There exists a theory that the Pali/Prakrit bodhisatto was incorrectly Sanskritized into bodhisattva. It is suggested that the correct Sanskritization ought to have been bodhisakta, or “seeker of enlightenment” rather than “being of enlightenment”.

Thoughts? Is this reasonable?


It seems reasonable to me, in fact I regard it as likely.

The compound bodhisatta is uncomfortable: “awakening-being”. What does that even mean?

In the EBTs, bodhisatta is almost always used of the period of striving between leaving home and awakening, and there, “one intent on awakening” has a perfect sense. Regardless of how you construe the terms, the sense of the term must be something like that in the EBTs, so I translate, for example:

Pubbeva me, bhikkhave, sambodhā anabhisambuddhassa bodhisattasseva sato etadahosi
Mendicants, before my awakening—when I was still unawakened but intent on awakening—I thought:


Does bodhi is awakening ? Satta is being ?
Sakta is seeker ?

That’s right.

You probably know the Sanskrit form, śakti “power, energy, force”, which in the form śakta has the sense of one who is able, competent, or powerful.

The idea is it means someone who is “powering on” their way to awakening.


It seems no relation between satta and sakta !
Isn’t sattva meaning similar to satta ?

In the Pali language, the cognates of the Sanskrit words śakta and sattva are homonyms (words that sound alike and are spelled alike, but have different meanings), both of them taking the form satta.

That being so, it is lexically possible that either bodhiśakta or bodhisattva may be the Sanskrit equivalent of Pali bodhisatta.

The Mahāyānists have traditionally supposed bodhisattva to be the intended cognate. However, for reasons given in this thread some modern scholars suppose bodhiśakta to be more likely.


What about sattva ? Sattva equivalent to being ?

It’s equivalent to a living or sentient being; a creature. In some contexts an animal.


Bhanthe’s, are there words of similar usage- like wait are we sure ‘Ajasatta’ is a name?