What is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is the direct perception of life without illusions. Normally the experience of enlightenment occurs in stages. A person will usually have many small enlightenments before full enlightenment dawns.

Each of the small enlightenments that a Zen practitioner has, which are known in Zen as "Satori experiences," provides deeper insights into the nature of existence and helps a person prepare for complete enlightenment.

Complete enlightenment occurs when, after many years of meditation and mindfulness, a person becomes fully conscious of the still center of eternity within their mind, where knowledge and experience, pleasure and pain, mortality and immortality intersect. How can words describe this?

Reprinted from "The Zen Experience"
© 1987 Rama Seminars Inc.