The English term enlightenment is the Western translation of various Buddhist terms, most notably bodhi and vimutti

The abstract noun bodhi (; Sanskrit: बोधि; Pali: bodhi), means the knowledge or wisdom, or awakened intellect, of a Buddha

The verbal root budh- means “to awaken,” and its literal meaning is closer to awakening

Although the term buddhi is also used in other Indian philosophies and traditions, its most common usage is in the context of Buddhism

Vimukti is the freedom from or release of the fetters and hindrances

The term “enlightenment” was popularised in the Western world through the 19th century translations of German-born philologist Max Müller

It has the Western connotation of general insight into transcendental truth or reality

The term is also being used to translate several other Buddhist terms and concepts, which are used to denote (initial) insight (prajna (Sanskrit), wu (Chinese), kensho and satori (Japanese)); knowledge (vidya); the “blowing out” (Nirvana) of disturbing emotions and desires; and the attainment of supreme Buddhahood (samyak sam bodhi), as exemplified by Gautama Buddha

What exactly constituted the Buddha’s awakening is unknown

It may probably have involved the knowledge that liberation was attained by the combination of mindfulness and dhyāna, applied to the understanding of the arising and ceasing of craving

The relation between dhyana and insight is a core problem in the study of Buddhism, and is one of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice

In the Western world, the concept of (spiritual) enlightenment has taken on a romantic meaning

It has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self and false self, being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning