Thomas Cleary uses the term "enlightening being" extensively in his translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. This term isn't defined in the glossary of that book, or in my copy of The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Is there a canonical definition of "enlightening being"?

Edit: Thanks useful comments by @ChrisW and @KayCee, I see in Appendix 1 "bodhisattva or enlightening being". I'm finding it helpful to read this Appendix before returning to the Introduction.


That's Cleary's translation of "bodhisattva":

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Compare that with this translation:

The Four Holy Truths

At that time, Manjushri Bodhisattva Mahasattva told all the Bodhisattvas: “All of you Disciples of the Buddha, in this Saha world, the Holy Truth of Suffering is

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    If I may give a personal experience as the person who proofread that volume for Shambhala Publications: from over 50 years in book publishing, including management, I can say there is no proofreader who does not miss typos and other errors. It is a question of being unable to maintain consistent mindfulness throughout the whole proofing job, especially with such a lengthy text consisting of almost hypnotically repetitious wording; at times I felt that reading it was putting me into an altered state. I ask forgiveness for any errors I was responsible for. Back when that book was published, type – KayCee Jun 27 at 8:37
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    ...typesetting was not done as it is today, from the author's disk, so errors were introduced by the keyboarded. Cleary also proofread his own books. I felt that enlightening being meant a being in the process of getting enlightened, but the meaning is slightly ambiguous. @Paul – KayCee Jun 27 at 8:40
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    @KayCee It is a bit ambiguous, isn't it: I read "enlightening" in that context as intended to mean, "a being who enlightens"! Also the word "Bodhisattva" is more familiar now than a translation into English. – ChrisW Jun 27 at 8:52
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    I don't agree bodhisattva is more common now; more books on Buddhism are pub'd now. I believe Cleary deliberately translated certain words to express his understanding, not because he thought bodhisattva was an unfamiliar word. I have never had the impression that a bodhisattva enlightens others in the sense of doing things to enlighten them, the way I imagine a fully enlightened (in Mahayana sense) Buddha does. The bodhisattva aspires to enlightenment in order to lead others to enlightenment, which can be best done as a Buddha. – KayCee Jun 27 at 9:03
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    Sorry for errors, I am not good at writing on my phone. – KayCee Jun 27 at 9:05

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