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What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?$
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Dale S. Wright

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190622596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190622596.001.0001

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From the Thought of Enlightenment to the Event of Awakening

From the Thought of Enlightenment to the Event of Awakening

(p.186) 10 From the Thought of Enlightenment to the Event of Awakening
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?

Dale S. Wright

Oxford University Press

“From the Thought of Enlightenment to the Event of Awakening” follows the philosophical reflections of Fazang of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism as he explores the progression along the Buddhist path from an initial concept or image of what enlightenment might be all the way through to the culminating experience of enlightenment. His paradoxical claim that complete enlightenment is already fully contained in the first legitimate thought of enlightenment is analyzed in this chapter by understanding it in relation to the basic components of the Huayan Buddhist worldview of thoroughgoing interdependence. Fazang’s Huayan Buddhist philosophy includes in an early philosophical form the basic conceptual elements of the historic debate in China concerning the experience of enlightenment—the widely cited controversy about whether enlightenment occurs gradually over time or through a sudden, momentous breakthrough. This chapter explores the enlightening consequences of meditation on the interdependent character of all realities.

Keywords:   Huayan Buddhist philosophy, Fazang, enlightenment, awakening, experience of enlightenment

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