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Am I here to get enlightened?

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve got a dilemma. I was listening to an Osho discourse (from I Say Unto You, volume 2, discourse 6), and a question came up which went “I’ve been at the Ashram for a few days, and I was wondering: am I here to get enlightened?” Osho’s response to this was that if you turn enlightenment into a goal, you’re unlikely to ever achieve it. Instead one should live joyously and with awareness and creativity, being open to let enlightenment arrive whenever it comes.

Now, i usually seek to find a middle way between science, Osho and the Buddha, with ehipassiko as a general guide, but in this case it seems there is a collision between what the Buddha says and what Osho says. The Buddha holds that there is a path to enlightenment, that the fruits to that path can be achieved in one lifetime, and that one should make every effort to get there.

Now Osho is well known for tailoring his answers to the questioner, and if someone with a more serious seeker’s attitude had asked the same question there might have been another answer. Yet it still gives me pause, that rather than encouraging someone to take the search seriously Osho would say, focus your energies on just living joyously. It feels with this question as if it was meant for me.

So I thought I would ask you all what you thought of the search for enlightenment, did you make it a serious goal?

ShoshinAlex

Comments

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 22

    Am I here to get enlightened?

    Life is full of surprises...perhaps enlightenment will be one of them...

    With Great expectations...often comes Great disappointments...

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Enlightenment seems like a red herring to me. A sweet intangible something being dragged along the path - helpful at first, but then at some point it heads off at right angles and if you follow it, you are led astray.

    ShoshinKerome
  • 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

    @Shoshin said:

    Am I here to get enlightened?

    Life is full of surprises...perhaps enlightenment will be one of them...

    With Great expectations...often comes Great disappointments...

    The unrecorded beatitudes

    "Blessed are those who seek no reward, for yea truly shall they not be disappointed...

    Blessed are the cynical for yea truly they will rightly mutter "I told you so!"

    Keromelobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    When I started on the Buddhist path it was taught to me that setting a proper intention at the start of ones practice, as well as dedication at the end, was important. I've always started my practices by saying a basic TB prayer

    Until enlightenment I take refuge in
    The Buddha
    The Dharma
    and The Sangha
    Through the merits of generosity and other virtuous deeds
    May I attain the state of complete Buddhahood for the benefit of all mother sentient beings

    The term enlightenment still is a pretty vague idea to my western mind and it never really sunk in as I said those prayers so I modified the latter half to

    Through this practice, may I free my mind from craving, hatred and delusion so I may be of benefit to others

    I was initially drawn to Buddhism to address my own suffering and that still is an important factor, but a large portion of my attitude in cleaning up my mind and developing positive mental qualities, knowledge and wisdom has to do more with the effect it will have on those I interact with and the ability I have to help others lead happier, more fulfilled lives.

    Also, progress tends to be incremental and one doesn't have to be perfectly enlightened to be less harmful and more helpful than they were yesterday. So to me Osho's response probably was more about taking a relaxed attitude and appreciating the journey rather than saying you don't have to make any efforts in that direction.

    ShoshinKerome
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    Buddha was enlightened, Osho was not. Going with Buddha on this one . =)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 23

    @seeker242 said:
    Buddha was enlightened

    Indeed.

    One can seek enlightenment by practicing meditation, but how should we practice so that we can attain enlightenment? Total and complete enlightenment is not attained easily. One must develop small moments of insight and understanding each day. These small, daily bits of enlightenment accumulate over time, until they culminate in a sudden flash of great enlightenment.
    Ven. Master Hsing Yun

    I knew there was a plan ...

    Go Buddha! Go Buddha! Go Buddha!
    gate, gate etc ...

    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha - Prajnaparamita mantra translation: "Gone, gone, gone to the Other Shore, attained the Other Shore having never left."

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 23

    The idea of enlightenment is like dangling sweets in front of little children to get them out of the burning house.

    There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If, monks, there were no unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, become, made, conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, become, made, conditioned.

    "Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

    "Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs."

    "Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted"

    "Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released."

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    The term enlightenment still is a pretty vague idea to my western mind and it never really sunk in as I said those prayers so I modified the latter half

    It shifts the whole question of motivation from ‘enlightenment’ to ‘freeing the mind’, which is one way to handle the problem. It seems like you decided to move the chasing of enlightenment to another time, which is something I have some sympathy with.

    I was initially drawn to Buddhism to address my own suffering and that still is an important factor, but a large portion of my attitude in cleaning up my mind and developing positive mental qualities, knowledge and wisdom has to do more with the effect it will have on those I interact with and the ability I have to help others lead happier, more fulfilled lives.

    I think that’s a very beautiful motivation. If that’s what is at the heart of your Buddhism, then it’s a very worthwhile thing.

