The seated bodhisattva in meditation is one of the most iconic Buddhist images. If you’ve been studying Sunya, you might be wondering what the term “bodhisattva” means. In a nutshell, a bodhisattva is someone who has dedicated their awakening to the benefit of all others. There are historical bodhisattvas to whom we look for inspiration, but anyone, including you, can be a bodhisattva.

A bodhisattva is a Mahayana Buddhist who has taken a vow to put others first. We are typically self- centred beings. We tend to think of ourselves first, and we are preoccupied with our happiness, gain, and fame. We bring these me-first attitudes with us as we begin our meditation journey. Our meditation objectives are to improve our own lives and become happier, wiser people.

Daily meditation, on the other hand, helps us develop better caring and selflessness. We learn that true happiness comes from assuring the happiness of others and that everyone, like us, merely wants to be free of their suffering. As we heal ourselves, we are naturally drawn to the desire to help others heal. One of the fundamental contrasts between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism is the bodhisattva ideal. The purpose of Mahayana Buddhism is to evolve into a tremendously compassionate person capable of healing the agony of all beings everywhere, not just to cure our sorrow and suffering.

The point is that becoming a bodhisattva is a goal we can all strive for. Set an intention to develop bodhicitta the next time you meditate. Finish your meditation by saying something like, “May the blessings I’ve experienced help all beings everywhere.” Bodhicitta is the mental state that motivates us to strive for bodhisattva rank. Bodhicitta (awakened mind or heart) is a major part of Mahayana Buddhist practice, and recovering this innate aspect of our existence is a core element of Mahayana Buddhist practice. We earnestly try to save all beings with Bodhisattva in our hearts. But how can we do that in our current situation? We can’t even help ourselves, let alone the rest of the world.

This simple Mahayana Buddhist practice serves as a reminder that every step we take toward our own well-being is a step toward the well-being of all. When you practice the Sunya, you will feel great happiness and well-being.

SIF built the Sunyatee Academy App in order to properly convey to you the full power of authentic meditation. This is where the live online sessions will take place. Any student can participate in live sessions and learn about Sunya with this app. This app also includes video lectures that can be watched at any time.