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Thread: enlightenment

  1. #1

    enlightenment

    :wink:

  2. #2

    Re: enlightenment

    Don't worry about it

    Seriously though. The more you worry about "is this it?! is this it?!" the more you miss the present moment. And in this moment, everything is complete. If you can taste tea just as tea, see sun as the sun, be with rain as it rains, cry when you're sad, smile when you're happy, then you're living your life. What else could there be?

    So, in short, don't look forward, don't look backwards for that "WOW!" moment. Each moment is worth a "WOW!", even the ones that don't seem like it.

  3. #3

    Re: enlightenment

    Also, don't worry about my response! Just my words, my silly musings

  4. #4

    Re: enlightenment


  5. #5

    Re: enlightenment

    Enlightenment is just the realization that there is no problem, and that there was never any problem to begin with. The realization that you, me and the world has never been lacking anything.

    You will know. When the last blockage that is keeping you from seeing the world clearly has fallen off you will see and realize the "falling away of body and mind" that Dogen spoke about.

    Enlightenment is not some mysterious state. It is simply you in your purest state, free from the corruption of ideals and concepts.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    I had some very "enlightening" zazen experiences in particular in 2007-2008. For one reason or another its those years that really stand out. But of course, wanting to keep it, or grab ahold of it, or "aha, is this it?" Caused me to loose it. I have never meditated with a goal, other then to perhaps be here and now, perhaps even that is holding me back.

    Shawn...

  7. #7

    Re: enlightenment

    Tetsu,

    Regarding a master recognizing enlightenment... It can seem confusing.. particularly with the stories about one master talking to a student or another master and they test each other. That makes it seem like there is a ladder and if you climb up the steps then you arrive. There are also those that study koan's, like what's the sound of one dog clapping... no wait, ... you see there are koans as well and so it can appear that if you answer correctly then you move up a step toward enlightenment. We also refer to "the path" which makes it seem like we have a direction and end goal.. Similarly, there are stories of a guy stubbing his toe and then getting it.. all of these make it sound like there is something to get. Like there is something to achieve or obtain, like a gift... or something you don't have. There is the time when one receives the transmission and so on and so on... Thus there are different traditions and different paths that one may see to think you get it or your master sees you and then you get it... and perhaps Jundo or Taigu can talk to working with a master and the traditions or recognizing things... but as others here have tried to post.. there is nothing to get, which is everything. Dogen equated practice, zazen, to enlightenment and enlightenment to zazen... or practice. It is a practice... no end. TO say you got it is to lose it and to lose it is to gain it...

    Dogen himself wrote that you could look through all of China (or a province) and not be able to find any one person that is not enlightened.. of course you could say the same of delusion. Its all and none.. being and so on. Its not a final state, resting place, etc..

    But what do I know... hope this helped.

    _/_ Nate

  8. #8

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsugakucha
    Hi !

    Just a quick one : I am not worrying about enlightenment, I just whant to know how the masters knew...

    How did Dogen knew ?

    How did Nishijima knew ?

    Did they had to confirm it with there masters ?

    Just asking,

    -T
    Don't limit yourself, don't limit "enlightenment", don't limit life. Swallow all of it up.

  9. #9

    Re: enlightenment

    Hi tetsugakucha,

    We don't get enlightened, enlightenement gets us...
    Returning to the ocean samadhi is enlightenement itself. Practice here and now is enlightenment. Everything else is a dream or another greedy agenda.
    Along the way you might get terrific sceneries, lovely moments, impressive insights. As long as it is about getting and having, you are fooling yourself.
    Enlightenement is not aware of itself.
    Please read and study genjokoan. Read and study genjokoan in the flesh. Sit.
    A teacher is with you to help you undoing, unpacking, getting much lighter, getting rid of your beliefs, ideas about this and that, ideas about yourself and others, and above all: ideas about enlightenment...
    A teacher is a person that doesn't give you notions or potions but make it possible for you to forget the self and fully accept-see-live things as they are.
    A teacher is the witness of something that cannot see itself, of something that is not aware of itself.

    And in my very limited experience, transmission happens when every single cell of your body-mind does't care about it anymore.


    gassho


    Taigu

  10. #10

    Re: enlightenment

    Hello,

    thank you Taigu for your crystal clear response.

    On a personal note I would just like to add my two novice cents by simply stating that I find it a lot more fitting to use the term "awakening" a lot of times instead of "enlightenment".

