Satori Enlightenment (悟り)

Satori (悟り: enlightenment) means that one learns, becomes aware of or notices what one hasn't known; another Kanji (覚り), whose meaning is similar to awakening, is sometimes used. Religious enlightenment means Shinri, which is the obtainment of truth or the opposite of illusion.

In Sanskrit, it is called 'bodhi.'
In Japanese, it is also called 'Bodai,' 'Kaigo' or 'Jodo,' the abbreviation of 'Jobutsuedo.'
The person who attained enlightenment is called 'Buddha,' a name that was transliterated into Kanji; it is pronounced 'Buddha' or 'Butsu' and is also paraphrased as 'the enlightened one, Kakusha.'

Enlightment in various religions


Satori in Buddhism is called Bodhi in Sanskrit, the original language of Buddhism.
It has other names such as 'Bodai,' 'Kakugo,' 'Sho,' Shusho,' 'Shotoku,' 'Shogo' and 'Do.'

Awakening of shinri (law)
The opposite of illusion
From the earliest period of Buddhism through to the emergence of sects, the ultimate aim of the Satori (enlightenment) concept entailed putting into practice the pursuit of various forms of knowledge and disciplines. The Satori concept in Buddhism encapsulates the unenlightened (Sanskrit: prthag-jana) being captive to a bewildering cycle of worldly desires and eventually developing a sense of the meaningless in relation to this endless treadmill of birth and rebirth. To gain release from this morass-like vortex, nirvana is reached only through the power of wisdom (Sanskrit: prajna) by means of practicing the observation of reality. This is how to attain enlightenment, which does not include thoughts or words.

For doctrinal and distinct difference reasons, the Satoriconcept that appears in the Mahayana Sutra supposedly goes further than the 'mujoshotoshogaku' (greater enlightened being) concept of Anuttara samyaksaMbodhi (supreme perfect enlightenment).

It can be said that there are differences in the meaning of Satori between Buddhist sects however, in Prajnaparamita (wisdom) scriptures and elsewhere, the Satori concept can be written using different characters ('覚り' and '悟り'). However, in current day Japanese Buddhism (this text included), there is discord about which character should be used.

Shaka studied under many philosophers or people of religion and practiced asceticism, but he was unable to attain enlightenment. So, he gave up the ascetic practices he had practiced, bathed and purified himself in Nirenzenga. After being given milk porridge by a village girl named Sujahta, he crossed the river and entered Dhyana - Meditation under a Pippala Tree. The Dhyana Meditation gradually deepened, "sanmyo (three insights)" appeared in zammai, and he was ultimately able to attain Shinri. Through this, Shaka became the awakened one (Kakusha), or Buddha.

The state of attaining enlightment is called 'nehan (nirvana)', which is described as 'jakujo (quiet and peaceful).'
It means there is peace in the unoccupied mind, since Bonno is controlled.

The mind that seeks enlightenment is said to aspire toward Buddhahood. Both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism seek enlightenment, but in Hinayana, where an individual seeks his enlightenment, an individual can be liberated from earthly desires through the practice of listening to the teaching of the Four Axioms according to Shomon and by realizing the twelve nidanas according to Engaku.

It is also called 'awakening'; in the old translated version of Hinayama, it is the translated from the word "vitarka" in Sanskrit. Vitarka is also translated as "Jin," meaning the rough action of the mind that presumes and judges objects. On the other hand, the delicate action of mind is called "vicaara" (Kan in the old version and Shi in the new); Vitarka and vicaara are used as a pair. Both of them hinder concentration but disappear as Dhyana Meditation deepens.

In the Mahayana Sutra, 'awakening' is a translation of 'bodhi.'
It is transliterated as the word 'bodai'; it means awakening or the wisdom of awakening. In the ancient times, it was translated as "Do," "I" or "Kakui." Mahayana Buddhism maintains a, stance based on an assumption that the Satori of others is proceeded by ones own enlightenment. As such, emphasis is placed on bodhisattva (compassion) amongst the so called Rokuharamitsu (six virtues of Buddha) where altruism is put into practice. Mahayana Sutra Bosatsu has the following characteristics: enlightenment is not a fixed state and enlightenment practice means the continuation of action, wishing both self-interest and altruism; Mahayana Sutra thinks of Shaka, who was not satisfied with staying in his enlightenment but continued to lead practices for those who sought enlightenment; Mahayana Sutra is the meaning of enlightenment in action. The enlightenment of Bosatsu is defined as supreme and ultimate, being different from Shoman or Enkaku; it is called "Anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai," "Mujo shoto shogaku" or simply "Shogaku."

Chinese Buddhism
In China where there is a big Zen Buddhism movement, Northern Chinese Zen advocates the obtaining of Satori through a process of graded steps and, this differs from Southern Chinese Zen's preaching of sudden and momentary enlightenment. However, because Northern Chinese Zen was abandoned earlier, the version handed-down to Japan comes from the sect that aligns itself with the practice of Southern Chinese Zen that advocated sudden enlightenment. However, as the version that was handed down to Japan emanated from the Song Dynasty, for a time Zen lost much of its substance and differs greatly from its heyday during the Tang Dynasty. For example, neither the Rinzai sect or the Soto sect inherited very much of the respective paths toward enlightenment as espoused by Rinzai and Soto.

Another major stream of Chinese Buddhism is the Jodo (Pure Land) sect however, this sect is a reflection of the influences of the times. Dying a happy death is a keen aspiration of Amitabha Jodo Buddhism whereas, Satori is not a major aim. It was transmitted into Japan during the Heian period, and the religion seeking gokuraku ojo (peaceful death) spread among the aristocracy.

