cause-awakened one ［縁覚］ ( pratyekabuddha; engaku): Also, self-awakened one. One who perceives the twelve-linked chain of causation, or the truth of causal relationship. Cause-awakened one also means those who, in an age when there is no Buddha, realize on their own the truth of impermanence by observing natural phenomena. Because their awakening is self-gained, cause-awakened ones are also called self-awakened ones. Together with voice-hearers, they constitute the persons of the two vehicles. Unlike bodhisattvas, they seek their own emancipation without thought of preaching for and instructing others.
The Sanskrit term pratyekabuddha means “independently enlightened one” or “individually enlightened one.” In the early Chinese translations of Buddhist scriptures, it was rendered cause-awakened one, which implies one enlightened through perceiving causal relationship. The Treatise on the Meaning of the Mahayana, written by Hui-yüan (523–592), describes pratyekabuddha as one who perceives the twelve-linked chain of causation or who awakens to the truth by observing natural phenomena such as the scattering of blossoms or the falling of leaves. Later the term was rendered as self-awakened one. In The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, T’ien-t’ai (538–597) distinguishes these two types of pratyekabuddha—cause-awakened ones and self-awakened ones. Mahayana, which upholds practice to benefit others, referred to the vehicle of pratyekabuddha, or the teaching that leads one to the state of pratyekabuddha, as Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle), because it concerns only one’s own salvation. The realm of cause-awakened ones is also viewed as a condition of life, in which one perceives the transience of life in the six paths and strives to free oneself from the six paths by seeking eternal truth through one’s own effort. This realm or state constitutes the eighth of the Ten Worlds and is sometimes called the world of realization. See also Ten Worlds.