Buddhism’s Mahāyāna: Bodhisattvas
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In the early Common Era, a new movement began in the Buddhist world, the Mahāyāna (“Great Vehicle”). In contrast to Theravāda, Mahāyāna encompasses greater variety from sect to sect and is more “liberal” when it comes to the laity and their capacity for spiritual development. This is most evident in the Mahāyāna spiritual ideal, the bodhisattva (“wisdom being”), a personification of compassion and self-sacrifice. As an inspirational and aspirational focus for monastics and laity, the bodhisattva has been very influential in Buddhist societies. It also has immense psychological power and affords intriguing insights into the positive, spiritual depths of the human psyche.
Buddhist “Theism” and the Bodhisattva Path
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