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Enlightenment (concept)

This article presents enlightenment in the sense of any transformation into greater wisdom.

Kant's Definition of Enlightenment

In his famous 1784 essay "What Is Enlightenment", Immanuel Kant defined it as follows:

"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!"

Spirituality and Enlightenment

Enlightenment, as a concept related to the Buddhist Bodhi, and equally, the Christian and Judaic idea of spiritual knowledge, is a cornerstone of modern religious and spiritual understanding. The term "enlightenment" is often used as a secular idea that relates to a localized, religion-specific "enlightenment", and also attempts to bridge the traditional gap between religions and religious belief and psychological science.

The "age of enlightenment" is a proverbial reference to a time of maturing in people -- roughly around the age of 18 years -- when the illusions of childhood lift, and one is left with greater self-awareness and understanding of their own roles and responsibilities in the world. This is analogous to the Christian-adopted concept of being "born-again" and is a direct tie between the spiritual teachings of The Christ, Jesus and The Buddha.