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While many sought the elusive goal of Enlightenment, others argued futilely as to what it truly was all about. Some say that it was as a lotus petal opening up within one's mind, revealing the mysteries of the world to our limited mortal comprehension; some said that it was as the flickering steadiness of a candle stub in the darkness of a cave, lighting up the savage splatter of blood upon the walls that was the truth; and yet more said that enlightenment might never be explained, for that was precisely why they sought it.


Kenshō was the initial insight or awakening, not the state of perfect enlightenment. [1]


The purpose of Shinsei's teachings was to free the soul of ignorance, greed and the passions (anger, desire, hatred, grief and joy). Only by understanding and separating ones soul from these vices could a individual gain enlightenment. Shinsei taught that weakness came from hav­ing one's mind fixed on the material rather than the eternal, as the five elements. A radical aspect of Shinsei's teachings was that anyone could reach enlightenment. [2]

Tao of Shinsei[]

Many seekers of enlightenment believed that the Tao of Shinsei held the secret to the ultimate prize. They pursued his teachings religiously, in the hope that the Little Teacher himself - believed by some to be the first enlightened mortal in the world - might have left behind some clues or directions to attaining enlightenment. [citation needed]

Dragon Clan[]

The enigmatic Dragon Clan was famous for its pursuit of enlightenment, it is said that Mirumoto Puhabo-Natsumu was the first person to attain enlightenment after the arrival of Shinsei [3], although in recent times the Crane Clan purportedly had found it; irony of all ironies, that the most materialistic of all the Great Clans should find something supposedly above the sensuous pleasures of life. [citation needed]

Three steps[]

It was said that path to enlightenment had only three steps. Each step was said to "kill" an aspect of the student's self. This was not an actual physical death, but a spiritual one. [4]

"The first step kills your parents. The second step kills me. The third step kills yourself. Are you ready to walk that path?"
-A Dragon teacher to his student [4]

  • The first step meant that the student must leave behind everything that he had learned, even his name. [5]
  • The second step came after his gempukku, when the ise zumi gained his tattoos. He went out into the world and experience its truth with his new eyes. [5]
  • The third step was to live life as a child lived life. The ise zumi had learned that he had no self. He was a part of everything and everything was a part of him. [6]


In 1165 Rosoku set forth five challenges, one representing the wisdom of each of the five elements. [7] Everyone would know when a challenge was fulfilled because the new Keeper would be shown the location of the appropriate book by the kami. [8] None of the Keepers actively sought their position. Each of them achieved their new perspective by overcoming their preconceived notions. None sought a challenge to overcome. None scoured the Empire in search of an obstacle worthy of their prowess. They found their path through happenstance. Enlightenment could not be sought, only discovered. [9]

Death of Rosoku[]

After the events that followed the death of Rosoku in 1166 many Rokugani began a quest for enlightenment. In 1167 the Emperor Toturi III himself departed the Imperial City in disguise as a ronin Wanderer, seeking enlightenement. [9]

Enlightenment side effect[]

Those tainted individuals that became enlightened could not be harmed by jade anymore. It only harmed those who suffered from an imbalance, and an enlightened being was balanced. [10] The Rokugani learned it during Winter Court at Kyuden Otomo in 1168. [11]

The Enlightened[]

Those who gained enlightenment added the suffix -noshin to their names. [2] Many large temples, such as the Four Temples, conducted secret “tests” to determine an enlightened soul. [12]

See Also[]


  1. Book of Void, p. 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 138
  3. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 208
  4. 4.0 4.1 Way of the Dragon, p. 21
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Way of the Dragon, p. 22
  6. The Way of the Dragon, pp. 22-23
  7. The Hidden Path, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  8. Legacy of Fire, by Rich Wulf
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rulebook Story, (Test of Enlightenment)
  10. Dark Harmony (Rise of the Shogun flavor)
  11. Winter Court Kyuden Otomo 1168, p. 6
  12. Clan War: Thunder's Challenge, p. 43

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