Do you think bodisatta concept is original?

It seems according to the earliest buddhist texts , the bodisatta concept does not exist !

Do you mean the Mahayana concept that disciples of Buddha may become Bodhisatvas themselves ? or do you mean just the idea that the Buddha was cultivating the paramis in former lives, and that he was in some sense destined to attain perfect awakening ? Or something else ?

Both . Because the idea of parami also being late .

See this excellent book by Venerable Anālayo: The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal -


The bodisatta ideal not only can be found in buddhism but Hinduism also .
The practice to save/ liberate sentient beings from life to life can be seen in some of the other ascetics school as well .

There is a wide-spread belief, particularly in the West, that the ideal of the Theravada, which they conveniently identify with Hinayana, is to become an Arahant while that of the Mahayana is to become a Bodhisattva and finally to attain the state of a Buddha. It must be categorically stated that this is incorrect. This idea was spread by some early Orientalists at a time when Buddhist studies were beginning in the West, and the others who followed them accepted it without taking the trouble to go into the problem by examining the texts and living traditions in Buddhist countries. But the fact is that both the Theravada and the Mahayana unanimously accept the Bodhisattva ideal as the highest…

Just like the Mahayana, the Theravada holds the Bodhisattva in the highest position. The Commentary on the Jataka, in the tradition of the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura, provides a precise example: In the dim past, many incalculable aeons ago, Gotama the Buddha, during his career as Bodhisattva, was an ascetic named Sumedha. At that time there was a Buddha called Dipankara whom he met and at whose feet he had the capacity to realise Nirvana as a disciple (Sravaka). But Sumedha renounced it and resolved, out of great compassion for the world, to become a Buddha like Dipankara to save others. Then Dipankara Buddha declared and predicted that this great ascetic would one day become a Buddha and offered eight handfuls of flowers to Sumedha. Likewise, Dipankara Buddha’s disciples who were with him and who were themselves Arahants offered flowers to the Bodhisattva. This story of Sumedha distinctly shows the position a Bodhisattva occupies in the Theravada.

Although the Theravada holds that anybody can be a Bodhisattva, it does not stipulate or insist that all must be Bodhisattva which is considered not practical. The decision is left to the individual whether to take the Path of the Sravaka or of the Pratyekabuddha or of the Samyaksambuddha. But it is always clearly explained that the state of a Samyaksambuddha is superior and that the other two are inferior. Yet they are not disregarded…

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Despite such considerations, in the Nikāyas the Buddha is never seen teaching others to enter a bodhisattva path. Whenever he urges his monastic disciples to strive for any goal, it is to strive for arahantship, for liberation, for nirvāṇa. Whenever monastic disciples come to the Buddha, they ask for guidance in following the path to arahantship. The monks that the Buddha praises in the midst of the Sangha are those who have attained arahantship. Lay disciples often attain the three lower stages of liberation, from stream-entry to non-returning; those who lack the potential for world-transcending attainments aim at a heavenly rebirth or for a fortunate rebirth back into the human realm. No mention is ever made, however, of a lay disciple treading the bodhisattva path, much less of a dichotomy between monastic arahants and lay bodhisattvas.


As I see it, one of the factors that underlies the emergence of the full-fledged bodhisattva doctrine was the transformation of the archaic Buddha concept of the Nikāya sūtras into the Buddha figure of Buddhist religious faith and legend. This took place mainly in the age of Sectarian Buddhism, that is, between the phase of Early Buddhism represented by the Nikāyas and the rise of early Mahāyāna Buddhism. During this period, two significant developments of the Buddha concept occurred. First, the number of Buddhas was multiplied; and second, the Buddhas came to be endowed with increasingly more exalted qualities. These developments occurred somewhat differently in the different Buddhist schools, but certain common features united them.

A great article by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

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