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Enlightenment

ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

As I browse Buddhist forums and such, it seems (sometimes) that enlightenment is a fairly common thing. I fail to see how a goal such as that can be accomplished so commonly. It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, or misreading (it has certainly happened before).

I don't know if I'll ever reach enlightenment. Sometimes I wonder if it's even something that I want. I find that it is my flaws and shortcomings that cause me to learn the most and to help others the most. I find a lot of joy in the journey and am coming to appreciate all of the bumps in the road.

So, my question is, is enlightenment common? Or am I misreading the situation?

Shoshin

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think you're misreading the situation.
    I have seen nobody usually here who claims enlightenment, or is even close to it. Neither have I seen a frequent and verified referral to anyone, anyone here knows, who is enlightened....
    Could you elaborate on where you have seen that 'enlightenment is a fairly common thing'....?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    enlightenment isn't something you attain, it is something you are and just aren't in touch with yet. Everyone else is the same. It's like being in a dream. Most of the time you just wake up all of a sudden. Sometimes you realize you are in a dream and can take some control. Once you can learn to do that, you can learn how to wake up from it. I think enlightenment is somewhat the same. Meditation and practice is teachings us to recognize what is going on so we can get out. I prefer the term "awakened" myself, as it is more representative of what I think enlightenment really is.

    How common it is to let go of the self and ego to the degree one can be awake, I don't think anyone knows. It depends if you trust all those who say they are. We get people here who come in and declare their enlightenment. It seems to me people who are awake in that way wouldn't need to announce in an internet forum.
    I have never been able to get into Tolle's writing, but many have verified him as awake/enlightened. I couldn't tell you if he is or is not.

    I just don't worry about it.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 2016

    So, my question is, is enlightenment common?

    It is reasonably common for people to be awake. However it is surprisingly rare amongst the religious. Why? Mostly because most do not have the life experience and balance. The depth of realisation varies. Very capable awake people work in ways that often seem unusual and contrary to expectations or very ordinary and unremarkable.
    http://yinyana.tumblr.com/day/2013/10/09

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I usually think that we stand with one foot in Samsara and another in Nirvana.
    And the outlook shifts depending on which foot we choose to stand any given day.
    We all have moments of epiphany that reality dulls again a moment later.

    Some claim there is no Enlightenment, but enlightened actions.

    Enlightenment sounds like a major, bombastic word and it seems to me like the bar for that goal is set too high.
    I prefer concepts such as equanimity or inner peace.
    They seem more attainable.

  • @DhammaDragon said:

    I prefer concepts such as equanimity or inner peace.
    They seem more attainable.

    Agreed they are attainable with yoga and meditation, as we know. Personally I feel they are a potential precursor. Being awake is not the same as spiritual tranquilty practice or drinking chamomile tea ... pleasant as the effects may be ...

    http://yinyana.tumblr.com/day/2013/03/01

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @ajhayes said:> So, my question is, is enlightenment common?

    No, but this is a very secular forum.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran


    "Don't practice to 'become' Enlightened-Let your practice be the 'natural expression' of your Enlightenment !"

    lobster
  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    Thanks guys. :) I'm glad you cleared things up for me. I kind of suspected that I was misreading things, especially upon further consideration.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 2016

    @ajhayes said:
    I fail to see how a goal such as that can be accomplished so commonly.

    Why?
    A natural open mind state is possible to those who quieten the focus on self. This can unfold in a variety of ways. What I feel is very common, is people giving the impression of enlightenment or acting the part.
    For example mindfulness is a relatively easy accomplishment, however even though in a sense it is awake or aware being, one can just as easily lapse back into sleep mode. Another example is 'just being attentive/in the being' as described in zen, mahamudra and dzogchen. This can be a practiced affectation. Again it is an approximation. In Therevada, monks are treated as symbolic representations of enlightenment, as are lamas and rinpoches. However a symbol is a representation, not the 'thing' itself.

    The question is really how do we move towards, resonate and enable the potential conditions favourable for awakening? This in our case is through dharma. No guarantees.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @ajhayes said:
    As I browse Buddhist forums and such, it seems (sometimes) that enlightenment is a fairly common thing. I fail to see how a goal such as that can be accomplished so commonly. It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, or misreading (it has certainly happened before).

    I don't know if I'll ever reach enlightenment. Sometimes I wonder if it's even something that I want. I find that it is my flaws and shortcomings that cause me to learn the most and to help others the most. I find a lot of joy in the journey and am coming to appreciate all of the bumps in the road.

    So, my question is, is enlightenment common? Or am I misreading the situation?

    I stopped worrying about enlightenment long ago when I realized that being as awake and aware as I can is good enough as long as I remember I can always be more aware and/or awake.

    lobsterlittlestudentWalker
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    :lol: :lol:

  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    Similar to was I was talking about, @SpinyNorman

  • @David said:
    I stopped worrying about enlightenment long ago when I realized that being as awake and aware as I can is good enough as long as I remember I can always be more aware and/or awake.

    Exactly so.
    On an awake level, we already are aware of who is awake or what denotes independent of snoozing behavour.
    We can in a sense dream of being awake. That is an aproximation but it may have useful insights.

    It is why we take refuge in three symbolic or actual manifestations:

    • The Buddha - the awake
    • The Dharma - the path to awakening
    • The Sangha - the community of the awake

      B)

    ShoshinWalker
  • "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened persons, only enlightened actions."

    • Shunryu Suzuki
    TravellerShoshin
  • @ajhayes said:
    As I browse Buddhist forums and such, it seems (sometimes) that enlightenment is a fairly common thing. I fail to see how a goal such as that can be accomplished so commonly. It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, or misreading (it has certainly happened before).

    I don't know if I'll ever reach enlightenment. Sometimes I wonder if it's even something that I want. I find that it is my flaws and shortcomings that cause me to learn the most and to help others the most. I find a lot of joy in the journey and am coming to appreciate all of the bumps in the road.

    So, my question is, is enlightenment common? Or am I misreading the situation?

    Don't worry about it.
    We just do our best, keep the place stocked with coffee, hot cocoa, and Spiney's ice cream delights and cruise on. =)

    Peace to all

    lobsterajhayes
  • @Daozen said:
    "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened persons, only enlightened actions."

    B)

    Tee Hee
    If you want to be really strict, there are no unelightened actors, only Buddhas ...

    ... and now back to the common place

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