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What is enlightenment?


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#1 Thunder_Gooch

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:23 PM

I debated posting here but I thought maybe someone might get some use out of my research.

First off I'm not enlightened, and I am not interested in trying to become enlightened unless achieving it meant never being reborn (should the cycle of rebirth exist which I think it likely does, based on observations from masters like Wang LiPing and John Chang)


The most common and excepted definition of enlightenment is a permanent state of non dual awareness (no self/other dichotomy, you and your environment are one entity not separate things)



Everyone has a different idea for it, and no one can agree on one standard definition. Read Mastering The Core Teachings of The Buddha by Daniel Ingram M.D. and see some of the many different models that exist for enlightenment.

I think in the intellectual sense the most common and accepted definition of enlightenment is attaining non-dual awareness which lasts until death.

The mind is conditioned from birth to break apart reality into things and stick labels (words) on them. In reality there are no things, everything is one.


[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SJSoRJemEs"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=9SJSoRJemEs[/url]



From space you can see a galaxy as one thing, zoom in to a solar system and you can see it as one thing, zoom in on a planet and you can see it as one thing, zoom in and see beings that inhabit it, and see each as one thing, zoom in on their cells, and see each as one thing, zoom in again on their molecules and they appear as one thing, zoom in again on the atoms that make up those molecules and they appear as one thing, zoom in on the subatomic particles, and they appear as one thing, and then their constituents......
Ad infinitum.

Everything we observe appears as something separate from the rest because our minds are conditioned to think that way, and break the whole into chunks. Enlightenment as I understand it de-conditioning your mind to break apart reality into separate things and see everything as a whole including yourself till your death.

I am not sure that is what I am seeking, but I find it fascinating. My primary goal for life is another definition of enlightenment which focuses on ending the cycle of rebirth.


Here are Jed's McKenna's (claims to be enlightened) thoughts on enlightenment:



Interview with Jed McKenna

"I never went in search of spiritual enlightenment. It was never my goal.
I just wanted the truth, whatever the price. I didn't realize until several
years after the successful conclusion of that search that what I had
achieved was called spiritual enlightenment, and even now I don't know
what's so damned spiritual about it." —JED MCKENNA




Q: What is enlightenment?

JM: No-self.

Q: Okay, what is no-self?

JM: Abiding non-dual awareness.

Q: Okay, what is.......?

JM: I can't tell you what it is; no one can. It's not a thing, it's not a concept,
it's not a place. There's no explaining fire to someone who's never seen fire;
no description can do justice to the direct experience of fire. I use
terms like abiding non-dual awareness and no-self and truth-realization
not because they capture it, but because they seem the least misleading.

Q: Most people define spiritual enlightenment very differently from the
way you describe it, as if they are talking about something completely
different. How can there be such disparity?

JM: Enlightenment is absolute. It doesn't come in varieties or degrees. It's
not open to interpretation. But the most important thing is that it's self-
verifiable and completely available to reason. Anyone who wants to understand
can understand. It doesn't require interpreters or intermediaries. It's
just sitting there, right out in the open, for anyone who cares to look. No
one has to rely on me or anyone else. Becoming enlightened may be a real
ball-buster, but enlightenment theory is a breeze. The first chapter of the
book is titled "That Which cannot be simpler." That's an exact statement.
Enlightenment is that which cannot be simplified further; cannot be further reduced.

Q: Which brings us to the question of Who is enlightened? Who is Writing
the book? Who is teaching? It's very difficult to reconcile the appearance of
self with the claim of no-self.

JM: And yet, there it is. True self is no-self and there's just no Way to make
it sound reasonable. I can't express it in a Way that anyone is going to get
it. I'm aware that there's an apparent contradiction, but it doesn't appear to
me. It's like the gateless gate thing. It looks one Way from there and
another from here. All I can say is come here and see for yourself.

Q: That sounds like a leap of faith, not logic.

JM: No, it's simple math. Anyone can verify for themselves the truth of
non-duality; the fact that all is one. Any reasonably able-minded person
can put it together on their own. From there, it's a short step to no-self.
Once you have established in your own mind the truth of nonduality, then
countless fictions, like the idea of a separate self, shall not long stand.

Q: You say "reasonably able-minded person." What's really required by
Way of intelligence for this undertaking?

JM: Not much. It all really comes back to intent. If the intent is in place,
everything is in place. If the intent isn't in place, no amount of intelligence
will make any difference.

Q: So logic is the tool of the mind and desire is the tool of the heart?

JM: Sure. Good. Logic—mind—is the sword and intent—heart—is the
will to use it. Nicely put.