    It is true that many practitioners of the past have also resorted to describing their great openings and related experiences in terms of light analogies and metaphors (....Turn the light inward...etc.). However IMHO the words" waking up" are often a lot more clear because they are less glamorous and point to everyday activity. Like e.g. "waking up" in the morning.

    Gassho and deep bows to all those whose daily practise is the never ending recognition and enactment of awakened thusness as it is,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  11. #11

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsugakucha
    Hi !

    Just a quick one : I am not worrying about enlightenment, I just whant to know how the masters knew...

    How did Dogen knew ?
    Dogen studied with Master Rujing. One evening during the intensive summer training, in the first year of Pao-chang, 1225, Rujing shouted at a disciple, “When you study under a master, you must drop the body and mind. What is the use of single-minded intense sleeping?”

    Sitting right beside this monastic, Dogen suddenly attained great enlightenment. Immediately, he went up to the abbot’s room and burned incense. Rujing said, “Why are you burning incense?” Dogen said, “Body and mind have been dropped off.” Rujing said, “Body and mind dropped off. The dropped-off body and mind.” Dogen said, “This may only be a temporary ability. Please don’t approve me arbitrarily.” Rujing said, “I am not.” Dogen said, “What is that which isn’t given arbitrary approval?” Rujing said, “Body and mind dropped off.” Dogen bowed. Rujing said, “The dropping off is dropped.”
    http://mro.org/zmm/teachings/daido/teisho29.php

  12. #12

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Enlightenement is not aware of itself.
    Thank you.

    Shawn

  13. #13

    Re: enlightenment

    Thank you to all of you for your answers !

    -Tetsugakucha

  14. #14

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi tetsugakucha,

    We don't get enlightened, enlightenement gets us...
    Returning to the ocean samadhi is enlightenement itself. Practice here and now is enlightenment. Everything else is a dream or another greedy agenda.
    Along the way you might get terrific sceneries, lovely moments, impressive insights. As long as it is about getting and having, you are fooling yourself.
    Enlightenement is not aware of itself.
    Please read and study genjokoan. Read and study genjokoan in the flesh. Sit.
    A teacher is with you to help you undoing, unpacking, getting much lighter, getting rid of your beliefs, ideas about this and that, ideas about yourself and others, and above all: ideas about enlightenment...
    A teacher is a person that doesn't give you notions or potions but make it possible for you to forget the self and fully accept-see-live things as they are.
    A teacher is the witness of something that cannot see itself, of something that is not aware of itself.

    And in my very limited experience, transmission happens when every single cell of your body-mind does't care about it anymore.


    gassho


    Taigu
    _/_

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    On a personal note I would just like to add my two novice cents by simply stating that I find it a lot more fitting to use the term "awakening" a lot of times instead of "enlightenment".
    I'm with you on that, Chudo.

  16. #16

    Re: enlightenment

    +1 for Hans ;-) However, finally it really doesnt matter how we call it. Practice is enlightment is awakening is forgetting the self, just dont care anymore, or just sit with the question. The question will vanish eventually, and as Nishijima said, sitting zazen is the first enlightment. Not a bad statement.
    _()_
    Peter

  17. #17

    Re: enlightenment

    Peter...gassho


    T.

  18. #18

    Re: enlightenment

    wandering around in circles
    I see the wall but turn away,
    why am I still afraid when the door is no longer there...

  19. #19

    Re: enlightenment

    Hello Tetsu!

    A slightly different perspective. We all have had moments were the thought was this is something special. I think it is useful if it serves to motivate one to sit and sit again. Much like reading an inspirational book about football, it will not turn us into Messi or Ronaldo only practicing kicking over and over can make you a better player. And if there is something that initially will get you to "Just do it" then good.

    Now that being said, letting go of ones preconceived notions of being a zen master (I personally equated with being a Jedi :roll: ), or gaining or winning is something that is good to let go. Taigu speaks of unpacking and making yourself lighter. Morelos aka Chocobuda left a nice thead The little team, about a kids soccer team that has never scored a goal but approach their endeavor with the right effort.

    Lucky is the person who starts this practice not expecting anything! For the rest of us, learning to fail and failing better, approaching the cushion again and again with the right attitude and effort. Nothing special, ordinary. Like that.

