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You are enlightened, you're enlightened, everybody's enlightened!

ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

I've been thinking about nirvana and buddhahood especially in zen and came to some interesting conclusions. Now a lot of zenists believe this, maybe all of them do, i don't know to many other zenists, so i don't know.

You ARE enlightened and in nirvana, you just don't know it. So the enlightenment in buddhism is really just realizing that you are enlightened.

Now it's time for my speculation. If we're already enlightened, and in nirvana, then wouldn't that mean that nirvana is not the end of the cycle of reincarnation(samsara)? Just some thoughts.

Comments

  • herbieherbie Veteran

    Check the teachings on so called 'buddha nature':
    siddharthasintent.org/assets/pubs/UttaratantraDJKR.pdf

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    @herbie thanks for the pdf =) in introduction and preliminaries it compares buddha nature to a clean window. This actually supports my idea, the dirty window has the same qualities as a clean window except the dirt covers it up. Imagine the ordinary mind is the dirty window and enlightenment as the clean window

  • herbieherbie Veteran

    Great! I think one may get some conducive inspirations from the uttaratantra shastra. In worldly contexts one is easily conditioned to believe that achievements are necessarily newly constructed. However in buddhist context the view that 'achievements' are actually something that is already present and is 'merely' revealed may make more sense. Practice is required nevertheless: To remove obscurations and - once obscurations have been removed temporarily - to remove them permanently.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 8

    It is an interesting comparison, because what is the point of a window? To let in light and see through it. A dirty window does not serve that purpose... so the function of enlightenment may be more in the way of teaching you to see, as the clean window allows you to see beyond it and by its light.

    But as @herbie says the cleaning of the window may involve more than merely ‘realising that one is enlightened’, that sounds like a very short cut along the path. It’s not so much a case of everyone being enlightened as all of us standing in the middle of nirvana and having the potential to clean the window to allow us to see.

    personadamcrossleyDavid
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @ZenSam said:
    Now it's time for my speculation. If we're already enlightened, and in nirvana, then wouldn't that mean that nirvana is not the end of the cycle of reincarnation(samsara)? Just some thoughts.

    No, because it ends when you realize it. If you haven't realized it, then it doesn't end. It's like being in a garden filled with tons of delicious edible plants. If you don't realize the plants are edible, you will still be hungry even if you are in it.

    lobsterpersonShoshinDavid
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited April 8

    @ZenSam said

    in introduction and preliminaries it compares buddha nature to a clean window. This actually supports my idea, the dirty window has the same qualities as a clean window except the dirt covers it up. Imagine the ordinary mind is the dirty window and enlightenment as the clean window

    Reminiscent of Hui-Neng, I think -

    There is no Bodhi tree,
    Nor stand of a mirror bright.
    Since all is void,
    Where can the dust alight

    adamcrossleyShoshinlobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited April 9

    @Kerome said:
    It is an interesting comparison, because what is the point of a window? To let in light and see through it. A dirty window does not serve that purpose... so the function of enlightenment may be more in the way of teaching you to see, as the clean window allows you to see beyond it and by its light.

    But as @herbie says the cleaning of the window may involve more than merely ‘realising that one is enlightened’, that sounds like a very short cut along the path. It’s not so much a case of everyone being enlightened as all of us standing in the middle of nirvana and having the potential to clean the window to allow us to see.

    It reminds me of a zen story I heard from gods know where about keeping the glass clean. A master tells a student to picture a crystal glass that must remain pristine. Covering it with a cloth is considered obscuring it, dust is unacceptable and finger prints are a big no-no. The student is then told to come back later with the solution. When the student finally returns and says it is confounding and they cannot figure it out the master says the glass is a representation of the mind and that the only way to keep it from being obscured is to constantly be cleaning the glass.

    If anyone knows where I got that one from I'd be grateful for the reminder.

    @ZenSam I don't think it's that we're all enlightened already but that we all have the potential to be. It is our true face before our parents were born where our true face is the sky (absolute) and parents are clouds (convention).

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    @ZenSam said:
    Now it's time for my speculation. If we're already enlightened, and in nirvana, then wouldn't that mean that nirvana is not the end of the cycle of reincarnation(samsara)? Just some thoughts.

    No, because it ends when you realize it. If you haven't realized it, then it doesn't end. It's like being in a garden filled with tons of delicious edible plants. If you don't realize the plants are edible, you will still be hungry even if you are in it.

