Friday 28 May 2010*

It is not a special day, nor is it another usual day. Neither is it religious nor mystical.  It is an ordinarily simple day for commemoration of what a human endeavor can potentially arrive at – the state of awakening from the illusion of life, in short, enlightenment. It is so ordinary that nothing can compete its simplicity. Yet in this ordinary simplicity everything is finally understood and realized, fully.

In understanding one thing, everything is understood.
In understanding everything, nothing is understood.

Enlightenment is not what you can experience in life itself. No. Nor can you try any or every means; including any unthinkable strength and grit; to secure its price. None of that sort. It is simply getting out of the dream – sounds simple yet it is never as simple as we think it can be. It is like an invisible prison that is found in each of us, yet we are not able to put a finger on it.

It is a day to remember that somewhere in the past there was a pathway laid, albeit a pathless one, which points to the doorway of liberation, of getting out of the dream. The word Buddha, is not about someone or something, or even with any religious connotation attached to it, but rather enlightenment itself – which  potentially is the “birthplace” of one, an end of the journey of sort. The state of the unconditioned. It is a very personalized journey – ironically, a journey that undoes the personality itself – the undoing of the ego, the disentanglement of falseness.

I am not playing down the man who finally made the exit; not at all.  As Jed McKenna aptly said it, there is no such a thing as an enlightened being. In enlightenment there is no being. In Being, there is no enlightenment. Both are exclusive – they don’t come together – either you are awake, or in a dream. Period.

Gotama (Sanskrit: Gautama), the man who showed the possibility of enlightenment is historical; an important figure to cherish; but the work did not stop and end there. Idolization greatly missed the point he was trying to convey throughout his 45 years of ministry. It is again, like the finger pointing to the moon. You can’t fix yourself to the finger and yet find the moon. It is either or. Both are, again, exclusive. He showed the way and our choice is either to adore him or to follow the direction of his pointing finger, dropping the image of the finger entirely. It is the direction that needs to be accomplished.

Between the finger and the moon, anything is possible, yet vague. The path itself is pathless, not something you can see or feel. And in that pathless path, is found the prison of our own making that we have to relinquish – all by ourselves. That there is a certain skill needed to unlock the prison to make an escape to freedom – very much like the key-maker in the movie sequel, The Matrix Reloaded. But there is a hitch here – it is not just one prison door, nor is there even a space of a breath between each door.

Where is the prison except in the mind? It is a prison-less prison, not something that can be seen or felt tangibly. Not of stones of high walls or steel bars of tiny cells but views that seemed harmless in the beginning of time that ultimately built-up the massive complexity of entanglement which overwhelmingly by now seems an impossible task to see any end to it.

The clue is found in the now, the never-ending now – that each now offers the hope of opening the door to another door, and yet another door to another, and another… until one finds the end of it – the gift of enlightenment which awaits us there. What then is in the now that we need to comprehend? The views that bind us to be back again and again – the cyclic process of birth and death. The dream that is so real that fooled us to exist further.

And when we finally arrived at the end of the doors, we meet the Buddha there. Not someone, somebody or any religious figure we had in our mind. None of that sort. Not even the one we are now imagining in our perception or the image on the altar – they are all merely views which we are invited to give up, to surrender.

*Wesak or Vesak

He who sees the Truth, sees me. – The Buddha

2 Replies to “Friday 28 May 2010*”

  1. Your statement in fourth paragraph, “As Jed McKenna aptly said it, there is no such a thing as an enlightened being. In enlightenment there is no being. In Being, there is no enlightenment.”

    Kindly explain the above statement with reference to Buddha(Gotama)or Arahants. When HE found ‘enlightenment’, HE was still a human being. Hence HE can be referred to as an ‘enlightened being’. If not how do you regard such a person? An Arahant? Ain’t Arahant also means a being who has experienced and knows what enlightenment is?

  2. I was reading this book called What Makes You not A Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse awhile ago and a statement in the Introduction (pg5) is relevant to you – “… And if you think that enlightenment exists within the spheres of time, space, and power, then you are not a Buddhist.” Of course, this statement was substantiate by the fact that “enlightenment is beyond concepts; that it’s not a perfect blissful heaven, but instead a release from delusion”.

    Being is a concept, not to mention “I” – the mother of all delusion. It is interesting to be aware that in the scriptural text “Enlightened One” is used – to mean a past experienced, a word to conveniently label someone in the now who has “got it” in the past. Even then it is not entirely true as there is “no one” or “someone” achieving enlightenment.

    Being to mean “be-ing”, is a continuous (the word “continuous” does not exist in reality) conceptual existence, a delusion. In delusion, there is no enlightenment.

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