|Golden Buddha in a massive cavern in Thailand (Damon Billian/flickr.com)|
"Life is a ride," so we write
Enlightenment in Buddhism
Editors, Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia edit
|The Buddha, newly enlightened weeks earlier, sets in motion the wheel of the Dharma by teaching the five ascetics until they gain enlightenment and become the first monastic disciples (VinayakH).|
It constituted the gaining of temporary purity of heart/mind through the meditative absorptions, the direct realization of Dependent Origination, and seeing the Three Characteristics of Existence, the direct vision of causes the mind/heart to let go, see things as they truly are, and glimpse nirvana.
This is the "path of purification" that leads to permanent purity or sainthood (arhatship, the ultimate stage of enlightenment).
Awakening in stages
What constituted Siddhartha's awakening to "full and perfect enlightenment" (not mere pacceka-buddha-hood, which is enlightenment without being able to teach, or arhatship, i.e., the enlightenment of a disciple who follows a teaching-buddha) involved Three Knowledges that culminate in direct knowledge that liberation has been attained by the combination of absorption (dhyāna) and mindfulness (satipatthana).
|Wisdom Quarterly says, If "life is but a dream" then dream, live, but remember to wake up!|
- radically impermanent (arising and passing away at every moment),
- ultimately disappointing (eustressing, distressing, liable to suffering, unsatisfactory even as they arise, incapable of enduring satisfactoriness leaving one unfulfilled), and finally -- and this is key to every other teaching (Sanskrit, dharma) -- all things are
- utterly impersonal (not-self, free of ego).
|Buddha, Kwan Yin (VinayakH)|
This knowledge-and-vision releases the heart, frees the mind, liberates the individual from delusion. One glimpses or touches nirvana, the deathless, and enters the first stage of enlightenment.
The relation between meditative absorption (jhana, dhyana) and insight is a core problem in the study of Buddhist philosophy, and it is one of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice.