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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 Buddhahood
Buddhahood
, as exemplified by Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
.

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. , , ,

CONTENTS

* 1 Translation

* 2 Terms

* 2.1 Insight

* 2.1.1 Bodhi
Bodhi
* 2.1.2 Prajna * 2.1.3 Kensho and satori

* 2.2 Knowledge * 2.3 Freedom * 2.4 Nirvana

* 3 Buddhahood
Buddhahood

* 3.1 Anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi

* 3.2 Buddha\'s awakening

* 3.2.1 Canonical accounts * 3.2.2 Critical assessment

* 3.3 Development of Buddhahood
Buddhahood
in Buddhist traditions

* 4 Western understanding of enlightenment

* 4.1 Enlightenment as "Aufklärung" * 4.2 Awakening * 4.3 Romanticism and transcendentalism * 4.4 Enlightenment and experience

* 5 Bodhi
Bodhi
Day * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Web references * 10 Sources * 11 External links

TRANSLATION

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 Buddha
Buddha
are derived, means "to wake up" or "to recover consciousness". Cohen notes that bodhi is not the result of an illumination , but of a path of realization, or coming to understanding. The term "enlightenment" is event-oriented, whereas the term "awakening" is process-oriented. The western use of the term "enlighten" has Christian roots, as in Calvin's "It is God alone who enlightens our minds to perceive his truths".

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 Buddha
Buddha
in a short article, which was reprinted the following year by Max Müller . Thereafter, the use of the term subsided, but reappeared with the publication of Max Müller's Chips from a german Workshop, which included a reprint from the Times-article. The book was translated in 1969 into German, using the term "der Erleuchtete". Max Müller was an essentialist , who believed in a natural religion , and saw religion as an inherent capacity of human beings. "Enlightenment" was a means to capture natural religious truths, as distinguished from mere mythology.

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.

TERMS

INSIGHT

Bodhi

Bodhi
Bodhi
(Sanskrit, Pāli), from the verbal root budd, "to awaken", "to understand", means literally "to have woken up and understood". According to Johannes Bronkhorst , Tillman Vetter, and K.R. Norman, bodhi was at first not specified. K.R. Norman:

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.

In Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, bodhi refers to the realisation of the four stages of enlightenment and becoming an Arahant . In Theravada Buddhism, bodhi is equal to supreme insight, and the realisation of the four noble truths, which leads to deliverance. According to Nyanatiloka,

(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
Four Noble Truths
(sacca , q.v.).

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 Buddha
Buddha
eventually were superseded by Pratītyasamutpāda
Pratītyasamutpāda
, the twelvefold chain of causation, and still later by anatta, the emptiness of the self.

In Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism, bodhi is equal to prajna, insight into the Buddha-nature
Buddha-nature
, sunyata and tathatā . This is equal to the realisation of the non-duality of absolute and relative .

Prajna

In Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism
Buddhism
pannā (Pali) means "understanding", "wisdom", "insight". "Insight" is equivalent to vipassana ', insight into the three marks of existence, namely anicca , dukkha and anatta . Insight leads to the four stages of enlightenment and Nirvana.

In Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
Prajna (Sanskrit) means "insight" or "wisdom", and entails insight into sunyata. The attainment of this insight is often seen as the attainment of "enlightenment".

Kensho And Satori

Kensho and Satori are Japanese terms used in Zen
Zen
traditions. Kensho means "seeing into one's true nature." Ken means "seeing", sho means "nature", "essence", c.q Buddha-nature. Satori (Japanese) is often used interchangeably with kensho, but refers to the experience of kensho. The Rinzai tradition sees kensho as essential to the attainment of Buddhahood
Buddhahood
, but considers further practice essential to attain Buddhahood.

East-Asian (Chinese) Buddhism
Buddhism
emphasizes insight into Buddha-nature. This term is derived from Indian tathagata-garbha thought, "the womb of the thus-gone" (the Buddha), the inherent potential of every sentient being to become a Buddha. This idea was integrated with the Yogacara-idea of the ālaya vijñāna, and further developed in Chinese Buddhism, which integrated Indian Buddhism
Buddhism
with native Chinese thought. Buddha-nature
Buddha-nature
came to mean both the potential of awakening and the whole of reality, a dynamic interpenetration of absolute and relative. In this awakening it is realized that observer and observed are not distinct entities, but mutually co-dependent.

KNOWLEDGE

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 Buddha
Buddha
attained:

* Insight into his past lives * Insight into the workings of Karma
Karma
and Reincarnation * Insight into the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths

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.

FREEDOM

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.

Yogacara
Yogacara
uses the term āśraya parāvŗtti, "revolution of the basis",

... 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

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.