"Daijokishinron (the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana)," which is considered to have originated in China, states that there are two kinds of righteousness--Fukaku (blunder) and Kaku (awakening)--is explained by dividing Kaku into Shikaku (acquired awakening) and Hongaku (original awakening). In reality, human nature is blunder (fukaku) because it is covered with avidya (mumyo) and trapped by illusions; when blunder and illusion disappear, the state of 'Kaku (awakening)' remains. As an aside, the esoteric Buddhist concept of avidya (ignorance) comes after the beginning-less (Mushi) concept and as such, lack of dependence is called 'Shikaku' (acquired enlightenment). However, if one's nature is in principle primarily pure then 'Hongaku' (fundamental enlightenment) may occur which in turn can by chance be concealed by avidya. Thus, it is explained that it is not going to far to say that Shikaku is no different to Hongaku and, depending on the manifestation of Shikaku may meld into Hongaku. Namely, it preaches that the way toward awakening is open to anyone but that the practice to achieve it is necessary. It also explains that awakening is clean and pure, which is the characteristic of this book.


Hinduism (Brahmanism)

Hinduism is a varied and complex religion with a long history seeking enlightenment since the age of Veda.

In contrast to Buddhism, Veda-related religion refers to enlightenment as the state of consciousness, one of the supreme states that human beings can attain. It corresponds to Nehan in Sanskrit. It is also called Komyo or Daigo. It is called Komyo because a person may be wrapped in dazzling light when he or she attains enlightenment.

In India, since the age of Veda, 'the sciences by which to attain enlightenment' have been sought. They are described in Upanishad, etc., using philosophical expressions. The existence that attains the enlightenment of ancient times is called Rishi.

It is said that there are three stages in Nirvana, among which Mahapari-Nirvana is considered the highest. Enlightenment seems to refer to each respective stage. It is said that the state of mind is not lost, no matter which stage one reaches. It is also said that Mahapari-Nirvana is hard to attain with one's body and that one can enter Mahapari-Nirvana when one attains enlightenment and leaves his or her body.

When the spirit of a person that has attained enlightenment leaves the body, it is not described as being dead; instead, it is described as having, for example, "left the body," "entered nirvana" or "entered Nehan".

Sometimes enlightment refers to a mysterious experience of having a glimpse of the world of Nirvana. This case is not included in Nirvana but is called pseudo Nirvana. Some say there are four kinds of Nirvana (including pseudo Nirvana), because even if it is a pseudo Nirvana it also provides the experience of changing one's life.

Even today, many practitioners conduct ascetic training over hill and dale, just as occurred in the age of Buddha Gautama. Anywhere and at any time, there will be people who believe they have attained considerable enlightenment and will therefore call refer to themselves as enlightened.

Those believed to have attained enlightenment usually stayed in the tradition of Hinduism, or Brahmanism, its previous stage. However, particularly in the age of Buddha Gautama, Brahmanism proclaimed that Brahmin (Brahman), a bloodline of their priest, was the special existence; those who were thought to have attained enlightenment were against the idea and left Brahmanism. At the same time, Mahavira of Jainism was thought to have attained enlightenment and became independent of Brahmanism he was opposed to the caste system, a hierarchy, and shunned it.

Christianity does not include "enlightenment" but the experience of knowing the existence of God. It is explained as a spiritual experience to re-enter interaction with God, although humanity left Him when Adam and Eve, their forebears, ate the forbidden fruit. The spirit mentioned here does not mean spirits of the dead but instead means the interaction with the Spirit, one of the Holy Trinity. It is the experience that is attained when one believes that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, the Son of the God, who came to earth from Heaven. It means to experience God by following Jesus, whose life is recorded in the Bible and early Christians. It may be said that become aware of or know the truth of God or Jesus means in some sense to have reached Satori however, this bears no relation to the Buddhist concept of Satori.

Those who are called saints in Catholicism are considered to be very close to "enlightenment"; the ascetic training practiced by priests includes meditation. Traditional Protestant denominations do not preach enlightenment; however, Pentecostal Christians, Charismatic Christians and other forms of Protestantism, such as one called Experientism, have had such experiences as mentioned above. Gnosticism, which was blended with Greek philosophy and so on and was once labeled as heretical, refers to the true recognition of God as attaining the direct acquaintance of God (Gnosis).

Bernadette Roberts, author of the recent work "The Experience of No-Self, A Contemplative Journey," is an ordinary housewife who has written about her experience, describing Christianity as an object of belief. It is very close to or the same as what is known as the process of enlightment. She writes very objectively, in general terms, about the process that occurred to her. Terms from Veda are not used, so it's easy for lay people to comprehend.

In some streams of Veda, Jesus of Nazareth is respected as the existence who has attained enlightment. Christian churches worship Jesus Christ as the mediator between humanity and God, but they also look up to him as one of the Trinity as the Son of God (God the Son) or the central existence.

New Age
The West has a contemporary movement in which participants remain Christians but at the same time seek Universal Truth outside the framework of Christianity; the movement is called New Age, and the participants accept the concept of enlightenment and sometimes regard Jesus Christ as the existence who attained a sort of enlightenment.

Generally, Islam does not include the tradition of enlightenment; however, Sufi, which is also called Sufism, aims to become one with God, and the process is close to either process of enlightenment. However, some Sufis who accomplished their aim declared, 'I am God' and were executed by general Islamists.

Words with meanings similar enlightenment
Moksha (Emancipation)
Moksha means liberty and to achieve ultimate liberty. It sometimes means a place beyond Paradise and Hell. Moksha does not mean to enter Paradise but to enter the place beyond Paradise and Hell.

Those who are considered to have attained light
Ancient times
Mahavira (the originator of Jainism)
Recent period
Ramakrishna (person of a supernatural idea)
Jiddu Krishnamurti (person of meditation)

[Original Japanese]