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Thread: What is Buddhist enlightenment?

  1. #1

    What is Buddhist enlightenment?

    Dear friends,

    What is Buddhist enlightenment exactly? (nibbana/nirvana).... and do you think it's achievable in the modern world?



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    Enlightenment is when you rewire your brain to create new internal pathways, which allow the brain to experience the world in a different way, probably through a weakening of some connections between different areas and the creation of new connections and networks.

    Buddhist enlightenment is when this is achieved through a Buddhist context, allowing for different understandings of what it all means when you go through such experiences. Enlightenment is certainly achievable. Buddhist enlightenment depends on the Buddhist community you are part of.

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    Forums Member Eli's Avatar
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    I'm sure all of us have had what many call "temporary enlightenment". When ones higher self has complete control over mind and body. The more often one reaches this state, it becomes easier and easier to simply exist.

    The main struggle in my opinion of living the life as a human being is the mind. I can not speak for the trees or the bees, but I would imagine life for them has always been Nirvana.

    The mind likes to race at million miles an hour to make sense of what the experience of life is all about. It isn't natural for us to live 100 percent in the moment when we have to worry about food, money, relationships, ect. The mind should be used as a tool rather than a dominating force. That is how I see it anyhow. Love and light friends :).

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Eli
    I can not speak for the trees or the bees, but I would imagine life for them has always been Nirvana.
    I don't think the Buddha taught that trees and bees are enlightened, Eli.


    (You might find this brief outline of Buddhism useful, as well as some of the other pinned resources in our Discovering Buddha's Teachings forum.)

    https://santacittarama.altervista.or...htm#An Outline

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    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli View Post
    I'm sure all of us have had what many call "temporary enlightenment" ...
    Buddhadasa Bhikkhu talked about this in Nibbāna for Everyone.

    “Any reactive emotion that arises ceases when its causes and conditions are finished. Although it may be a temporary quenching, merely a temporary coolness, it is still Nibbāna, even if only temporarily. Thus, there’s a temporary Nibbāna for those who can’t yet avoid some defilements. It is this temporary Nibbāna that sustains the lives of beings who continue hanging onto defilement. Anyone can see that if the egoistic emotions existed night and day without any pause or rest, no life could endure it. If such life didn’t die, it would go crazy and then die in the end. You ought to consider carefully the fact that life can survive only because there are periods when the defilements don’t roast it. These periods outnumber the times when the defilements blaze.” (ibid pp. 4-5)

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    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    I don't think the Buddha taught that trees and bees are enlightened, Eli.


    (You might find this brief outline of Buddhism useful, as well as some of the other pinned resources in our Discovering Buddha's Teachings forum.)

    https://santacittarama.altervista.or...htm#An Outline
    True that the Tathāgata did not, but Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did:

    “These periodic Nibbānas sustain life for all of us, without excepting even animals, which have their levels of Nibbāna, too.” (Nibbāna for Everyone, p. 5)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ancientbuddhism View Post
    True that the Tathāgata did not, but Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did:

    “These periodic Nibbānas sustain life for all of us, without excepting even animals, which have their levels of Nibbāna, too.” (Nibbāna for Everyone, p. 5)
    As I don't have the supernormal ability to be able to see into the hearts and minds of animals, I'll refrain from commenting about Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's assertions about them.

    He continues on the next page of "Nibbana for Everyone" :


    In order to better understand the meaning of the word ‘Nibbāna,’ we ought to look at it from the perspective of linguistics. A material sense of the word is found in the phrase “pajjotasseva nibbānaṃ” This ‘nibbāna’ refers to the ordinary quenching of a lamp and, more broadly, to the quenching of any source of heat or fire. When the rice porridge is still hot, the cook yells out from the kitchen, “Wait a moment, let it nibbāna first.”

    When the goldsmith melts down gold and pours it into a mold, he sprinkles water on it to cool it. The word used in Pāli here is ‘nibbāpeyya,’ to first make it nibbāna, or cool, before working it into some shape or form.

    Even the wild animals that are captured from the jungle and tamed like pussycats are said to have been ‘nibbāna-ed.’ Similarly, sensual pleasures cool down the desires of foolish people in ways appropriate for them. Unwavering concentration on material forms (rūpa-jhānas) brings a coolness untroubled by the fires of sensuality. Although temporary, these absorptions (jhānas) are also certain levels of Nibbāna. The experience of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana) and the other formless absorptions (arūpajhānas) bring levels of coolness free from the fires that arise out of attractive material things.

    Nibbāna due to the ending of all defilements brings the final coolness that is the ultimate in all respects.



  8. #8
    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Buddhadasa’s claim is a bit overreaching but having read his writing extensively (and that of his students) this idea is that of looking for a point of rest between sensate moments; keeping in mind that even Buddhadasa was not claiming that this is the same as complete release in Nibbāna. My instincts agree with this idea in part as we find a helpful example in the Loka Sutta (SN 12.44), where that point of rest between the sensate consciousnesses is with a choice at craving (taṇhā):


    Tassāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodhā upādānanirodho…”

    “But with the cessation and fading without remainder of that craving is the cessation of grasping…”

    This makes the outline of DA easier to grasp and better informs our practice in real-time.

  9. #9
    I understand what he's saying about "Periodic Nibbana's" and there are meditation and post-meditation experiences/states of mind which might fit that description, its just that I'd never thought about it in that particular way before.

    I'm also not unfamiliar with Buddhadasa's writings and particularly enjoyed reading "Anatta and Rebirth."

    https://www.buddhismwithoutboundarie...nd_Rebirth.pdf


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    Forums Member Thinker's Avatar
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    "That which is the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion is Nibbana" SN IV 252 and IV 321

    Temporary relinquishment of greed, hatred and delusion is possible in the present moment, it may only last for a very short time, but worth the effort.


    For practical purposes, our everyday conventional lifestyles need close examination, the reactivity to the news, for example, is perhaps one small example of the way our emotions and feelings are activated from an outside source, which is not-self, not belonging to us and to all intense and purposes not of our making, My method for dealing with these reactive emotions is to limit my attention to the amount of news that I watch, for those sufferring breakdown or mental turbulence, I recommend not watching news channels or indeed other media entertainment that may be the cause of the arising of those highly charged emotions, yes watch those feelings arise and note does this feeling benefit oneself or others? Practice mindfulness full time!
    Last edited by Thinker; 27 Nov 17 at 12:21. Reason: adding

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