AskDefine | Define satori

Dictionary Definition

satori n : (Zen Buddhism) a state of sudden spiritual enlightenment

User Contributed Dictionary



From Japanese (さとり, satori) ‘understanding’.




  1. italbrac Zen Buddhism A sudden inexpressible feeling of inner understanding or enlightenment.
    • 2005: What happened to the Merry Band on its trip during the summer of 1964 ranged from the cosmically sublime to the ridiculous, from peak ecstasy to full-tilt satori. — Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home (Simon & Schuster 2005, p. 115)

Extensive Definition

Satori (悟 Korean oh; Japanese satori (from the verb satoru); Chinese: wù) is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment. The word literally means "understanding". It is sometimes loosely used interchangeably with Kensho, but Kensho refers to the first perception of the Buddha-Nature or True-Nature, sometimes referred to as "awakening". Kensho is not a permanent state of enlightenment, but rather a clear glimpse of the true nature of existence. Satori on the other hand is used to refer to "deep" or lasting enlightenment. It is therefore customary to use the word satori, rather than kensho, when referring to the enlightened states of the Buddha and the Patriarchs.
According to D. T. Suzuki, "Satori is the raison d'être of Zen, without which Zen is no Zen. Therefore every contrivance, disciplinary and doctrinal, is directed towards satori."
Satori is also analogous to the concept of creativity, in the sense that it reconciles apparent opposites. It is also known as the "Eureka!" moment of discovery - upon the clarification of a paradox, which is a moment of catharsis, or purification.
Satori is also a charter school in Tucson Arizona, U.S.A.

See also


satori in Catalan: Satori
satori in Czech: Satori
satori in German: Satori
satori in French: Satori
satori in Italian: Satori
satori in Japanese: 悟り
satori in Polish: Oświecenie (religie Wschodu)#Zen
satori in Portuguese: Satori
satori in Russian: Сатори
satori in Finnish: Satori
satori in Swedish: Satori
satori in Vietnamese: Ngộ (Phật giáo)
satori in Turkish: Satori

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a priori knowledge, anticipation, ataraxia, ataraxy, buddhi, calmness, clairvoyance, composure, contemplation, direct apprehension, immediate cognition, imperturbability, insight, inspiration, intuition, intuitionism, intuitive reason, intuitiveness, intuitivism, knowledge without thought, lucid stillness, marmoreal repose, nirvana, peace, peacefulness, placidity, placidness, precognition, quiescence, quiescency, quiet, quietism, quietness, quietude, repose, rest, restfulness, second sight, second-sightedness, serenity, silence, silken repose, sixth sense, sleep, slumber, stillness, subconscious knowledge, subconscious perception, tranquillity, unmediated perception, wise passiveness
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