Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_206

Enlightenment generally refers to phenomena involving a significant change of consciousness regarding the self, others, and the universe with accompanying physiological, perceptual, and conceptual changes that result in significant spiritual or moral changes. It is commonly used in Chan (Zen) Buddhism to refer to the experience resulted from accomplishment in practice, meditation, or insight that is synonymous as seeing the Buddha nature or self-nature or discovering the true or original mind.

That the experience of enlightenment is a critical step of spiritual change toward Buddhahood instead of exercising ritual practice, performing philanthropy, observing ethical disciplines, or merely cultivating calmness meditation had been an emphasis of the Chan school beginning from Bodhidharma. The emphasis on the practice and concept of sudden enlightenment began to gain ground and become the mainstream with the systematic and institutional propagation by the school following the Six...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of ChinaShatinHong Kong