Author Topic: What is Enlightenment?  (Read 7954 times)

Hazmatac

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What is Enlightenment?
« on: September 17, 2008, 03:04:05 AM »
As the Topic says, what is enlightenment. I have heard it called, the end of suffering, the end of craving, egoless existence, seeing things as they really are, living entirely in the now ect. 

I am not sure which of these are correct, although in the Darmha it says that the 4th noble truth is the end of suffering, so that one is my bet.

So can someone "enlighten me" on what enlightenment is? And, how long does it take to achieve? THanks

Robert
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 04:52:50 AM by Hazmatac »

anicca

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 11:55:06 AM »
Enlightenment is seeing beyond the world of mind and matter, the world of arising and passing away, to the ultimate truth that lies behind it all. As for how long, it is said to take many lifetimes. :)

frepi

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2008, 04:31:45 PM »
Quite franckly, I don't know if there is such a thing as enlightenment. It looks to me like an absolute that only exists in the heads of believers, somekind of an extrapolation of the effects of meditation outside the material world. I am sure that meditation helps with life, that it is a very powerfull tool to clean out the psyche and that the buddhist are thousands of years ahead of the western world in the analysis of the thinking process. But I believe that beyond that, we are leaving the real world and entering the realm of belief.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 05:23:44 PM by frepi »

deanmw

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2008, 02:48:21 PM »
I think people can have moments of enlightment, and act in enlightened ways, but the idea that one could be permanently enlightened seems to contradict the idea of impermanence - that reality is an everchanging process. I think ideas about enlightenment are probably just obstacles to experiencing more deeply.

Also who is it that is enlightened?

frepi

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 03:30:40 PM »
There is a rule in buddhism that forbids an enlightened person to reveal his or her state. It is supposedly to prevent the worshiping of that person by others, but it is also very good way to preserve the myth. Buddhism being a religion, I suspect that the preservation of the myth is the most probable explaination since it is the cornerstone of religion.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 06:06:13 PM by frepi »

Stefan

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Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2008, 08:03:08 PM »
So can someone "enlighten me" on what enlightenment is?

Only you can. Only the experience will be the answer.
Answers from someone else are words, nothing more (& nothing less ...)

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Flipasso

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 11:20:37 PM »
My thoughts on enlightenment...
I heard about a conception of what time is in the movie "Waking Life" that most suits my thoughts...
It goes something like this: "Time is just a neverending now that only exists because you haven't yet surrendered (to God, Life, Nirvana...). Basically every soul is trapped in time because it is not ready to transcend it, once it finally is, nirvana, enlightenment or salvation will ocur."

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2008, 11:07:29 PM »
Enlightenment is a bad translation. The Buddhist term Nirvana or Nirbhana was first translated into German and then translated from German into English. The translated term in German was Erleuchtung which translated into English is the term "Enlightenment".

Actually the main synonym for Nirvana means to extinguish, as in to extinguish the three root poisons of anger, greed and delusion and all the pre-existing conditioning that habituate your life. Buddhist meditations of awareness are the direct root to undoing the conditioning and removing the three root poisons. However the Buddha used many synonyms for "enlightenment".

There is another misnomer in the above thread. Frepi you are very focussed on your attitude of non-acceptance of "Buddhist Religion". When and if you are discussing ideas such as "sending good thoughts to someone who is ill will help them" I agree - this is mistaken religiosity and against the Buddha's teachings. However the Buddha's teachings were not a religion they were a practical pathway to understanding. Buddhism is NOT religion.

There is a categorically/ontologically different way of being in the world and perceiving the world and oneself that is the culmination of Buddhist meditation. This is not religion and it has nothing to do with "Spirituality" - which is categorically denied in Buddhism which even rejects the idea we have a soul or spirit - a fundamental tenet for all "Religion".

This is a scientific and philosophical reality achievable by anyone who finds the path. However, under the weight of all the false religiosity of many modern schools of Buddhism, the real meanings of the Buddha's teachings have got quite lost and confused. The path is there, anyone can follow it, but I'm not sure where it goes and how it gets there - my own researches continue. I know some steps on the path but not the full roadmap yet.

Healthy scepticism I would encourage in any one - have your eyes and ears open and your discerning mind in use. Just don't be too quick to jump into negativity about all the aspects of Buddhism you do not understand yet - because as one progresses on the path one realises more and more of the truth of the path and because Buddhism is not another religion - like the ones you are reacting to Frepi - that demand blind faith. Buddhism rejects faith beyond very limited specific purposes and times on the path.

Enlightenment is better translated as "Awake". This awake is referring to being awake and fully present in this moment with no traces of the imaginary past or future influencing you, no unexamined anger, delusion or greed, selfishness clouding your awareness of what is now.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 11:08:31 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Hazmatac

  • Member
Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2008, 08:18:38 AM »
So would you agree that the main quality of enlightenment is to be living fully in the present, the here and now?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 09:40:40 AM »
So would you agree that the main quality of enlightenment is to be living fully in the present, the here and now?

Yes I would agree that is an essential quality, however, it is much easier said than done !

