(from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge. "(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (kilesa, q.v.) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (sacca, q.v.)" (Com. to M. 10).
The enlightenment of a Buddha is called samma^-sambodhi (q.v.) 'perfect enlightenment'. The faith (saddha^, q.v.) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as "he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One" (saddahati Tatha^gatassa bodhim: M. 53, A. III, 2).
As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga (q.v.)= bodhi-anga) and the 37 'things pertaining to enlightenment' (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma^, q.v.). In one of the later books of the Sutta-Pitaka, the Buddhavamsa, 10 bodhipa^cana-dhamma^ are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (pa^rami^, q.v.).
There is a threefold classification of enlightenment: 1. that of a noble disciple (sa^vaka-bodhi, q.v.). i.e. of an Arahat, 2. of an Independently Enlightened One (pacceka-bodhi, q.v.), and 3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (samma^-sambodhi). This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapa^tha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sa^vaka-pa^rami^, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhúmi (see Khp. Tr., pp. 247f.).
The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavamsa, Cariyapitaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi: 1. the tree of enlightenment, 2. the holy path (ariya-magga), 3. Nibba^na, 4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabban~n~uta^-n~a^na). As to (2), the commentaries quote Cula-Nidesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catúsu maggesu n~a^na).
Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Therava^da countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.