BUDDHAHOOD

ANUTTARā-SAMYAK-SAṃBODHI

Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha Gautama
, known as the Buddha, is said to have achieved full awakening, known as samyaksaṃbodhi (Sanskrit; Pāli: sammāsaṃbodhi), "perfect Buddhahood", or anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi, "highest perfect awakening".

The term buddha has acquired somewhat different meanings in the various Buddhist traditions. An equivalent term for Buddha
Buddha
is Tathāgata , "the thus-gone". The way to Buddhahood
Buddhahood
is somewhat differently understood in the various buddhist traditions.

BUDDHA\'S AWAKENING

Canonical Accounts

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 Buddha
Buddha
was dissatisfied with the teachings of Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, wandered further through Magadhan country, and then found "an agreeable piece of ground" which served for striving. The sutra then only says that he attained Nibbana.

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):

* Insight into his past lives * Insight into the workings of Karma
Karma
and Reincarnation * Insight into the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths

According to the Mahasaccaka Sutta these insights, including the way to attain liberation, led the Buddha
Buddha
himself straight to liberation. called "awakening."

Critical Assessment

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
Four Noble Truths
had a completely different conception of the process of liberation than the one which includes the Four Dhyanas and the destruction of the intoxicants.

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 Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, reaching full awakening is equivalent in meaning to reaching Nirvāṇa . Attaining Nirvāṇa is the ultimate goal of Theravada
Theravada
and other śrāvaka traditions. It involves the abandonment of the ten fetters and the cessation of dukkha or suffering. Full awakening is reached in four stages.

In Mahāyāna
Mahāyāna
Buddhism
Buddhism
the Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
is the ideal. The ultimate goal is not only of one's own liberation in Buddhahood, but the liberation of all living beings.

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 some Zen
Zen
traditions this perfection came to be relativized again; according to one contemporary Zen
Zen
master, "Shakyamuni buddha and Bodhidharma are still practicing."

But Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
also developed a cosmology with a wide range of buddhas and bodhisattvas, who assist humans on their way to liberation.

WESTERN UNDERSTANDING OF ENLIGHTENMENT

See also: Buddhist modernism , Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism
, and Perennial philosophy

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.

AWAKENING

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 Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism, but not by the pragmatic analysis of the oldest Buddhism, which emphasizes anatta. This romantic vision is also recognizable in the works of Ken Wilber .

In the oldest Buddhism
Buddhism
this essentialism is not recognizable. According to critics it doesn't really contribute to a real insight into Buddhism:

...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 William James
William James
, who used the term "religious experience" in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience . Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of "religious experience" further back to the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), who argued that religion is based on a feeling of the infinite. Schleiermacher used the notion of "religious experience" to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique.

It was popularised by the Transcendentalists , and exported to Asia via missionaries. Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism
developed as a reaction against 18th Century rationalism, John Locke 's philosophy of Sensualism , and the predestinationism of New England Calvinism . It is fundamentally a variety of diverse sources such as Hindu texts like the Vedas
Vedas
, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita , various religions, and German idealism .

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 romantic poet William Blake
William Blake
, would, according to Mohr, be an overwhelming chaos of sensory input without coherence.

BODHI DAY

Sakyamuni's Buddhahood
Buddhahood
is celebrated on Bodhi
Bodhi
Day . In Sri Lanka and Japan different days are used for this celebration.

According to the Theravada
Theravada
tradition in Sri Lanka, Sakyamuni reached Buddhahood
Buddhahood
at the full moon in May. This is celebrated at Wesak Poya , the full moon in May, as Sambuddhatva jayanthi
Sambuddhatva jayanthi
(also known as Sambuddha jayanthi).

According to the Zen
Zen
tradition, the Buddha
Buddha
reached his decisive insight on 8 December. This is celebrated in Zen
Zen
monasteries with a very intensive eight-day session of Rōhatsu .

SEE ALSO

* Buddhist philosophy * Buddhism
Buddhism
and psychology * Illuminationism * Enlightenment (spiritual) * Hongaku * Subitism * Wisdom
Wisdom

NOTES

* ^ 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 September 2010 * ^ "David Loy (2010), Enlightenment in Buddhism
Buddhism
and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha
Moksha
the Same?As of September 2010 * ^ Robert H. Sharf, Whose Zen? Zen
Zen
Nationalism Revisited * ^ Hu Shih: Ch\'an (Zen) Buddhism
Buddhism
in China. Its History and Method * ^ Critical introduction by John McRae to the reprint of Dumoulin\'s A history of Zen * ^ Nanzan Institute: Pruning the bodhi Tree * ^ David Chapman: Effing the ineffable * ^ Vesak
Vesak
full moon poya day

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EXTERNAL LINKS

* Pali
Pali
Text Society: Occurrences of the term