Bodhicitta

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Bodhicitta (Skt., ‘thought of enlightenment’). An important concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism, having both a personal and a cosmic aspect. In the personal sense it denotes the spontaneous generation of the resolve to strive for enlightenment. The cosmic aspect of the doctrine locates the seed or first stirrings of this impulse in a transpersonal matrix or resource along absolutistic lines. Here it is reality itself, under its various denominations such as the ‘Body of Truth’ (dharmakāya), the ‘Womb of Tathāgatas’ (tathāgatagarbha), or ‘True Suchness’ (bhūtatathatā), which engenders the possibility of enlightenment.

In Tantric Buddhist symbology bodhicitta is identified with the seed or semen which is produced through the union of male and female, representing the fusion of wisdom (prajña) with compassion (karuṇā) in the bliss of perfect enlightenment.