The English term ENLIGHTENMENT is the western translation of the term bodhi , "awakening", which was popularised in the Western world through the 19th century translations of Max Müller . It has the western connotation of a sudden insight into a transcendental truth.
The term is also being used to translate several other Buddhist terms
and concepts used to denote insight (prajna , kensho and satori );
knowledge (vidhya ); the "blowing out" (
Nirvana ) of disturbing
emotions and desires and the subsequent freedom or release (vimutti );
and the attainment of
What exactly constituted the Buddha's awakening is unknown. It may probably have involved the knowledge that liberation was attained by the combination of mindfulness and dhyāna , applied to the understanding of the arising and ceasing of craving. The relation between dhyana and insight is a core problem in the study of Buddhism, and is one of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice.
In the western world the concept of (spiritual) enlightenment has taken on a romantic meaning. It has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self and false self , being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning. , , ,
* 1 Translation
* 2 Terms
* 2.1 Insight
* 2.2 Knowledge * 2.3 Freedom * 2.4 Nirvana
* 3.1 Anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi
* 3.2 Buddha\'s awakening
* 3.2.1 Canonical accounts * 3.2.2 Critical assessment
* 3.3 Development of
* 4 Western understanding of enlightenment
* 4.1 Enlightenment as "Aufklärung" * 4.2 Awakening * 4.3 Romanticism and transcendentalism * 4.4 Enlightenment and experience
Robert S. Cohen notes that the majority of English books on Buddhism
use the term "enlightenment" to translate the term bodhi. The root
budh, from which both bodhi and
Early 19th century bodhi was translated as "intelligence". The term
"enlighten" was first being used in 1835, in an English translation of
a French article, while the first recorded use of the term
'enlightenment' is credited (by the Oxford English Dictionary) to the
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (February, 1836). In 1857 The
Times used the term "the Enlightened" for the
By the mid-1870s it had become commonplace to call the Buddha "enlightened", and by the end of the 1880s the terms "enlightened" and "enlightenment" dominated the English literature.
It is not at all clear what gaining bodhi means. We are accustomed to the translation "enlightenment" for bodhi, but this is misleading ... It is not clear what the buddha was awakened to, or at what particular point the awakening came.
According to Norman, bodhi may basically have meant the knowledge that nibbana was attained, due to the practice of dhyana. Originally only "prajna" may have been mentioned, and Tillman Vetter even concludes that originally dhyana itself was deemed liberating, with the stilling of pleasure of pain in the fourth jhana. Gombrich also argues that the emphasis on insight is a later development.
(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
This equation of bodhi with the four noble truths is a later
development, in response to developments within Indian religious
thought, where "liberating insight" was deemed essential for
liberation . The four noble truths as the liberating insight of the
Kensho And Satori
Satori are Japanese terms used in
The term vidhya is being used in contrast to avidhya , ignorance or
the lack of knowledge, which binds us to samsara . The Mahasaccaka
Sutta describes the three knowledges which the
According to Bronkhorst, the first two knowledges are later additions, while insight into the four truths represents a later development, in response to concurring religious traditions, in which "liberating insight" came to be stressed over the practice of dhyana.
Vimutti, also called moksha, means "freedom", "release", "deliverance". Sometimes a distinction is being made between ceto-vimutti, "liberation of the mind", and panna-vimutti, "liberation by understanding". The Buddhist tradition recognises two kinds of ceto-vimutti, one temporarily and one permanent, the last being equivalent to panna-vimutti.
... a sudden revulsion, turning, or re-turning of the ālaya vijñāna back into its original state of purity the Mind returns to its original condition of non-attachment, non-discrimination and non-duality".
Nirvana is the "blowing out" of disturbing emotions, which is the same as liberation. The usage of the term "enlightenment" to translate "nirvana" was popularized in the 19th century, due, in part, to the efforts of Max Muller, who used the term consistently in his translations.
