Enlightenment Is Obvious

Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 7:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 7:22 AM

Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
What is enlightenment? So much ink gets spilled about it, only to say it can’t be described and summing it up as “Highly recommended; can’t tell you why.”Buddha laid out all sorts of practices and instructions in the sutras, but then he also went and enlightened a guy like this:

“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In what is seen there must be only what is seen, in what is heard there must be only what is heard, in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized. This is the way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

“And since for you, Bāhiya, in what is seen there will be only what is seen, in what is heard there will be only what is heard, in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be with that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be with that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be in that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be in that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two—just this is the end of suffering.”

Then through the Gracious One’s brief teaching of this Dhamma Bāhiya of the Bark Robe’s mind was immediately freed from the pollutants, without attachment.


And Buddha, who was ready to slack off immediately after attaining enlightenment due to believing no one would understand him, got a divine pep talk that went:


“Sir, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the Holy One teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes. They’re in decline because they haven’t heard the teaching. There will be those who understand the teaching!”


That is what persuaded Buddha to teach. The existence of those with “little dust in their eyes”. That’s who his teachings are aimed for.And we have confirmation that it was those of the little dust who received these teachings: because Buddhism would go on to evolve crazy notions such as everyone has Buddha-nature, and that you should tear up the sutras, and even that if you meet the Buddha, kill him.These things are all true and correct.You heard about enlightenment. You want enlightenment. Maybe you try practices. You read books and scriptures. Even do drugs perhaps.But enlightenment is nearer than near.All those practices? All the reading?It was all wood for your own funeral pyre.Wanna set it and you on fire? Here is something to your great benefit:


The path is fake. Meditation is fake. There is no enlightenment.


Disappointing, huh? But enlightenment is the “ultimate and final disappointment”. The realization that there is nothing to attain. So give up meditation, give up any practices. Realize enlightenment is a path, and you have always been on that path. Because there is nothing outside that path.Because it is the Infinite.Enlightenment is paradoxical. It necessarily is something that has always been there, because if it wasn’t, it would be something constructed, and everything that is born dies. Enlightenment does not die. And yet, few people, when asked 'Are you enlightened?’, would answer ‘Yes’. So what is going on? How can you both have and not have something?But enlightenment is not ‘something’ because it is not a thing. Enlightenment just is. The ‘I Am That I Am’ from the Bible. The ‘That Thou Art’ of the Upanishads.It’s always been there and yet it is different from unenlightenment. Being unenlightened is like you’re on a surfboard and you get knocked off it by the waves from time to time. Enlightenment is like you’re always on the surfboard, no matter what the waves do, which are as chaotic as ever. But then you realize you never got knocked off the surfboard in the first place. There was always something in you that was stonelike, unwinded, always faithfully reporting what the senses and the mind were up to, never flagging. As the Ashtavakra Gita says:


Not distracted in distraction, in mental stillness not poised, in stupidity not stupid, that blessed one is not even wise in his wisdom.


That is enlightenment. The necessary imperturbable backdrop that allows things to manifest. The canvas the paint is slathered on. The silence between words. The screen where the movie plays. It’s always there. It’s always been there.Pretty much every paradoxical and contradictory thing you have read about it starts making sense. You realize you are the cylinder.

But back to getting you enlightened, which is the point of this after all. Aside from the realization that whatever story you have told yourself on enlightenment is fake and delusion, you can get insight into no-self right now, in this very instant. Look around you. Raise up a hand and look at it. Where is the self? If you answer the question, that’s when the self, the True Man of no Status, is conjured up. That’s it, that’s all there is to get. In the seen there is only the seen, in the heard, only what is heard. There is no self because the self is something constructed. But you don’t need to stop constructing it. Coming back to the Ashtavakra Gita:
​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​
If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound. Here this saying is true, “Thinking makes it so.”

​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​It is only an oppression to have a self if you think it is. If you think you are free, you are free. So think yourself free. Seize enlightenment right now like Napoleon crowning himself. Kill the Buddha and tear up the sutras.You are free.And you need no practice to realize that.Were I to ask you now ‘Are you enlightened?’ would you be able to say ‘Yes’? If not, perhaps you do need practices after all. Maybe the wood hasn’t been piled up high enough. Or maybe you haven’t dared to immolate yourself in it, which again, is something you can do right now by just giving it all up.Whatever you do, don’t cling to it. Don’t clench your fist around it. Enlightenment is about opening your hand. It is the great relaxation.One final remark on enlightenment: it’s also not all about you. Don’t become a pratyekabuddha. Figure out how to make enlightenment do work.You can take it, because after all, there is no ‘you’ that has to bear anything. There is only the seen. Only the heard. And that’s all there is to it.
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 8:49 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 8:49 AM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 212 Join Date: 1/31/23 Recent Posts
Are you mad bro?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 11:48 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 10:43 AM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
- Saturday, April 1, 2023

This reply is not an April fool's joke.

It necessarily is something that has always been there,

We already have a thread for this topic:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21537934

But I think we need more.

There are so many different opinions about enlightenment they can't all be right. That is the usual state of human philosophy. I tend to accept what people say about their own experiences, but I am also skeptical when they explain what the experiences mean. Like the primitive people who know how to survive in a desert or jungle that would kill a scientist from the city in a few days, but who explain everyday phenomena as the actions of good and evil spirits. The scientist is not much different in his own environment.

