Awakening vs Enlightenment

Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:30 pm

Dear Dharma Friends

I don't know really in which forum to open this thread :shrug: (moderators, please feel free to move this topic to the right forum, if necessary),
so I thought to open it here, as the input for this came from this thread here
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=11995&start=40

conebeckham wrote
Then again, I differentiate between "Awakening" and "Enlightenment."


This statement made me wonder. So I want to ask (hope conebeckham he reads this, too): how do you differentiate the two?

I think either one is awake or not. So what is enlightenment?
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Azidonis » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:15 pm

This should be interesting.

:popcorn:
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby conebeckham » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:33 pm

Ooof!

Okay, well....."Enlightenment" is the state of fully manifest Buddhahood, which I take to be complete liberation, and total omniscience. "Awakening" is perhaps the state of first experience of Nature of Mind (as opposed to mere intellectual understanding). :shrug:
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:39 pm

Thank you for your clarifying words!
Is this your own definition or is this based on Sutras or their commentaries?

As I understand awakening, it is liberation because I am awake and not in a state of slumber, know what's going on, know the nature of my experience (might be called omniscient, perhaps) and thus am not caught in it thus free and liberated.

I believe the term enlightenment is a Western term which was brought into Buddhism by the first Western translators and therefore I deeply question its validity of being used in Buddhist texts.

Didn't the Buddha himself described his being as awake when he was asked who he was after his liberation.

DONA SUTTA
"The fermentations by which I would go to a deva-state, or become a gandhabba in the sky, or go to a yakkha-state & human-state: Those have been destroyed by me, ruined, their stems removed. Like a blue lotus, rising up, unsmeared by water, unsmeared am I by the world, and so, brahman, I'm awake."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.036.than.html
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Nothing » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:58 pm

Awakening and Enlightenment are both used in the sutras.

Awakening.....see SN 46.51
Enlightenment .....see SN 48.54
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:03 pm

Awakening.....see SN 46.51
Enlightenment .....see SN 48.54


this is probably based on translations in English, isn't it?

I am by no means a Pali expert, but as fas as I can figure out, in both suttas the term bodhi is used in Pali, and bodhi is not enlightenment in translation.
What I said about my abilities in Pali is also true for Chinese. But as far as I know, in Chinese they use the term 覺 for awake/awakening, so here again no enlightenment. :tongue:
So, I am still not convinced about the term enlightenment, which I think is outdated and shouldn't be used in Buddhist context or translation of Buddhist texts anymore.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Jeff » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:36 pm

The Lankavatara Sutra lays out the steps very clearly.

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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Meido » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:19 pm

Jeff wrote:The Lankavatara Sutra lays out the steps very clearly.


Echoing that, there are texts within specific E. Asian traditions which do so as well. In Rinzai literature, for example, there are Torei and Hakuin's writings which clearly lay out the progression of practice from motivation and vows, to initial recognition of the nature of mind, and through the process of fully integrating and embodying that recognition (described in terms of actualizing the 4 Wisdoms/3 Bodies). In other words, essentially this:

conebeckham wrote:"Enlightenment" is the state of fully manifest Buddhahood, which I take to be complete liberation, and total omniscience. "Awakening" is perhaps the state of first experience of Nature of Mind (as opposed to mere intellectual understanding).


I would agree that loose usage of the term "enlightenment" has caused confusion.

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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:48 pm

by Jeff
The Lankavatara Sutra lays out the steps very clearly.

I am not concerned with the steps here, but rather with the term enlightenment used as a translation for bodhi as I am still not convinced neither by Jeff's post nor the post by Meido.
I would agree that loose usage of the term "enlightenment" has caused confusion.

not only confusion but it is totally out of place, IMO, but here we have some convergence to what I mean, at least.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Jeff » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:27 pm

WuMing wrote:
by Jeff
The Lankavatara Sutra lays out the steps very clearly.

I am not concerned with the steps here, but rather with the term enlightenment used as a translation for bodhi as I am still not convinced neither by Jeff's post nor the post by Meido.
I would agree that loose usage of the term "enlightenment" has caused confusion.

not only confusion but it is totally out of place, IMO, but here we have some convergence to what I mean, at least.


Hi WuMing,

I would also agree that there is a very wide definition of what the word "enlightenment" means. Also, translations to English may create additional confusion. Then, you can also add in all of the self-help types that declare enlightenment.

Are you trying to "define" aspects of the "highest state" in comparison to what many today call self-realization/enlightenment? Or, something else?

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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby greentara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:09 am

'Discard every self-seeking motive and Reality will find you' After that you may well ask am I awake or enlightened?
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:38 am

"Enlightenment" was first coined as a translation of the term "bodhi" by Rhys Davids who founded the Pali Text society.

The idea has become very much 'commodified' in modern culture. I suppose that is inevitable, but it is kind of sad also. I think people project all kinds of things onto it, and will do all kinds of things in order to 'get it'. And often what they are seeking is a projection of some kind. That is very common I'm sure.

I do however think there are definitely stages of enlightenment. Actually I think of enlightenment in terms of 'conversion'. 'Conversion' actually means 'a different way of being', not simply adopting an idea or a position. So 'an enlightenment experience' is like 'a conversion experience'. When these happen, they're for keeps, although people can always fall back from them. But a real 'conversion experience' goes deep, right to the root. That is why it is such a powerful force.

