what is enlightenment ?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby lobster » Fri May 17, 2013 5:18 pm

As well as an empty 'experience', enlightenment is paradoxical to talk about.
The best that can be said is Buddhism leads towards the cessation of explanations and inexplicably that explains enlightenment . . . :smile:

There is a continuum and these are the early stages . . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stage ... ightenment

:thumbsup:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby oldbob » Sat May 18, 2013 7:15 am

:namaste:

All excellent answers. :good: :good: :good:

My 2 cents:

En LIGHT enment!

Ya - I know the above is a cheap shot - :smile: but I couldn't resist. This symbolizes a subjective feeling of great light which can be objectively noticeable by others.

This is what the "glory" or "nimbus" of light around Lord Buddha's head and body, in the paintings and sculptures, symbolizes.


En LIGHT enment!
oldbob
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby Beatzen » Sat May 18, 2013 3:28 pm

Dogen wrote:Delusion is when the Self goes forth to illuminate the Dharma. Enlightenment is when the Dharma comes forth to illuminate the Self.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
- Eihei Dogen Zenji
User avatar
Beatzen
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:18 am
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby oldbob » Sat May 18, 2013 4:15 pm

Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds.
Hah!
Entire body looks for nothing.
Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.
oldbob
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby oldbob » Sat May 18, 2013 11:05 pm

oldbob
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby MalaBeads » Sat May 18, 2013 11:25 pm

oldbob wrote:Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds.
Hah!
Entire body looks for nothing.
Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.


For those of you who are not familiar with the works of Dogen, this is his "death poem", a verse that zen masters traditionally wrote upon their deathbed.

If you want to read what I consider the best translation of Dogen available (my bias: it has a very lyrical approach) then read "Moon in a Dewdrop" translated by Kaz Tanahashi. There is poem in one of the appendixes by Ryokan that is simply amazing. I am moved to tears nearly every time I read it and I've been reading it since the book was first published.
MalaBeads
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby oldbob » Sat May 18, 2013 11:46 pm

Regarding the Question under early training from the Wiki: it is AND it isn't.

The seed is the flower; the caterpillar is the butterfly; delusion is enlightenment, though they appear different, at different times.

No one ever does anything: though in time, practice brings enlightenment.

Amazing!

:heart:
oldbob
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby lobster » Sun May 19, 2013 5:50 am

Amazing
:thumbsup:

maybe as well as death poems we need 'life poems' for the undead?

Here in limbo
waiting for an undeads death
my head blown off
I stumble across a Buddha
Food
So delicious
for zombies


:popcorn:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby oldbob » Mon May 20, 2013 1:24 am

MalaBeads wrote:
oldbob wrote:Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds.
Hah!
Entire body looks for nothing.
Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.


For those of you who are not familiar with the works of Dogen, this is his "death poem", a verse that zen masters traditionally wrote upon their deathbed.

If you want to read what I consider the best translation of Dogen available (my bias: it has a very lyrical approach) then read "Moon in a Dewdrop" translated by Kaz Tanahashi. There is poem in one of the appendixes by Ryokan that is simply amazing. I am moved to tears nearly every time I read it and I've been reading it since the book was first published.



https://www.eastwestcenter.org/sites/al ... e_Ways.pdf

Thank you!!
oldbob
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby MalaBeads » Mon May 20, 2013 2:45 am

oldbob wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:
oldbob wrote:Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds.
Hah!
Entire body looks for nothing.
Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.


For those of you who are not familiar with the works of Dogen, this is his "death poem", a verse that zen masters traditionally wrote upon their deathbed.

If you want to read what I consider the best translation of Dogen available (my bias: it has a very lyrical approach) then read "Moon in a Dewdrop" translated by Kaz Tanahashi. There is poem in one of the appendixes by Ryokan that is simply amazing. I am moved to tears nearly every time I read it and I've been reading it since the book was first published.



https://www.eastwestcenter.org/sites/al ... e_Ways.pdf

Thank you!!


Thank you. I had not read that particular fascicle in a while.

There is another saying in zen. At the moment i don't remember where it comes from. It goes something like this:

Before you study zen, mountains are mountains.
While you study zen, mountains are not mountains.
After you study zen, mountains are mountains.

:namaste:
MalaBeads
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby MalaBeads » Sat May 25, 2013 10:02 pm

Back to the OP question: what is enlightenment?

My response to this is based on what Shakymuni Buddha said about his teaching: "I teach one thing and one thing only: an end to suffering."

So if you want to know if you (or anyone else) is enlightened, this is the litmus test. Are you suffering? Are they suffering? Seems pretty simple to me.

You can have endless numbers and combinations of yogic experiences and still not be enlightened. Many, many people have been there, done that with respect to yogic "attainments". So what?

"An end to suffering" has always been the "goal" of Buddhism. Unfortunately, because we do not have a yogic tradition in the west, we are still in the fascination stage with yogic "attainments" and there is a real danger in mistaking such experiences for "enlightenment".

