Lots of Buddhist words have two different spellings (kamma/karma) because one is the Pali version and the other is the Sanskrit version; but the meaning is the same. My understanding of Bodhisatta and Bodhisattva though, is that they have different meanings. Can anyone elaborate?
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Bodhisatta is Pali, Bodhisattva is Sanskrit, they have the same basic meaning.
In Theravāda Buddhism, the term "bodhisatta" (Pāli language) was used by the Buddha in the Pāli canon to refer to himself both in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life, prior to his enlightenment, in the period during which he was working towards his own liberation. In later Theravāda literature, the term "bodhisatta" is used fairly frequently in the sense of someone on the path to liberation.
Mahāyāna Buddhism is based principally upon the path of a bodhisattva. Mahāyāna Buddhism encourages everyone to become bodhisattvas and to take the bodhisattva vows. With these vows, one makes the promise to work for the complete enlightenment of all sentient beings.
The vows are an expression of bodhichitta, the desire to realize enlightenment for the sake of others. The exact wording of the Bodhisattva vows varies from school to school. The most basic form is:
May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Mahāyāna schools like Zen, Nichiren, Tendai, and others use vows translated as:
Although both terms are local versions of the same basic word (that means "awakened being"), the two branches use the word in very different sense.
Nope! They are exactly the same. There's also 'Maha-Bodhisatta'. That term is specifically used for a being who has gotten the confirmation from a fully enlightened Buddha that he is also going to become a fully enlightened Buddha in the future. ex: Mathree Bodhisatva who is in Tāvatiṃsa heaven at present will become the Maithree Buddha in the future. He will be the 5th and the final Buddha to appear before the world ends.
I'm not a Pali scholar, so can't quote line and verse, but I understand that a Mahayana Bodhisattva can take rebirth as several people, each representing a different characteristic of the predecessor. The Theravada Bodhisatta is the simple continuation of the principle being destined for eventual enlightenment.