Author Topic: Enligtenment  (Read 566 times)

raushan

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Enligtenment
« on: March 10, 2018, 05:42:09 AM »
Hi,

Desire in Buddhism seems counter intuitive to me. When I think, wasn't it the burning desire of Buddha which led him to enlightenment? He was willing to leave everything for his goal. He practiced very ascetic life because he was told that it would lead to enlightenment. He went to extreme in every way to get what he wanted.

Even after leaving ascetic  lifestyle when he sat under the bodhi tree then also he told himself he would die but he won't get up until he reach the enlightenment.
He left nothing to hang on to.

What drove him so badly? I don't know but I feel It was his strong desire to be free from the suffering which led him to enlightenment.  He achieved it just in 6 years.

I may be wrong but when I compare these with materialistic world it seems to me that He was the same kind of person with high drive. People who get to the top in materialistic world have the same kind of drive to achieve something. But there aspiration is different.

Isn't leaving everything for your own goal is same as letting go?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 05:55:05 AM by raushan »

Middleway

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 12:42:42 PM »
I think Buddha had a very inquiring mind. He wanted to find out the root cause of suffering and find a way to end it. There was a massive samana movement already during his time and got introduced to an ascetic. He immediately set out to inquire and investigate various methods and techniques. He changed at least 3 masters on the way when he realized they "don't know". He tried all extreme methods and realized middle way is the way to go. On the night he got enlightened, he was determined but not desiring.

We should have earnestness and persistence on the path and prepare the fertile ground. This is the goal. Whether the enlightenment happens or not is beyond our control. If you want air to enter your room, you have to get up and open the windows. That's all you can do. Whether it is windy outside or not and whether it enters your room through the window is beyond your control.

Prepare the ground and just wait. That's all we can do.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

dharma bum

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 02:27:44 PM »
I like the metaphor of walking. You walk on the path one step at a time. Occasionally, you check to make sure you're still on the path. You're not thinking of the destination. So you can walk on the path without desiring the destination.

It might be true that the Buddha was desiring knowledge in the beginning but we can accept that towards the end of the journey, he had overcome this desire.
Mostly ignorant

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 06:53:20 AM »
Thanks Middleway, dharma bum. It was helpful in understanding.


Matthew

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 09:44:47 PM »
It was only when he let go of chasing enlightenment and ate a bowl of milk rice he fell through the gap ..
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

stillpointdancer

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2018, 10:36:06 AM »
Hi,
Desire in Buddhism seems counter intuitive to me. When I think, wasn't it the burning desire of Buddha which led him to enlightenment?
I may be wrong but when I compare these with materialistic world it seems to me that He was the same kind of person with high drive. People who get to the top in materialistic world have the same kind of drive to achieve something. But there aspiration is different.
Isn't leaving everything for your own goal is same as letting go?
Letting go is a difficult concept to tease out. It means changing your relationship with things, rather than not doing them. You let go of the constructs we put on things as human beings, and then use this during insight meditation to continue to develop the relationship with things that leads to enlightenment experiences. It takes time, patience and energy, which is why you need to desire enlightenment in the same way, as the Zen quote puts it, as 'a drowning man needs air'. In the Buddha's case this meant leaving everything to pursue his goal.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Middleway

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2018, 10:46:12 PM »
We have to remember Buddha was a seeker. He was not "chasing" enlightenment. He did not know what enlightenment is before he actually got enlightened. How can one desire something if they do not know what it is that they are desiring. At least one should have an "idea" even if it is a false idea. Buddha was earnestly trying to find out the cause of Dukkha and how to end it. He tried various techniques over six years to find out the way to end Dukkha. During these six years, he must have had lot of insights. Take for example a farmer. A seasoned farmer would know that desiring for a bumper crop would only lead to misery. He "knows" that he cannot control various external factors that influence good yields. The farmer must have learned through experience. He must have lost crops for lack of rains, or floods, insects, cold or hot temperatures, and any number of factors.

Buddha also became a seasoned farmer in six years. He had had many insights along the way. He came to a point where he realized his master does not know or his master admitted that he does not know and suggested that Buddha should go on his own. Buddha achieved the highest Jhana what brahmins called state a satchitananda. Buddha was a very intelligent man. From experience, he knew the duality and polarities of the samsara was at the root cause of the dukkha. He knew even the highest jhana was one of those polarities and he intuitively knew sooner or later he will fall down from that satchitananda state back into misery as the pendulum would swing in the other direction. He refused to accept that state as "moksha or self realization" as other brahmin contemporaries would call.

So, on that night, he sat with great determination to find out a way to transcend the dualities and polarities of the world/samsara. He realized being exactly in the middle is the way to transcendence. He sat all night in that state of being exactly in the middle totally and utterly content and not desiring one way or the other. While in this state, the sight of morning star "triggered" his awakening. He woke up from the dream state.

This was Buddha's gift to the world. He shared his awakening with anybody and everybody who is willing for the next 45 years until the very last minute before he died.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2018, 11:17:22 AM »
Hi Middleway,

What you telling is correct that makes sense that we can't desire for enlightenment. But, wanting to be free from suffering isn't it a form of desire? Also, 

Also, I wanted to know what accelerates the process of achieving something. Can we compare it with the achieving goal in the materialistic world?

As stillpointdancer said 'a drowning man needs air'. Can this quote be applied in this path?

Middleway

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 06:22:17 PM »
Sure, the desire could motivate one to seek. But seeking is not desiring. For example, you wanting to have a BMW, a three car garage home and a beautiful wife etc. is one form of desire. It does not lead to seeking.

On the other hand, if you have a severe headache for several days, you may have a strong desire to get rid of it. You will go to the doctor and seek a remedy. Or you seek to find a solution yourself by inquiring when your headache started and what might have triggered it and so on. Then you may realize that your headache started when you began going to old library with lots of dust and mould to which you are allergic to. You stop going to the library and your headache disappears.

Siddhartha had everything. Wealth, power, prestige, women you name it. Still he found his life to be unsatisfactory. He realized the worldly pleasures can make him satisfied or happy only temporarily. This intense dissatisfaction weighed heavily on his heart. He realized he and all other beings are suffering. He may have had desire to end this suffering for himself and others. This desire certainly may have motivated him to seek to find out the cause of the suffering and a way to end it.

So, what accelerates the process of achieving something? How strongly you feel to seek a remedy or a solution? It depends on how strong your headache is. It depends on how strong you feel the dissatisfaction.

If you have a materialistic desire, work towards achieving it. Find out for yourself how long the satisfaction of achievement will last. You already know this intellectually. I do too. But we have to go through it and come out of the other end of the desire for transformation to take root in us. 

Kind regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

BeHereNow

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Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2018, 08:05:43 PM »
The more I practice, the more I recognize a strong aspiration to end suffering for myself and all living beings.  The difference between this aspiration and other desires I might have, is that I am not at the centre.  I see that my only job is to continue to be more and more present, and continue to bring more and more compassion to myself and others in everything I do.  And I see clearly the connection between this practice and reducing suffering.  There is no future, better me that I am striving towards.

Mind you, even this aspiration can get caught by the ego, for example when I get caught up in trying to be a "teacher" of some sort and get back to striving for some future ideal state.  When this happens, I remind myself that all I can really do is share what I have experienced when the opportunity arises.

So for me, if I want something for myself, i.e. I want to become enlightened, it is a sign of ego.  But if I feel a deep longing to improve the condition for all beings, I see it as a healthy aspiration that inspires me to continue practicing and sharing.

Much metta,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Enligtenment
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2018, 06:23:19 AM »
Hi Middleway,

You explained very well. Thanks.