Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Enlightenment in Buddhism (video)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; VICELAND (YT)
Light streams in over the Buddha, Tham Khao Luang Cae temple, Thailand (Damon Billian)
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).
Dharma Wheel.svgThe English term enlightenment or awakening (bodhi) is the English translation of the term bodhi or "awakening," which has entered the Western world via the 19th century translations of German Buddhist scholar Max Müller.

It has the connotation of a sudden insight into a transcendent, liberating truth. 

"Enlightenment" is also often misused to translate several other Buddhist terms and concepts that denote an epiphany or some measure of wisdom (prajna), satori and kensho (sudden realization and maturing insight); knowledge (vidhya); full liberation from all suffering (nirvana) by release from all disturbing emotions and craving (clinging to the unreal) and the subsequent freedom (vimutti) that results; and the attainment of personal-buddhahood (arhatship), nonteaching-buddhahood, or teaching-buddhahood, as exemplified by the historical Buddha.
What constituted the Buddha's awakening?

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).

What the renunciate Siddhartha Gautama underwent under the bodhi tree ("Tree of Wisdom" or "Enlightenment Tree") in Bodh Gaya ("Enlightenment Grove") is often described in more general terms:

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).

Absorption stabilizes and temporarily purifies the heart/mind (making it very malleable, capable of its innately extraordinary abilities). Many traditions call this "sainthood," but they should not because one will fall back if one does not proceed to a stable state by insight (vipassana) or true knowledge, direct knowledge of the true state of existence, penetrating the Three Characteristics of Existence. What are they?

Wisdom Quarterly says, If "life is but a dream" then dream, live, but remember to wake up!
Three characteristics
They are these three: All phenomena, all states, all conditions, all "things" (Pali dhammas) are:
  1. radically impermanent (arising and passing away at every moment),
  2. 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
  3. utterly impersonal (not-self, free of ego).
Buddha, Kwan Yin (VinayakH)
When this recognition, seeing the Three Characteristics of All Existing Things, is applied to the understanding of the incessant rise and fall of phenomena, craving stops.
Based on this dispassion, the heart/mind pulls away like a feather in a flame (or like a plastic bag dropped on fire). It withdraws, remains secluded, and sees things as they really are.

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.
In the Western world the concept of (spiritual) enlightenment has taken on a romantic meaning. It has become synonymous with self-realization... More

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