    For me, Buddhism is a very many-sided tradition, with different approaches to problems that people may have. It has value for your life in many different ways, whether you determine to chase enlightenment or are just looking for stress relief through meditation.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Attachment leads to suffering. So path is to let go of attachments. What then is the result when attachment and suffering end?

    Kerome
  • 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

    @Jeffrey said:
    Attachment leads to suffering. So path is to let go of attachments. What then is the result when attachment and suffering end?

    Weekends free of housework, and lemon cake...?

    lobsterKundo
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It makes me feel somewhat better, to see that there are so many Buddhists who do not set themselves to the idea of achieving enlightenment. I had always thought that enlightenment had to be the goal, and in a way realising that it’s not so for everybody is a release.

    I think this is an idea that goes back to my childhood in the communes, and that that is why it resonated so strongly with me. It is kind of tied up with my ideals of ambition and achievement, but to be free from it feels good.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    The term enlightenment still is a pretty vague idea to my western mind and it never really sunk in as I said those prayers so I modified the latter half

    It shifts the whole question of motivation from ‘enlightenment’ to ‘freeing the mind’, which is one way to handle the problem. It seems like you decided to move the chasing of enlightenment to another time, which is something I have some sympathy with.

    Maybe getting at what Osho was talking about is a goal oriented approach, chasing enlightenment as you say, vs a process oriented one. I just know when my mind is consumed with anger or attachment I am less happy and fulfilled and my interactions with others produce less happiness. So I take actions in my day to day life that encourage peace and discourage agitation. Its not about getting some grand state at the end so much as it is about encouraging positive attitudes in my life. If someday down the road those actions result in enlightenment, so be it, if not that is fine too.

    I was initially drawn to Buddhism to address my own suffering and that still is an important factor, but a large portion of my attitude in cleaning up my mind and developing positive mental qualities, knowledge and wisdom has to do more with the effect it will have on those I interact with and the ability I have to help others lead happier, more fulfilled lives.

    I think that’s a very beautiful motivation. If that’s what is at the heart of your Buddhism, then it’s a very worthwhile thing.

    I wouldn't say its at the heart of my Buddhism, I don't want to give the impression that I'm some sort of saint, far from it. I would say its an attitude that I try to cultivate as an integration of compassion into my practice that has had a degree of success.

    For me, Buddhism is a very many-sided tradition, with different approaches to problems that people may have. It has value for your life in many different ways, whether you determine to chase enlightenment or are just looking for stress relief through meditation.

    Yes, we can all take different things from the teachings. It was my intent to say something to that effect in my first response, but forgot as I got into it.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    The term enlightenment still is a pretty vague idea to my western mind and it never really sunk in as I said those prayers so I modified the latter half

    It shifts the whole question of motivation from ‘enlightenment’ to ‘freeing the mind’, which is one way to handle the problem. It seems like you decided to move the chasing of enlightenment to another time, which is something I have some sympathy with.

    Maybe getting at what Osho was talking about is a goal oriented approach, chasing enlightenment as you say, vs a process oriented one. I just know when my mind is consumed with anger or attachment I am less happy

    Osho’s approach is quite unique, he doesn’t look at processes or paths or goals. He just gave darshans, talked on a range of spiritual subjects and answered disciples questions. I value him for his talks on joy, freedom, and meditation.

    In a way I find it more modern, more unrestrained than Buddhism, which is a definite path with things you are supposed to do and not. In many ways I find that buddhism’s focus on awareness and inner exploration can lead you to a blossoming, but Osho’s wisdom and path of meditation gives you the spaciousness for it.

    Alex
  • 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

    Flour and yeast....

    Kerome
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    In a way I find it more modern, more unrestrained than Buddhism, which is a definite path with things you are supposed to do and not. In many ways I find that buddhism’s focus on awareness and inner exploration can lead you to a blossoming, but Osho’s wisdom and path of meditation gives you the spaciousness for it.

    It is kind of tied up with my ideals of ambition and achievement, but to be free from it feels good.

    I think I can see a difference in what each of us may need out of the path. I've never been very ambitious, hardly at all really. I came to the spiritual path out of living a 90s slacker life. So for me the struggle was to add the order and structure of the Buddhist path to add meaning to a meaningless life which produced a happier more fulfilled existence.

    If you're maybe coming from the other end where you have ambition and want achievement, and maybe as an engineer (right?) tend towards an ordered and structured mind set, openness and spaciousness would be the best medicine.

    Kerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Weekends free of housework, and lemon cake...?

    The ways toward enlightenment are not free. Even cheesecake has a price.
    ... meanwhile it sounds like a good plan ;)

    And now back to the entertainment of seeking the Perfect Cheesecake (use stevia?)