    _()_
    Louis

  20. #20
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: enlightenment

    You'll have insights beyond doubt, but enlightenment is in the doing-being.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  21. #21

    Re: enlightenment

    Perhaps the truest "test" of enlightenment can be found when you no longer think about enlightenment in any way shape or form, but instead are overcome with the 'suchness' of each moment of life.

    I don't know what enlightenment would look like, and I don't know that there is a set "this is what it looks like when you get there" type of thing. Two people standing side by side at the summit of the same mountain, looking in the same direction, at the same time - two different views.

  22. #22

    Re: enlightenment

    Christopher,

    Please, listen and take things in...Enlightenment CANNOT BE SEEN, it doesn't have a look, doesn't look like anything. Open your eyes.
    And yes, I cannot agree more with the first part of your post:

    Perhaps the truest "test" of enlightenment can be found when you no longer think about enlightenment in any way shape or form, but instead are overcome with the 'suchness' of each moment of life.
    Overcome is too much too, and each moment is idealistic. Nevertheless, not to care about the Ox is what is taking place after a while.
    By the way, you could dig the vids on the Ten oxherding pictures, they might help you to refresh your vision and let go of the old man and his habits that lives very close, so close to where you stand.

    viewforum.php?f=25

    gassho


    Taigu

  23. #23

    Re: enlightenment

    This topic should be required reading for all new Treeleafers. Gassho!

  24. #24

    Re: enlightenment

    Lucky is the person who starts this practice not expecting anything! For the rest of us, learning to fail and failing better, approaching the cushion again and again with the right attitude and effort. Nothing special, ordinary. Like that.
    This very person would not practice...In other words, this path is a necessary fiction, an incredible narrative that we are gradually invited to let go of, we have to expect to generate a field of no expecation, we have to talk about the ego to eventually realize that it did not exist, ever...

    It is a very cunning process, extremely intelligent and sharp. Remember: Gautama has to taste the palace to meet suffering, has to meeet suffering to let go of it.

    People come with expectations and twisted minds. They do because otherwise there would be nothing to practice. They will come full circle to the original simplicity once they crossed the bouncing field of emptiness. Rivers and mountains being rivers and mountains by themselves.

    gassho


    Taigu

  25. #25
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: enlightenment

    Enlightenment? Get out of the picture.

    Get. Out. Of. The. Picture. (You're blocking the view - you are the view! The view is you!).

    Groking enlightenment isn't difficult because it's complicated - it's difficult because it's not difficult but we insist it must be. We insist on a lack that isn't.

    IMHO. Gassho. Oh no!

    Chet

  26. #26

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Christopher,

    Please, listen and take things in...Enlightenment CANNOT BE SEEN, it doesn't have a look, doesn't look like anything. Open your eyes.
    And yes, I cannot agree more with the first part of your post:

    Perhaps the truest "test" of enlightenment can be found when you no longer think about enlightenment in any way shape or form, but instead are overcome with the 'suchness' of each moment of life.
    Overcome is too much too, and each moment is idealistic. Nevertheless, not to care about the Ox is what is taking place after a while.
    By the way, you could dig the vids on the Ten oxherding pictures, they might help you to refresh your vision and let go of the old man and his habits that lives very close, so close to where you stand.

    viewforum.php?f=25

    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu,

    Thank you. Metaphors are often dangerous in this practice, because they are subjective, so your post reminded me to choose what I say more carefully. As always, I try to keep my eyes open, but sometimes the view is obscured by my eyelids!!! Please allow me to try again.

    The thing I was poorly trying to say was that, there is no set scale for enlightenment. No one can sit off to the side and judge you as to whether or not you “got it”. The Path we are on leads to all places, all times, for all people – that being so, no one can look at you as you walk on the Path and tell you what your destination is, or even whether or not you got there – especially since ours is the Path Never-ending, the Walk Never-beginning. We travel our entire existence on the Path, where every step we take is our home. I said “overcome” previously, I now see that that was too much, as Taigu said. Not to be overcome or overtaken by it, but rather, to let the “suchness” of life soak into your bones like sandalwood oil in rice paper, to allow “your life” and “suchness” to become “life-suchness” It is only when you see life as it is, in its ‘suchness’ without the filter of attachments, delusions and desires mucking up the view, that you could say that you have attained enlightenment .

    Now let me qualify that last statement. “Enlightenment” is just a word. As far as I believe, I don’t think enlightenment comes with a thunderclap and a certificate. Granted, I personally do not know what “enlightenment” is, I don’t think I’m anywhere near it. At that same time, I’ve never been without it, since all beings have Buddha nature. There isn’t, I don’t believe, a situation where “enlightenment” can possibly be quantified. Rather the word is used by those who need words and who need labels to apply to others who have come to a place of balance and clarity in their existence, so much so that there appears to be some sort of transformation. If I had to, absolutely had to, put a description to what enlightenment might possibly be, it would be the person who supposedly “attained” it reaching a point in their life where they can clearly see life in such a way that they ask themselves, “How is it that I could have ever missed THIS. Nothing is different from my old life, and yet everything has changed.” Like a person, blind from birth, suddenly waking up one day and SEEING. The world has not changed; fundamentally there is no difference between the world-with-your-eyes-open and the world-with-your-eyes-closed, except that now you SEE it. A blind man knows what a door is, can feel its shape with his hands, knows its parts, knows how to operate one, what its function is, the reason for it to exist. But with the ability to open his eyes and see it, now he can SEE it. No one else will be able to explain what a door is, as well as if the blind man could see it for himself, and likely, even if he explained it perfectly, when the blind man could finally see the door, he’d see something a little different or in a different way than the person who tried to explain it to him, spend hours just staring at the symphony of curves and swirls in the wood’s grain. As for another being able to say whether or not you reached enlightenment, that’s like a person who can see saying that the blind man knows what a door is because he can feel one, operate it, and can tell, “This is a door.” But no matter all that, he is still unable to SEE the door.

    Something like that, though in truth that’s probably a poor description as well. The limitations of words, no?

  27. #27

    Re: enlightenment

    Hi Christopher,

    Now let me qualify that last statement. “Enlightenment” is just a word. As far as I believe, I don’t think enlightenment comes with a thunderclap and a certificate. Granted, I personally do not know what “enlightenment” is, I don’t think I’m anywhere near it. At that same time, I’ve never been without it, since all beings have Buddha nature.
    I just posted the following a few days ago:

    When he is in Koshoji, Dogen writes almost all his Shobogenzo. And one of the talks he gives to priests and lay people can be read as a chapter: Bussho, Buddha nature. This is one of the 10 or 15 chapters that one should read, study, drink, eat, swallow, sweat, piss, do, undo, wieve, sew, bake, plow etc. More than a key chapter, it offers the most extraodinary journey through this all thing-non-thing that we are.
    To start with, Dogen picks up this sentence:

    The Buddha ??kyamuni said, “All living beings in their entirety have the buddha nature. The tath?gata always abides, without any change.”


    And the rest of the talk is going to take it apart, take me and you apart,deconstruct view after view of the self, the Buddha and all the rest of it.
    We don't have Buddha nature says Dogen, we are. And this is big. When the young Dogen was in Kyoto before his trip to China, he was puzzled by the simple question: if we already have it, why should we practice then? And of course, having a treasure, no need to look for it. As you operate a little shift of preception , it is not having Buddha nature but being Buddha nature, then, well, things get pretty clear, a Buddha practices a Buddha. Practice is not seen as a mean to get something you haven't got or you have forgotten you already had, it is about being who you are. And there is no other way to be a Buddha than being a Buddha.
    Give it a go. And again and again. This chapter has treasures to reveal because you are the living revealed treasure!!!
    Defending one's a.... is hopeless. Diving into IT and IT swallowing you. That's what it is about.
    Everything else is blablabla and metaphors don't operate here.

    take care


    gassho


    Taigu

  28. #28

    Re: enlightenment

    Would an enlightened person ever say they were enlightened? Just curious for a variety of reasons. Gassho, Grace.

  29. #29

    Re: enlightenment

    This has been a very interesting topic to follow and it has me wondering if anybody has ever thought that the idea of becoming "enlightened" is more or less a motivational tool used for beginners to continue with their zazen and Buddhist practice; kind of like a carrot (or Twinkie) on a stick that is always just out of our grasp - "If I just sit zazen a little bit longer, if I chant a little more louder, etc... then I can become Enlightened!"

    But I feel that it is only when we come to the absolute realization that there is no such thing as enlightenment - that we truly become enlightened beings .

