Enlightenment

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Kaore
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Enlightenment

Post by Kaore » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:37 am

Hi, this is the topic I wanted to see talked recently here. I have wondered about this word 'Enlightenment', not from a dictionary definition but from some experience of what this word would mean to us in everyday life.

For me there is clear evidence that enlightenment is about having some light for ourselves by means of practice, whatever practice means to you. And not only it's about light but it should be increasingly enlightening in the way it gets lighter and brighter hence 'enlightening'.

It should gets more satisfying through its brightening and increasingly useful to protect against darkness. My question is whether or not you have some sourced interesting stuff or some experience about what this word 'Enlightenment' mean to you.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:49 am

When you ask what enlightenment means to me, I guess the first thing that springs to mind is 'unconditional relatedness'. There's a sense of being related to everything and everyone around you. That is one thing. Another thing is experiencing an 'increasing sense of the transparency of thought and emotion'. That means that whilst thoughts and emotions still arise continuously, you are able to see through them in some way. They don't have the all-consuming power that they used to have when they would just completely own you. So I guess that is detachment~equanimity. And finally there is overall a growing sense of positivity. These things still fluctuate a bit, but with sitting each day and continued contemplation, they become more stable.

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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conebeckham
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:32 pm

It's a funny word in English--not really the best translation, in my opinion, of the state of Buddha, as I understand it. But others think it's the perfect word--if one takes the meaning as "being illuminated," being fully "revealed."

"Bodhi" is another word. It means something like "Awareness" or "Awakeness" in a consummate way. In Tibetan, we often see the word "Jang Chub" (byang.chub) used, meaning something like "Purified and Complete Understanding." And the word for Buddha, in Tibetan, is "Sangye" (sangs.rgyas) which can be parsed as sangs.pa or "cleaned, Cleared" and rgyas.pa "Expanded."

I suppose there must be a sense of illuminated, aware clarity and knowing, and also a sense of completeness. These are my conceptual ways of thinking about the state of Buddha. But these are gross approximations, and I firmly believe the experience of Buddhahood is beyond any sort of explanation--it is beyond the limits of language. It's certainly beyond my personal experience.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Kaore
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by Kaore » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:48 pm

Thanks Wayfarer and conebeckham. I noticed also in Enlightenment we can focus a little bit much on something that should happen somewhere else than in what we are clearly being and so forget sometimes what is obvious, just feeling good. We may sacrifice our feeling good project for some trip of ideas about Enlightenment. So yes I guess it could be a trap to think about this...

muni
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by muni » Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:22 am

Kaore, this now reminds me on an expression, and this is so:

* Primordial Goodness *
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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oushi
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by oushi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:53 am

Kaore wrote:I have wondered about this word 'Enlightenment', not from a dictionary definition but from some experience of what this word would mean to us in everyday life.
This is something that everyone interested in practicing Dharma should answer to themselves. If we don't have it well defined, and honestly addressed, then what will our practice be based upon? Beliefs in words and ideas.
Say what you think about me here.

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LastLegend
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by LastLegend » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:11 am

oushi wrote:
Kaore wrote:I have wondered about this word 'Enlightenment', not from a dictionary definition but from some experience of what this word would mean to us in everyday life.
This is something that everyone interested in practicing Dharma should answer to themselves. If we don't have it well defined, and honestly addressed, then what will our practice be based upon? Beliefs in words and ideas.
Believing in words and ideas is spiritual nourishment.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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takso
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by takso » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:29 am

A liberation from the mundane entanglement, that is Enlightenment. :namaste:
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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oushi
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by oushi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:45 am

LastLegend wrote:Believing in words and ideas is spiritual nourishment.
If Enlightenment is letting go of our self, can you imagine a belief that is strong enough to actually makes you let go of you current life? Is there anything you would trade your "being" for? It is easy to say, that we would trade it for Enlightenment, but when you look at yourself, seeing ALL the qualities of your being (that includes your ability to make choices), would that be easy? You are not giving up on something that is yours, but on you yourself. Now you see how tremendously difficult such decision would be. This is the reason why we are here, discussing this stuff. We want to know awakening, before we trade for it.
Say what you think about me here.

