Enlightenment is finding that there is nothing to find. Enlightenment is to come to know that there is nowhere to go. Enlightenment is the understanding that this is all, that this is perfect, that this is it. Enlightenment is not an achievement, it is an understanding that there is nothing to achieve, nowhere to go. You are already there - you have never been away. You cannot be away from there. God has never been missed. Maybe you have forgotten, that's all. Maybe you have fallen asleep, that's all.
Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special, it's not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time; not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.
Many people, through diverse spiritual practices and disciplines have sought enlightenment. Various phenomena, some of them potentially quite captivating, may occur along the path of spiritual development whether it leads to true enlightenment or not. They can be helpful if used wisely, but are neighed the sign of enlightenment nor the requirements for enlightenment. These can includes extrasensory perception (sometimes called ESP), remote viewing, or "miraculous" healing. However, the essence of enlightenment, above and beyond all phenomena, is a big understanding, which gives you a deep and wide perspective to see the world as a whole, and a capacity to accept with compassion all that is.
Enlightenment means literally aligning to the Energy of my Source. And genius is only about focusing. Law of Attraction takes care of everything else. Physical humans often want to make enlightenment about finding some process and moving through the process that has been pre-described. But true enlightenment is moving to the rhythm of the internal inspiration that is coming in response to the individual desire. Enlightenment is about allowing my Connection to the Source that is me for the fulfillment of the things that I have individually defined here in my time-space-reality.
Enlightenment is a paradoxical phenomenon. You need to be commited to become enlightenment, and to do whatever is necessary to make it happen. But at the same time you can not force enlightenment to happen by sheer will. It is like the situation with happiness: you can not force happiness to happen, but you can create the right circumstances for happiness to happen. You need to be willing to die, to let go of your limited sense of 'I', to achieve enlightenment. I can feel a deepening thirst to die, to dissolve into the silence, in my heart and being.
Swami Dhyan Giten
Whether or not enlightenment is a plausible goal for us is a vital question for our lives. If it is possible for us to attain such perfect enlightenment ourselves, our whole sense of meaning and our place in the universe immediately changes. To be open to the possibility is to be a spiritual seeker, no matter what our religion. Enlightenment is not meant to be an object of religious faith. It is an evolutionary goal...
I have searched everywhere to find an answer to my question, 'Is there enlightenment?' but have never questioned the search itself. Because I have assumed that goal of enlightenment exists, I have had to search. It is the search itself which has been choking me and keeping me out of my natural state. There is no such thing as spiritual or psychological enlightenment because there is no such thing as spirit or psyche at all. I have been a damn fool all my life, searching for something which does not exist. My search is at an end.
In the process of burning out these confusions, we discover enlightenment. If the process were otherwise, the awakened state of mind would be a product dependent upon cause and effect and therefore liable to dissolution. Anything which is created must, sooner or later, die. If enlightenment were created in such a way, there would always be a possibility of ego reasserting itself, causing a return to the confused state. Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it.
The world of enlightenment, and that which creates enlightenment, is much different than what most people would think. Most people have Hallmark Card descriptions of what creates enlightenment. And if their descriptions were correct, then everyone who is in religious practice would be enlightened.
The Enlightenment may have made its most lasting impact in the way we live and think today through its social history. Our institutions and laws, our conception of the state, and our political sensitivity all stem from Enlightenment ideas... Remarkably enough, at the center of these ideas stands the age-old concept of natural law. Much if the Enlightenment's innovation in in political theory may be traced to a change in the interpretation of that concept.
Israel's monomaniacal Spinoza worship is amusing and exasperating by turns. For a start, his insistence that Spinoza was the singular font of the Enlightenment leaves him without a story of the Enlightenment's intellectual or cultural origins. Every historian has to begin somewhere, but the fact that Israel begins with Spinoza, and then reduces most of what follows the philosopher to a footnote, leaves his account of the Enlightenment founded on something like immaculate conception.
It is an unfortunate fact that proofs can be very misleading. Proofs exist to establish once and for all, according to very high standards, that certain mathematical statements are irrefutable facts. What is unfortunate about this is that a proof, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly correct, does not in any way have to be enlightening. Thus, mathematicians, and mathematics students, are faced with two problems: the generation of proofs, and the generation of internal enlightenment. To understand a theorem requires enlightenment. If one has enlightenment, one knows in one's soul why a particular theorem must be true.