    OM MANI PADME ... HUM JEEZE KAKE o:)

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 25

    Yes. 'You' are here to (en)lighten your burden.

    At Savatthi. "Monks, I will teach you the burden, the carrier of the burden, the taking up of the burden, and the casting off of the burden. [1] Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

    "As you say, lord," the monks responded.

    The Blessed One said, "And which is the burden? 'The five clinging-aggregates,' it should be said. Which five? Form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. This, monks, is called the burden.

    "And which is the carrier of the burden? 'The person,' it should be said. This venerable one with such a name, such a clan-name. This is called the carrier of the burden.

    "And which is the taking up of the burden? The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. This is called the taking up of the burden.

    "And which is the casting off of the burden? The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving. This is called the casting off of the burden."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.022.than.html

    lobsterpersonShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    If you're maybe coming from the other end where you have ambition and want achievement, and maybe as an engineer (right?) tend towards an ordered and structured mind set, openness and spaciousness would be the best medicine.

    Yes, I think there is some truth in that. I ended up achieving those ambitions, but I’m only now beginning to find where some of the ways of how I’ve grown have limited me, such as a great liking for logic and structure. I never realised how logic restrains ones being, that it ultimately leads you to a lot of dead ends.

    There is a lot to learn from Buddhism, but I’m finding not everything can be found there. It’s a question of being aware of your inner compass, your intuition, as to what you need on your spiritual journey.

    lobster
  • ZeroZero Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    So I thought I would ask you all what you thought of the search for enlightenment, did you make it a serious goal?

    In terms of 'what are you here to do...', no one can answer that for you.

    Enlightenment is a somewhat nebulous concept - at one end it applies as an individual's ability to apply reason, based on objectively agreed knowledge, from that individual's point of view as delineated from the collective; so I suppose this would translate to one individual appreciating causal connections that others do not and that this may be justified by the group agreed knowledge / reason as objectively the more justifiable of the juxtaposition.
    For example, if I can fix a car and another individual cannot, I am enlightened as to the workings of a car.
    At another end, enlightenment is characterised as an impassable barrier, where the agreed characteristics take on inhuman and seemingly unachievable traits such as omniscience or omnipotence - for me, I think this translates as support of a hierarchy or the integrity of an institution, mainly because under closer examination, the issue becomes increasingly opaque or vague.
    For example, why should the open disclosure and demonstration of supernatural abilities as a result of spiritual / religious achievement be so shrouded in mystery and conjecture when they would be the best example or core of the incentive to undertake such a process.

    As I am now, I see myself as not subscribed to any institution and as I do not seek to follow or lead, there is no requirement for me personally to subscribe or unsubscribe to a concept of 'enlightenment'.
    For me, it is another interesting facet of the human condition.
    That said, for as long as I can remember, I have been fanatically obsessed with this reality and my responsibility for it, in it and as a result of it.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited April 26

    @Zero said:

    @Kerome said:
    So I thought I would ask you all what you thought of the search for enlightenment, did you make it a serious goal?

    In terms of 'what are you here to do...', no one can answer that for you.

    Enlightenment is a somewhat nebulous concept - at one end it applies as an individual's ability to apply reason, based on objectively agreed knowledge, from that individual's point of view as delineated from the collective; so I suppose this would translate to one individual appreciating causal connections that others do not and that this may be justified by the group agreed knowledge / reason as objectively the more justifiable of the juxtaposition.
    For example, if I can fix a car and another individual cannot, I am enlightened as to the workings of a car.
    At another end, enlightenment is characterised as an impassable barrier, where the agreed characteristics take on inhuman and seemingly unachievable traits such as omniscience or omnipotence - for me, I think this translates as support of a hierarchy or the integrity of an institution, mainly because under closer examination, the issue becomes increasingly opaque or vague.
    For example, why should the open disclosure and demonstration of supernatural abilities as a result of spiritual / religious achievement be so shrouded in mystery and conjecture when they would be the best example or core of the incentive to undertake such a process.

    As I am now, I see myself as not subscribed to any institution and as I do not seek to follow or lead, there is no requirement for me personally to subscribe or unsubscribe to a concept of 'enlightenment'.
    For me, it is another interesting facet of the human condition.
    That said, for as long as I can remember, I have been fanatically obsessed with this reality and my responsibility for it, in it and as a result of it.

    So let me see if I understand you. Causation, and thus an enlightened awareness of it, only exists because we all agree it does? And that it is ultimately an intellectually graspable state?