muni
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by muni » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:47 am

A liberation from the mundane entanglement, that is Enlightenment.
The entanglement home made by me, and so it is me its only possession and me the only owner.
Believing in words and ideas is spiritual nourishment.
This is been said, I find it inspiring to trust: genuine inspiration is pure, lacks rightness, is shining nature itself.
Last edited by muni on Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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LastLegend
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by LastLegend » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:52 am

oushi wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Believing in words and ideas is spiritual nourishment.
If Enlightenment is letting go of our self, can you imagine a belief that is strong enough to actually makes you let go of you current life? Is there anything you would trade your "being" for? It is easy to say, that we would trade it for Enlightenment, but when you look at yourself, seeing ALL the qualities of your being (that includes your ability to make choices), would that be easy? You are not giving up on something that is yours, but on you yourself. Now you see how tremendously difficult such decision would be. This is the reason why we are here, discussing this stuff. We want to know awakening, before we trade for it.
I don't give up myself. I choose to believe.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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oushi
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by oushi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:18 am

LastLegend wrote:I don't give up myself. I choose to believe.
Sadly, we cannot choose to know. Let's hope that there is someone who can get your trust and unbind your self-attachment. :smile:
Say what you think about me here.

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Mkoll
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:48 am

oushi wrote:We want to know awakening, before we trade for it.
But things don't work that way. We can't know something until we've actually experienced it for ourselves. The map is not the territory: it doesn't matter how accurate or how numerous the maps are of a place, or how many people have described the place in eloquent and moving words...going there will always be different and more spectacular than one had imagined. One doesn't know the place until one goes and sees it oneself.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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oushi
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by oushi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:12 am

Mkoll wrote:But things don't work that way.
Yes, of course they don't. Still we are not giving up in our attempts to know it... This is, in my opinion, the main blocker. We are not able to know it, and we are not able to accept the change without knowing the consequences. In other words, it's not that we are not able to reach enlightenment, rather we are not willing to let it in, without fully knowing it. We go on imagining something that we would trade our being for. Bliss, joy, clarity, happiness, etc... We take those qualities, and construct a state out of them. Then we practice in vain to get there.
Mkoll wrote:going there will always be different and more spectacular than one had imagined.
Since this is your speculation, it is not accurate according to your own definition. Just a side node ;)
Say what you think about me here.

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Mkoll
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:03 pm

oushi wrote:
Mkoll wrote:going there will always be different and more spectacular than one had imagined.
Since this is your speculation, it is not accurate according to your own definition. Just a side node ;)
Obviously, and that's the point: it's a self-contained statement, if you will. And please note that I wasn't trying to describe enlightenment but merely expanding the map metaphor.

A debate about which map is the most correct map of the territory can go on endlessly. What I'm trying to get at is that taking a "meta-map" perspective, taking a step back and seeing that maps are just maps, is a useful perspective to have. One can go quite far with this metaphor.

Personally, I don't take such contentious debates about the nature of enlightenment, Nibbana, self vs. not-self, ultimate reality, etc. too seriously. It's just drawing up more maps. ;)
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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LastLegend
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by LastLegend » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:28 pm

oushi wrote:
Mkoll wrote:But things don't work that way.
Yes, of course they don't. Still we are not giving up in our attempts to know it... This is, in my opinion, the main blocker. We are not able to know it, and we are not able to accept the change without knowing the consequences. In other words, it's not that we are not able to reach enlightenment, rather we are not willing to let it in, without fully knowing it. We go on imagining something that we would trade our being for. Bliss, joy, clarity, happiness, etc... We take those qualities, and construct a state out of them. Then we practice in vain to get there.
Mkoll wrote:going there will always be different and more spectacular than one had imagined.
Since this is your speculation, it is not accurate according to your own definition. Just a side node ;)
How do figure it's the main blocker?
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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oushi
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by oushi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:37 pm