Herbert S. Gaskill
Whoever accepts the higher mission of art and comes nearer and nearer to it through his creative activity, will then go on from art to the Spirit deep within his own self... The philosophic search for enlightenment and the artist's search for perfection of work can meet and unite. Art can be a path to spiritual enlightenment but not to complete and lasting enlightenment. It can be born out of, and can give birth itself to, only Glimpses. For art is a search for beauty, which by itself is not enough. Beauty must be supported by virtue and both require wisdom to guide them.
The very desire to seek spiritual enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself, and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. The 'perfect practice' is therefore not to search for enlightenment but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present, and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. You always already are enlightened Spirit, and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit.
In Europe, the Enlightenment of the 18th century was seen as a battle against the desire of the Church to limit intellectual freedom, a battle against the Inquisition, a battle against religious censorship. And the victory of the Enlightenment in Europe was seen as pushing religion away from the center of power. In America, at the same time, the Enlightenment meant coming to a country where people were not going to persecute you by reason of your religion. So it meant a liberation into religion. In Europe, it was liberation out of religion.
Perhaps the most concise summary of enlightenment would be: transcending dualism . ... Dualism is the conceptual division of the world into categories ... human perception is by nature a dualistic phenomenon which makes the quest for enlightenment an uphill struggle, to say the least.
Enlightenment is not an experience at all, because the experiencer is lost. The "I", the ego is lost. Enlightenment is more like an experiencing. It is a process. It begins, but it never ends. You enter it, but you can never possess it. It is a deep merging and melting with Existence. It is a oneness. It is like a drop dropping into the Ocean.
Swami Dhyan Giten
By god the Buddhist means that from which the universe was born, the unborn of the Buddhist scriptures, and by soul that factor in the thing called man which moves towards enlightenment. Why need more be said of it, at any rate those who are not content with scholarship, but strive to attain that same enlightenment?
What matters is that you meditate, you're seeking enlightenment, you're on the pathway to enlightenment, and you're having fun. Don't look for reassurance in the eyes of others. Look for reassurance in your own eyes. Only you know if Buddhist practice is improving the quality of your life.
If you want to experience enlightenment, take a deep breath in and relax. As you are releasing the air forget, for a moment, about all your worries and desires. Just appreciate yourself the way you are in the very moment. Then, just lighten up. Keep doing it as often as you want to experience enlightenment. That is it.
Enlightenment is the mind that is open to anything, but attached to nothing. That is freedom. No values, no resentment, no grudges. Not carrying the past along with you. Not carrying memories from the past that are hurtful and shameful and embarrassing. Just let all that go and you are living in enlightenment, and you are free for everything.
One can be enlightened about proofs as well as theorems. Without enlightenment, one is merely reduced to memorizing proofs. With enlightenment about a proof, its flow becomes clear and it can become an item of astonishing beauty. In addition, the need to memorize disappears because the proof has become part of your soul.
Herbert S. Gaskill
It is easy to imagine that the Buddha, the awakened one, is something or somewhere other than here or that awakening to reality will happen sometime other than now. But as long as we continue to think in terms of time we will deceive ourselves. The you who is chasing enlightenment will never become enlightened.Instead of striving towards some distant goal that you will never reach, I invite you to stop and ask: How am I avoiding the enlightenment that is already present in each moment? How am I seeing separation where it doesn't exist?
Darwin caused controversy, not merely because his ideas contradicted Genesis, but because they fell foul of the way in which Genesis had been read by those influenced by the Enlightenment, for it was the Enlightenment that conceived of the human as almost exclusively rational and intellectual, and set the human at a distance from the animal.
If enlightenment comes first, before thinking, before practice, your thinking and your practice will not be self-centered. By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing, believing in something which has no form or no color, which is ready to take form or color. This enlightenment is the immutable truth. It is on this orginal truth that our activity, our thinking, and our practice should be based.
A purpose derived from a false premise - that a deity has ordained submission to his will - cannot merit respect. The pursuit of Enlightenment-era goals - solving our world's problems through rational discourse, rather than through religion and tradition - provides ample grounds for a purposive existence. It is not for nothing that the Enlightenment, when atheism truly began to take hold, was also known as the Age of Reason.
A woman should keep her separateness, should save all her feminine qualities and purify them. In this way she is going, according to her nature, towards enlightenment. Of course once you are enlightened, you have gone beyond the discrimination of sexes. Beyond enlightenment, you are simply human beings. But before that... Be proud of your qualities. Increase them, refine them because they are the path towards godliness. Man is not in a better position than woman as far as religious experience is concerned.
From a mind filled with infinite love comes the power to create infinite possibilities. We have the power to think in ways that reflect and attract all the love in the world. Such thinking is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a process we work toward, but a choice available to us in any instant.
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
You will have to learn ways of relaxing in the present. Enlightenment is not an effort to achieve something. It is a state of effortlessness. It is a state of no-action. It is a state of tremendous passivity, receptivity. You are not doing anything, you are not thinking anything, you are not planning for anything, you are not doing yoga exercises, and you are not doing any technique, any method - you are simply existing, just existing. And in that very moment... the sudden realization that all is as it should be. That's what enlightenment is!
The Air Loom had been constructed by the Jacobins in Paris around the time of their coup d'etat in 1793. Just as they had corrupted the ideals of the Enlightenment to their despotic ends, so had they corrupted Enlightenment science. The secret of its power was pneumatic chemistry, the science of the invisible elements known as 'airs' or 'gases, ' which had been developed by some of the great geniuses who had inspired the revolution.
At the Cruiserweight Classic finale, I said... I don't know if people had looked it up, or if they had heard it before, but it was an old Zen proverb. 'Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, you chop wood, carry water.' It can be interpreted a lot of ways, but for the most part it's about staying in the moment.
T. J. Perkins
In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. . . . Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.
This is what the path of Dharma is like. It's not that you have to do all the practices. It is sufficient to take just one of them, whichever one you really have an affinity with, and through practicing that one alone, for the rest of your life, you will achieve enlightenment. Whichever practice you choose doesn't matter; they are all valid methods for achieving enlightenment-if you practice. The key is to practice with diligence for the rest of your life.
We are condemned to be modern. We can't escape the facts of our history or of living in an age dominated by instrumental rationality, even as we look for ways out of it... But it has become our historic responsibility to acknowledge the continuing importance of myth, at a level beyond science, in realizing a more organic, holistic relation to the world. A future social ecology would transcend both anti-Enlightenment reaction and [a] reified Enlightenment counter-reaction, which remain only fragmented polarities within bourgeois modernity.
The curve of life is like the parabola of a projectile which, disturbed from its initial state of rest, rises and then returns to a state of repose... Like a projectile flying to its goal, life ends in death. Even its ascent and its zenith are only steps and means to this goal... For, enlightenment or no enlightenment, consciousness or no consciousness, nature prepares itself for death.
When? At this time, while you have all the opportunities, if you do not do your best to achieve the pure, stainless path to enlightenment when will you do it? If you don't meditate, don't practise the graduated path to enlightenment, especially bodhicitta, in this life, then when? When will you practise? When will you have this realization? If, in this life, you don't achieve renunciation, bodhicitta and sunyata, as well as the two stages of tantra, when will you? When will you have these attainments? When will you become enlightened? When will you perform perfect work for sentient beings?
Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
Enlightenment, or Nirvana, is nothing other than the state beyond all obstacles, in the same way that from the peak of a very high mountain one always sees the sun. Nirvana is not a paradise or some special place of happiness, but is in fact the condition beyond all dualistic concepts, including those of happiness and suffering. When all our obstacles have been overcome, and we find ourselves in a state of total presence, the wisdom of enlightenment manifests spontaneously without limits, just like the infinite rays of the sun. The clouds have dissolved, and the sun is finally free to shine once again.
Authenticity is fundamental, more fundamental than spiritual enlightenment. Without authenticity, no genuine spiritual enlightenment is possible. Authenticity is the state of being committed to truth. Truth is simple. And no matter how simply a truth is stated, only those who have walked the path of understanding and evolution on their own can know and understand it authentically. The path of truth is the path least traveled. Authenticity is the clarity of being in which there is no self-deceit.
Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) "Have the courage to use your own understanding, " is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.
Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! 'Have courage to use your own reason!'- that is the motto of enlightenment.
Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment...
When one of the emperors of China asked Bodhidharma (the Zen master who brought Zen from India to China) what enlightenment was, his answer was, 'Lots of space, nothing holy.' Meditation is nothing holy. Therefore there's nothing that you think or feel that somehow gets put in the category of 'sin.' There's nothing that you can think or feel that gets put in the category of 'bad.' There's nothing that you can think or feel that gets put in the category of 'wrong.' It's all good juicy stuff-the manure of waking up, the manure of achieving enlightenment, the art of living in the present moment.
In the eighteenth century, the Scottish Enlightenment focused attention on Glasgow and Edinburgh as centres of intellectual activity. The Scottish Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which originated in Glasgow in the early eighteenth century, and flourished in Edinburgh in the second half of the century. Its thinking was based on philosophical enquiry and its practical applications for the benefit of society ('improvement' was a favoured term). The Enlightenment encompassed literature, philosophy, science, education, and even geology. One of its lasting results was the founding of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1768-71). The effects of the Scottish Enlightenment, especially in the second half of the century, were far-reaching in Britain and Europe. The philosophical trends ranged from the 'common-sense' approach of Thomas Reid to the immensely influential works of David Hume, notably his Treatise of Human Nature, published in 1739. Here, his arguments on God, and the cause and effect of man's relationship with God, are far ahead of their time in the philosophical debate in Britain:... Adam Smith's book The Wealth of Nations (1776) was probably the most important work on economics of the century, revolutionising concepts of trade and prophesying the growing importance of America as 'one of the foremost nations of the world'. By a remarkable coincidence, the book was published in the very same year as the American Declaration of Independence.
Too often, contemporary continental philosophers take the 'other' of philosophy to mean literature, but not religion, which is for them just a little too wholly other, a little beyond their much heralded tolerance of alterity. They retain an antagonism to religious texts inherited straight from the Enlightenment, even though they pride themselves on having made the axioms and dogmas of the Enlightenment questionable. But the truth is that contemporary continental philosophy is marked by the language of the call and the response, of the gift, of hospitality to the other, of the widow, the orphan and the stranger, and by the very idea of the 'wholly other, ' a discourse that any with the ears to hear knows has a Scriptural provenance and a Scriptural resonance. ("A Prologue", Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 1.1, Fall 2003, p. 1).
John D. Caputo
We have been taught, both inside the classroom and outside of it, that there exists an entity called the West, and that one can think of this West as a society and civilization independent of and in opposition to other societies and civilizations. Many of us even grew up believing that this West has a genealogy, according to which ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat Christian Europe, Christian Europe begat the Renaissance, the Renaissance the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment political democracy and the industrial revolution. Industry, crossed with democracy, in turn yielded the United States, embodying the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Eric R. Wolf
Whenever learners or those beyond learning awaken the mind, for the first time they plant one buddha-nature. Working with the four elements and five clusters, if they practice sincerely they attain enlightenment. Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment. This is because the four elements and five clusters and plants, trees, fences and walls are fellow students; because they are of the same essence, because they are the same mind and the same life, because they are the same body and the same mechanism.
What are the path of love and the path of meditation? There are basically two different paths to enlightenment. These two paths are The path of love and The path of meditation. The path of love is the female path to enlightenment and The path of meditation is the male path to enlightenment. The path of love is the path of love, joy, relationships, devotion and surrender. The path of meditation is the path of meditation, silence, aloneness and freedom. These two paths has different ways, but they have the same goal. Through love and surrender the person that walks The path of love discovers the inner silence. Through meditation and aloneness the person that walks The path of meditation discovers the inner source of love. These two paths are like climbing the mountain of enlightenment through different routes, but the two paths are meeting on the summit of the mountain - and discover an inner integration between love and meditation, between relating and aloneness. Before I accept to work with a student now, I make an intuitive and clairvoyant evaluation about which spiritual paths that the student has walked before in previous lives. This intuitive assessment gives information about the spiritual level that the student has attained, and it also makes it easier to guide the person spiritually if he has followed a certain path in the past. A female student of mine laughed recently when I told her that she had followed The path of love in several past lives. She commented: "You have told me three times now that I have walked the path of love and silence, but with my head I still do not understand it." But this overall assessment of her spiritual growth uptil now, and of the spiritual paths that she had walked, made all the pieces of her life puzzle fit together - and brought a new, creative light to all her life choices in her current life. A male student of mine, who was a Tibetan monk in a previous life, walks The path of meditation, and I notice how I change my language and the methods that I recommend when I guide him along the path of meditation. I now work with students who walk both The path of love and The path of meditation, which also allows me to discover a deeper integration of love and meditation on my path to enlightenment.
Swami Dhyan Giten