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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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The Awakening of Character as an Image of Contemporary Enlightenment

The Awakening of Character as an Image of Contemporary Enlightenment

(p.30) 2 The Awakening of Character as an Image of Contemporary Enlightenment
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?

Dale S. Wright

Oxford University Press

“The Awakening of Character as an Image of Enlightenment” describes in some detail two unforgettable characters in the Korean Buddhist film Mandala in order to consider the range of diversity that enlightenment can encompass. Two very different Buddhist monks are presented in the film as both deeply enveloped in ordinary human suffering and as breaking through that suffering to experience a transformation of character that we can only understand as enlightenment. While the kinds of character that emerge in each case are quite distinct, viewers are left to puzzle over how these entirely different paths through human life could both be legitimate instances of enlightenment. While each character in the film provides an image of the Buddhist path, readers are presented with the task of sorting out how their own paths align or contrast with the two provided.

Keywords:   Mandala, Im Kwon-Taek, Buddhist film, Korean Buddhism, enlightenment

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