D. T. Suzuki, a Japanese author of books and essays on Buddhism, Zen and Shin that were influential in the West, described "... looking into one's nature or the opening of satori"; and said "This acquiring of a new point of view in our dealings with life and the world is popularly called by Japanese Zen students 'satori' (wu in Chinese). It is really another name for Enlightenment (anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi)".[note 1]
Satori and kenshōEdit
Satori is often used interchangeably with kenshō. Kenshō refers to the perception of the Buddha-nature or emptiness. According to some authors, kenshō is a brief glimpse, while satori is considered to be a deeper spiritual experience.
According to D. T. Suzuki,
Satori is considered a "first step" or embarkation toward Buddhahood:
Ch'an expressions refer to enlightenment as "seeing your self-nature". But even this is not enough. After seeing your self-nature, you need to deepen your experience even further and bring it into maturation. You should have enlightenment experience again and again and support them with continuous practice. Even though Ch'an says that at the time of enlightenment, your outlook is the same as of the Buddha, you are not yet a full Buddha.
The student's mind must be prepared by rigorous study, with the use of koans, and the practice of meditation to concentrate the mind, under the guidance of a teacher. Koans are short anecdotes of verbal exchanges between teachers and students, typically of the Song dynasty, dealing with Buddhist teachings. The Rinzai-school utilizes classic collections of koans such as The Gateless Barrier. The Gateless Barrier was assembled by the early 13th-century Chinese Zen master Wumen Huikai.
Wumen struggled for six years with koan "Zhaozhou's dog", assigned to him by Yuelin Shiguan (月林師觀; Japanese: Gatsurin Shikan) (1143–1217), before attaining kenshō. After his understanding had been confirmed by Yuelin, Wumen wrote the following enlightenment poem:
A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings on earth open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances.
- D. T. Suzuki has been criticised for his highly idealised and inaccurate picture of Japanese Zen. Anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi is the highest state of realisation and awakening. Satori, or kenshō, is the first glimpse into "nature", to be followed by further training.
- Kapleau, Philip (1989). The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0-385-26093-0.
- McRae, John R. (2003). Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism. The University Press Group Ltd. ISBN 978-0-520-23798-8.
- Suzuki, D. T. (1994a) . An Introduction to Zen Buddhism. Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-3055-6.
- Suzuki, D. T. (1994b). Essays in Zen Buddhism. Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-5118-6.
- Sheng Yen (2006). Dharma Drum: The Life and Heart of Chan Practice. Boston & London: Shambhala. ISBN 978-1-59030-396-2.