Enlightenment in 3 quick and easy steps

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Fork, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Are you asking me to believe you that you are enlightened?

    Oh wait, silly me to think that the Pali Canon and Theravada had something more pertinent to say about enlightenment than a poster on the interent!
     
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    This doesn't seem to be the case, though, as there are many canonical examples of people appreciating the Buddha and his attainment, even though they themselves have not been enlightened yet.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think that Goat has ever claimed to be enlightened. I don't believe that you are enlightened either, and I sure as hell know that I'm not. We are all just posting our opinions about something that none of us has experienced.

    That's saddha, the Buddhist version of what people in the West would call 'faith'. It's a karmically-positive positive path-factor. Some amount of saddha is necessary for entry into the Buddhist path and for perservering on it. Progress on the path is said to provide experiential confirmation of the truth of Buddhist teachings, but some confidence in at least the possibility of their truth would seem to be necessary even before the experiential confirmation takes place.

    The thing is, even if a hearer has faith in the Buddha and in what the Buddha is teaching, the hearer still doesn't really know, and still has to realize what is to be realized for him or herself.

    So yeah, I probably overspoke in my last post. Accounts of religious experience probably do possess some persuasive force for some hearers at least. But the kind of persuasive force associated with second-hand reports isn't the same thing as direct experience, and shouldn't be confused with it.
     
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  7. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Your point of view is very refreshing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
     
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    I don't give a shit what you believe. Obviously you think that enlightenment is a thing of the past, something to read old sacred texts about, nothing living and present in modern culture.
     
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Obviously you manifest a quality of an enlightened person: limitless goodwill.


    Obviously, you're wrong.


    Obviously, going by the people who publicly claim to be enlightened, enlightenment is pretty much anything, as long as it doesn't have anything to do with any actual Buddhist school, and esp. as long as it has nothing to do with the Pali Canon.
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    He has, not just once. And he's not the only one. This forum is blessed with enlightened beings!


    At least three people in this thread disagree with you on this (I'm not one of them).


    Sure.


    Indeed, they very much do.


    Nobody said that second-hand reports are the same as direct experience.


    However, what you can see in many discussions about enlightenment is that some people forego any clarity or standardization of criteria for how to attain enlightenment and what it is, and instead emphasize direct experience and expect that others would believe them when they claim to be enlightened. Which brings the whole discussion about enlightenment down to the level of a mere power play.
     
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    See, you're already deciding what qualities an enlightened person should have. How do you know I don't have goodwill towards you? It just really doesn't matter to me if you think I'm enlightened or not. It doesn't change my life at all. Indeed, I would expect disbelief, even laughter. I never did read the Pali Canon, my preference is for the Platform Sutra by the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng.
     
  12. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    All I'm saying is that something happened to me which is consistent with historical reports. If you want criteria for how to attain it, that's useless. Not that it isn't good to read the masters, only that there never has been a step by step instruction manual. There is no connection between here and there, there are no steps. I don't know exactly why it happened. In a sense it was an accident of circumstance. I was in a state of almost desperate seeking, and in a meditative state caused by repetitive tasks (a low paying data entry temp job), and then my expectations were disrupted when I turned a page in a book and the next one was blank. For some reason this was the trigger and I realized that the thing I was seeking was here and not on a page, and that I had been very foolish. Like looking for your glasses only to realize you had been wearing them all along. But it was also accompanied by a profound shift in consciousness, like I wasn't the one experiencing. Like I was watching myself do things. But there was also an interesting kind of freedom there when you are no longer identified with the persona you have created, our "personality". Even gravity seemed a distant thing, I could barely feel the weight of my limbs. That's why I can't help being humble about it, it was nothing I did. It can scarcely be communicated. Language depends on shared experiences, and if an experience is totally new, there is no shared frame of reference to explain it. My point in reporting this isn't to inflate my ego, but to tell you the good news, that it's not as hard as you might think.
     
  13. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds like an interesting experience (esp. undelined) and an admirably humble rendition of it.

    Such experiences are not rare though - not that I'm saying your'e saying they are.

    What this forum needs is a definition, or at least some agreement as to what 'enlightenment' means.

    Thus far, we have every thing from the divine to the trivial. Maybe the divine IS trivial. Maybe the trivial IS divine. If that's the case .. and what's been said, I'm OK with it.

    I'm reminded of Wordsworth .. some utterly deep and meaninful words, IMO ..

    "Thus the enduring and the transient both serve to exalt .."
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Which is not my own decision, I'm keeping to an actual Buddhist tradition.


    You clearly said that you don't care what I believe. Someone who has goodwill for me would care about what I believe.
    The Buddha cared about what people believed. Not for his own sake, but for theirs.


    To the best of my knowledge, not with those in the Pali Canon. Which, per your own admission, you haven't read.


    The Pali Canon thinks differently.
    Already provided links earlier.


    This sounds more like a description of (post-)traumatic insight and growth. It's fairly common.
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed, otherwise, it gets silly to talk about it.
     
  16. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    I wouldn't ask you to believe anything.

    I do observe, however, that you ladle out criticism and make value judgements that are inappropriate and incongruent with Buddhist practice.

