In Buddhist thought, bodhicitta (Ch. 菩提心, pudixin, Jp. bodaishin) is the motivation of a bodhisattva. Etymologically, this is the combination of the words Bodhi or enlightenment, and Citta - mind, and is sometime translated as mind of enlightenment.
Bodhicitta is invariably taught to be selfless determination, as the purpose of enlightenment is not for ones-self, but for the benefit of all beings.
According to the teachings of Shantideva and his followers, there are two flavours of Bodhicitta, which represent.
- The desire for enlightenment - similar to wishing to travel to India.
- Practicing for enlightenment - similar to actually travelling to India.
Moreover, traditions such as Vajrayana establish that there are two more pervasive flavours of Bodhicitta. These are:
- Relative Bodhicitta - the practice for enlightenment based on compassion for all (as above)
- Absolute Bodhicitta - the practice for enlightenment based upon the wisdom of the emptiness of madhyamaka.
- Wikipedia (2005). Bodhicitta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhicitta). Retrieved 9 March 2005.