Mkoll wrote:Personally, I don't take such contentious debates about the nature of enlightenment, Nibbana, self vs. not-self, ultimate reality, etc. too seriously. It's just drawing up more maps.
Yes, what I wanted to point out is the situation where we have the map that we believe is true, but we are not able to leave our current life behind. As long as we are the ones making decisions, we need to be convinced. This is the crux of the problem. If we are given up ourselves for something, we better be sure about it. We quarrel about maps and destinations, trying to prove that my map is better the your map, because we believe that convincing others will validate our travel plan, and than it will be easier to make the decision to go. Why is it hard? Because there are hundreds of false paths. Would you risk trading your "being" for an enlightenment that could appear to be false? I can guess that no. When I read the OP, those are the doubts that I think author is trying to address, by developing a view on Enlightenment that is worth the effort.
LastLegend wrote:How do figure it's the main blocker?
Because:"We are not able to know it, and we are not able to accept the change without knowing the consequences". The price is simply to high. If you can pass this point of giving up yourself, then I admire you.
Say what you think about me here.

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seeker242
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by seeker242 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:44 pm

Total ease, complete calm, absolute freedom, perfect happiness & pure peace…
Absence of any uncertainty, doubt, confusion, any delusion and all ignorance…
Presence of confidence, certainty, understanding all, and direct experience…
Absence of any greed, lust, desire, urge, attraction, hunger, and temptation…
Presence of imperturbable and serene composure in an all stilled equanimity…
Absence of all hate, anger, aversion, hostility, irritation, & stubborn rigidity…
Presence of universal goodwill: An infinite & all-embracing friendly kindness…

Not a place, not an idea, not a fantasy deception, not a conceit,
not a conception, not a cause, not an effect, not finite, not definable,
not formed, not begun, not ending, not changing, not temporal, but lasting…
Unborn, unbecome, unmade, uncreated, uncaused, unconditioned,
and unconstructed, yet ultimately real…
Always liked that description. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Mkoll
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:14 pm

oushi wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Personally, I don't take such contentious debates about the nature of enlightenment, Nibbana, self vs. not-self, ultimate reality, etc. too seriously. It's just drawing up more maps.
Yes, what I wanted to point out is the situation where we have the map that we believe is true, but we are not able to leave our current life behind. As long as we are the ones making decisions, we need to be convinced. This is the crux of the problem. If we are given up ourselves for something, we better be sure about it. We quarrel about maps and destinations, trying to prove that my map is better the your map, because we believe that convincing others will validate our travel plan, and than it will be easier to make the decision to go. Why is it hard? Because there are hundreds of false paths. Would you risk trading your "being" for an enlightenment that could appear to be false? I can guess that no. When I read the OP, those are the doubts that I think author is trying to address, by developing a view on Enlightenment that is worth the effort.
Those are all good points. I think it comes down to coming to a determination for oneself that does not require validation by others, coming to a point where one's determination is an immovable object and an unstoppable force.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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lobster
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Re: Enlightenment

Post by lobster » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:26 pm

When you ask what enlightenment means to me, I guess the first thing that springs to mind is 'unconditional relatedness'. There's a sense of being related to everything and everyone around you. That is one thing. Another thing is experiencing an 'increasing sense of the transparency of thought and emotion'. That means that whilst thoughts and emotions still arise continuously, you are able to see through them in some way. They don't have the all-consuming power that they used to have when they would just completely own you. So I guess that is detachment~equanimity. And finally there is overall a growing sense of positivity. These things still fluctuate a bit, but with sitting each day and continued contemplation, they become more stable
.

seeker242 provided a good description too.

As for what it means to me. It means Nothing. :woohoo:

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