Why Buddhism? Westerners in Search of Wisdom

By Vicki Mackenzie | Go to book overview

Key Buddhist terms

Bodhicitta The altruistic mind which is focused on attaining full Enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.

Bodhisattva A person who has determined to attain full Enlightenment in order to help others, one who is on the way to becoming a Buddha, a practitioner who has the Bodhicitta mind constantly. Only found in Mahayana Buddhism.

Buddha A Supremely Enlightened One, an Awakened One. The historical founder of Buddhism was Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha Shakyamuni, 581–501 BC, the first-born son of King Suddhodana who reigned over what is now Nepal. Aged 29, Gautama Siddhartha left his palace, his wife and child to seek the meaning of existence. After many years of study, meditation and self-denial he found his answer when he attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, in Bodhgaya, India. He was 35 years old and for the next 45 years, until his death at 80, he expounded his teachings so that others might also find the way to Liberation. ‘Buddha’ also denotes anybody who has attained Awakening. According to Mahayana Buddhism (see below), Shakyamuni Buddha was the fourth in a series of

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