Tag Archives: Enlightenment

Zen Social Ethics: Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

Dale S. Wright
Occidental College

This essay addresses the question posed by Brian Victoria’s description of “moral blindness” in twentieth-century Japanese Zen masters by claiming that since Zen monastic training does not include practices of reflection that cultivate the moral dimension of life, skill in this dimension of human character was not considered a fundamental or necessary component of Zen enlightenment. The essay asks what an enlightened moral sensitivity might require, and concludes in challenging the Zen tradition to consider re-engaging the Mahāyāna Buddhist practices of reflection out of which Zen originated in order to assess the possible role of morality in its thought and practice of enlightenment.

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