I read somewhere once that your initial satori is not the end, but only the beginning. That is very true. We would like to think 'ah, enlightenment, now I will have no more problems', but I think that is really a projection or wishful thinking.
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Yudron » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:56 am

In the Tibetan, both awakening and enlightenment are terms translators use for Jangchub. Awakening is a literal translation, but the lamas are generally fond of the English word enlightenment.

A few translators choose use the word enlightenment for Sangyey (Buddhahood).

Togpa is usually translated as realization

I'm not fluent in Tibetan at all, but it helps to know a bit of Dharma vocabulary.
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:44 pm

Jeff wrote:I would also agree that there is a very wide definition of what the word "enlightenment" means. Also, translations to English may create additional confusion. Then, you can also add in all of the self-help types that declare enlightenment.

Are you trying to "define" aspects of the "highest state" in comparison to what many today call self-realization/enlightenment? Or, something else?


I am not trying to define anything. But seeking clarity about the translation issue, wondering why people persistently stick to the word enlightenment as Buddha used awakening?
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:15 pm

jeeprs wrote:"Enlightenment" was first coined as a translation of the term "bodhi" by Rhys Davids who founded the Pali Text society.

The idea has become very much 'commodified' in modern culture. I suppose that is inevitable, but it is kind of sad also. I think people project all kinds of things onto it, and will do all kinds of things in order to 'get it'. And often what they are seeking is a projection of some kind. That is very common I'm sure.

I do however think there are definitely stages of enlightenment. Actually I think of enlightenment in terms of 'conversion'. 'Conversion' actually means 'a different way of being', not simply adopting an idea or a position. So 'an enlightenment experience' is like 'a conversion experience'. When these happen, they're for keeps, although people can always fall back from them. But a real 'conversion experience' goes deep, right to the root. That is why it is such a powerful force.

I read somewhere once that your initial satori is not the end, but only the beginning. That is very true. We would like to think 'ah, enlightenment, now I will have no more problems', but I think that is really a projection or wishful thinking.


Here too, why do you stick to the word enlightenment? As you already said yourself
The idea has become very much 'commodified' in modern culture. I suppose that is inevitable, but it is kind of sad also.

Here I agree very much with you, and this is one more reason why in Buddhist context the word enlightenment should not be used any longer. Why don't you think about stages of awakening? Buddha did so.

Only because the early translators did use enlightenment for bodhi doesn't mean that we should continue that misunderstanding/mistranslation nowadays. But to be clear, I do value very much the efforts of the early translators. This can't and shouldn't be underestimated!

Again, I wonder why people persistently stick to the word enlightenment? One can read a lot about so called enlightenment in mumbo jumbo new age esoteric circles, which often doesn't mean anything.
As far as I am concerned, I do not want to get enlightenment*, or be enlightend, respectively, but seek to live awake as much as possible, now, not lulled by habituated patterns of the five heaps.

* and anyway, what does that mean again? :shrug:
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Jikan » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:27 pm

Hi WuMing,

It may be that the English word "enlightenment" is still in circulation because people are used to it, and for that reason, it may be effective in certain ways or for certain purposes.

I don't disagree with your point, I'm merely answering your question.
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby seeker242 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:43 pm

The Buddha referred to himself as "awake". However, In MN95 he also referred to other people, who have not reached the final attainment of truth, as he had, as "awake" also. So here he is describing persons who are "awake" but still have more to go, which mean there are levels of awakening. "Stages of awakening" or "stages of enlightenment", in the context of Buddhism, they both mean the same thing.

"Enlightenment" in the context of new age stuff, who know what that means!
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:28 pm

Jikan wrote:It may be that the English word "enlightenment" is still in circulation because people are used to it, and for that reason, it may be effective in certain ways or for certain purposes.

I don't disagree with your point, I'm merely answering your question.

Hello Jikan,

I agree, but that is habit, isn't it?! And I am still seriously wondering what people get from using the word enlightenment. Do you have any experience with using this word and its effectiveness "in certain ways or for certain purposes"?

Side note ( :offtopic: ): BTW, Jikan, I really appreciate your input on your blogspot (not only the latest one, but in general), thank you for your efforts!!

The latest one
Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each one of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken!
Take heed!
Do not squander your life!


Now, replace awaken with enlightenment or enlighten. What do you get in comparison with the original text?
See what I mean? And if I replace enlightenment/enlighten with awakening or awake(n) in other texts as well, it gets quite different. Much more intimate, IMO, with a sense of immediacy.
It might well be that it is just me who feels that way, and for others enlightenment or enlighten works perfectly well, as you indicated.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby WuMing » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:35 pm

seeker242 wrote:The Buddha referred to himself as "awake". However, In MN95 he also referred to other people, who have not reached the final attainment of truth, as he had, as "awake" also. So here he is describing persons who are "awake" but still have more to go, which mean there are levels of awakening. "Stages of awakening" or "stages of enlightenment", in the context of Buddhism, they both mean the same thing.

"Enlightenment" in the context of new age stuff, who know what that means!

I quite agree with you, seeker242! The Buddha himself did not stop practicing after his awakening, afawk.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: Awakening vs Enlightenment

Postby Jikan » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:07 pm

Hi WuMing,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you find the DCTendai site useful.

I didn't say that the word "enlightenment" was preferable, or that I use it. I'm just observing that some people evidently find it useful for some applications. That's their prerogative in my opinion. :shrug:

Let a thousand flowers bloom.

We haven't started on related synonyms or close-synonyms such as liberation, realization, &c. Those are good too sometimes.
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