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The Japanese noun hotoke (仏?)[note 1] is a word of Buddhist origin and uncertain etymology. It has several meanings, all but a few directly linked to Buddhism. It can refer to:
- A person who has achieved satori (state of enlightenment) and has therefore become a "Buddha". (In Buddhism, the term "Buddha" in the lower case refers to a person who has become enlightened (i.e., awakened to the truth).)
- The historical Gautama Buddha himself
- The statue or the name of a Buddha
- The laws of Buddhism
- Figuratively, the performing of a Buddhist memorial service. The Eiga Monogatari for example contains a sentence in which the term is used in that sense.
- In common parlance, a dead person; his or her soul
- Figuratively, a benevolent person or someone dear to one's heart
- Hotoke can also be a person's name or a nickname. It is for example a female character in the Heike Monogatari and daimyō Kōriki Kiyonaga's nickname.