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Thread: What do we actually mean by "Enlightenment" ?

  1. #11
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    I think that Suzuki did confuse many in the west with his poor explanation of mindfulness as a semi-magical state you enter into.

    We in the west have been culturally habituated to magical thinking, the idea of dying on the mat and a new person arising mentioned in the article in relation to Zen, is an idea ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous people trading in magical thinking in the guise of Buddhism.

    The more I read of the Buddha, the more I am convinced he was a pragmatist who was not impressed with metaphysics and tried to guide people toward a different perspective that allows the scales to fall from the eyes, able to see and know reality.

    The altered states of consciousness found in Jhana practice, while quite exquisite states of mind, are definately dependant on conditions and therefore not enlightenment.

    Thinking about it I think that the use of the word enlightenment is confusing, I much prefer the word awakened, it gives me a better view of the Buddha's ultimate goal

  2. #12
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    Hi all,
    When I was in school, about 100 years ago; our anthropology professor based one of his lectures on the bizarre, cruel, rituals, practices and beliefs of past cultures that he knew we would all be revolted by. At the end of the lecture he said something that stuck with me for all these years. He said, 'And if you think that having been born into any of these cultures you would not accept their practices/beliefs, etc., as normal, or even good, then you're on the wrong planet'. That really turned my head around, because I suspect(ed) he was right.

    The point is that it's very hard for us to transcend the values, norms, and practices of the society we live in. So, maybe enlightenment is when one comes to see past their culture and society and know the basic nature of humanity throughout all time. Just a thought.

    ....... john

  3. #13
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    I think of it as a mind which is completely freed from defilements.

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