|"IGNORANCE CHEERFULLY RETURNED IF NOT COMPLETELY ENLIGHTENED"|
MARA: I insist that different traditions have somewhat different visions of "enlightenment" -- referencing Alan Watts, Joseph Goldstein, Adyashanti, [B. Alan Wallace, etc.].
|Yes, Rodney, we can all just get along.|
And of course other religions and movements have different goals though they may think the Buddha's goal was the same, that we are all moving toward the same final goal. We are not. Theravada and Mahayana do not have the same goal, even if it's blurred and assumed to be ultimately the same. Across Buddhist schools (Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Zen, Nicheren, Vipassana, Lamaism, Esoteric, Tantra), the problem becomes one of watering down the historical Buddha's original message. There are other things besides enlightenment -- saving the world, nonduality, samadhi, miracles, healing, world peace, becoming a buddha, teaching, stream entry, getting to heaven, full absorption, a good human rebirth, supporting one's parents... satori. So when we speak of Buddhist "enlightenment" (bodhi), let's be perfectly clear: When would Shakyamuni (the Buddha Gautama) use that term, and when are we using it to describe other wonderful things in beautiful traditions far from what the Buddha described as enlightenment?
|Meditators are beset on all sides by hindrances.|
Once the Buddha was asked by a Brahmin something regarding the ultimate goal, like will everybody get to it, or what percentage will? The Supremely Enlightened One remained nobly silent. But Ananda, concerned that the Buddha's silence not be misconstrued, explained using an analogy:
The Buddha remained silent.
ANANDA (taking the Brahmin aside): Imagine a city surrounded by a flawless and impenetrable wall with a gatekeeper standing guard at its single gate. The wise gatekeeper walks around inspecting the wall and sees that there is not so much as an opening big enough for a very flexible cat to slip through. Being wise the gatekeeper realizes there is no sense in pondering how many people will come into the fortress or when. Nevertheless, one thing is known with certainty: Whoever gets inside the safe fortress will have come through the gate. In just the same way, the Buddha does not contemplate on how many people will or will not reach enlightenment. Yet the Awakened One knows with certainty that anyone who reaches the ultimate goal will have gotten there by traversing the same path he found: abandoning the obstacles to meditative success and gaining liberating-insight by establishing natural mindfulness on these four foundations: body, feelings, mind, and mind-objects.
There's One and Only Way?
MARA: But what about the claim of old English translators of the sutra on the "Four Foundations of Mindfulness" (MN 10 and DN 22)?
|Buddhaghosa, the great commentator|
|Bhiikkhu Bodhi emerging|