The term buddha has acquired somewhat different meanings in the
various Buddhist traditions. An equivalent term for
In the suttapitaka , the Buddhist canon as preserved in the Theravada-tradition , a couple of texts can be found in which the Buddha's attainment of liberation forms part of the narrative.
The Ariyapariyesana Sutta describes how the
The Mahasaccaka Sutta describes his ascetic practices, which he abandoned. There-after he remembered a spontaneous state of jhana, and set out for jhana-practice. After destroying the disturbances of the mind , and attaining concentration of the mind , he attained three knowledges (vidhya):
According to the Mahasaccaka Sutta these insights, including the way
to attain liberation, led the
Schmithausen notes that the mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight", which is attained after mastering the Rupa Jhanas, is a later addition to texts such as Majjhima Nikaya 36. Bronkhorst notices that
...the accounts which include the
Four Noble Truths
It calls in question the reliability of these accounts, and the relation between dhyana and insight, which is a core problem in the study of early Buddhism. Originally the term prajna may have been used, which came to be replaced by the four truths in those texts where "liberating insight" was preceded by the four jhanas. Bronkhorst also notices that the conception of what exactly this "liberating insight" was developed throughout time. Whereas originally it may not have been specified, later on the four truths served as such, to be superseded by pratityasamutpada, and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person. And Schmithausen notices that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon:
"that the five Skandhas are impermanent, disagreeable, and neither the Self nor belonging to oneself"; "the contemplation of the arising and disappearance (udayabbaya) of the five Skandhas"; "the realisation of the Skandhas as empty (rittaka), vain (tucchaka) and without any pith or substance (asaraka).
An example of this substitution, and its consequences, is Majjhima Nikaya 36:42-43, which gives an account of the awakening of the Buddha.
DEVELOPMENT OF BUDDHAHOOD IN BUDDHIST TRADITIONS
In time, the Buddha's awakening came to be understood as an immediate
full awakening and liberation, instead of the insight into and
certainty about the way to follow to reach enlightenment. However, in
WESTERN UNDERSTANDING OF ENLIGHTENMENT
In the western world the concept of enlightenment has taken on a romantic meaning. It has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self , being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning.
ENLIGHTENMENT AS "AUFKLäRUNG"
The use of the western word enlightenment is based on the supposed resemblance of bodhi with Aufklärung , the independent use of reason to gain insight into the true nature of our world. In fact there are more resemblances with Romanticism than with the Enlightenment: the emphasis on feeling, on intuitive insight, on a true essence beyond the world of appearances.
The equivalent term "awakening" has also been used in a Christian context, namely the Great Awakenings , several periods of religious revival in American religious history . Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 19th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.
ROMANTICISM AND TRANSCENDENTALISM
The romantic idea of enlightenment as insight into a timeless,
transcendent reality has been popularized especially by
D.T. Suzuki .
Further popularization was due to the writings of
Heinrich Dumoulin .
Dumoulin viewed metaphysics as the expression of a transcendent
truth, which according to him was expressed by
In the oldest
...most of them labour under the old cliché that the goal of Buddhist psychological analysis is to reveal the hidden mysteries in the human mind and thereby facilitate the development of a transcendental state of consciousness beyond the reach of linguistic expression.
ENLIGHTENMENT AND EXPERIENCE
A common reference in western culture is the notion of "enlightenment
experience". This notion can be traced back to
It was popularised by the
Transcendentalists , and exported to Asia
It was adopted by many scholars of religion, of which William James was the most influential.
The notion of "experience" has been criticised. Robert Sharf points out that "experience" is a typical western term, which has found its way into Asian religiosity via western influences.
The notion of "experience" introduces a false notion of duality
between "experiencer" and "experienced", whereas the essence of kensho
is the realisation of the "non-duality " of observer and observed.
