[Buddha-l] liturgical languages

jkirk jkirk at spro.net
Fri May 13 09:48:24 MDT 2005

> Richard:
> : Actually, I find the whole idea of enlightenment very confused. It is an
> : idea that is foreign to Buddhism, I think. What is NOT confused is the
> : concept of nirvana.
> Is this a round-about way of telling us that 'enlightenment' is a bad
> translation of 'bodhi'?  If not, then is it not odd that a so-called
> 'religion' whose founder was eventually titled 'The Buddha' or 'Awakened
> One'/'Enlightened One'' because he is said to have attained a state called
> 'bodhi' or 'Awake' should have this state called 'bodhi' as their goal?
> 'bodhi' foreign to Buddhism?  After all, is it not perfectly logical to
> buddhists, 'baudhikas!
> Robert Morrison
Yes, this strikes me as an important difference. There seems to be a subtle
difference between glossing bodhi as "enlightened" and glossing it as
"awake." Awake suggests and ongoing process, whereas enlightened with its
past perfect ending suggests a concluded state, thus subjecting the process
to essence and therefore contradicting the anatta and anicca propositions.
("Awakened" also is a past perfect, so I'd jettison it in favor of merely
using "awake" for bodhi and for a Buddha----one who is awake.) The teachings
on practice would thus seem to me to favor "awake" as a process or ongoing
condition descriptive of bodhi, from which "things" or "life" become freer
from delusion than otherwise, but is also a state that is never finished
until parinirvana, as in the case of the Buddha.

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