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Satori (悟り?) (Chinese: 悟; pinyin: wù; Korean 오) is a Japanese Buddhist term for "enlightenment." The word literally means "understanding." "Satori" translates as a flash of sudden awareness, or individual enlightenment, and while satori is from the Zen Buddhist tradition, enlightenment can be simultaneously considered "the first step" or embarkation toward nirvana. Satori is typically juxtaposed with a related term known as kensho, which translates as "seeing one's nature." Kensho experiences tend to be briefer glimpses, while satori is considered to be a deeper spiritual experience. Satori is as well an intuitive experience and has been described as being similar to awakening one day with an additional pair of arms, and only later learning how to use them. Most martial artists in Asia are skilled in Satori use.
Practitioners of Zen Buddhism attain satori through personal experience. The traditional way of achieving satori, and the most typical way taught to Zen students in the West, is through the use of koans such as those found in the collection known as the Gateless Gate, which is also known as the Mumonkan. Koans are riddle-like rhetorical puzzles that students use to assist in the realization of satori; these words and phrases were also used by the early Zen masters.