The figure of the Bodhisattva — one who seeks Enlightenment for the sake of all beings — is central to Mahayana Buddhism. The Bodhisattva Ideal lays special emphasis on compassion as essential to the Buddhist path. Drawing on all aspects of the Buddhist tradition, Sangharakshita’s main emphasis is on the earlier and most basic teachings of the Buddha (which precede the Mahayana). However, he suggests that the Bodhisattva ideal is a central aspect of Buddhism as a whole, and that its expression by the Mahayana is not a later development but the reassertion of something that was implicit in the Buddha’s teaching from beginning. Transcendental Wisdom necessarily includes Compassion.
Sangharakshita maintains that Compassion is an essential aspect of the principle of going for Refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The Bodhisattva Ideal expresses its altruistic dimension.