Satori vs. Kensho – Different Forms of Awakening

In this post, I am going to discuss two enlightenment experiences known as Satori and Kensho in the Buddhist tradition since I have been reading about it from past few weeks.

Last month one day when I started my day as usual with a cup of coffee sitting in front of my laptop and watching a video that featured Michael Bernard Beckwith, I found something in that talk so intriguing that I spent a lot of time since then to more about it.

These terms came to my awareness a lot recently, like when I was reading Joe Vitale’s Zero Limits book, the term Satori flashed in front of me, in that moment I realized that I must do a little research and write a post on it.

After delving into various materials I have prepared this post to inform you about these two astounding spiritual awakening states.

Two Types of Awakening

You can never know how, where and when someone is going to have the awakening experience or whether someone will ever be awakened or not.

Many spiritual teachings say that awakening is a process that happens through various different lifetimes. But we can say one thing with surety – There are two ways in which a person can get the glimpses of the highest Truth.

Michael Beckwith explained these two states in that interview as something similar to this: –

Satori – It is a sudden awakening experience where the person becomes aware of the truth and sees everything “as it is” without any filtering of the information. This is a profound liberating experience that immediately shifts the perception of a person and gives him the access to the ultimate truth.

Kensho – Even though we can say that these two experiences are just two different paths leading to the same destination, Kensho is a process through which we all are evolving spiritually. It is a gradual process where a person keeps learning from his experiences and receives various insights that slowly pushes him towards the state of enlightenment. It is like a marathon where you learn from mistakes, sufferings and pain, and thus become better than before.

So from the above talk, we can infer that enlightenment can happen in two ways, one is through pain and the other is through insight.

It is not necessary that a person will be able to stay in that state forever; these are just experiences that can lead to enlightenment or give a glimpse of what it means to be awakened.

What Can You Do to Get Spiritually Awakened?

We can see this in the lives of many famous spiritual masters, they have gone through extreme physical or mental anguish before they got enlightened. One such good example is of the modern day spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who wrote the amazing book “the power of now” in which he has mentioned how the immense emotional suffering caused a sudden change in his perception and brought the realization of his true nature.

However, it is not necessary that you will only receive these insights during hard times. Sometimes, people with increased present moment awareness reach the thoughtless state where they get to have some profound spiritual insights, but there is no quick magical formula to make it happen.

You just need to become a more aware person with the practice of meditation or mindfulness exercises and your will keep advancing spiritually.

It might seem unfair to spiritual people that those who have never been interested in their spiritual growth get these insights quite easily, whereas others who have been regularly meditating everyday for years never get to reach there.

Satori and Kensho both can happen to anyone, regardless of how hard they have been trying. In fact, most people who want to receive these insights never gets it.

There have been many enlightened people in the history who were not at all interested in getting liberated.

Why?- Because our desire to get enlightened blocks us from seeing the truth which is always present in the now moment.

If you are doing various spiritual practices for reaching a particular future state, it will always remain a thing of the future.

Your aim should be to be more present in every moment, that’s it. By focusing on the present moment you can improve your emotional state to a great extent and that is what you should strive for.

If you will set your goal to get enlightened then you will not only block your spiritual progress but you will also decrease the effects of all the practices that you might have been doing.

So, what can you do to get awakened? – NOTHING

Nothingness is the key to enlightenment, which implies your ability to detach yourself from everything that happens inside your mind. Even  attachment to the desire for liberation is one main factor that stops your progress.

I am saying this from my own experience, despite of knowing all this I have always been attached to the idea of enlightenment and that desire kept growing day by day until all my efforts got backfired and the consequence were the undesirable mind states.

Now I have learned the lesson and I practice meditation or mindfulness just for the purpose of becoming an emotionally healthy person.

If my example is not enough for you to get this point then let me tell you that the Buddha himself had to learn this lesson through suffering until he realized that he has to let go the need to become enlightened.

Satori or Kensho, both makes you experience your oneness with “all that is”, but just keep your goal to have more inner peace in your life till that happens naturally.


