[suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]

Satori ( Korean oh; Japanese satori (from the verb satoru); Chinese: ) 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". Distinct from kensho, which is not a permanent state of enlightenment but a clear glimpse of the true nature of existence, satori is used to refer to a "deep" or lasting state of 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 – the clarification of a paradox, which is a moment of catharsis or purification.

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