What is enlightenment? In Hinduism, the word “enlightenment” is “Samadhi.” In Buddhism, it is called “nirvana.” It refers to the perfect condition that the self is completely integrated into “a sense of oneness with the universe.” It is a state in which the mind is awakened. The word “satori” means a “glimpse” of enlightenment, but not the full and continued enlightenment. Literally, the word “Buddha” actually means the “enlightened one.”
The “Buddha” that people commonly referring to is Siddhattha Gotama, who lived in the 16th century B.C. and who achieved enlightenment when he was 35. He founded Buddhism. The Buddha taught that all beings have the ability to achieve enlightenment, and men and women have equal capacity to reach enlightenment.
Around 475 A.D., the Buddhist Bodhidharma traveled and spread Buddhism to China. The mingling of Buddhism and Taoism, the popular philosophy in China at the time, resulted in the Ch’an Buddhism. The spread of the Ch’an Buddhism to Japan resulted in Zen Buddhism, which then spread to other parts of the world. One of the features of the Ch’an Buddhism is to prompt your mind to see things in a different and enlightened way, e.g., via koan, which usually uses an apparently irrational question to help you achieve a different state of mind.
Different cultures have different forms of meditation. Meditation is also called “zazen” in Zen Buddhism, which means the path to attain enlightenment. Via meditation techniques, Buddhism intends to free the mind from the illusion of the self, ultimately reach a union or integration with the universal consciousness.