My opinion is that you should not meditate because it will get you something in the future, you should meditate because of what it does for you today

I recommend meditation because it is helpful in improving well-being and it's better than recreational drugs. I don't recommend to people that they should seek enlightenment.  I think it is better to let enlightenment find you.
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 3:16 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 3:11 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1759 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
 don't recommend to people that they should seek enlightenment.  I think it is better to let enlightenment find you.
Well, most of my endeavors that resulted is success was a practice of seeking with an open mind and curiosity. To each thier own I suppose.
Could you name some personal non seeking examples that you found success in?
Good Luck,
​​​​​​​~D

p.s. I guess it comes down to how you define "seeking" and "enlightenment"
B B, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 4:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 4:22 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 43 Join Date: 9/3/16 Recent Posts
​​​​​​​It is only an oppression to have a self if you think it is. If you think you are free, you are free. So think yourself free. Seize enlightenment right now like Napoleon crowning himself. Kill the Buddha and tear up the sutras.You are free.And you need no practice to realize that.
This dewdrop world —
Is a dewdrop world,
And yet, and yet . . .
Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 6:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 6:52 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
There are so many different opinions about enlightenment they can't all be right.


I think they can be. Enlightenment is actually a very big place, with all sorts of oceans and continents. Some people end up in Europe, others in South Africa, etc., but they are all on the same planet. Technically, you are in it too. I have a whole article roiling in my head about it.


I am also skeptical when they explain what the experiences mean


There is no objective account of what the experiences mean. To make a long story short, once, I was psychotic and in a jail cell, and an FBI agent tried to give me some Popeye's. I asked him whether I deserved it. He told me something like I was his son and he loved me, or something mystical of that sort, and hey, I bought it, and feasted on Popeye's. Basically, you can't get help if you are always trying to doubt everything. The cigar is just a cigar. Always.


Meditation just gets you to an artificial state of mind. It's only use is to provide a contrast to ordinary mind so you can perceive what the Tibetans call the 'one-taste', the thing that links ordinary mind and meditation states, which once perceived, is enlightenment, the revelation of the thing that has always been there.


I don't recommend to people that they should seek enlightenment.  I think it is better to let enlightenment find you.


​​​​​​​We are all so very different. Some people hear the notion that they have always been enlightened and instantly get it, others need to turn into seekers to get it. As I relayed from Chogyam Trungpa, enlightenment is the ultimate and final disappointment, and that's the way that did it for me. If you look for enlightenment somewhere outside ordinary mind, you are never going to get it unless you return to ordinary mind.

@aeon

Not giving me much to work with here. This got around 40 upvotes on r/rationalpsychonaut, and a few people thanked me, so whatever it is, it is not lunacy. Believe me, I have written lunacy before, that does not get upvoted.
Matt Jon Rousseau, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 7:07 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 7:07 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 208 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
Some good points here. There are alot of catch 22s in all this. I guess enlightenment  isn't something  you achieve . You realize it. Its always  there hiding  behind  the junk.     BTW I am not enlightened 
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 8:02 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/1/23 7:56 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Dream Walker
 don't recommend to people that they should seek enlightenment.  I think it is better to let enlightenment find you.
Well, most of my endeavors that resulted is success was a practice of seeking with an open mind and curiosity. To each thier own I suppose.
Could you name some personal non seeking examples that you found success in?
Good Luck,
​​​​​​​~D

p.s. I guess it comes down to how you define "seeking" and "enlightenment"


Sorry, I didn't mean that I recommend they don't. If people want to seek enlightenment I don't have any judgement on that. Grown ups don't need me to tell them what to do.

I'm not alone in this attitude ...

Suzanne Segal explained her reasons in her book "Collision with the Infinite":
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23364123

...
This raises questions about the value of performing spiritual practices, studying ancient texts, or even living a "spiritual" life. Most practices imply the existence of a "me" who can do the practice and eventually accomplish a particular goal. But if a practice is undertaken by such a "me" in order to attain the non-locatable vastness of no personal self, then a conundrum or paradox presents itself: A personal doer is presumed to exist who must do the practices properly in order to achieve the realization that there is no personal doer.

But this reference to a personal doer runs totally counter to how the infinite exists. In this life, it has been clear ever since the experience at the bus stop that there never is, no has there ever been a personal doer anywhere. Prescribed techniques and lifestyles that insinuate an "I" who must "do" in order for awakening to occur presuppose a cause-and-effect relationship that simply does not exist. How can a personal "I" who doesn't exist be the one who must do something in order for awakening to occur?

Further, most spiritual practices presume that awakening is someplace else and must be reached or attained. But we are always the vastness-always! It is the naturally occurring human state. Where would the vastness go? Where could the infinite hide? What could we possibly need to do to become the vastness, when we already are it?

Many techniques also suggest that something must be eliminated, stopped or purified in order for us to become who we really are. But the vastness is everything at all times. Nothing exists outside it, and nothing needs to be excluded from it. After all we are talking about the infinite here.