    I recall that you have stated that you are not Buddhist, yet posit yourself as an expert on the subject.

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    Care to enlighten us as to why this is so?

    (I much prefer A Book of Five Rings to the Pali Canon myself.)
     
  17. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    What? I should have known better, pearls before swine. I'm pouring my heart out here, and you are referring to a book on vascular anatomy.
     
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    We both know otherwise.


    What Buddhist practice? Pop-Buddhist? Sure.

    Go to any traditional, conservative Buddhist culture, and they will not take seriously anyone who makes a point of claiming to be enlightened.

    And as for "ladling out criticism and making value judgements that are inappropriate and incongruent with Buddhist practice" - look who's talking! Oh, the irony.


    I don't posit myself as an expert on Buddhism. Where did you get the idea that I do?? This is your perception only.


    I take what I believe to be the strongest stance I have access to, namely the Pali Canon, and test it against opposition. Someone claims to know better than the Pali Canon? Okay, bring it on! May the best man win!

    The results are fascinating. But I guess that's between me and the Buddha.
     
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, don't worry.

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  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    We don't seem to have a whole lot of choice. When other people tell us that they are enlightened, we face the task of deciding what to make of the claim, how to understand it and whether to believe it.

    I'll say that I don't believe that anyone who posts here is enlightened in the sense in which I understand enlightenment. That most definitely includes me. I don't mean to disrespect anyone, their traditions or their attainments. I just don't think that any of us have finally reached the end of our paths.

    My layman's impression is that Zen has a rather different view of enlightenment than Theravada (the tradition that I'm more familiar with).

    Zen includes the concept of Satori, the state of consciousness of the 'Buddha-mind', pure consciousness, that supposedly reveals one's own inherent 'Buddha-nature'. In Zen, this state is apparently conceived as beyond all discriminations and impossible to characterize in words. And apparently, as I understand it, this experience of Satori is believed to sometimes happen fleetingly and spontaneously in at least some people's lives.

    In Theravada, the state of becoming an Arahant is a rather different thing. It comes at the end of a spiritual progress, through 'stream enterer' through 'non-returner' and there's no idea in Theravada that some people might experience the state of being an Arahant fleetingly and spontaneously. Becoming an Arahant consists of reaching a state where the 'influxes' (experience) no longer produce negative karmic consequences. In Theravada, enlightenment is about no longer generating dukkha (suffering). If somebody is still producing suffering in themselves, then by definition they aren't enlightened. The Jhanas, the meditative attainments, lack any inherent spiritual value of their own in Theravada. Their value consists of their being tools for controling and focusing the mind on the transformative task at hand. The Brahmajala sutta in the Pali canon specifically rejects the idea that attainment of even the highest Jhanas (meditative states) is equivalent to nirvana.

    Having said that, I don't want to deny that any of you have enjoyed transitory tastes of Satori. I have no way of knowing whether you have or not. Nor do I want to argue that Satori is meaningless or worthless. Perhaps it has value that the Pali tradition doesn't recognize. It's certainly valuable and meaningful in the Zen tradition. I have great respect for that, even if I don't know a whole lot about it. I'm just not entirely convinced that it's the same thing as what the Theravadin tradition conceives of as being enlightenment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  21. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    Being Zen myself, I can agree with some of what you say. Not being a believer in what is sometimes termed "camarillo brillo" I do not buy into karma, reincarnation and that type of religious what - not. I observe that Zen practice has benefited me substantially on a personal level. No, I do not follow any of the orthodox schools of Buddhism, I center my practice around martial arts and practical real - world applications. "Simplicity" is the very heart of contemporary lay practice. The wheel of karma, cycles of reincarnation and that type of thing is sorta useless IMHO.

    Answer: by what you say/have said and how you say/have said it. You have a very narrow understanding of Buddhism and appear to expect others to marry that as well. If you were to read through this thread objectively you would be "enlightened" as to how you present yourself to others on this topic. Very much "my way or the highway", very attached to face.

    Just as every Christian is not a Greek Orthodox Catholic who spends 1/2 of their life with ashes on their forehead sitting in a church getting forgiven for stuff, not every Buddhist spends their entire life in the Pali Canon...or any other for that matter. Just as xtian practice has changed considerably since Paul of Tarsus invented the religion, Buddhist practice has branched out and changed considerably since the PC was penned some 700 years after the Buddha died. You are obviously very attached to that old book and consider it somehow the be - all and end - all of Buddhist practice. I do not.

    I am here, now.

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  22. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, thank you, that is probably what it is, Satori. I have to admit, the state was transitory, it lasted several days. I soon returned to my old habits, drinking and partying, and it faded away, although I was wiser for it, and I lost my obsession with the subject. It only came back once during a week years later when I was hanging out with my family and avoided intoxicants. I'm sure if I was more focused and exercised some will power...
     
  23. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    lol...

    tied to this reality, unable to let go the norms of existence?

    Even harder to let go of ourselves and become part of collective consciousness when our countries are forcing us to abandon any sort of socialist thoughts. And even if we did live in socialist society, we would still be very far from loosing self to greater consciousness.
    Life after all is just a short period of time, but to let go of self is to be conscious of everything that life is and isn´t.
     

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