    Gassho,

    Josh

  30. #30

    Re: enlightenment

    What do you mean by "no such thing as enlightenment"? No awakening? And thus nothing to which one could be awakened?

  31. #31

    Re: enlightenment

    Thank you Chris for taking the time to read my post and responding back to it.

    You use of the word "awakened" I believe is a much better term for what the concept of enlightenment should stand for. I feel that there is too much attachment for what enlightenment "is" or trying to achieve it. I also feel that a lot of people have been harmed in many ways by trying to attain enlightenment - I am sure most everybody hear has heard of stories of people giving all they have (material, physical and emotional) trying to obtain enlightenment themselves or be promised it by individuals/organizations whose ulterior motives are less than honorable.

    I would much prefer to be an awakened being - one who is totally present in the hear and now.

    But I guess it doesn't matter if its called awakening or enlightenment so long as the journey towards that destination is the true meaning of our practice and or lives.

    Thank you again Chris - Gassho.

    Josh

  32. #32

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by jlewis
    This has been a very interesting topic to follow and it has me wondering if anybody has ever thought that the idea of becoming "enlightened" is more or less a motivational tool used for beginners to continue with their zazen and Buddhist practice; kind of like a carrot (or Twinkie) on a stick that is always just out of our grasp - "If I just sit zazen a little bit longer, if I chant a little more louder, etc... then I can become Enlightened!"

    But I feel that it is only when we come to the absolute realization that there is no such thing as enlightenment - that we truly become enlightened beings .

    Gassho,

    Josh
    Hmmm. Dogen expressed our way as "Practice-Enlightenment". We are all Buddha, all enlightened from the start. Not one thing to add or take away to make us more Buddha. Nonetheless, we have to make Buddha real in this life through our words, thoughts and acts.

    A moment of Practice ... wise, compassionate, forgiving, allowing, free of greed, anger or ignorance, the fires and mind games of the little 'self' dropped away ... is Zazen, enlightenment, Buddha.

    A moment of small life-self ... trapped by greed, anger, ignorance ... is delusion, division, Mara, is Buddha/enlightenment lost.

    I feel that we can even swing back and forth on this moment by moment ... first an enlightened word/thought/deed ... then seconds later we can fall into greed/anger/ignorance! First Buddha found, then Buddha lost (all though Buddha all along!)

    So long as we are alive in these human bodies, the Buddha is alive ... and life is alive, not a fixed and rigid state. Perhaps, beyond this world of flesh and blood, the Buddha is in a nirvana-state where greed-anger-ignorance never raise their ugly heads again! However, in this 'nirvana-is-samsara-is-nirvana' world we live in, it is how we live moment by moment that is "enlightened living". It is not a final bus station that one arrives at and one is done (not in this life anyway, not as the bus trip continues). Rather, it is realized in what we make of this trip ... which is us all along. (All those Koan stories tell about someone's moment of enlightenment ... but not what happened five minutes later when it was a moment of something else! 8) Heck, that's why some of those guys appear in the stories again and again ... get re-enlightened! )

    I just read this in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch this morning ...


    deluded, a buddha is a sentient being;
    awakened, a sentient being is a buddha.
    ignorant, a buddha is a sentient being;
    with wisdom, a sentient being is a buddha.
    if the mind is warped, a buddha is a sentient being
    if the mind is impartial, a sentient being is a buddha.
    when once a warped mind is produced, buddha is concealed within the sentient being.
    if for one instant of thought we become impartial, then sentient beings are themselves buddha.
    This Practice is something we "realize" (meaning both "realize" as to "grock" and pierce ... and "realize" as "making real in life").

    When someone encounters and is encountered living as Buddha, then Buddhas know Buddhas.

    Gassho, J

  33. #33

    Re: enlightenment

    Thank you Jundo. It is lessons like this that make me really glad I was guided to Treeleaf .

    And to quote the band Operation Ivy - "All I know is that I don't know nothing!"

    Gassho,

    Josh

  34. #34

    Re: enlightenment

    You seek Yoda!
    Take you to him I will, but first eat. -Yoda
    Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity. - Shunryu Suzuki
    To learn the Buddha Way is to learn one's self. To learn one's self is to forget one's self. To forget one's self is to be confirmed by all dharmas. To be confirmed by all dharmas is to cast off one's body and mind and the body and mind of all others. All trace of enlightenment disappears, and this traceless enlightenment continues on without end. - Shobogenzo, Waddell, Abe translation
    Taigu's talk on the 8th of the 10 ox herding pictures.

    _()_

  35. #35

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by jlewis
    Thank you Jundo. It is lessons like this that make me really glad I was guided to Treeleaf .
    I second this Josh!


    Dustin

  36. #36

    Re: enlightenment

    A great thread indeed. For Steve Hagen fans, you might find this audio dharma talk interesting, in which he addresses the question "Why Practice?" and, a few minutes in, takes on the use of the term "enlightenment." Click here for the mp3.

  37. #37
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    deluded, a buddha is a sentient being;
    awakened, a sentient being is a buddha.
    ignorant, a buddha is a sentient being;
    with wisdom, a sentient being is a buddha.
    if the mind is warped, a buddha is a sentient being
    if the mind is impartial, a sentient being is a buddha.
    when once a warped mind is produced, buddha is concealed within the sentient being.
    if for one instant of thought we become impartial, then sentient beings are themselves buddha.
    *Copy-Paste-Snatch*

    Quote Originally Posted by louis
    Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity. - Shunryu Suzuki
    Including Yoda, there's some good ones up today!

  38. #38
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by jlewis
    This has been a very interesting topic to follow and it has me wondering if anybody has ever thought that the idea of becoming "enlightened" is more or less a motivational tool used for beginners to continue with their zazen and Buddhist practice; kind of like a carrot (or Twinkie) on a stick that is always just out of our grasp - "If I just sit zazen a little bit longer, if I chant a little more louder, etc... then I can become Enlightened!"

    But I feel that it is only when we come to the absolute realization that there is no such thing as enlightenment - that we truly become enlightened beings .

    Gassho,

    Josh
    Actually, no....mostly because the very idea of enlightenment really gets in the way of practicing enlightenment. Then again, ignorance of enlightenment also gets in the way.

    Base ignorance of enlightenment is the fundamental place from which we all start, but seeking enlightenment is still just an expression of ignorance. What are you seeking that is not literally here right at this moment? That's not a dissuasion, that's a question that, asked innocently and sincerely, can resolve all doubt.

    If you try to put a cap on it, you are taken. If you insist you already have it, you are technically correct but your understanding is insufficient to fully embody it.

    The simplest questions ('What is this?'. 'Who am I?') are powerful, but in zazen, they are also dropped. Even the subtlest distinctions of any orienting principle, if grasped, prevent passage through the gateless gate. Still, it is here the whole while.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  39. #39

    Re: enlightenment

    During a Treeleaf Tea Party once, I asked a question about whether you could lose enlightenment if you once had experienced it. Okay, not such a great question, but the answer I got was great!

    Dosho answered me, as his teacher once answered him: “Get enlightened and see!”

    I think this answer may stay with me for years.

    Gassho, Grace.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    During a Treeleaf Tea Party once, I asked a question about whether you could lose enlightenment if you once had experienced it. Okay, not such a great question, but the answer I got was great!

    Dosho answered me, as his teacher once answered him: “Get enlightened and see!”

    I think this answer may stay with me for years.

    Gassho, Grace.
    I love this answer! However, the teachings tell us that everything is subject to impermanence!

    Gassho,
    John

  41. #41

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    During a Treeleaf Tea Party once, I asked a question about whether you could lose enlightenment if you once had experienced it. Okay, not such a great question, but the answer I got was great!

    Dosho answered me, as his teacher once answered him: “Get enlightened and see!”

    I think this answer may stay with me for years.

    Gassho, Grace.
    I love this answer! However, the teachings tell us that everything is subject to impermanence!

    Gassho,
    John
    Enlightenment, being that it is not a thing wouldn't be something that one can lose. How can you lose it, how can you find it, you are it. The only difference between a deluded being and a Buddha, is that the Buddha already knows it, the rest of us our still looking.

    some ideas...

  42. #42
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    During a Treeleaf Tea Party once, I asked a question about whether you could lose enlightenment if you once had experienced it. Okay, not such a great question, but the answer I got was great!

    Dosho answered me, as his teacher once answered him: “Get enlightened and see!”

    I think this answer may stay with me for years.

    Gassho, Grace.
    I love this answer! However, the teachings tell us that everything is subject to impermanence!

    Gassho,
    John
    Enlightenment, being that it is not a thing wouldn't be something that one can lose. How can you lose it, how can you find it, you are it. The only difference between a deluded being and a Buddha, is that the Buddha already knows it, the rest of us our still looking.

    some ideas...
    Yes you are it, but someday you, it, it, you will die. Impermanence!

  43. #43

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Yes you are it, but someday you, it, it, you will die. Impermanence!
    You never die. You just continue as something else. Your actions ripple in the ocean of this universe till the end of endless time. The proof that you existed, the fact that you exist is not something that can die. Because for you to die is the same as the universe dying.

  44. #44

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson

    .... the teachings tell us that everything is subject to impermanence!
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu

    Enlightenment, being that it is not a thing wouldn't be something that one can lose. How can you lose it, how can you find it, you are it. The only difference between a deluded being and a Buddha, is that the Buddha already knows it, the rest of us our still looking.
    Yes, I would not engage in philosophical debate on whether enlightenment is "permanent or impermanent". Just live this life now and bring a bit of Buddha into each timeless moment. The Buddha said that "all composite things are impermanent" as his final words before death.

    Yet, in our way, there is that which transcends all small human judgments of "birth and death, starts and finishes" and all the separate names and categories of "composite things" when those judgments, names and categories are dropped from mind. (Sometimes folks use the image of waves rising and falling on the sea and vanishing ... yet the sea remains, and the waves were just the sea all along. The sea moving and alive as the waves, the waves always the sea. Thus, "no coming and going" even as the waves come and go). But is that sea "permanent" "impermanent" or (more likely) something else beyond small human categories of our tiny composite brains barely wiser than ants? Is the sea something we should call "God" "Buddha" "Nature" "Sea" or something else all together?

    The Buddha usually side-stepped such questions, or would answer with silence. (You might read a bit more on the Buddha's "14 Unanswered Questions" here, although I am not sure the author of this essay: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?page=9 ) Perhaps by answering we create the very categories and judgments we are to avoid. In any event, answering is not conducive to the answer of enlightenment ... like (in a famous story found at that link) asking the physician to describe the materials, color, manufacture and shooter of a poison arrow before he pulls it out of your chest to save your life!

    In any event, so long as we are alive in this world ... we live among things that come and go (including you and me). Bring enlightenment into each moment, right in the heart of that.

    Many Buddhist argue and debate such questions. The Zen corner of of Mahayana Buddhist practice does not argue about the permanence or impermanence of the sea, where it comes from where it goes, its depth or height, who made it, what it is called. That is not really conducive to truly experiencing the sea (fish don't bother, they just swim and get on with it! 8) ). Rather, we just jump in and swim ... the sea and us 'not two' all along. Start thinking too much about such questions ... dividing yourself from the water ... and one might even start to sink or drown.

    Something like that. Have a good swim.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2013 at 03:45 AM.

  45. #45
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Jundo wrote:
    Start thinking too much about such questions ... dividing yourself from the water ... and one might even start to sink or drown.
    _/_

  46. #46

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    Temple bells die out.
    The fragrant blossoms remain.
    A perfect evening!

    ---- Basho
    I thought it was,

    The fragrant blossoms die out.
    Temple bells remain.
    A perfect evening!


  47. #47

    Re: enlightenment

    This might be lengthy, and if it is, I’m sorry in advance.

    From many of the posts, it looks like the idea that “enlightenment” is a thing or a level of awareness is still present. I don’t think it is something that can be so easily categorized.

    That always seems to be the question, when the topic of enlightenment comes up. “What is it?”, “What’s it like?”, “How will I know…?” No one can answer this because to try and define it would limit it. If it was limited to where our discriminating minds could grasp it, then it would be unworthy to be called enlightenment. Chet said earlier that our idea of enlightenment gets in the way of enlightenment just as much as our ignorance of enlightenment does. I can’t think of a better way to say it. I think that those who have not attained enlightenment ask about attaining enlightenment, and those who have attained enlightenment have no idea what “enlightenment” might be, and would tell you that they’ve attained nothing. This seems dualistic, but in reality it couldn’t be further from simple dualism. If anything it would be omni-ism. As an exercise, pick something in the room you are in and look at it. That may be the focus of your attention, but it isn’t all you see. You see things beyond the object you’re looking at, behind it, underneath it, in front of it, on the surface of it. You also see things out of the corner of your eye, off to the side, in your peripheral vision.