In particular, there are spiritual traditions that imply that the mind must be stopped for the vastness to be realized. The assumption is that the relative activity of mind correlates with awakening. Of course, if a practice is undertaken to quiet or stop the mind, the result may be a quiet mind. But the infinite is not perceived through or grasped by the mind. The infinite realizes itself.

In this life, awakening did not occur because the mind stopped. No psychological or spiritual technique was involved, nor was there any locatable or apparent cause. Rather, the vastness showed itself in a mysterious manner - I was simply standing at a bus stop. How then can it be argued that some particular method or technique is required for awakening to occur?

Since I followed no prescribed techniques to realize the absence of the personal self, I cannot now encourage the practice of them. Strict practices may encourage the creation of more ideas about what the awakened state looks like as the mind attempts to figure out or approximate it. But how can the min approximate what is cannot grasp? The vastness is unimaginable. Although it is always present, the mind cannot recognize it because the infinite is not perceived through the mind. The infinite perceives itself.

In no way, however am I suggesting that practices should not be done, only that there is no practitioner who is the doer behind them. This is true of every activity: There is no walker, but walking occurs; no driver, but driving occurs; no thinker, but thinking occurs. Just because there is no practitioner (and never has been) does not mean that practice will not take place. If it is obvious for a particular spiritual practice to occur, then it will. If it is obvious to meditate, chant, journey, circumambulate, travel, set up an altar, eat certain foods, perform certain acts, or visit certain teachers, these will be done, as things have always been done, by the mysterious, non-locatable doer that is behind everything. To base such practices on the idea that if they aren't done, you won't realize the vastness you already are - and will therefore be a spiritual failure - is to found your life on the successful functioning of some nonexistent "me".


Good Luck!
Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 7:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 7:42 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
Jim Smith: That was an interesting quote from Suzanne Segal. I wonder, do you think you are not enlightened? What do you think is missing?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 9:27 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 8:52 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Carlos Ramirez
Jim Smith: That was an interesting quote from Suzanne Segal. I wonder, do you think you are not enlightened? What do you think is missing?


What is missing?

  • An authentic definition based on the pali canon that can be measured objectively and not subject to confirmation bias.
  • A convincing explanation of what is meant by "freed from the fetter of identity view".
  • Ethical behavior among those who are enlightened.
  • The end of suffering.
  • A general consensus that Bhante Vimalaramsi was right and enlightenment should involve the end of suffering and personality changes.
  • A personal need for a labels.
Presently, my view is that awakening is freedom from the ten fetters. To understand someone's level of enlightenment you would need to know ten measurements one for each fetter.  I also believe enlightenment is gradual and therefore milestones are arbitrary. Because it is gradual, everyone has some level, some people have more and some people have less (just like with equanimity, or kindness, or paranoia) and you can increase your level by meditation and mindfulness practices. And since it is gradual, milestones are arbitrary - it is not like a stairway with four steps it is like a ramp that everyone is already on. 

I am seeking the end of suffering. People keep saying enlightenment doesn't really end suffering. So I don't think saying I am or I am not, or anyone is or isn't enlightened, is relevant to a useful discussion on the end of suffering. I think is is more useful to discuss techniques and effects not stages of attainment.

In no way, however am I suggesting that practices should not be done, only that there is no practitioner who is the doer behind them. This is true of every activity: There is no walker, but walking occurs; no driver, but driving occurs; no thinker, but thinking occurs. Just because there is no practitioner (and never has been) does not mean that practice will not take place. If it is obvious for a particular spiritual practice to occur, then it will. If it is obvious to meditate, chant, journey, circumambulate, travel, set up an altar, eat certain foods, perform certain acts, or visit certain teachers, these will be done, as things have always been done, by the mysterious, non-locatable doer that is behind everything. To base such practices on the idea that if they aren't done, you won't realize the vastness you already are - and will therefore be a spiritual failure - is to found your life on the successful functioning of some nonexistent "me".. - Suzanne Segal
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 11:58 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/3/23 11:58 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
Carlos Ramirez
Jim Smith: That was an interesting quote from Suzanne Segal. I wonder, do you think you are not enlightened? What do you think is missing?


What is missing?

  • An authentic definition based on the pali canon that can be measured objectively and not subject to confirmation bias.
  • A convincing explanation of what is meant by "freed from the fetter of identity view".
  • Ethical behavior among those who are enlightened.
  • The end of suffering.
  • A general consensus that Bhante Vimalaramsi was right and enlightenment should involve the end of suffering and personality changes.
  • A personal need for a labels.
Presently, my view is that awakening is freedom from the ten fetters. To understand someone's level of enlightenment you would need to know ten measurements one for each fetter.  I also believe enlightenment is gradual and therefore milestones are arbitrary. Because it is gradual, everyone has some level, some people have more and some people have less (just like with equanimity, or kindness, or paranoia) and you can increase your level by meditation and mindfulness practices. And since it is gradual, milestones are arbitrary - it is not like a stairway with four steps it is like a ramp that everyone is already on. 

I am seeking the end of suffering. People keep saying enlightenment doesn't really end suffering. So I don't think saying I am or I am not, or anyone is or isn't enlightened, is relevant to a useful discussion on the end of suffering. I think is is more useful to discuss techniques and effects not stages of attainment.

