What is Bodhicitta?

I recall reading that the "power" of it is what ends up making someone a Bodhisattva or Buddha. So my specific question is whether it is nirvana, and if it is qualitative, felt etc..


Bodhicitta means awakening-mind, from 'bodhi' meaning awakening and 'citta' meaning mind or consciousness. In Mahayana Buddhism, three aspects liberate one from cyclic existence: the attitude of renunciation (which turns away from worldly attachments), the wisdom of emptiness (which sees object without grasping at intrinsic existence), and finally bodhicitta, which is the intention to help all sentient beings.

Bodhicitta is of two types: first, the very intention and aspiration to free all sentient beings from suffering; second, the process and implementation of doing so. Bodhicitta is also categorized as relative and absolute, where relative bodhicitta implies a compassionate wish and striving to help others, and ultimate bodhicitta is seeing the empty nature of things. I believe this is linked with either training compassion or gaining compassion through wisdom.

There are various ways of training bodhicitta. Among these, one may train the four immeasurables: loving-kindness (wishing for others' well being), compassion (wishing to alleviate others' suffering), sympathetic joy (partaking in others' well-being), and equanimity (considering others equally). Other means exist in Buddhism to develop bodhicitta, as equalizing oneself and others, which involves going past the distinctions between persons via an understanding in emptiness. Also, seeing all beings as one's mother relies on an understanding of karma to conceive others as having helped us in past lives.


Relative to your question, bodhicitta is not nirvana as it relies on worldy attachment (i.e. compassion) to occur. I understand, though I'm unsure, that you're asking if it is felt or cognitive. Interestingly, the Dalai Lama has said its best to focus on feeling when generating compassion, after having produced reasons. And, I have read a scientific papers 1 2 claiming the value of both motivational/affective aspects and cognitive aspects of compassion meditation. So, both components are clearly experienced in compassion.

More so, given that the union of compassion and emptiness is the aim of the Mahayana, and that emptiness entails initially an analytical training, one might consider how compassion merges with cognitive processes to see the world differently. So, it is indeed felt and realized.

Finally, given emptiness is related to non-duality, I feel the separation between cognition and feeling is illusory, as everything is highly related via cause and effect.

Hope this helps!

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  • good answer, thanks! could use something more explicit for "felt and realized" – sorta_buddhist Jul 7 '19 at 14:04
  • i'll accept, though i wish that ^^ – sorta_buddhist Jul 9 '19 at 11:45

Householder, Buddha-Parisata, Interested,

In the tradition of the Noble Ones, that of the Buddha, if seeking for such as "Bodhi-cita", means a mind that has already arived on the path, is headed toward liberation having reached the stream to Bodhi.

A mind directed toward Nibbana is not Nibbana, not fully liberated yet.

For a wordling "Bodhi-citta"-development means to increase strong desire to do the best one can do for all others and oneself: to leave the circle of feeding on each other, Awakening, awarness/mind-release, wisdom/knowing-release.

One of the main supportive practices, for those wishing to use this compassionate approach, is developing and much practocing of mudita, approval of the merits and gains all beings had, do and will accumulate, and in this way, by sharing ones own goodness as well, feeling no shame in doing, in approve and share of it, one might be able to "infect" others to follow the path leading to real peace, param sukham.

This is the meaning of gate, gate, paragate, bodhi svaha, becoming , becoming, higher becoming, till awakening is reached.

See also Modern "hierarchy" and devotion - obstacles: āgati & agati for some advices to fall not into āgati, jouney downwardly.

(Note that this gift of Dhamma is not dedicated for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment but as a means to make merits toward release from this wheel)

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  • not my downvote, but it's a bit of a scattered answer (no criticism meant) – sorta_buddhist Jul 7 '19 at 14:06
  • It's critic, and such isnot necessary bad, can even lead to heaven. Where does it appear scattered for householder @user3293056 ? What would he fix, possible having traced the meaning? The part between bodhi-citta and practice of mudita? To loosy stepped further? – Samana Johann Jul 7 '19 at 14:28
  • did you read the other answer? it's pretty standard – sorta_buddhist Jul 7 '19 at 14:37
  • Thats good if able to find the right message in a personal more pleasing way. Mudita. – Samana Johann Jul 7 '19 at 17:00
  • why do you suppose it's a "personal" thing? – sorta_buddhist Jul 7 '19 at 17:10

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