[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lqKr_f4dL4"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=4lqKr_f4dL4[/url]

and

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXmzcroUmdU"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=AXmzcroUmdU[/url]


More of my thoughts on nonduality:

There is no you, there is only the experience OF you.

Every belief, opinion or preference you have ever held or will ever hold, every thought you have had or will ever have, or memory you have ever remembered; has forever and will only ever exist inside of your own mind, and not external to it.

Furthermore everything you've ever seen, heard, smelt, felt, tasted, intuited, remembered, or otherwise experienced has occurred not in some external reality but rather inside your own mind.

When you experience something as occurring external to yourself, what you are witnessing is not an event outside of yourself, it is purely an internal phenomenon.

What I am trying to say in more scientific terms is that bio-electro-chemical messages travel from your sense organs and are sent into your brain, and it interprets these signals and makes sense of them. What is being seen is the interpretation of reality your mind creates, not some objective reality external to you.


Our experience is NOT the thing we observe, but rather more like a painting or a map of the thing our brain is creating a representation of. The reality we experience is purely a mental construct, and itself has no reality external to the mind.


All thoughts, memories, ideas, opinions, verbalizations, vizualizations, have no reality external to the human mind.

All beliefs are maps created by the mind to make sense of reality, however almost all confuse their maps of reality, with reality itself. The map is not the territory, it's a map which represents the territory.

See this painting:
Posted Image


It reads in English: "This is not a pipe" It is not a pipe, it is a painting representing a pipe.
Just as all memories, ideas, concepts, opinions, verbalizations, and visualizations are not reality itself but rather a painting representing reality.

The human ego, personality and identity are self created beliefs, and also have no reality independent of the mind.


So when we burn all our assumptions, beliefs, opinions, paintings, maps and self-made abstract representations of reality to ash, what remains?

Who remains?

Nothing, and no one, forever.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7qLXF1qR9s"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=O7qLXF1qR9s[/url]


My personal theory is that all that exists is purely information and nothing more, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, consciousness is both one whole and infinite. We are like waves moving through an ocean of consciousness, perceiving ourselves as separate while still being a part of the whole.
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#2 Jeff

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:25 AM

Thanks, I very well thought out post.

Can you feel the wave?

:)

#3 Thunder_Gooch

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:19 AM

Thanks, I very well thought out post.

Can you feel the wave?

:)


:) thanks. I wanna go surfing :)


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#4 Marblehead

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Is being enlightened the opposite of being delighted?

I reserve the right to be wrong.
 
post-42212-0-11315200-1380315953.jpg          I reserve the right to change my mind.          post-42212-0-03947700-1380315992.jpg
 
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#5 Protector

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

Human life is often seen as a linear journey with a birth and a death.
People walk this path and when a person asks another person in front of him what's ahead, he might not understand until he sees it.
That person might not even see it because he didn't walk through the thorn bushes in between them first.
Just knowing about the no self is not useful while you're still looking through the bushes.

Masters of this path are often called enlightened but this enlightened often shows up after death when you don't have a body except of that is the world itself. The world can be seen as your own body, there is food somewhere halfway across the globe that you didn't eat yet but eventually you will and it will be a part of your living body.

The knowledge of the no mind and such shows up when you have nothing else to go towards to. This path, in a way, is already written down but it's different for everyone who walks it so you just have to live it.

One way it is written down is through number 7. There are seven chakras you your body through which energy flows towards the crown. When energy reaches the crown, you reach enlightenment, it is said. The crown is outside your body while other chakras represent your body thoughts emotions you and crown is the default space for "everything else".

The life can be seen as something that goes through chakras too but since each story is different, it might be seen different for everyone.
First there's you.
Second you become everywhere through friends and connections.
Because of these connections you work and acquire wealth.
When you acquire wealth and have a decent paycheck in a sense, you feel like you're safe to be married and start a family.
When you're just content with everything, you gather knowledge yourself or it just find you, that's also when you wonder about the bigger things then yourself.
Knowledge eventually turns into wisdom and somewhere behind the final step, you don't have any more questions.

Not everyone lives the same way and some become very rich before going somewhere else and others live with nothing and just become monks somewhere. Some people even live content without ever falling in love, or they're not telling me something ;)

I heard that the circle of rebirth happens because your soul still have questions, living life will answer all the questions eventually that's why rebirth happens.

If you're comfortable believing that sort of stuff :lol:

I will never forget you, report button *salutes*

 
Sword cuts in two pieces
Cutting two pieces is easy
Cutting two into one is hard part
You don't cut opponent
It is against universal law
You cut two into one

GRYFFINDOR

 

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It would mean a lot to me if you read this.


