Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

24. What is it to be "Enlightened" or "Awakened"?

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Peter Harvey [+-]
University of Sunderland
Peter Harvey is Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland. He co-founded with Ian Harris the UK Association for Buddhist Studies and edits its journal Buddhist Studies Review. His research has been on early Buddhist thought and practice, Buddhist ethics and making accessible the rich history of Buddhist thought.


The term bodhi means “enlightenment” or “awakening.” At bodhi, according to one Pali text, there arises “vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.” “Bodhi” is related to the verb meaning “understand,” so it is an awakening from ignorance. As an “awakening,” bodhi does not mean the awakening of something, i.e., a beginning of something, but a final awakening from delusion, etc. and to deep insight into the nature of reality. To be enlightened, in a Buddhist sense, is to be completely free of any attachment, hatred, or delusion; to have experienced the complete destruction of greed, craving, grasping, and clinging, whether in attachment to certain things or aversion to them, and the destruction of spiritual ignorance in the sense of an ingrained blindness to, and misperception of, the nature of reality.

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Harvey, Peter. 24. What is it to be "Enlightened" or "Awakened"?. Buddhism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 116-119 Nov 2021. ISBN 9781800500907. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40762. Date accessed: 23 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40762. Nov 2021

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