A being on the spiritual quest (Theravada) or an awakened being who vowed to indefinitely stay in Samsara for the sake of others (Mahayana).

In Theravada, the term is commonly applied to the historical Buddha before his awakening but is also used for any being that intends to awaken. In Mahayana, Bodhisattva is an awakened being who vowed to work for the awakening and liberation of all sentient beings as long as Samsara persists.