#6 Jetsun

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:56 PM

I don't believe in enlightenment, I think there will always be an ego but the spiritual process is about making it a servant to your heart rather than a master.

#7 Marblehead

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:00 AM

If you're comfortable believing that sort of stuff :lol:

Well, at least you tried. Hehehe.

I reserve the right to be wrong.
 
post-42212-0-11315200-1380315953.jpg          I reserve the right to change my mind.          post-42212-0-03947700-1380315992.jpg
 
Peace & Contentment!
 
 
 


#8 Marblehead

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:01 AM

I don't believe in enlightenment, I think there will always be an ego but the spiritual process is about making it a servant to your heart rather than a master.

I think you might be on to something there.

I reserve the right to be wrong.
 
post-42212-0-11315200-1380315953.jpg          I reserve the right to change my mind.          post-42212-0-03947700-1380315992.jpg
 
Peace & Contentment!
 
 
 


#9 konchog uma

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:15 AM

I don't believe in enlightenment, I think there will always be an ego but the spiritual process is about making it a servant to your heart rather than a master.


thanks for your perspective jetsun. I have similar suspicions. Interestingly the word "ego" is used differently by buddhists than by psychologists so its hard to know what people are talking about when they say the ego. a quote of the definition of the Freudian ego:

Definition:

According to Freud, the ego is part of personality that mediates the demands of the id, the superego and reality. The ego prevents us from acting on our basic urges (created by the id), but also works to achieve a balance with our moral and idealistic standards (created by the superego). While the ego operates in both the preconscious and conscious, it's strong ties to the id means that it also operates in the unconscious.

The ego operates based on the reality principle, which works to satisfy the id's desires in a manner that is realistic and socially appropriate. For example, if a person cuts you off in traffic, the ego prevents you from chasing down the car and physically attacking the offending driver. The ego allows us to see that this response would be socially unacceptable, but it also allows us to know that there are other more appropriate means of venting our frustration.


i have been absorbed in trance states where my sense of identity (also commonly referred to as "ego") was destroyed, but i wouldn't want to walk down the street in one of those states! I think the freudian ego is a valuable tool for survival, and i also think that as we shed the layers of the conditioned self, often called "ego" especially by buddhists, we avail ourselves to the mechanism of the Big Mind or the True Self or the wotnot and that is also a valuable tool for survival. It is in my esteem far more valuable than the conditioned self, and since they seem to be mutually exclusive, that is the only sense in which "destroying the ego" makes any sort of sense to me. Its still a gross misnomer.

the "ego" means different things to different people. As freud used it, its a part of the psyche that i don't think anyone would actually want to be without! Not even buddhists! hehehe
"All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. in the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy's validity. Because of this any intellectual way of seeing whatsoever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to see or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism." -Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

#10 konchog uma

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:21 AM

I heard that the circle of rebirth happens because your soul still have questions, living life will answer all the questions eventually that's why rebirth happens.

If you're comfortable believing that sort of stuff :lol:


"dear god,

WTF

love
michael"

seriously though, that explanation is kinda neat, but it doesn't pan out if you look at reality as being beginningless and endless.

i dont recommend trying to answer the question Why about anything relating to reality. You will only create some kind of logical something and then delude yourself that that is the answer, that is how it works. Reality is not logical. This is an entirely mysterious and unreasonable force we are dealing with LOL so i say lets treat it as such
"All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. in the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy's validity. Because of this any intellectual way of seeing whatsoever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to see or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism." -Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

#11 C T

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:29 AM

I don't believe in enlightenment, I think there will always be an ego but the spiritual process is about making it a servant to your heart rather than a master.

For some, training the ego to become submissive is, for all intents and purposes, enlightenment.

However, in Buddhism, there's always room to explore further, deeper, without exhausting the mind - on the contrary, the level of awakeness increases. Buddhist meditation, done systematically and under guidance, will generate this result. There's really no necessity to entertain 'beliefs' once one is willing to give the process sufficient time and room to take root. The only major obstacle which prevents most people from enjoying the fruits of right meditation is impatience.
Om svabhava shuddha sarva dharma svabhava shuddho 'ham!
Om shunyata jnana vajra svabhava atmako 'ham! 
Om ah hum hra phat!
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Appearance is mind, and emptiness is mind.
Realization is mind, and confusion is mind.
Arising is mind, cessation also is mind. 
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Appearances are mind, mind is emptiness, emptiness is spontaneous presence, spontaneous presence is self-liberation.
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#12 Protector

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

Reality doesn't have a beginingness and endness, human experience does.
After knowledge there goes wisdom and after wisdom there's crown chakra that's the default "everything else that doesn't make sense" :lol:
Only first six chakras are inside the human body and the crown is the outside the body where there's no time, no self, no mind, and no nothing.

