The Austerities of the Bodhisattva

Shakyamuni Buddha: A Life ForetoldNikkyo Niwano

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THE PRINCE WHO WAS to become the historical Buddha has generally been referred to as the Bodhisattva when spoken of during the period of quest and religious disciplines following his great renunciation and up until his enlightenment. A bodhisattva has been described as one who "seeks upward for bodhi [wisdom]" and "teaches downward to all beings," that is, one who on the one hand perfects himself by aiming at the attainment of enlightenment, but on the other hand also descends to the level of the unenlightened in order to save them. (In the simplest Mahayana Buddhist terms, a bodhisattva is one who devotes himself to attaining enlightenment not only for himself but for all sentient beings.)

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