In no way, however am I suggesting that practices should not be done, only that there is no practitioner who is the doer behind them. This is true of every activity: There is no walker, but walking occurs; no driver, but driving occurs; no thinker, but thinking occurs. Just because there is no practitioner (and never has been) does not mean that practice will not take place. If it is obvious for a particular spiritual practice to occur, then it will. If it is obvious to meditate, chant, journey, circumambulate, travel, set up an altar, eat certain foods, perform certain acts, or visit certain teachers, these will be done, as things have always been done, by the mysterious, non-locatable doer that is behind everything. To base such practices on the idea that if they aren't done, you won't realize the vastness you already are - and will therefore be a spiritual failure - is to found your life on the successful functioning of some nonexistent "me".. - Suzanne Segal


The best way to minimize the effects of confirmation bias is to refrain from making statements about your level of attainment. 
Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 5:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 5:35 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
  • An authentic definition based on the pali canon that can be measured objectively and not subject to confirmation bias.
The mind cannot be measured objectively, so that's never happening.
  • A convincing explanation of what is meant by "freed from the fetter of identity view".
There is no identity view. There are emotions, thoughts and sense impressions, and thoughts don't mean anything. "Identity view" is just a story you tell yourself. When someone says they have "identity view", what they mean is that the thought "this arm is mine" makes "sense" to them, and making "sense" just means that the thought caused a certain sensation in them. There is no problem in that sensation: thinking there is a problem in it is called seeing the rope as a snake. It is not a snake, just a rope.
I believe ethics are massively important, but since enlightenement is just the realization of the zero at the core of your being, it doesn't really necessarily come with ethical realizations. It is freedom, and freedom is terrifying because you can do anything with it. Anything at all.

  • The end of suffering.
Yeah, this really clears up neuroses fast. If you mean suffering as in the First Noble Truth, then I never agreed with that one. But that's ok: if we were meant to agree with Buddha all the time, no one would have tore up the sutras or said to kill the Buddha.

  • A general consensus that Bhante Vimalaramsi was right and enlightenment should involve the end of suffering and personality changes.
If "end of suffering" means "end of negative emotion", then that's a highly artificial state of mind with a definite beginning, and therefore cannot be enlightenment. It might still happen, but that wouldn't be enlightenment. It's more like negative emotion just doesn't really get to you. As the Tao Te Ching says:

He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.

  • A personal need for a labels.
I'm just trying to communicate something that is really great. Not even Buddha clears this artificial barrier, as he called himself Buddha, and the Tathagatha. 

​​​​​​​Enlightenment is gradual, agreed. It's a spectrum and not a one-dimensional one. What is the suffering that bothers you? You may be seeing the rope as a snake. 

Anyway, this forum software is truly atrocious. I would say replacement is urgent, but handling a migration of all the posts would probably be a major pain in the ass, so this is our own personal samsara, I guess.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 7:32 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 6:37 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 2579 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I definitely agree this forum software is atrocious...
Carlos Ramirez
I believe ethics are massively important, but since enlightenement is just the realization of the zero at the core of your being, it doesn't really necessarily come with ethical realizations. It is freedom, and freedom is terrifying because you can do anything with it. Anything at all.
I would say that enlightenment is intellectually obvious, for all the reasons you are saying. For most modern literate humans, it's possible to read/study the writings of enlightenment and basically get it. But I can pretty much 100% guarantee that this intellectual understanding will be absolutely meaningless in the face of a basic seven-day meditation retreat. Retreats are really good at dispelling illusions of enlightenment.

  Here is a typical daily Retreat Center schedule: 5:30 am – Wake up 6:00 am – Sitting meditation … 6:30 am – Breakfast … 7:15 am – Work-as-practice period 8:15 am – Sitting meditation with instructions 9:15 am – Walking meditation 10:00 am – Sitting meditation 10:45 am – Walking meditation or meetings with teachers 11:30 am – Sitting meditation … 12:00 noon – Lunch … 1:45 pm – Walking meditation 2:15 pm – Sitting meditation 3:00 pm – Walking meditation 3:45 pm – Sitting meditation 4:30 pm – Walking meditation … 5:00 pm – Light Dinner … 6:15 pm – Sitting meditation 7:00 pm – Walking meditation 7:30 pm – Dharma talk 8:30 pm – Walking meditation 9:00 pm – Sitting meditation 9:30 pm – Late tea, further practice or sleep

And retreats are the easiest test of enlightenment. Intellectual understanding will quickly fall apart in a real life situations that are ethically challenging. As soon as the temptation of power, sex, money, or fame arises, intellectual understanding has a way of quickly turning into intellectual rationalization of an easy but ethically wrong behavior. Anyway, I learned all of this the hard way, so I guess that what motivates me to say something. But I wouldn't have listened to me when I was that me, so I don't have any faith that saying anything will make a difference here.. but I guess I will end with this: if I could have given myself some advice back then I would have said to me, "just go on retreat at IMS for a week. It's the gentlest, most forgiving retreat center there is. Go and test your degree of enlightement out. Just give it a test." Retreat Center – Insight Meditation Society (dharma.org)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Just like there are many people who read about wilderness survival, think they know how to survive off the land, but never really test it --- or who are unexpectedly tested and are shocked by how horribly they fail... the very same thing can happen to people who think that enlightenment is obvious but never really test it through actual retreats or by maintaining ethical conduct in tempting situations --- because those are actually the real tests of really being "being enlightened".
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 8:25 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/4/23 7:37 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I believe ethics are massively important, but since enlightenement is just the realization of the zero at the core of your being, it doesn't really necessarily come with ethical realizations.

