The Buddhist Ideal
Compassion’s presence in Buddhist thought, especially in Mahayana Buddhism, is integrally related to the Buddhist social ideal of the Bodhisattva:1 an enlightened being on a long and arduous path to Nirvāṇa, to fulfillment through extinguishing the substantial self and the illusory phenomenal world, to the ‘truth’, but who vows not to pass into Nirvāna until all others have achieved it. The Bodhisattva devotes himself instead to teaching others the truth, of the way to enlightenment, out of karuṇā — Buddhist compassion: the awareness of the suffering of others and the desire to release all living creatures from pain and existential distress.
KeywordsConscious State Conscious Process Buddhist Tradition Buddhist Monk Sentient Creature
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