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Is enlightenment conceivable ?

sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
edited July 2015 in Buddhism Basics

Is a place you've never visited imaginable ?

How can you get there if you've never seen it before?


  • I think probably we all get glimpses.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @sova -- If it were conceivable, it would fall into the secondary, don't you think? And if whatever it is that is called "enlightenment" doesn't even fall into the primary, how much the less is it likely to get mired in the secondary?

    I can conceive of or imagine a winged horse, but I don't believe I would expend a lot of energy trying to seek it out. For this reason, from where I sit, Buddhist practice is directed at reconfiguring a fun and imaginative and restive mind... and letting "enlightenment" work out its own activities.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @sova said:
    Is a place you've never visited imaginable ?

    There is probably just this place from different perspectives. Even a different planet is in the same place this is if we zoom out enough.

    Putting anything - even enlightenment - on too high a pedestal is putting it out of reach.

    How can you get there if you've never seen it before?

    Maybe by realizing we've been here the whole time without seeing clearly.

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    I think certain aspects can be grasped intellectually. For example, compassion for all beings and equanimity. It seems as you get closer to enlightenment, you may experience "flashes" of insight. But I don't think you can get anything better than a hint until you're actually there.

  • @ourself said:Putting anything - even enlightenment - on too high a pedestal is putting it out of reach.

    I agree. I think it's a gradual thing really, a progressive opening out.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    @sova said:
    Is a place you've never visited imaginable ?

    Absolutely! I know I can create a myriad of thought constructs with very few building materials.

    How can you get there if you've never seen it before?

    Jump off a cliff and you shall see the bottom - even if you've never seen it before. (not recommended) Here's another, less painful way: Serve others. In no time your happiness will reach a point that you've never seen before.

    I vote for method number two if you're interested. :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @sova said:
    Is a place you've never visited imaginable ?

    Yes. Enlightenment is like you imagine. It is also not like you imagine. In other words the descriptions point to the moon without mooning it ...

    The descriptions are often too clinical in dharma, therby attracting the emotionally stunted. We can think of enlightenment like a song we all sing ... until in harmony ... B)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    It is not possible to imagine enlightenment because it's a state beyond thought. A shift in perception. Nobody can describe it because of this. It's not a thing. :)
    Descriptions occur within it.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Is enlightenment conceivable ?"

    From what I gather in Zen they talk about Kensho seeing into one's own nature or "Satori" a glimpse of enlightenment...

    However with the mind turned outward lost in its projection (our normal mind's function/interaction through the sense doors) one would think it would not be possible to conceive enlightenment, but with the mind turned inward one recognises its true nature

    One has to be in it to win it so to speak....

    "Meditate mediate if that's the plan - to reach enlightenment as fast as one can"

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @sova said:
    How can you get there if you've never seen it before?

    I would say by using a guide from someone who has been there before, where they tell you how to get there. Like traveling to a place you have never been to before. If you don't know how to get there, you get a map and follow the map! :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^^ good plan.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    It must be conceivable, or else it would be unspeakable.

    How accurate our conception is . . . that gets hairy, the potential for the conceptualization to be other than accurate is high. We aren't aware of our own filters and presuppositions, and those who attempt to be find that a life long effort.

  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited July 2015

    I feel that some things are conceivable, greed, hate, and delusions leading to dukkha being some. We do fool ourselves to not believe it.

    Through wisdom and discernment we can establish faith in the teachings, and with those we should be at least be able to see through our own faults, misconceptions, and delusions. We can at least strive for that in which we can conceive.

  • It can be conceived if you do not consistently protect your self.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I agree. I think it's a gradual thing really, a progressive opening out.

    Can be.

    Broadly speaking Buddhism is a mind based, highest 'chakra' opening path. However we can get our gears/wheels in order because that option enables the progressive opening out.

    So we know what aspects of the path to engage in and are skilful. :)

  • 0student00student0 Explorer


    I don't think you can imagine enlightenment because enlightenment is the one imagining. Enlightenment is that stillness/quietness/emptiness that is often tried to achieve in meditation. As Eckhart Tolle has put it, "the mind is the eternal subject, [...] it is non-conceptual".
    To use my own metaphor, I think it's like trying to picture which movie suits you best when you're actually the camera. All you can do and ever will do is observe.
    Now getting from understanding to believing, that's a whole different deal.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @ourself said:
    by realizing we've been here the whole time without seeing clearly


  • RodrigoRodrigo São Paulo, Brazil Veteran

    Is the ocean conceivable for the fish in it?

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    Once upon a time there was a man, brave and true, yet somewhat confused, who had made his way through life, and reaching its middle point, journeyed to the high ground to take a look about him. He saw there the lofty spires of those dreams that still burned brightly, poking up through the mists of his confusion. But he also sensed that down below, out of sight lay the wrecks of other dreams that had fallen into ruin. He then resolved to make an accounting.

    He labored hard on this worthy project, for he sensed that, with the effort might come some redemption. As the day gave way to night, and the stars moved over-head he continued with the endeavor. In his mind’s eye he could see the child that he once was. He saw and remembered the face of his father and the scent of his mother. Old words and lessons learned came back to him, as weary ghosts hauled out of the past. He recalled his travels and thought about the underlying purpose and intent.

    He visited old classrooms and the teachers that had touched him, recalling past epiphanies of learning moments. He heard the laughter and felt the late night exhaustion, and his mind’s eye journeyed onward. Faces swirled around him, tired, frenetic, careworn and joyous faces all. He tried to recall the names, but he could not pull them from the past, but he could sense that these people, these friends well met and then forgotten could see right through him. But he remembered the good-byes, and the ones that had hurt the most--the ones that were never uttered.

    He wondered, "where did all of the time go?" For he had surely had his feast, and gobbled up his portion. And he had drunk long pulls from that bittersweet cup of his own time, yet had he slaked his thirst?

    He then wandered on the battlefield and tasted the acrid leavings of burnt cordite. He heard the anguished screams of the dying, those that he had been responsible for, but had failed. And could he remember their names? No, he could not, and he had yet to make sense of this madness.

    Then he turned to his triumphs, and although they were few, he relished the memory of each experience. He recalled the exhilaration and satisfaction, and restful sleep. And as his mind’s eye journeyed on, night became day.

    He abruptly found himself in a meadow, at the site of a picnic that had never happened. And he wondered, for this surely was the place that he had dreamed of many times before. There was cool water and wildflowers, and beside the water, the springy, fragrant grass had been depressed, as if a blanket had been laid there. And on the wind he heard the echoes of faint laughter, and voices also, yet he could not discern their meaning.

    The man returned to the higher ground. Day was again turning into night and he was weary, but less confused. And as the sun set over the spires of his dreams still remaining, he reviewed his ledger and then slept deeply.

  • howhow Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @sova said:
    Is a place you've never visited imaginable ?

    How can you get there if you've never seen it before?


    Is enlightenment conceivable?.

    Yes... but the accuracy or obscuration of it is completely dependent on how little or much of ones identity is involved in the conceiving.


    the closer ya git to it, the less of a you will be there to imagine anything.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think probably we all get glimpses.

    Exactly so. B)
    We have maps and pics, we have metaphors, poems, songs and stories of enlightenment.

    Templates exist of behavour and surounding conditions.

    We know a lot, sometimes too much. With practice, we rest the surrounding hindrances and conflicted filters ... Equally we begin to recognise our innate skills and qualities and also how they match the glimpses we have of reported benefits ...

    That is why people can be advanced in the way but still have their eyes closed. How on opening their eyes, they realise they were never shut ...

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