That is not the definition of awakening in the Pali cannon. The version of awakening in the Pali canon includes ethics. The Buddha taught generosity, virtue (5, 8,10 precepts), right speech, right livelihood, and right action. The anapanasati sutra that teaches meditation on the breath involves samatha and vipassana techniques, the samatha part teaches how to calm emotions - ie how to calm anger, ill will, jealousy, envy, intolerance etc etc. Other sutras teach metta.

People want enlightenment: they want to become a better person, they want to become free from suffering. They read about how the Buddha offered a path to attain those ends in the four noble truths and eight fold path etc.. But when people start studying Buddhism with teachers, they find out "we're out of stock" we don't have that item.

Strictly speaking there is no Pope of Buddhism who can say what is and what is not authentic Buddhism so anyone can say and teach anything.

But in my opinion, people who don't do the full practice should not use the same terminology when they are talking about different things. 

Meditating for the purpose of inducing depersonalization is not a solution to anything. It is a mental illness. Maybe that is why so many people on retreats develop psychiatric problems?

I can only say I think the EBT's in the Pali canon are the best source of what the Buddha taught and modern Buddhism and its altered definition of awakening is not of much interest to me.
Erik Carpenter Carpenter, modified 1 Year ago at 4/7/23 4:35 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/7/23 4:35 AM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Post: 1 Join Date: 4/7/23 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
- Saturday, April 1, 2023

This reply is not an April fool's joke.

It necessarily is something that has always been there,

We already have a thread for this topic:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/ dumb ways to die


But I think we need more.

There are so many different opinions about enlightenment they can't all be right. That is the usual state of human philosophy. I tend to accept what people say about their own experiences, but I am also skeptical when they explain what the experiences mean. Like the primitive people who know how to survive in a desert or jungle that would kill a scientist from the city in a few days, but who explain everyday phenomena as the actions of good and evil spirits. The scientist is not much different in his own environment.

My opinion is that you should not meditate because it will get you something in the future, you should meditate because of what it does for you today

I recommend meditation because it is helpful in improving well-being and it's better than recreational drugs. I don't recommend to people that they should seek enlightenment.  I think it is better to let enlightenment find you.

Your opinion is very correct, I agree with it
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 5:07 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/7/23 4:12 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Insight into anatta alone doesn't end suffering. This seems to be the consensus view.

It seems to me that if you want to end suffering (as much as possible) you have to maintain mindfulness in daily life.

Mindfulness interrupts the chain of dependent origination - when attachments and aversions arise in your mind, you let go (without suppressing anything)* and return to the focus of the mindfulness practice.

This is not something you do just to get enlightenment. It is something you do in daily life to live free from suffering. There are many ways to practice mindfulness.  It doesn't have to be an intense concentration practice. It can be a light focus on the present moment, knowing what you are doing as you are doing it, or your breathing etc. It's an alternative to letting your mind carry you away with thoughts and emotions so you don't notice dukkha arising and taking over your mind. Sitting meditation helps to calm the mind to make it easier to remain mindful in daily life. 

In the satipatthana sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Buddha taught mindfulness in daily life as a way to end suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html

...
The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. Which four?
...
[2] "Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.' When standing, he discerns, 'I am standing.' When sitting, he discerns, 'I am sitting.' When lying down, he discerns, 'I am lying down.' Or however his body is disposed, that is how he discerns it.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

[3] "Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away... when bending & extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring... when urinating & defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
...
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/25250819
Jim Smith
I believe ethics are massively important, but since enlightenement is just the realization of the zero at the core of your being, it doesn't really necessarily come with ethical realizations.

That is not the definition of awakening in the Pali cannon. The version of awakening in the Pali canon includes ethics. The Buddha taught generosity, virtue (5, 8,10 precepts), right speech, right livelihood, and right action. The anapanasati sutra that teaches meditation on the breath involves samatha and vipassana techniques, the samatha part teaches how to calm emotions - ie how to calm anger, ill will, jealousy, envy, intolerance etc etc. Other sutras teach metta.

People want enlightenment: they want to become a better person, they want to become free from suffering. They read about how the Buddha offered a path to attain those ends in the four noble truths and eight fold path etc.. But when people start studying Buddhism with teachers, they find out "we're out of stock" we don't have that item.

Strictly speaking there is no Pope of Buddhism who can say what is and what is not authentic Buddhism so anyone can say and teach anything.

But in my opinion, people who don't do the full practice should not use the same terminology when they are talking about different things. 

Meditating for the purpose of inducing depersonalization is not a solution to anything. It is a mental illness. Maybe that is why so many people on retreats develop psychiatric problems?

I can only say I think the EBT's in the Pali canon are the best source of what the Buddha taught and modern Buddhism and its altered definition of awakening is not of much interest to me.


