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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Bodhisattva’s Practice of Enlightenment

The Bodhisattva’s Practice of Enlightenment

(p.13) 1 The Bodhisattva’s Practice of Enlightenment
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?

Dale S. Wright

Oxford University Press

“The Bodhisattva’s Practice of Enlightenment” interprets a Los Angeles Times newspaper opinion piece by Thich Nhat Hanh as a contemporary image of enlightenment with far-reaching implications. Written in response to the brutal police beating of Rodney King and not intended for a Buddhist audience, this brief newspaper article nevertheless provides glimpses into the contemporary meaning of enlightenment. The chapter considers Thich Nhat Hanh’s comments in relation to the basic principles of Buddhist ethics before turning to the Vimalakīrti sūtra, a classical Mahayana Buddhist scripture, to extend an understanding of what it would mean to experience the world through an in-depth awareness of “no-self.” Dwelling on the bodhisattva’s effort to cultivate generosity of spirit, the chapter considers the kinds of human relations that Thich Nhat Hanh’s sense of enlightenment entails.

Keywords:   Thich Nhat Hanh, Vimalakīrti sutra, Rodney King, bodhisattva, generosity

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