Home » Letters » What Does It Mean To Be Awakened?

Question: What does being ‘awakened’ mean in Buddhism?

Answer: To be awakened is opposite of being asleep or deluded; it is to spiritually wake up, to become aware. We are currently not totally awake to our Buddha-nature, which is our potential to become Buddhas. When we work towards actualising this potential, we will awaken our virtues such as compassion and wisdom. The Buddhas are the ones fully awakened to them.

To be awakened to compassion is to give rise to Bodhicitta, the aspiration to guide one and all to the blissful liberation of Buddhahood. To be awakened to wisdom is to realise truth (or the way things really are), including the path to the blissful liberation of Buddhahood. Although there can be some sudden leaps along the way for the spiritually ready, awakening is generally a gradual process, while the swiftest path to full awakening is via learning and practice in a Buddha’s Pure Land specifically designed for guiding towards enlightenment.

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