​​​​​​​* And when you are not attached to you body, your life, your status, your self concept, your possessions you are free from identity view.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 5:09 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/7/23 7:58 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
If you use the fetter model for awakening, you don't have this disconnect where insight into anatta ("enlightenment") doesn't end suffering.

In the fetter model the analogous metric is "freedom from the fetter of identity view". Which means "not attached" (freedom=not attached) to self. If you see there is no self but you are still suffering, still have attachments and aversions then you are not free from identity view.

The way to get free from attachments and aversions is to learn to let go, to be mindful in daily life, notice attachments including attachments to self arising repeatedly, and to learn to let go of them. When you are not attached to your body, your life, your status, your self concept, your house, car, and other possessions, your family and loved ones, anything that could be "me" or "mine", only then are you are free from identity view. If you want to be free from suffering, that is the standard you have to meet. It is the standard for stream entry that Buddha set out.

It may seem like an impossible standard for westerners, but that is because we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to have a car and a house and a family and a lot of money and status and power, we want to have our attachments and be non attached at the same time. It doesn't work that way. The Buddha and the monks had three robes and bowl. Renunciation is the fast way to let go. Wandering beggars with no possessions and no social status had many fewer attachments than we do.


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/25256291
Jim Smith
Insight into anatta alone doesn't end suffering. This seems to be the consensus view.

It seems to me that if you want to end suffering (as much as possible) you have to maintain mindfulness in daily life.

Mindfulness interrupts the chain of dependent origination - when attachments and aversions arise in your mind, you let go (without suppressing anything)* and return to the focus of the mindfulness practice.

This is not something you do just to get enlightenment. It is something you do in daily life to live free from suffering. There are many ways to practice mindfulness.  It doesn't have to be an intense concentration practice. It can be a light focus on the present moment, knowing what you are doing as you are doing it, or your breathing etc. It's an alternative to letting your mind carry you away with thoughts and emotions so you don't notice dukkha arising and taking over your mind. Sitting meditation helps to calm the mind to make it easier to remain mindful in daily life. 

In the satipatthana sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Buddha taught mindfulness in daily life as a way to end suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html

...
The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. Which four?
...
[2] "Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.' When standing, he discerns, 'I am standing.' When sitting, he discerns, 'I am sitting.' When lying down, he discerns, 'I am lying down.' Or however his body is disposed, that is how he discerns it.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

[3] "Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away... when bending & extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring... when urinating & defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
...


...

​​​​​​​* And when you are not attached to you body, your life, your status, your self concept, your possessions you are free from identity view.
Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/19/23 7:06 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/19/23 7:06 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
@jimsmith I suppose I understand your view, but I think it's odd to be open minded enough to engage with an Eastern religion, but then be somewhat fundamentalist about it. Buddhism is a big tent, and as I mentioned in the OP, I think the stuff about killing the Buddha and tearing the sutras is very advanced. I learned from many traditions, not just Buddhism, but even if you want to stick to just Buddhism, you could engage with tantra or the subitism view. Really, the Ashtavakra Gita has it right, if you think you are free, you are free, if you tell yourself some story where you are suffering and in chains, then indeed you are suffering and in chains!

The Buddha got a snow ball rolling, and it's gotten much much bigger than since he started it.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/23 11:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/23 10:26 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Carlos Ramirez
@jimsmith I suppose I understand your view, but I think it's odd to be open minded enough to engage with an Eastern religion, but then be somewhat fundamentalist about it. Buddhism is a big tent, and as I mentioned in the OP, I think the stuff about killing the Buddha and tearing the sutras is very advanced. I learned from many traditions, not just Buddhism, but even if you want to stick to just Buddhism, you could engage with tantra or the subitism view. Really, the Ashtavakra Gita has it right, if you think you are free, you are free, if you tell yourself some story where you are suffering and in chains, then indeed you are suffering and in chains!

The Buddha got a snow ball rolling, and it's gotten much much bigger than since he started it.

Are all the many people who mistake A&P for awakening really free or are they deluded?

Buddhism is a "big tent", my point is that denying the Pali canon is not big tent it is small tent.

Daniel Ingram who owns this forum wrote:
https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-theravada-four-path-model/
And yet, its maps of enlightenment still contain a hefty helping of scary market-driven propaganda and so much garbage that is life-denying, dangerously out of touch with what happens, and an impediment to practice for millions of people. That the enlightened lineage holders of the modern Theravada and their ex-monk and ex-nun Western counterparts don’t have the guts to stand up and say, “We are deeply sorry that for 2,500 years, many of our predecessors perpetuated this craziness to put food in their bowls and fool ignorant peasants so that they might be supported in their other useful work, and we vow to do better!” is a crying shame. The huge question is, how many of the monastics are really practicing deeply, really giving attainment of actual realization everything they have, rather than being monastics for worldly reasons, that, while potentially of benefit to them and their supporters, lack the key focus for which the Buddha founded the order?]And yet, its maps of enlightenment still contain a hefty helping of scary market-driven propaganda and so much garbage that is life-denying, dangerously out of touch with what happens, and an impediment to practice for millions of people. That the enlightened lineage holders of the modern Theravada and their ex-monk and ex-nun Western counterparts don’t have the guts to stand up and say, “We are deeply sorry that for 2,500 years, many of our predecessors perpetuated this craziness to put food in their bowls and fool ignorant peasants so that they might be supported in their other useful work, and we vow to do better!” is a crying shame. The huge question is, how many of the monastics are really practicing deeply, really giving attainment of actual realization everything they have, rather than being monastics for worldly reasons, that, while potentially of benefit to them and their supporters, lack the key focus for which the Buddha founded the order?

