In Buddhist thought, a Bodhisattva (Ch.: 菩薩 pú sà, Jp.: bosatsu) is a being who is dedicated to achieving complete Buddhahood. That is their reason for "being" or raison d'être. Conventionally, the term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment. Bodhisattva literally means an "enlightenment (bodhi) being (sattva)" in Sanskrit.
The following is a partial list of bodhisattvas, respected in Indian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Japanese and Chinese traditions.
(Ch. 虛空藏 , Xu Kong Zang, Kr. Huh Gong Zang, Jp. Kokuzo) - The Bodhisattva of infinite happiness generated by helping countless numbers of sentient beings.
(Ch. 觀音 , Guan Yin, Kr. Guan Um, Jp. Kannon, Tib. Chenrezig, Viet. Quán Thế Âm) - The bodhisattva of compassion, the listener of the world's cries who uses skillful means to come to their aid; the most universally acknowledged Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. Known as Guan Yin in East Asia, Chenrezig in Tibet, and Migjid Janraisig in Mongolia.
Param Pujya Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is regarded as a Bodhisattva by Indian Buddhist Bhikkus and by millions of other Buddhists.
(Ch. 地藏 , Di Zang, Kr. Ji Zang, Jp. Jizo, Tib. Sai Nyingpo, Viet. 'Địa Tạng). The bodhisattva of the beings suffering in hellish realms, or the bodhisattva of great vows.
(Ch. 大勢至, Da Shì Zhì, Kr. Dae Sae Zhi, Jp. Seishi, Viet. Đại Thế Chí) - Represents the power of wisdom, seen on the left of Amitabha in Pure Land Buddhism.
(Ch. 彌勒 , Mi Le, Kr. Mi Ruk, Jp. Miroku, Viet. Di Lạc) - The bodhisattva to be reborn and to become enlightened, thus succeeding Gautama Buddha in the future. Known for his benevolence.
(Ch. 文殊 , Wen Shu, Kr. Moon Soo, Jp. Monju, Tib. Jampal Yang, Viet. Văn Thù) - Bodhisattva of keen awareness and wisdom.
(Ch. 龍樹, Long Shu, Viet. Long Thọ) - The founder of the Madhyamaka (Middle Path) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Two wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha, standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in Japan and Korea under the appearance of frightening wrestler-like statues. They are manifestations of the Bodhisattva Vajrapani.
(Ch. 蓮華生上師, Lianhuasheng Shang Shi, Tib. Padma Jungne or Guru Rinpoche) - Most associated with Tibetan Buddhism and Bhutanese Buddhism. The Nyingma school regards Padmasambhava as a second Buddha.
(Ch. 普賢 , Pu Xian, Kr. Bo Hyun, Jp. Fugen, Tib. Kuntu Zangpo, Viet. Phổ Hiền) - Represents the practice and meditation of all Buddhas.
(Ch. 伽藍, Qie Lan, Viet. Già Lam) - Only revered in Chinese Buddhism-Taoism, Sangharama refer to a group of devas who guard Buddhist monasteries and the faith, but the title is usually referring to the legendary Chinese military general Guan Yu, who became a Dharmapala through becoming a Buddhist and making vows.
8th century scholar, wrote about Bodhisattvas.
The goddess of the White Parasol and protector against supernatural danger.
(Ch. 韋馱, Wei Tuo) - A Dharmapala who guards the Dharma, with links to Vajrapani and is somewhat the direct forbear to Murugan, a Hindu deity. Primarily worshipped in Chinese Buddhism.
Mentioned in Shantideva's A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way Of Life
(Ch: 日光, Ri Guang, Kr. Il Guang, Jp: Nikkō) - One of two attendants of Bhaisajyaguru Buddha.
(Ch. 度母, Du Mu) - Female bodhisattva, or set of bodhisattvas, in Tibetan Buddhism. She represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Also a manifestation of Avalokitesvara.
(Ch. 金剛手, Jin Gang Shou, Kr. Kum Kang Soo, Jp.Shukongojin, Tib. Channa Dorje) - An early bodhisattva in Mahayana.
Bodhisattva of abundance and fertility. Popular in Nepal.