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What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?$
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Dale S. Wright

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190622596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190622596.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Why Ask What Enlightenment Is?

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?
Author(s):

Dale S. Wright

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190622596.003.0001

WHEN EUROPEAN INTELLECTUALS in the late eighteenth century engaged in high-profile, public debate on the question “What is enlightenment?,”1 Buddhist answers to this question never came up for consideration, and it is safe to say that no participant in these debates would have or could have believed that this “oriental” religion had anything even remotely to do with “enlightenment.” Although knowledge of Buddhism was already accumulating in Europe by that time through the merchants, missionaries, and soldiers that the various European empires had dispatched to Asia, what they “knew” about Buddhism was that this ascetic, monastic religion was curiously nihilistic in its central goal: ...

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