In this part of the internet, the Pali canon is not included in the tent, here it needs defending.

The tent, the snowball, are confused by many different meanings for the same words. I think this is a problem. It causes confusion. People should use different terms for different things not try to coerce (erase) a different philosophy to fit their own ideas by changing the meanings of words. That doesn't mean one point of view is better or worse than another, it means people should be respectful of other points of view and allow them in the tent.
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Shivadasa Om, modified 1 Year ago at 4/21/23 2:44 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/21/23 2:44 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
All you Hinayanists with your incorrect views have no chance of liberation. 
Carlos Ramirez, modified 1 Year ago at 4/23/23 6:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/23/23 6:53 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 18 Join Date: 12/4/19 Recent Posts
@jimsmith But how big tent is your view if you believe the subitist point of view is incorrect? Whether one somehow achieves a permanent absence of suffering or instead becomes aloof from suffering, it's liberation from suffering all the same, which is why both these things deserve the same name. I still think you should suspend all practice for a month so you can see what arises, because aside from your standard negative emotion, there will likely be a desire to strive also, which is the real issue.
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Shivadasa Om, modified 1 Year ago at 4/24/23 11:13 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/24/23 10:56 AM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
I do not claim to be Buddhist or anything else. If I were Buddhist I would claim to be a pratyekabuddha. But as I say, I am not Buddhist.

I understand Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Christianity from the top down, you might say. I used elements of each on the "path" to full enlightenment. Now my interest is purely academic, so I read and study. 

These are all my opinions about things being discussed in this thread. I offer these in the spirit of trying to help elminate confusion.

Oh, my background? You want to know my background before you decide whether to pay attention to anything I write. Of course. I was a kitchen monk for a while in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal. I was fired from that position by a nun who only spoke TIbetan and who took issue with the way I was rinsing the dishes after the evening meal. So now that this has been disclosed, feel free to howl with laughter, certain that I am putting you all on.

The following are opinions regarding a few issues that have been raised in this thread. Take it all with a grain of salt.

1. A strong desire for liberation is necessary for enlightenment. Those whose understanding is incomplete will say that the desire to become enlightened will impede enlightenment. Yes--eventually even the desire for liberation must be surrendered. It may just fall off naturally. But in the meantime one must stay motivated and practice.

2. Why meditate? Primarily do anapanasati for the purpose of developing mindfulness. Anapanasati does two very important things with respect to mind. First, it creates the quality of mindfulness. Mindfulness (in the way I am using it) is simply the gap between the occurrence of an event and your egoic reaction to it. As long as you keep flipping off the guy who suddenly cuts in front of you in traffic, you will keep on being cut off in traffic. Develop mindfulness (along with metta) and the ability arises to respond to such occurrences with grace. Once you stop reacting in anger--and after all the old karma of years of the egoic self responding like this runs its course--all of a sudden nobody will cut you off in traffic any more. So mindfulness creates space for non-reactivity. Non-reactivity is foundational to awakening.

The second thing anapanasati does is, it builds the requisite concentration for the realization of emptiness.

3. Confused ideas about Nirvana. Nirvana is not a state of mind or an experience or anything else that can be named or understood conceptually. There are not different versions of it. The idea that Nirvana is the slience between the words, or the substratum of phenomenal existence is a good place to get to, conceptually and in samadhi. But if you stay there you will never become fully enlightened.

Enlightenment might be conceived as a change of view. It's like looking at a Necker cube and finally the dimensions pop the other way, even though nothing on the paper itself changed. Enlightenment does not mean the end of all of life's vicissitudes so that finally one arrives at a point of existing perpetually in some sort of an exalted state of love and oneness. Enlightenment just means existing in equanimity with whatever is happening. Even if whatever is happening is you having a heart attack and dying. Even if whatever is happening is you experiencing loneliness. Even if whatever is happening is you experiencing the best sex of your life. Enlightenment allows the living being to fully experience whatever is, without any clinging or aversion.

And one last thing about enlightenment. If, upon someone claiming to be fully enlightened as I am claiming, you notice an immediate arising in your mind of a negation, or a seemingly automatically arisen serious doubt about the assertion; then you probably really don't believe enlightenment is possible in this lifetime. And if you don't really believe it's possible, then it's not possible for you. This is a 5th hindrance problem. 

There are many people who purport to be teachers of Dharma. Very few are enlightened. Actually there are far more enlightened beings around, just living their lives and having absolutely nothing to do with Buddhadharma or any other dharma, than there are enlightened Dharma teachers. The Dharma is becoming diluted by many who have found a way to use it to enlarge their egos or their bank accounts or both. 