    Like a lucid dream. Finish that thought of realization and it's all over.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran

    "Nobody ever dies but the trouble is very few realise this"

    I think that the discovery that we do not die is the most valuable and important discovery made in the history of the human race. Is there any other discovery that can match it? Even to call it the most valuable and important world heritage is insufficient. However, unfortunately, most of the great number of people living in the world do not know of this great discovery. Whenever the New Year comes people think they have grown a year older and a year closer to death. But this is a big mistake. Where is that which has grown a year older, where is that which has made another step toward death? Shakyamuni pursued this question relentlessly. And he realized that this thing called the “self” had neither shadow nor form nor color nor smell nor weight nor anything at all. He realized that this “self” was no more than an image that human beings had arbitrarily produced in their heads. If “self” and “person” are no more than concepts, then “the death of a person” is no more than a concept formed from the workings of the mind. One speaks of “dying” but the “one” dying does not exist. To put it clearly, from the start “death” itself does not exist.

    And, to push the argument even further, what has just been said about “death” applies in just the same way to “life.” If death does not exist, then one cannot say that life exists. In the statement above I made about Shakyamuni’s discovery let me replace the word “death” with “life”. “To put it very simply we can say that Shakyamuni’s discovery was that ‘we are not born’.”

    Life and death are concepts; life and death have no substance. Nevertheless, most people find this hard to believe. Yet, life and death really do not exist. To express the essence of life and death, one can say being happy is life and being sad is death. Being in pain is life and being content is death. Walking is life and running is death. The rain falling is life and good weather is death. Mountains are life and rivers are death.

    Yamada Ryoun- abbot of Sanbo-Kyodan

    A devout elderly lady from a nearby province came on a pilgrimage to Wat Pah Pong. She told Ajahn Chah she could stay only a short time, as she had to return to take care of her grandchildren, and since she was an old lady, she asked if he could please give her a brief Dhamma talk. Ajahn Chah replied with great force, "Hay, listen! There’s no one here, just this! No owner, no one to be old, to be young, to be good or bad, weak or strong. Just this, that’s all - just various elements of nature going their own way, all empty. No one born and no one to die! Those who speak of birth and death are speaking the language of ignorant children. In the language of the heart, of Dhamma, there are no such things as birth and death."

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    She told Ajahn Chah she could stay only a short time

    Yep Ajahn Chah, dead before his grandchildren or his devoted grandma ... :p

    If we don't exist except as a continuum eg grand ma, monk, idiot crustacean etc, then we can not be reborn, can not say we do anything but recycle ideas of being [insert identity] ... Time for extinguishing?

    Ay caramba. Nothing!

  • herbieherbie Veteran

    The perfect buddhakaya is all-embracing,
    suchness cannot be differentiated,
    and all beings have the disposition.
    Thus they always have buddha nature.

    Uttaratantra shastra

  • cazcaz Veteran

    @ZenSam said:
    I've been thinking about nirvana and buddhahood especially in zen and came to some interesting conclusions. Now a lot of zenists believe this, maybe all of them do, i don't know to many other zenists, so i don't know.

    You ARE enlightened and in nirvana, you just don't know it. So the enlightenment in buddhism is really just realizing that you are enlightened.

    Now it's time for my speculation. If we're already enlightened, and in nirvana, then wouldn't that mean that nirvana is not the end of the cycle of reincarnation(samsara)? Just some thoughts.

    Obviously we are not all enlightened, however we all have Buddha nature which is our very subtle mind and when it is accessed completely you accomplish enlightenment but it is like Gem hidden in a lump of coal-don't mistake the coal for the gem.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    so i don't know.

    That is correct :p

    The awake do know. They know they know.

    How to find the gem in the lotus position? The gem in the coal? The ass on the cushioning?

    ¿Mr Cushion?
    https://www.lionsroar.com/category/how-to/

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    One definition of enlightenment that I have found helpful is that enlightenment is as if emerging from a thick fog into a bright clear day.

    Yes, we all posess the Ninth conciseness (Buddha, enlightenment..). It is buried beneath that eighth consciousness of karma storage. we are all striving to awaken the ninth conscience, enabling it to beak through the hindrances of the eighth conscience and our own self-doubt and arrogance.

    Lets all emerge from that thick fog into the clear bright day.

    My vehicle is the "Nam myth range kyo" of the Lotus Sutra.

    It has been and continues to be one wonderful heck of a ride.

    Peace to all

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    One definition of enlightenment that I have found helpful is that enlightenment is as if emerging from a thick fog into a bright clear day.

    Clarity. Exactly so.

    The ride/path becomes apparent as we understand we are always on it.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    Sounds good, but actually we only have the POTENTIAL to recognize this enlightenment. It's just not that easy.

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