Enlightenment

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When he walked the Earth, what was it the Buddha understood that enabled him to stand above the stature of Man and become a Spiritual being?

Simply put, spirituality is what we call the state of inner understanding. A spiritual man doesn’t have to prove his spiritual stature, it speaks for him. He has attained a state of calmness that comes natural, through understanding, or Enlightenment. As natural as we may find this state, it requires cultivation. For, just as we must attend to a flower after it has sprouted, we nurture Understanding, maintaining that state of transcendent consciousness, allowing a raised sense of being to bloom after it has taken root.

So, when does a man attain enlightenment? What was it the Buddha achieved that made him a spiritual guide to one-fourth of the human race?

In Siddhartha, Herman Hesse posed the same question when the Brahman-turned-seeker explained to the Buddha why he could not become a follower. Siddhartha spoke to the Enlightened One, stating in a most reverent and entreating way, the following:

“I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha. . . You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realizations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! And–thus is my thought, oh exalted one. . . You will not be able to convey and say to anybody. . . in words and through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment! The teachings of the enlightened Buddha contain much. . . But there is one thing which. . . these so venerable teachings do not contain: they do not contain the mystery of what the exalted one has experienced for himself, he alone among hundreds of thousands.” [italics added]

So, when does a man attain enlightenment? As the Buddha taught, only the one who has attained it knows.

2010

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9 responses

  1. Lovely. I believe we see glimpses of it when we meditate. But to maintain a state of enlightenment when interacting with the world is a huge challenge. Most of us cannot afford the amount of practice it would take to be able to do this. Fortunately even those tiny glimpses give us the calm we need to go back out and face the world! Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very true. These few words do little justice to what I’ve learned since I wrote this in 2010. Especially, the writings of Alan Watts, have made me aware of how little we understand the Buddhist teachings. Buddha’s silence is the one sure thing I got right. It is a state of being that can’t be transmitted in words. Once spoken, it loses its meaning.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent, Pablo…this opens up a very personal way of defining spiritual “attainment”. Does a person necessarily know that they’ve attained enlightenment? Or do they just subtly turn a corner in how they view everything that’s been around them all along and neglect to label it as an experience of enlightenment? There’s a movie called Amongst White Clouds that follows a western seeker who travels to the mountains of China to interview various hermit monks. One of them is known to be so advanced in his practice that he is “on the verge” of enlightenment. When the filmmaker reaches this man’s home, he asks him straight up, “Are you enlightened?” The man thinks about this for a spell, then laughs and simply replies, “Are you?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s about it. How do you answer that? With another question, or a completely irrelevant answer like the one you mentioned. I’ve always thought of enlightenment as a state of calmness, understanding and standing above the fray. A tai chi dance as you walk through life. Maybe. I’ve still got a lot to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No disrespect intended whatsoever, but I don’t really buy into “enlightenment”. If anything it’s just another word for one of the thousands upon thousands of emotions and mixed emotions people experience in their lives. Such states of being are far too abstract and complex to be quantified or labelled. Enlightenment if anything isn’t a matter of “yes” or “no”; like all other states of being it exists in fractures, in parts of the whole we call our consciousness, only ever as real as we define it to be. Mind you this isn’t really my field of expertise (ha-ha, what is?) but that’s just my two cents on the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

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