or an end, operating in unison with the all powerful act-force leads it either to degradation or to emancipation according as the actions done are good or bad. The Bodhi mind (bodhicitta) is by nature surcharged with impurities such as desire, memory, existence, non-existence, subject, object and the rest which are all unreal. To purify this chain of consciousness is the sole aim of the Bodhisattva, but so long as impurities are not removed, it will be subject to a series of transmigrations either in the world of gods or men, or of animals, birds, ghosts and demons.

When the Mantra becomes powerful the vibrations let loose by the Bodhi-mind (boddhicitta) react on the universal Śūnya which explodes in consequence in the divine form of the deity and appears before his mind sky. According as the calling signal is different in different cases the deity becomes different, and thus its number increases. The deities are nothing but the forms created by the force of word or letter vibrations, and by continuous practice anyone can visualise the deity. The Mantra idea is not only logically correct but also philosophically profound.

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Bodhicitta (बोधिचित्त) refers to an “enlightened mind”, according to the Guru Mandala Worship (maṇḍalārcana) ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.—Accordingly, “Until awakening I seek refuge, in the highest assembly of Buddha dharma, I hasten to accomplish awakened mind, for the success of self and others. I raise the highest enlightened mind (bodhicitta), I invite all beings to this place, Following the wisest conduct desired, becoming a Buddha for the world”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Bodhicitta in Buddhism glossary
Source: Buddhist Door: GlossaryThe mind of enlightenment. It is with this initiative that a Buddhist begins his path to complete, perfect enlightenment.Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

In Buddhism, bodhicitta (Jp:. bodaishin, Tibetan: jang chub sem) is the wish to attain complete enlightenment (that is, Buddhahood) in order to be of benefit to all sentient beings - beings trapped in cyclic existence (samsara) and have not yet reached Buddhahood. One who has bodhicitta as the primary motivation for all of his or her activities is called a bodhisattva.

Source: Buddhism Tourism: Glossary of Buddhist Terms

A Mahayana technical term meaning "thought of enlightenment". Bodhicatta is believed to be the prerequisite to actual entry onto bodhisattva path.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

Bodhichitta Skt., lit., “awakened mind”; the mind of enlightenment, one of the central no­tions of Mahāyāna Buddhism. In the Tibetan tradition it is seen as having two aspects, rela­tive and absolute. The relative mind of enlight­enment is divided again into two phases

  1. the intention and wish, nurtured by limitless com­passion, to attain liberation (nirvāna) for the sake of the welfare of all beings and
  2. actual entry into meditation, the purpose of which is the acquisition of the appropriate means to ac­tualize this wish.

The absolute mind of enlightenment is viewed as the vision of the true nature of phenomena. The various methods for arousing the mind of enlightenment stem primarily from Atīsha and entered into all schools of Tibetan Bud­dhism through him.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Bodhicitta in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Bodhicitta (बोधिचित्त).—nt., thought of enlightenment, the mental attitude which aspires to Buddhahood or Bodhisattvahood; Mahāvyutpatti 2351; Lalitavistara 8.18; 34.17; and passim; especially Gaṇḍavyūha 494.1, where begins a passage glorifying it, cited with abbrevia- tions Śikṣāsamuccaya 5.20 ff.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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.

Discover the meaning of bodhicitta in the context of Sanskrit from relevant books on Exotic India

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