Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Enlightenment


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Question:(unedited)

Very often, in Buddhism, we read and hear about enlightenment,but, actually, what is it Enlightenment? How does one know that he is enlightened or not? Is it possible to know that you are enlightened, how to feel it, what is it connected with? If you were enlightened would you know it??? How would you perceive the world then? Is there any explanation for this "higher state" of being?


My comment:
The Buddha is regarded as a Fully Enlightened person. The Pali term is Samma-sambodhi. The root word is Bodhi, meaning to awaken or to understand. There are 3 classifications of enlightenment. The highest is that of a samma-sambodhi, only attained by a Buddha who would then teach the world of his achievement. The second type is one attained by a Pacceka Buddha, but he would keep his achievement to himself without teaching others. The third is that of a "saint" or Arahat who attains through following the path as taught by the Buddha.


The result of all these 3 categories are the same, having attained complete realization of the 4 Noble Truths, and more importantly, the complete eradication of defilements of greed, hatred and delusion.


How does one know that one is enlightened? I really cannot tell you for sure because I, myself, am not enlightened. However, I can venture to share with you an illustration. When we are sick, we know the feeling. When we are well again we know for sure that we are well. I would say, that once one is enlightened, one WILL know for sure.


When we talk about enlightenment, we will definitely have to refer to the accompanying result, i.e. Nibbana (or Nirvana in Sanskrit). Nibbana means extinction of desires, and complete eradication of the 3 roots of defilements of greed, hatred, and delusion. Without any trace of these defilements, there will no longer be any clinging to future rebirth. Without birth, one will not be subject to the dictates of this unsatisfactory existence. One is no longer subject to conditions. One's existence is free from conditioning.


To the enlightened person, the world is just an illusion. A place full of deceptions, and in the end, death. He is no longer a slave to this world. He does not react to the bluffs of the world in terms of laughter or sorrow. He views the world with equanimity, neither complaining nor condoning. He is at peace with himself as well as the world, until he leaves the world for good, never to come back again.

3 comments:

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

Hypothetically, if everyone of us (ie human) enlighten at the same time, can I say that there will no more any living creature called 'human' in the earth?

My hypothetical assumption here is based on your comment that upon enlightenment, we human are not subject to rebirth anymore.

Justin Choo said...

Hypothetically means assuming.

Assuming if there is no more sick people, then all doctors will be redundant. Assuming if all people are good, then the world will be at peace. assuming that we can live forever, then all of us will not have to die!!

A true Malaysian said...

Good one, Justin, you are correct.

It is impossible to achieve 'enlightenment'. That is why Buddha is the most respected one for me.

The word 'greatest' is being used by other faiths and it is not nice for me to use this word to describe Buddha.

All I can say is that, you are just as GREAT, Justin.

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