What do you think enlightenment is like?

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What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 13, 2012 8:02 am

Lets say we are all on the 'path' to enlightenment. What do you think it's like when we get there? Is it an experience? If it is beyond experience in the sense that there is no experiencer or experienced content - would you want that?
From my perspective I can connect to the dharma in terms of it helping to point out my 'real nature' right now so to speak, but I subsequently disconnect when dharma presents it's idea of enlightenment - or going beyond.
To consider oneself a dharma person isn't it important to connect with the idea of enlightenment? So how do you connect and stay connected to this idea of enlightenment? What do you think it is like?
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby steveb1 » Sun May 13, 2012 8:55 am

Didn't Shakyamuni describe it as a "coolness" of the kind that happens when a fever subsides? Of course, he was describing enlightenment as a person who still had a living human body, and he was explaining it to unenlightened beings still caught inside this samsaric realm. But for me "post-fever coolness" is both understandable and appealing. Isn't attachment and being driven by blind passions a form of psychic fever, whose cessation would be the ultimate "coolness" ... ?
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby tomamundsen » Sun May 13, 2012 11:04 am

this?

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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby tomamundsen » Sun May 13, 2012 11:07 am

Andrew108 wrote:To consider oneself a dharma person isn't it important to connect with the idea of enlightenment? So how do you connect and stay connected to this idea of enlightenment? What do you think it is like?

Yea, it's really important to connect with the idea of enlightenment. If you don't have an unshakable confidence that enlightenment is real and that the Buddha and some of his disciples have attained it, you will always have a stumbling block in your practice, by definition.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:40 am

For me - I don't know what enlightenment is. But I enjoy freshness and uniqueness. That's the 'thing' I'm connected to.
What I mean by this is for example but not limited to - always seeing people in a fresh way - people always appearing new - rather than being conceptually solidified.
So that angry wife is always new and never really angry. That handsome boyfriend is always new and that's why he is handsome.
That sort of thing.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby kirtu » Sun May 13, 2012 4:00 pm

Enlightenment is the complete development of all positive qualities and the complete elimination of all negative qualities (all qualities based on ignorance). As such the individual experiences cessation of ignorance and their behavior is focused on freeing all beings from samsara and samsaric thinking.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Nighthawk » Sun May 13, 2012 4:28 pm

stabilized bliss
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby kirtu » Sun May 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Nighthawk wrote:stabilized bliss


Bliss is taken by most people as a mental state and enlightenment is beyond mental states. A mental state is necessarily impermanent and conditioned and anything impermanent and conditioned is defiled.

However if by "stabilized" you mean permanent then this is more complex. People could possibly attain a state of bliss that lasts for a lifetime or seems to them to last for a lifetime and then dissolves at death. There are probably people who experience this. This by itself isn't enlightenment, it's just a long lasting mental state like that experienced in the higher god realms.

Then there is the realization of the union of bliss and emptiness which is another description of enlightenment.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 13, 2012 6:01 pm

kirtu wrote:Enlightenment is the complete development of all positive qualities and the complete elimination of all negative qualities (all qualities based on ignorance). As such the individual experiences cessation of ignorance and their behavior is focused on freeing all beings from samsara and samsaric thinking.

Kirt

But this reads like a quote from a book. I'm wondering if you could talk about it in less abstract terms?
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby kirtu » Sun May 13, 2012 6:13 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
kirtu wrote:Enlightenment is the complete development of all positive qualities and the complete elimination of all negative qualities (all qualities based on ignorance). As such the individual experiences cessation of ignorance and their behavior is focused on freeing all beings from samsara and samsaric thinking.

Kirt

But this reads like a quote from a book. I'm wondering if you could talk about it in less abstract terms?


What would be less abstract? Anyway why do you think that either sentence is abstract? The first sentence is a near verbatim quotes from my teachers (one of them in particular) and can be found in several texts. However that is not necessarily a bad thing. The second sentence is a summary of the behavior of an enlightened person from several sources.

Both sentences are clear statements.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby shel » Sun May 13, 2012 6:27 pm

kirtu wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:
kirtu wrote:Enlightenment is the complete development of all positive qualities and the complete elimination of all negative qualities (all qualities based on ignorance). As such the individual experiences cessation of ignorance and their behavior is focused on freeing all beings from samsara and samsaric thinking.

Kirt

But this reads like a quote from a book. I'm wondering if you could talk about it in less abstract terms?


What would be less abstract? Anyway why do you think that either sentence is abstract? The first sentence is a near verbatim quotes from my teachers (one of them in particular) and can be found in several texts. However that is not necessarily a bad thing. The second sentence is a summary of the behavior of an enlightened person from several sources.

Both sentences are clear statements.

Kirt

The OP asks what it is like, not a textbook description of it's meaning. A metaphor, for example, would be less abstract, but still an abstraction of course.

