In Mahayana Buddhism, bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for a being with bodhi (enlightenment). A bodhisattva is anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. A bodhisattva is one of the four sublime states a human can achieve in life (the others being an arhat, buddha or pratyekabuddha).
Usage of the term bodhisattva has evolved over time. In early Indian Buddhism, for example, the term bodhisattva was primarily used to refer specifically to Gautama Buddha in his former lives. The Jataka tales, which are the stories of the Buddha’s lives, depict the various attempts of the bodhisattva to embrace qualities like self-sacrifice and morality