"Pure experience" does not exist; all experience is mediated by
intellectual and cognitive activity. The specific teachings and
practices of a specific tradition may even determine what "experience"
someone has, which means that this "experience" is not the proof of
the teaching, but a result of the teaching. A pure consciousness
without concepts, reached by "cleaning the doors of perception" as per
According to the
* ^ See also Lourens Peter van den Bosch, Theosophy or Pantheism? Friedrich Max Müller\'s Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion: "The three principal themes of his Gifford lectures on natural religion were the discovery of God, the discovery of the soul, and the discovery of the oneness of God and soul in the great religions of the world." * ^ Majjhima Nikaya chapter 36 * ^ See Encyclopedia.com, Vimutti * ^ According to Gombrich, this distinction is artificial, and due to later, too literal, interpretations of the suttas. * ^ See Majjhima Nikaya chaper 4, 12, 26 -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
* ^ Fischer-Schreiber 2008 , p. 5051, lemma "bodhi". * ^ A B C Carrette & King 2005 . * ^ A B C D E Sharf 1995b . * ^ A B C Sharf 2000 . * ^ A B C D McMahan 2008 . * ^ A B C D Cohen 2006 , p. 1. * ^ A B Cohen 2006 , p. 2. * ^ Cohen 2006 , p. 2-3. * ^ A B Cohen 2006 , p. 3. * ^ Cohen 2006 , p. 9. * ^ Cohen 2006 , p. 4. * ^ Cohen 2006 , p. 6-7. * ^ A B Nyanatiloka 1980 , p. 40. * ^ A B C Schreiber-Fischer 2008 , p. 50. * ^ A B C D E F G Bronkhorst 1993 . * ^ A B C D E F Vetter 1988 . * ^ A B Norman 1997 , p. 29. * ^ Norman, K. R. (2005). Buddhist Forum Volume V: Philological Approach to Buddhism. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-135-75154-8 . * ^ Norman 1997 , p. 30. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxix, xxxi. * ^ A B Gombrich 1997 . * ^ A B Schreiber-Fischer 2008 , p. 51. * ^ A B C Nyanatiloka 1980 , p. 150. * ^ Fischer-Schreiber 2008 , p. 281. * ^ A B Kapleau 1989 . * ^ Lusthaus 1998 . * ^ Lai 2003 . * ^ A B Bikkhu Nanamoli 1995 , p. 340-342. * ^ A B Warder 2000 , p. 47–48. * ^ A B Snelling 1987 , p. 27. * ^ A B Bowker 1997 . * ^ Nyanatiloka 1980 , p. 239. * ^ A B Gombrich 2005 , p. 147. * ^ Gombrich 2005 , p. 147-148. * ^ Park 1983 , p. 126-132. * ^ Park 1983 , p. 127. * ^ Scott 2009 , p. 8. * ^ Mäll 2005 , p. 83. * ^ Warder 2000 , p. 45-50. * ^ Faure 1991 * ^ Bikkhu Nanamoli 1995 , p. 259. * ^ Bikkhu Nanamoli 1995 , p. 342. * ^ Warder 2000 , p. 47-48. * ^ Schmithausen 1981 . * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 110. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 108. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 100-101. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 101. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 102-103. * ^ Harris 2004 , p. 103. * ^ Wright 2000 , p. 181-183. * ^ Dumoulin 2005a . * ^ Dumoulin 2005b . * ^ Dumonlin 2000 . * ^ Wilber 1996 . * ^ Warder 2000 , p. 116-124. * ^ Kalupahana 1992a , p. xi. * ^ Hori 1999 , p. 47. * ^ King 2002 . * ^ Versluis 2001 , p. 3. * ^ Hart 1995 . * ^ Sharf 2000 , p. 271. * ^ Carrithers 1983 , p. 18. * ^ Sekida 1985 , p. 196-197. * ^ Sekida 1985 , p. 251. * ^ Mohr 2000 , p. 282-286. * ^ Low 2006 , p. 12. * ^ Sharf ">
* ^ Dr. Alexander Berzin,
Nirvana and enlightenment
* ^ Kusala Bhikshu (3/2008), Buddhist Enlightenment vs NirvanaAs of
* ^ "David Loy (2010), Enlightenment in
* Batchelor, Stephen (1998),
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