What is enlightenment? Enlightenment is the end of suffering.
MalaBeads
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby kirtu » Sat May 25, 2013 11:19 pm

MalaBeads wrote:Back to the OP question: what is enlightenment?

My response to this is based on what Shakymuni Buddha said about his teaching: "I teach one thing and one thing only: an end to suffering."

So if you want to know if you (or anyone else) is enlightened, this is the litmus test. Are you suffering? Are they suffering? Seems pretty simple to me.

...

"An end to suffering" has always been the "goal" of Buddhism....

What is enlightenment? Enlightenment is the end of suffering.


That is liberation. Enlightenment, anutarasamyaksambodhi, is the complete and total extinction or purification of negativities and obscurations in any form AND the complete and total development of all good qualities. This definition comes from the mouth of several Tibetan Buddhist lamas but this is a sutric definition that also carries over into tantra. This is in fact the etymology of the word Buddha in Tibetan, sangye.

From Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
This is the meaning of SANGYE, which is the primary word in Tibetan for a Buddha. SANG means "elimination" and GYE means "development." What did he eliminate? The meaning of SANG is the absence of any stain at all. "Elimination" means there is absolutely no stain, obscuration, or fault. Because of this stainlessness--the immaculate nature of the enlightened being--there has never been a case in which the Buddha was unable to fulfill someone's wish or answer someone's question. The absence of these shortcomings shows the complete removal of obscuration and stain. Therefore, SANG also means the absence of such inabilities in the enlightened state of the Buddha. If someone has a weakness, he or she is not SANG, because all faults are not removed.

GYE is translated as "developing." This means that all the enlightened qualities are fully developed. Because of the power and strength of the full development of enlightenment, Buddha was able to understand the needs of each sentient being. This omniscience is the quality of full development. Not only did he understand the need, he was able to provide whatever remedy would fulfill the wish of every sentient being.

When we understand these enlightened qualities, we do not use the term Buddha or SANGYE lightly. We learn to respect what it means when we understand all of these qualities. Otherwise, we often fail to recognize the full meaning of SANGYE, and once we gain a little experience we think, "I am enlightened." When we develop a little power or strength, we think, "I am enlightened." We must understand the full meaning of enlightenment, and that there is no weakness in an individual who is fully enlightened, or SANGYE.


However short of anutarasamyasambodhi, full Buddhahood, there are several levels and stages to enlightenment. Generally people who have attained the 1st Bhumi, the Path of Seeing, could be said to be enlightened but they are still far from complete enlightenment.

So what about Arhats? They have no more afflictions and negativities but are still obscured in knowledge and omniscience (furthermore, Arhats display a lack of omniscience at least in the Mahayana Sutras and specifically ask Shakyamuni Buddha for specific teaching. Some people encountering this in Mahayana are upset by this but it should be emphasized that Arhats are also part of the Aryan (Noble) Refuge Field [Arhats are included as objects of refuge in the Mahayana]). What about Pretyakabuddhas? They still haven't attained full enlightenment and are sort of 3/4 Buddhas but lack full omniscience and full development of positive qualities like compassion (but they are said to display miracles as part of their mostly silent teaching).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4368
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby MalaBeads » Sun May 26, 2013 12:06 am

kirtu wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:Back to the OP question: what is enlightenment?

My response to this is based on what Shakymuni Buddha said about his teaching: "I teach one thing and one thing only: an end to suffering."

So if you want to know if you (or anyone else) is enlightened, this is the litmus test. Are you suffering? Are they suffering? Seems pretty simple to me.

...

"An end to suffering" has always been the "goal" of Buddhism....

What is enlightenment? Enlightenment is the end of suffering.


That is liberation. Enlightenment, anutarasamyaksambodhi, is the complete and total extinction or purification of negativities and obscurations in any form AND the complete and total development of all good qualities. This definition comes from the mouth of several Tibetan Buddhist lamas but this is a sutric definition that also carries over into tantra. This is in fact the etymology of the word Buddha in Tibetan, sangye.

From Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
This is the meaning of SANGYE, which is the primary word in Tibetan for a Buddha. SANG means "elimination" and GYE means "development." What did he eliminate? The meaning of SANG is the absence of any stain at all. "Elimination" means there is absolutely no stain, obscuration, or fault. Because of this stainlessness--the immaculate nature of the enlightened being--there has never been a case in which the Buddha was unable to fulfill someone's wish or answer someone's question. The absence of these shortcomings shows the complete removal of obscuration and stain. Therefore, SANG also means the absence of such inabilities in the enlightened state of the Buddha. If someone has a weakness, he or she is not SANG, because all faults are not removed.

GYE is translated as "developing." This means that all the enlightened qualities are fully developed. Because of the power and strength of the full development of enlightenment, Buddha was able to understand the needs of each sentient being. This omniscience is the quality of full development. Not only did he understand the need, he was able to provide whatever remedy would fulfill the wish of every sentient being.

When we understand these enlightened qualities, we do not use the term Buddha or SANGYE lightly. We learn to respect what it means when we understand all of these qualities. Otherwise, we often fail to recognize the full meaning of SANGYE, and once we gain a little experience we think, "I am enlightened." When we develop a little power or strength, we think, "I am enlightened." We must understand the full meaning of enlightenment, and that there is no weakness in an individual who is fully enlightened, or SANGYE.