    Enlightenment, life itself (in fact, how could you truly separate the two?) are like that. You can’t simply focus on something to the exclusion of all else. It isn’t possible. Instead you can only choose to focus on something, and willfully ignore the manifold things (some might say “myriad”) that surround, support, permeate, and penetrate it. How can you think to simply reach out and grab the fish, if you don’t also take into account the water the fish is in? Because we are human, because we delude ourselves in to believing that we can segment and compartmentalize things to the point that we can now control them, we forget that everything is inherently “what it is”, completely interconnected. We try to force the square peg into the round hole; we try to arrange life in a nice, neat, tidy way with all our labels and discriminations. Perhaps enlightenment is simply realizing that this is not the case. Life is far to complex for that, far to complex to be pigeon-holed into an organized little compartment made special for us to understand it. And it is this complexity that shows us how simple life truly is. When we let go of the ideas and beliefs that we have, the ones that we have made all our lives in the attempt to exert our will on existence and reality, we can truly appreciate life for what it IS. That old saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” is limited. You can’t see the forest for the trees, the dirt, the air, the leaves, the squirrels, the poison ivy, the logging truck, the path to the left of the stream, etc. There is so much, but at the same time, it’s all forest.

    Basically, don’t try to slice things up. Don’t try to divide “enlightenment” from every other aspect of every day life. It’s a total package kind of thing. Enlightenment is just as much crying at the death of a family pet, or walking down the road and stepping in dog crap, as it is realizing the interconnectedness of all things. See life for what it is, and BE part of it, BE with it, BE it. If you can do that, maybe you’ll attain enlightenment, but who cares?

  48. #48
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment


    _/_

  49. #49

    Re: enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    If it was limited to where our discriminating minds could grasp it, then it would be unworthy to be called enlightenment. Chet said earlier that our idea of enlightenment gets in the way of enlightenment just as much as our ignorance of enlightenment does. I can’t think of a better way to say it. I think that those who have not attained enlightenment ask about attaining enlightenment, and those who have attained enlightenment have no idea what “enlightenment” might be
    Well, how about we close this conversation by saying that talking about and defining such things is a bit like talking about "what is love-&-marriage?". Yes, "love" is a profound sense of union that must be experienced ("enlightenment" is also a union between self and other, but one in which barriers between oneself and all this life-self-world soften or, maybe at times, fully drop away). However, "love" is a union that cannot be expressed adequately in words, and even the finest poets fail to capture it.

    What's more, sometimes, one might fall "head over heals" in love, get all starry eyed ... feel like the honeymoon will last forever! (That is how many folks fall into the "honeymoon" of emptiness too). That is wonderful!!!! .... but only the start of the real story of "love" and relationship. The starry eyes folks all smitten ... don't have a clue to all the dimensions and richness of "love".

    For "love-&-marriage" is where the real action is, where the love and relationship is truly brought to life and tested, something that must be worked out to make it real, fruitful, balanced and wholesome ... a constantly changing adventure of happy days and tears as life meet all its ups and downs, and the years pass. "Love alone" won't get a couple far. One has to do it (and do it well!) to truly understand what a "successful marriage" is. Patience and stamina are a part, as is acceptance and allowing (even perhaps on those days in any marriage when it might feel that "love" is no where near :cry: ). It returns, it grows with time. It is a Practice!

    To try to explain these things is a bit like a young fella, never in love or married, asking grandpa to describe in a few sentence what his 50 year marriage has been like. :shock: Could or would grandpa even begin to know what to say?

    Something like that.

    So, we might as well be trying to describe in a few words "what is love & marriage". So it is with "practice-enlightenment".

    The one thing I can tell you for sure is that you can find this on the Zafu, then bring it into all one's life. That's where we tie the knot.

    Gassho, J

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: enlightenment

    Sometimes I want to contribute to a discussion thread (such as this one) and then ask myself "how can I discuss enlightenment?" I wouldn't even know what it looks, feels, tastes, walks, or sounds like.... so I'll just go sit.

    The conundrum I find myself in is in discussing Zen I move even further far away from it... perhaps that is why I lurk rather than post more frequently.... it is indescribable for me, and my experience is unique, as I am sure it is for each of us. Thank you for such a wonderful discussion in sharing each of your experiences.

    Gassho,
    Yugen

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