    Or classically defined Buddhist enlightenment is a collective narrative that doesn't correlate to an actual state of mind but is only used as a means to consolidate power in a hierarchy? It isn't defined in such subjective and ineffable terms because it actually is personal and subtle, but rather as a way to avoid investigation or criticism by those lower down in the hierarchy?

    I remember the last time we interacted and it was much the same thing. Personally I think you're over applying the concept of emptiness into complete arbitrariness and could use to learn about Nagarjuna's Two Truths.

  • ZeroZero Veteran
    edited April 27

    @person said:
    So let me see if I understand you. Causation, and thus an enlightened awareness of it, only exists because we all agree it does? And that it is ultimately an intellectually graspable state?

    Or classically defined Buddhist enlightenment is a collective narrative that doesn't correlate to an actual state of mind but is only used as a means to consolidate power in a hierarchy? It isn't defined in such subjective and ineffable terms because it actually is personal and subtle, but rather as a way to avoid investigation or criticism by those lower down in the hierarchy?

    I don't think those were my points.

    I was responding to two questions: (1) Am I here to get enlightened? To which my thought is, noone can answer that for you; and
    (2) What are your thoughts on the search for enlightenment and did you make it a serious goal.
    To address that, my thought on 'enlightenment' is that it is a nebulous concept and broadly I provided 2 examples of the range of definitions and how they translate in my search.
    Finally I tried to provide my view on what may or may not be a 'serious goal' for me.

    I remember the last time we interacted and it was much the same thing. Personally I think you're over applying the concept of emptiness into complete arbitrariness and could use to learn about Nagarjuna's Two Truths.

    My participation in that previous discussion concluded at:

    "For me, I don't think its that simple, truth is a nebulous concept. Here I'm probably sounding like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth and agreeing more with @Zero's point."

    I'm aware of the two truths doctrine.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    search for enlightenment?being enlighten is normal,by just living an encountering things that peak our interest.i.e. enlighten by the quantum field on pbs.who said,mathmatician cant be poets.string theory is poetic .

    is enlightenment a goal? yes.the intention of a bohdisattva,is to be of use and applying ones bodhi,or enlighten mind ,for the benefit of others,in the sympathetic joy or victory in the enlightenment of others.

    now being awake is more subtle.enlightenment is the growing process,culminating in the mind being awake with all jazz,gnosis,intuition,one with dao or buddha dharma.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 27

    @Fosdick said:
    Enlightenment seems like a red herring to me. A sweet intangible something being dragged along the path - helpful at first, but then at some point it heads off at right angles and if you follow it, you are led astray.

    Quite the reverse. <3

    Becoming awake is the purpose of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Everything else is red herrings.

    A sweet intangible something including the pseudo Buddha we kill in Zen stories is when we are on the right path.

    One of us is astray. Many Buddhists have experienced and awakened in the same way the Buddha did. Maybe some have not. Nobody said it would be easy, they said it would make us at Ease. B)
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/18309/what-use-are-unenlightened-teachers

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    One of the pitfalls of goal setting...

    lobsterKeromeFosdick
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited April 27

    @Fosdick said:

    Enlightenment seems like a red herring to me. A sweet intangible something being > > > > dragged along the path - helpful at first, but then at some point it heads off at right angles > and if you follow it, you are led astray

    @lobster said: Quite the reverse. <3 ... One of us is astray.

    An ambiguous statement on my part. Enlightenment is a word, that to which the word refers is a mental state. On the journey to a given mental state, words are useful up to a point, but past that point they may become a hindrance. Go on a little farther, and they no doubt become useful once again.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Bravo @Fosdick

    Exactly so.

    First there is a mountain. Mohammad goes to it.
    Boom. :p
    No mountain.

    Then there is a mountain.

    Enlightenment <3

    Talking of misunderstanding ... here is a little red herring - yum :3
    https://tricycle.org/magazine/first-there-mountain-then-there-no-mountain/

    Fosdick
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I am, @lobster, ceaselessly amazed at the amount of useful and relevant information and understandings that you can come up with - most of it stuff I myself never heard of before - and on short notice to boot. Gassho beaucoup.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    All you need is a time machine ;)
    https://tinyurl.com/yyoafmqf

    LionduckFosdickKerome
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Are we here to become enlightened?
    Perhaps
    1, Enlightenment is not a goal in and of itself
    2. Enlightenment is more a process than and endgame
    3. Self growth and the nurturing of wisdom, compassion, empathy, kindness are part of the process
    4. Enlightenment is not the same as knowledge though knowledge is usually good to
    have.
    Possession of a PHD shows one to have great knowledge in a specific field but does
    not make one wise or compassionate, etc.

    there is more, but this is a something to start with.

    Peace to all

    lobsterperson
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Good start

    Everything is a Good start
    startlingly

    ;)

    Kerome
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