To answer the question well you would need to have experienced enlightenment and relate that experience, or rather, honestly say what enlightenment means to you personally.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby kirtu » Sun May 13, 2012 7:19 pm

shel wrote:
kirtu wrote:Enlightenment is the complete development of all positive qualities and the complete elimination of all negative qualities (all qualities based on ignorance). As such the individual experiences cessation of ignorance and their behavior is focused on freeing all beings from samsara and samsaric thinking.

Kirt


The OP asks what it is like, not a textbook description of it's meaning. A metaphor, for example, would be less abstract, but still an abstraction of course.


I would argue that what I wrote isn't a textbook description because all people experience negative mind states and most people experience positive mind states. So we can imagine what it would be like to have infinite love and compassion based on that alone. Then we can add in infinite wisdom.

Or we can read the life of the Buddha and other beings we consider to be enlightened.

To answer the question well you would need to have experienced enlightenment and relate that experience,


No, it's sufficient to take a look at their qualities and relate our behavior to that. But if we say an enlightened being has the quality of infinite love, kindness, compassion and wisdom then it can be difficult to see them interacting in the everyday world in difficult circumstances because we can then idealize their behavior and circumstances.

or rather, honestly say what enlightenment means to you personally.


This is problematic as many people break enlightenment down in terms of that they imagine as objective observation and relate this to perceptions of interactions with others. But enlightened people might not have appealing or charismatic personalities. Chatral Rinpoche for example was alleged to throw rocks at people at one point. HH Penor Rinpoche was also said to be capable of being physically rough with his monks should some real infraction take place. I saw a major lineage head speak forcefully at a person and HHDL has just reaffirmed in an interview that he can have a temper.

Stray away from the qualities and we can get lost in our projections.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby shel » Mon May 14, 2012 1:06 am

kirtu wrote:it's sufficient to take a look at their [enlightened beings] qualities and relate our behavior to that. ...

...

... This is problematic as many people break enlightenment down in terms of that they imagine as objective observation and relate this to perceptions of interactions with others. But enlightened people might not have appealing or charismatic personalities. Chatral Rinpoche for example was alleged to throw rocks at people at one point. HH Penor Rinpoche was also said to be capable of being physically rough with his monks should some real infraction take place. I saw a major lineage head speak forcefully at a person and HHDL has just reaffirmed in an interview that he can have a temper.

Hmm, well, I lose my temper on occasion so I appear to be on a par with HHDL. I'm never verbally or physically abusive, or throw rocks at people though, so it seems I have a long way to go before I'm enlightened. :tongue:

Stray away from the qualities and we can get lost in our projections.

Umm, not if the qualities are the projections.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon May 14, 2012 2:34 am

I'd say whatever you think it is, is exactly what it's not.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby jeeprs » Wed May 30, 2012 11:22 pm

The term 'enlightenment' in the context of Buddhism was first coined by T. W. Rhys Davids, who was the founding editor of the Pali Text society, in the late 19th Century. It was his translation of the term 'bodhi' which, like other Buddhist terms such as dharma, nirvana and sunyata, have no direct synonyms in the English language. Rhys Davids used the term 'enlightenment' in part because of its likeness to the ideas of the European Enlightenment, symbolizing freedom from superstition and religious oppression.

As I understand it, bodhi manifests as compassion and non-dual awareness. Several of the posts above, particularly those from Kirtu, describe that state. But in my experience it can be realized progressively, i.e., one does not need to be like a 'world-conquering hero' or realize the state of samma-sambodhi or universal enlightenment, to begin to know what it is like. 'Just as the ocean is vast, but has one taste, namely that of salt, so too the teaching is vast, but throughout is pervaded by one taste, namely, the taste of liberation', to paraphrase a relevant passage.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu May 31, 2012 12:12 am

tomamundsen wrote:this?

Image


According to Keith Dowman—who I believe is authorized to teach Dzogchen by his teachers—the resultant vision of Enlightenment is similar to a psychedelic trip, yet obviously many times more Radiant.


Pages 241-243 in the Google book preview of Sky Dancer linked in this Dharmawheel post

.
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Thu May 31, 2012 12:41 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby zangskar » Thu May 31, 2012 12:30 am

jeeprs wrote:The term 'enlightenment' in the context of Buddhism was first coined by T. W. Rhys Davids, who was the founding editor of the Pali Text society, in the late 19th Century. It was his translation of the term 'bodhi' which, like other Buddhist terms such as dharma, nirvana and sunyata, have no direct synonyms in the English language. Rhys Davids used the term 'enlightenment' in part because of its likeness to the ideas of the European Enlightenment, symbolizing freedom from superstition and religious oppression.

Thanks for this bit of information. :twothumbsup:

Best wishes
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby Challenge23 » Thu May 31, 2012 9:23 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:I'd say whatever you think it is, is exactly what it's not.


But then if that is true then how can you know anything about it except as a point of faith?
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Re: What do you think enlightenment is like?

Postby oldbob » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:37 am

gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond

BODHI
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