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The concept of Bodhisattva in Pali Atthakathas


According to Theravada Buddhism Bodhisatta is a being seeking higher knowledge.
Kathavatthu suggests that the Bodhisatta is treated as a being not different from other
mendicants whose attainments are not yet perfect. Suttanipada states that Bodhisatta is a being
who was born in this world for happiness and wealfare of the people. Majjhima Nikaya says
that Bodhisatta is a being arisen in the world for the welfare of the manyfolk, for the happiness
of gods and men.
On the one hand, Bodhisatta is not only referring to Gotama Bodhisatta as mentions in the
Buddhavamsa and Milindapanha, but to all the Buddhas who had attained fully enlightenment in
the past and in the future. Etymologically satta has defined in many ways. Basically two
anonymous elucidations have given the previous existence of the Gotama Buddha and the past
life of the Buddha. It is applicable to all beings who are striving for Buddha -hood.
Buddhaghosa says in his Visuddhimagga that Bodhisatta was the handsomest, the most
comely, the most honourable and was clever and capable of exercising the effort of restraint.
Then people elected him as their leader. Therefore, he was called Maha-sammata. Here
according to Pali commentary, the word Bodhi is a nominal derivative of the root budh-to be
awaken, enlightened etc and it means enlightenment, supreme knowledge etc. Thus Ven.
According to Mahapadana sutta of Dighanikaya Atthakatha the meaning of Bodhisatta
can be classified into four categories. They are:
1. A wise or insightful being,
2. A being on the way to awakening,
3. A being worthy of attaining Sammasambodhi,
4. A being attached to or inclined towards bodhi.
At the same time, Dighanikaya Atthakatha explains the word Bodhisatta thus :A wise being
who is concerned with awakening, A being whose mind is attached to and bent on the four paths
called bodhi. Dhammapala also uses the word Sambodhi instead of the simple usage of bodhi.
These three kinds of Sambhodhi are:
1. Samma-sambhodhi- the full enlightenment. It is so-called because it is the realisation as
well as causing of all dhammas by oneself,
2. Pacceka-sambhodhi- the enlightenment of a pacceka. It is the realisation of truth not
known before through self-awakened knowledge,
3. Savaka-sambhodhi- the enlightenment of a disciple. It is the realisation of the truth of
disciples,
As a compassion Being a Bodhisatta is detained to attain Buddhahood, and become a future
Buddha, through the cultivation of his mind. In order to gain Supreme Enlightenment,
according to Pali commentaries, eight conditions are necessary as the preconditions for
anyone to aspire to be a Bodhisatta.
Further ten perfections are to be practised and fulfilled. They are: Dana parami- Sila paramiNekkhamma parami- Panna parami- Viriya parami- Khanti parami- Sacca parami- Adhitthana
parami- Metta parami- Upekkha paramiOriginally these ten were considered as exclusively reserved for a Buddha to-be for they are
called Buddhakara-dhamma. But later as these were also graded into three levels as Parami,

Upaparami and Paramatthaparami, this increasing the number of Parami to (30). Of these
Paramattha parami-perfection at the highest level were exclusively for the Buddha to-be,
Savaka do so to the extent needed for the attainment of their ideal.
According to Suttanipata Atthakatha mentions that the Bodhisatta never be born in eighteen
inauspicious stages such as a blind, a deaf, As a mad, a fool or idiot, a trapper, a barbarian, etc.
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