Bodhicitta

BodhicittaIn Buddhist thought, bodhicitta (Ch. 菩提心, pudixin, Jp. bodaishin) is the motivation of a bodhisattva.Etymologically, this is the combination of the words Bodhi or enlightenment, and Citta — mind, and is sometime translated as mind of enlightenment.

Bodhicitta is invariably taught to be selfless determination, as the purpose of enlightenment is not for ones-self, but for the benefit of all beings.

According to the teachings of Shantideva and his followers, there are two aspirations of Bodhicitta:

  1. The desire for enlightenment — similar to wishing to travel to India.
  2. Practicing for enlightenment — similar to actually travelling to India.

It is also divided in two different kinds:

  1. Relative Bodhicitta — based on compassion for all, the wish to gain enlightenment to help others
  2. Absolute Bodhicitta — based on Relative Bodhicitta the practice and insight of the wisdom of emptiness of madhyamaka.

There are also other divisions (3 or 22).

In Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism, Bodhicitta is the premier motivating factor for one’s practice. It is said that without grounding in bodhicitta, the practice is all for naught. Bodhicitta Bodhiczitta Бодхичитта Bồ-đề tâm

References

  • White, Kenneth R. 2005. The Role of Bodhicitta in Buddhist Enlightenment. New York : The Edwin Mellen Press.
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