acrylic on board
12 x 9 inches (unframed)
A bodhisattva is a Buddhist who has taken a vow to be on the path to Buddhahood by helping others, even giving up his ascension into nirvana until all people have been saved. In Buddhist painting bodhisattvas are usually shown flanking Buddhas or as making up a Buddha’s assembly. Vajrayana deities such as Manjushri, Maitreya, and Avalokiteshvara are often referred to as bodhisattvas.
In the earliest phase of Buddhism (Theravada), bodhisattvas are individuals on the path to enlightenment. The term often referred to Gautama in his previous embodiments before enlightenment. The bodhisattva path was limited to a selected group. In Mahayana Buddhism (the second turning of the wheel), the bodhisattva path was opened to more people and more texts appeared which widened and clarified the path including the foundational Prajnaparamita. Vajaryana Buddhism, the tantric phase (the third turning of the wheel), developed its own texts and rituals and proposed that the bodhisattva path could be shortened to a few lifetimes or even one lifetime whereas the earlier schools indicated it could take even aeons.