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 12:36:18 PM »
The following list explains the four distinct stages on the path to nirvana.

    * Stream-enterer: The first direct insight into selflessness is often the most powerful because it's unlike anything you've ever experienced before. For a timeless moment (which may last just an instant), no one is there — that is, there's no trace of a separate self anywhere. A feeling of tremendous relief, often accompanied by joy and bliss, generally follows the experience: At last, you've had the insight you've been seeking for so long. At last, you've "entered the stream" of realization.

      When you become a stream-enterer, you can never again believe that you're really a separate self that lives inside your head and looks through your eyes. Your experience forever eliminates this illusion. When you look within, you can't find a self anywhere. In everyday life, however, you may still feel like a separate somebody and may still get caught up by greed, anger, ignorance, and various other negative feelings and patterns. Fortunately, the stage of stream-enterer also brings an unshakable confidence and dedication to the Buddhist spiritual path, so you're motivated to keep deepening and refining your realization.

    * Once-returner: After you become a stream-enterer, your practice includes reminding yourself of your new realization of "no-self," as well as paying attention to the ways that you're still attached and your resistance to life as it unfolds. After a period of time (generally years of devoted practice) in which your concentration gets even stronger and your mind becomes even more tranquil, you have another direct insight into no-self. (Remember, knowing this truth as a concept or memory is one thing, but experiencing it directly, beyond the conceptual mind, is something else entirely.)

      This insight (essentially the same as the first but even stronger and clearer) brings a significant reduction in attachment and aversion and the suffering that accompanies these states of mind. For example, occasional irritation and preference replace hatred and greed, which no longer have any hold over the once-returner. Someone who reaches this stage has only one more rebirth before becoming completely enlightened — hence the name once-returner.

    * Never-returner: After the experience that signals entry to this stage, all of the worst hindrances, such as hatred, greed, jealousy, and ignorance, completely drop away, but a hint of a self-sense (a "me") still remains — and with it, the slightest trace of restlessness and dissatisfaction sticks around as well. The experience itself is rarely accompanied by any emotion or excitement, just a clearer recognition of what has already been seen twice before. These people appear to be extremely content, peaceful, and without desire, but the subtlest preference for positive rather than negative experiences remains.

    * Arhat: At this stage, the path bears ultimate fruit in nirvana — any residual trace of a separate self falls away for good. The experience, frequently accompanied by unimaginable bliss, has been compared to falling into the depths of a cloud and disappearing. At this point, the circumstances of life no longer have the slightest hold over you; positive or negative experiences no longer stir even the slightest craving or dissatisfaction. As Buddha said, all that needed to be done has been done. There's nothing further to realize. The path is complete, and no further rebirths are necessary.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 12:37:33 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2008, 12:45:17 PM »
There is a rule in buddhism that forbids an enlightened person to reveal his or her state. It is supposedly to prevent the worshiping of that person by others, but it is also very good way to preserve the myth. Buddhism being a religion, I suspect that the preservation of the myth is the most probable explaination since it is the cornerstone of religion.

This supports exactly what I have been trying to say all along:

  • Buddhism is not a religion. (I am defining Buddhism as the historically accurate teachings of Shakyamuni Gautama).
  • The religious Buddhist organisations were founded by non-realised followers.
  • The Buddha revealed his state constantly - so this "rule" is, as Frepi implies, part of "the mystery".
  • Like all religions "the mystery" is to protect the non-realised priest class followers who found "Religious organisations". (And often seem to profit from them).

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

REALIZINGdotME

Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 11:29:49 AM »
Unfortunately in my travels around the world, I've found that the majority of Buddhists I've encountered practice their Buddhism differently than the teachings prescribe. Buddha himself said he was only a path revealer and not some kind of messiah and yet they treat even his image as a holy item akin to the Christian cross. I take issue though with pretty much every major organization of philosophy though. When you get enough people together seeking knowledge from someone who tells them what they want to hear, eventually those grounded in the world will work their way through that system and sully it.

In my mind, I see the moment of enlightenment as when you finally see things as they truly are and say, "Aha! ... holy crap, I knew that!"

I also see though that enlightenment cannot be named as that name (or definition in this case) is like explaining to a blind person what blue is. It can be explained as a visual flavor of some sorts but the exact flavor cannot be translated (and blueberries don't taste blue btw...lol). In its most general sense IMHO, enlightenment is the point where you have finally released all expectations and attachments to all that has created suffering and are now 'awake' in the realization that the 'you' that is contemplating the universe is actually the universe itself in self-contemplation.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 11:30:49 AM by REALIZINGdotME »

Stefan

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Re: What is Enlightenment?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2008, 09:48:36 AM »
Buddhism is not a religion. (I am defining Buddhism as the historically accurate teachings of Shakyamuni Gautama)
The religious Buddhist organisations were founded by non-realised followers

isn't that the same for all "religions"?

example: Jesus never said "worship the cross", did he?

(If Jesus had died in the USA in 1960, we'd have golden electric chairs on top of the churches ...)

Metta, Stefan
anicca

 

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