The Concept of Enlightenment: A Comparative Study of the Perspectives of Huineng and Abu Said Abu al-Khayr

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Religions and Mysticism, Islamic Azad University, Qom, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Religions and Mysticism, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Religions and Mysticism, Islamic Azad University, Science & Research Branch, Tehran, Iran


Neighboring traditions have always had a natural, albeit indirect, interaction. The same is true of Buddhist mysticism and Islamic Sufism, and although many elements of ascetic conduct are inherent, their similarities basically go back to asceticism and austerity. Disagreement over the issue of enlightenment in the Chen / Zen school had led to divisions among the school's leaders and professors. One group believed in "gradual enlightenment" and the other in "instantaneous / sudden enlightenment". Shenshio represents the gradual school and Huiang represents the sudden school. In the Khorasan School, Sufi differences of opinion regarding Sahw and Sokr led scholars to classify the Sufis of the region into the people of Sahw and the people of Sokr. The purpose of this article is to establish a bridge between these two traditions to understand them more deeply. The characteristic of Buddhist Zen is the concept of "enlightenment" and the special feature of Khorasan Sufism is the issue of Sahw and Sokr, which this paper has placed them not against each other but together in order to establish a trans-historical dialogue between them. Using a descriptive-analytical method with a comparative approach, this article analyzes the discourse of enlightenment in the Zen Buddhist tradition and Sahw and Sokr in Khorasan Sufism, and explains the commonalities and differences between the two traditions. Despite the differences, there are many similarities between these two schools (Chen or Zen according to Huineng and instant enlightenment with Khorasan Sufism according to Abu Said Abu al-Khayr and his emphasis on Sahw and Sokr).


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