Also telling that reality is not logical is my thing :lol:

I will never forget you, report button *salutes*

 
Sword cuts in two pieces
Cutting two pieces is easy
Cutting two into one is hard part
You don't cut opponent
It is against universal law
You cut two into one

GRYFFINDOR

 

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It would mean a lot to me if you read this.


#13 cat

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:37 AM

thanks for your perspective jetsun. I have similar suspicions. Interestingly the word "ego" is used differently by buddhists than by psychologists so its hard to know what people are talking about when they say the ego. a quote of the definition of the Freudian ego:


i have been absorbed in trance states where my sense of identity (also commonly referred to as "ego") was destroyed, but i wouldn't want to walk down the street in one of those states! I think the freudian ego is a valuable tool for survival, and i also think that as we shed the layers of the conditioned self, often called "ego" especially by buddhists, we avail ourselves to the mechanism of the Big Mind or the True Self or the wotnot and that is also a valuable tool for survival. It is in my esteem far more valuable than the conditioned self, and since they seem to be mutually exclusive, that is the only sense in which "destroying the ego" makes any sort of sense to me. Its still a gross misnomer.

the "ego" means different things to different people. As freud used it, its a part of the psyche that i don't think anyone would actually want to be without! Not even buddhists! hehehe


Yes, absolutely. When people talk about 'destroying the ego' they really just mean releasing overweening unconsciousness and lack of heart. Actually it is interesting how antagonistic people can get towards "ego" when it doesnt do what their ego wants.:wacko:

#14 Jetsun

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:02 AM

thanks for your perspective jetsun. I have similar suspicions. Interestingly the word "ego" is used differently by buddhists than by psychologists so its hard to know what people are talking about when they say the ego. a quote of the definition of the Freudian ego:


i have been absorbed in trance states where my sense of identity (also commonly referred to as "ego") was destroyed, but i wouldn't want to walk down the street in one of those states! I think the freudian ego is a valuable tool for survival, and i also think that as we shed the layers of the conditioned self, often called "ego" especially by buddhists, we avail ourselves to the mechanism of the Big Mind or the True Self or the wotnot and that is also a valuable tool for survival. It is in my esteem far more valuable than the conditioned self, and since they seem to be mutually exclusive, that is the only sense in which "destroying the ego" makes any sort of sense to me. Its still a gross misnomer.

the "ego" means different things to different people. As freud used it, its a part of the psyche that i don't think anyone would actually want to be without! Not even buddhists! hehehe


Yeah ego is a pretty loaded term. I think much of your persona can be seen through so you can see that is not a such a serious thing worth fighting for, so you can relax your psychic structures so they are not as rigid or prone to absolute beliefs but you will always have an individual personality I think even if it loses it's form in meditation it will re-emerge in life in order to serve you. In daily life you need to navigate distinctions and preferences in duality even if the ultimate reality is oneness and non duality.

For some, training the ego to become submissive is, for all intents and purposes, enlightenment.

However, in Buddhism, there's always room to explore further, deeper, without exhausting the mind - on the contrary, the level of awakeness increases. Buddhist meditation, done systematically and under guidance, will generate this result. There's really no necessity to entertain 'beliefs' once one is willing to give the process sufficient time and room to take root. The only major obstacle which prevents most people from enjoying the fruits of right meditation is impatience.


I have never met anyone enlightened or know of anyone living who is enlightened so for me to believe in permanent enlightenment it would have to be a faith based belief, I have met Boddhisatvas though who can genuinely give without expecting any reward in return and live through their hearts, and that seems to be the essence of where it's at from what I have seen so far in my life. Perhaps I shouldn't say that I don't believe in enlightenment though as that may exclude it as a possibility so I am open to it as possible but I have not seen any evidence of it so far.

I have been told that I am already enlightened but I need to go meditate to see if it's true, i'll report back once I find out.

Edited by Jetsun, 11 April 2012 - 11:03 AM.


#15 rainbowvein

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

I have been told that I am already enlightened but I need to go meditate to see if it's true, i'll report back once I find out.

I couldn't tell if you were chuckling when adding the end of this sentence. My first thought was, "what's his ETA?" ;)

#16 Jetsun

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

I couldn't tell if you were chuckling when adding the end of this sentence. My first thought was, "what's his ETA?" ;)


I was hoping it would be today but unfortunately all I found was a pain in my back, I will try again tomorrow :lol:




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