Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Trish O’SullivanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_88

Buddha-nature is a teaching of the Buddha regarding the true nature of self. After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha stated that all beings have Buddha-nature. Propagated in the Mahayana School especially, the teachings espouse that all sentient beings possess a True Self that is unconditioned, undefiled, indivisible, and timeless. This True Self or Buddha-nature is beyond the realm of ordinary consciousness, and practitioners must transcend ordinary conceptual thought (usually through meditation) in order to perceive it. While it is said that Buddha-nature is to be attained through meditation, it is also emphasized that everyone already has it and the process is one of piercing conceptual ignorance and uncovering something that is already there. The experience of attaining Buddha-nature is realization or enlightenment.

The realization of Buddha-nature brings with it a cessation of overidentification with the body, emotions, and mental processes. This results in release from samsara...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kwan Um School of ZenPsychotherapyNew YorkUSA