Peace.
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 4/25/23 1:08 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/25/23 1:08 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1759 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Shivadasa Om
I do not claim to be Buddhist 
I understand Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Christianity from the top down, you might say.
I used elements of each on the "path" to full enlightenment.
I offer these in the spirit of trying to help elminate confusion.
And one last thing about enlightenment.
If, upon someone claiming to be fully enlightened as I am claiming,
There are many people who purport to be teachers of Dharma.
Very few are enlightened.
The Dharma is becoming diluted by many who have found a way to use it to enlarge their egos or their bank accounts or both. 
So true,
Thanks for such wisdom.
​​​​​​​~D
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 5/6/23 8:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/6/23 8:30 PM

You have to practice in difficult situations.

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
https://www.lionsroar.com/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/

On Enlightenment – An Interview with Shinzen Young
BY ANDREA MILLER| SEPTEMBER 10, 2009
...
Scholastic Theravada Buddhism says that three things go away at the initial experience of enlightenment. The technical terms in Pali for the three things that go away are sakkaya-ditthi, vicikiccha, and silabbata-paramasa. Sakkaya-ditthi is the most important. Sakkaya-ditthi is the fundamental conviction that there is an entity, a thing inside us called a self. That conviction goes away forever. However, being momentarily caught in one’s sense of self, that happens to enlightened people over and over again, but less and less as enlightenment deepens and matures.

I like to analyze subjective experience into three sensory elements: feel (emotional-type body sensations), image (visual-thinking), and talk (auditory-thinking). Those sensory elements continue to arise for an enlightened person. However, the frequency, duration and intensity of identifying with feel-image-talk diminishes as the months and years go on as you go through deeper levels of enlightenment. There are exceptions, but typically it takes months, years, indeed decades to learn how not to get caught in feel-image-talk when it arises.
According to Shinzen Young after stream entry it is common to temporarily fall back into belief in self as a thing. However as one deepens their enlightenment, they fall back less and less often.

There's something else to consider about this. In order to take enlightenment as far as it can go, in order to stop falling back into identifying with the activity of your mind as much as is humanly possible, in order to end suffering as much as is possible, you have to practice, repeatedly, while experiencing difficult situations.  
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/10/23 12:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/10/23 12:22 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 1172 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Aside from the realization that whatever story you have told yourself on enlightenment is fake and delusion, you can get insight into no-self right now, in this very instant. Look around you. Raise up a hand and look at it. Where is the self? If you answer the question, that’s when the self, the True Man of no Status, is conjured up. That’s it, that’s all there is to get. In the seen there is only the seen, in the heard, only what is heard. There is no self because the self is something constructed. But you don’t need to stop constructing it.
Why is everyone so obsessed with this self or no-self thing?

At Buddha's times most people who had any teachings before meeting Buddha learned about existence of Atman (which was unchanging but also carrier of karma, etc.), which Buddha was saying does not exist (though still karma would exist but differently) and that's all. He also said that characteristic of all existence is that its not Atman along with two other characteristics which are really pointing to the same negation of assertions people made about Atman (that its unchanging and source of ultimate satisfaction). Again, at the time the enlightenment or however people called it back then was about realizing Atman so they would come to Buddha and ask him to point them to Atman... this probably become old very quickly to the man hence stressing it that its not Atman he was pointing to...

He even made identity views as first fetter. If you put something first in your list of issues people have to get rid of it must have been seen as be a big blocker in getting to whatever he was pointing to. Read Nibbana.

Of course smart but otherwise far from enlightened people seeing this identity views fetter quickly came up with workaround and said "it's really about believing in existence of self you know... if you believe it doesn't exist you have no fetter" and that is why we have dharma ending age.

Don’t become a pratyekabuddha.
Wow, this is pretty original thought.
I disagree with it though. Imho pratyekabuddha is splendid career.
You get all the perks of getting Enlightened from scratch and without proclaiming the truth to the world your teachings do not get butchered like Buddha's teachings were emoticon
Jordan Wright, modified 1 Year ago at 5/13/23 9:05 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/13/23 9:05 PM

RE: Enlightenment Is Obvious

Posts: 14 Join Date: 5/6/23 Recent Posts
A lot was said, but ultimately you could have stopped at "enlightenment is obvious" and still got your point across.  And it is obvious, but only in retrospect, and only to those that truly have come to that realization and are not relying on conceptual understanding.  If it was obvious to those still locked in vicious samsaric cycles of suffering then everyone would already be Buddhas by now.  Metaphors abound, but the only thing that is "enlightened" is the ego when it finally catches on.  The mind just becomes aware of itself by experiencing its true nature, tranquility and equanimity (the blue sky free from clouds is another popular metaphor).  But rather than see it as something negative, I think it's actually really profound that something so deep and essential to making sense of life and finding meaning within it is so simple at core.  The present is all that exists, the past and future are just concepts, they only exist temporarily as part of the present moment.  But the present is constantly changing, becoming the past, which makes room for the "future" to become the present and so on.  Most important to remember is that life and the process of awakening are both journeys, with peaks and valleys, accomplishments and disappointments, and you'll encounter a variety of different individuals with varying motivations and desire to help you (some people actively look to sabotage and put down others and are mean spirited, this too is important to keep in mind).  But some people are kind and have realized the truth, they are the people who actively spread the truth and seek to encourage and uplift others, supporting them in their journey.  Ultimately life gives you the choice to make of it what you will, choose wisely.

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