However short of anutarasamyasambodhi, full Buddhahood, there are several levels and stages to enlightenment. Generally people who have attained the 1st Bhumi, the Path of Seeing, could be said to be enlightened but they are still far from complete enlightenment.

So what about Arhats? They have no more afflictions and negativities but are still obscured in knowledge and omniscience (furthermore, Arhats display a lack of omniscience at least in the Mahayana Sutras and specifically ask Shakyamuni Buddha for specific teaching. Some people encountering this in Mahayana are upset by this but it should be emphasized that Arhats are also part of the Aryan (Noble) Refuge Field [Arhats are included as objects of refuge in the Mahayana]). What about Pretyakabuddhas? They still haven't attained full enlightenment and are sort of 3/4 Buddhas but lack full omniscience and full development of positive qualities like compassion (but they are said to display miracles as part of their mostly silent teaching).

Kirt


Thanks for all the clarifications. Helpful.

:namaste:
MalaBeads
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby greentara » Mon May 27, 2013 12:12 am

'So what about Arhats? They have no more afflictions and negativities but are still obscured in knowledge and omniscience"
If an Arhat is awake and a non returner.....what is lacking? The above statement appears very sectarian!
greentara
 
Posts: 917
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby kirtu » Mon May 27, 2013 2:48 am

greentara wrote:'So what about Arhats? They have no more afflictions and negativities but are still obscured in knowledge and omniscience"
If an Arhat is awake and a non returner.....what is lacking? The above statement appears very sectarian!


The above statement is from Tibetan Buddhism and from he Mahayana POV. From the Mahayana POV Arhats are obscured wrt omniscience and knowledge. It's just the definition. Also Arhats are obscured wrt to knowledge and omniscience in the Sravaka schools as well but I don't have an example at hand. Perhaps you could find them in the Pali - is there an instance of Shakyamuni knowing something and an Arhat not knowing it first (there are such examples, btw)?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4368
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby Jnana » Mon May 27, 2013 3:18 am

kirtu wrote:Also Arhats are obscured wrt to knowledge and omniscience in the Sravaka schools as well but I don't have an example at hand. Perhaps you could find them in the Pali - is there an instance of Shakyamuni knowing something and an Arhat not knowing it first (there are such examples, btw)?

The Theravāda commentarial understanding is that there are six knowledges, including omniscience, which are known by a buddha but are not known by arhat disciples. This list of knowledges is generally derived from statements in the Pāli suttas, and given in the Paṭisambhidāmagga as follows:

    [1] What is the Perfect One's knowledge of penetration of others' faculties (indriyaparopariyatta ñāṇa)?

    Here the Perfect One (tathāgata) sees beings as with little dust on their eyes, as with much dust on their eyes, as with keen faculties, as with dull faculties, as of good parts, as of bad parts, as easy to instruct, as hard to instruct, and also some who see fear in the other world and in what is censurable, and also some who see no fear in the other world and in what is censurable....

    [2] What is the Perfect One's knowledge of beings' biasses and underlying tendencies (āsayānusaya ñāṇa)?

    Here the Perfect One knows beings' biasses, he knows their underlying tendencies, he knows their behaviour, he knows their resolutions, he knows beings as capable and incapable....

    [3] What is the Perfect One's knowledge of the Twin Metamorphosis (yamakapāṭihīra ñāṇa)?

    Here the Perfect One performs the Twin Metamorphosis, which is not shared by disciples. He produces a mass of fire from the upper part of his body and a shower of water from the lower part of his body: he produces a mass of fire from the lower part of his body and a shower of water from the upper part of his body....

    [4] What is the Perfect One's knowledge of the attainment of the Great Compassion (mahākaruṇāsamāpattiyā ñāṇa)?

    Upon the Enlightened Ones, the Blessed Ones, who see in many aspects, there descends the Great Compassion for beings.

    [5 & 6] What is the Perfect One's omniscient knowledge (sabbaññutaññāṇa [& anāvaraṇañāṇa])?

    It knows without exception all that is formed and unformed, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is without obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.

These are just short excerpts. The text describes and explains all of the above in considerable detail. The Paṭisambhidāmagga continues:

    There are fourteen kinds of Enlightened One's knowledge... Of these fourteen kinds of Enlightened One's knowledge, eight are shared by disciples and six are not shared by disciples.

The first eight of these are knowledge of each if the four noble truths and knowledge of each of the four kinds of analytical understanding (paṭisambhidā). The latter six are those listed above.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: what is enlightenment ?

Postby lobster » Fri May 31, 2013 11:05 am

Other systems have their awakenings too . . .
http://islam.uga.edu/sufismawaken.html

So useful to have a diversity of explanations, from a variety of sauces and sources.
Each offer a taste and in Buddhism a recipe.

Follow the recipe, taste the preparation . . . now we are cooking . . .
:woohoo:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Previous

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>