I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you ever had any type of spiritual experience? Share your views by commenting below. (Your email id will be safe and hidden, you can even prefer your secondary email id for commenting)

You can also email me your queries at, I will be very happy to help you.

If this post was helpful to you then please spread the word by sharing it on your online social networks.

You May Also Like to Read: –
10 Common Indicators of Your Progress-Spiritual Awakening Signs
Spiritual Healing of Broken Heart-Heal Yourself from the Emotional Pain
Increasing Your Happiness Level-Spiritual Help for Depression
9 Things about Meditation and Spiritual Journey That You Must Know!
The Spiritual Guilt Trap- Don’t Ever Criticize Yourself for Wanting More!

8 thoughts on “Satori vs. Kensho – Different Forms of Awakening

  1. Suzanne

    Good article really informative. I believe I have been going through a process similar to Kensho. I meditate daily for 10 minutes and am an active member of a 12 Step program. My spiritual growth is a slow one!

    I really enjoyed reading this.
    thank you

  2. Reyner

    Hi great stuff there. I am a buddhist but dunno there are two types of awakening. It is great that you share them with the people. I have one question all this time about What can I achieve after the awakening

    1. HARI S NAIR Post author

      Reyner, from my knowledge no one has ever become enlightenment by viewing it as a goal. In simple words they describe it as a realization of what was always present. So I think life won’t be much different on the external level but your inner state would have shifted, I guess after awakening one would want to help others to reach there.

  3. Matt

    Hey Hari, whats the consciousness engineering program? I clicked on your link and it looks interesting. I never heard of it before. Is it a new program? It seems like it does a little bit of everything not just spiritual. It seems like you subscribed to it, have you done a review on it or will you in the future? Like you, I am interested in self development and I really enjoy your stuff. I look forward to your reply :).

    1. HARI S NAIR Post author

      Yeah Matt I will be soon writing a review on the consciousness engineering program, it is a collection of interviews/classes that features many personal development gurus, and yes, it covers a wide range of stuff apart from just spirituality, they add new modules frequently and it has proved to be a smart investment for me.

  4. Sukhraj

    Hello Hari, based on my personal experience, I’d say this post accurately describes satori and kensho. How would I know? Because I was a 19-year old agnostic who was actively searching for Truth until one day, upon standing before a mirror staring a spider, went thoughtless and experienced an indescribable bliss (Satori). So it really can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere! I am in awe of this Infinitude til this day. That being said, this experience with Infinity, the True Self, lasted hours in its peak intensity and slowly subsided for me until about 3 weeks later I was practically back to how I was before. I went through withdrawals trying to figure out why this Blissful Peace that I had been searching for tirelessly was now escaping me. I’ve spent the past 5 years in kensho now, slowly realizing what actions increase the intensity of my spiritual flame. I have found that the company of enlightened peoples helps bring me back to my sublime state. I now attend the center for spiritual enlightenment where my teacher Ellen Grace Obrian and the associated Sangat has been a blessing. She has clarified my path in discipline and meditation, and she is quite practical and funny which further welcomes my spirit. Besides sangat, daily meditation in my comfy chair (20 mins focused on breathe until I go thoughtless, when thoughts come I allow them to pass) has been very helpful for me. Lastly, doing things I love also brings me closer to satori. I’ve played basketball and danced to music, and at times, found my Self back in the ethereal evenessence of the Eternal One. This is the same love which is within all, and beckons us all. So I’m still on the path, but obviously no longer an agnostic. I know the spiritual teachings to be true and effort myself to reunite with the Self again, because it’s simply the best thing I have experienced (better than sex, drugs, food, etc).

    1. HARI S NAIR Post author

      Wow Sukhraj, thank you for sharing your story. Your spiritual journey has been very interesting, not a lot of people get to experience that thoughtless state even after trying for years. Happy to know that you have now found your path and learned that being in company of highly aware people can help you to be a more conscious person, that’s really true!..


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