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On Enlightenment Options
 
Palmer Eldritch
#1 Posted : 8/28/2023 2:12:10 AM

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Enlightenment doesn’t exist in the way we’ve been taught to think about it. Enlightenment as described in various spiritual traditions is likely a trap to keep people plugged into the false path. If spiritual leaders taught the truth of enlightenment, they would have no aspirants left, because all of their followers would either awaken or abandon the path for something more desirable.

The something more desirable is actually what spiritual traditions peddle but often behind the guise of enlightenment. The enlightenment they sell, while not real or attainable, is so desirable that anyone would be insane to not want it. It’s the hook that gets people in the door, because no one wants to admit what they really want: a community that makes them feel good about themselves with enough armchair wisdom to placate the mind from uncovering the truth.

The reality of enlightenment is simple. I can describe the enlightened state and how to get there in a one-page pamphlet. You don’t need a guru, you don’t need dozens of books, retreats, guided meditations, any of it. You need nothing other than a strong desire to wake up. The only sure truth of attaining enlightenment is that you have to do it yourself. Don’t follow anyone else, not even an enlightened person, that’s a fool’s game. They can give you a general idea, but you must walk the path alone.

I’m not speculating here, making assumptions, or drawing on existing knowledge. I’m saying this because I know; I know because I’m enlightened.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 

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Palmer Eldritch
#2 Posted : 8/28/2023 2:12:54 AM

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On the Enlightened State:

So what is enlightenment? And how does one become enlightened? Enlightenment is pure disillusionment, and you become enlightened by becoming disillusioned. That’s rather recursive logic, so let’s try to expand on the state itself (which is the hard part), then discuss how to get here (which is the easy part).

Enlightenment as a state of being is deeply peaceful. I mentioned earlier that the enlightenment peddled by spiritual traditions is a lie, so that’s explore that a little more, so I don’t confuse you. What I always thought of as enlightenment when I ascribed to various new age/yoga philosophies was a supreme state, like a permanent state of mystical union or oneness with the universe. Enlightenment is not that.

I will not argue that the state of mystical union is an incredible experience. As I said, it’s more desirable than the real deal enlightenment. But it’s also not what enlightenment is; enlightenment is a permanent state, and mystical experiences can only be grasped for short periods of time.

Enlightenment is like a deep peace pervading every other experience. I’ve taken psychedelic drugs since becoming enlightened, and the psychedelic state is like an overlay on top of the enlightened state. So I can be experiencing something mystical while still retaining the grounded quality of being enlightened.

Likewise, I can feel other emotions and experiences, but they’re like window dressings. They come and go, but truth remains constant.

But ultimately, there is no fanfare. The enlightened state is rather boring, really. Like a peaceful state of mind that can't be penetrated despite random fluctuations in conscious states. It's nice, it's incredible, but it's also very normal. It's not the kind of thing you write books about. It's not the kind of thing that motivates you to follow a spiritual path.

What motivates a person to seek enlightenment is an unbridled urge to seek the truth. You have to want it more than you want anything else. You must be consumed with the desire to know, not matter the cost.

As for how to get here: seek the truth. Pull at the seams until the fabric of reality splits open and you see the truth for yourself.

Becoming enlightened requires you to become disillusioned with everything. Literally. Reality is the illusion, enlightenment is the truth. To become enlightened, you must dispense with everything that is not true.

I can only speak for how this process looked for me. But the path to enlightenment is a solitary process, and I imagine there are many paths. What I can tell you is: the path undoubtedly looks nothing like the regular spiritual fare of meditation, yoga, study, retreats, listening to esteemed spiritual speakers, mantras, etc.

For me, the process involved a lot of writing and a lot of thinking. Trying to sort out what is true. Writing helps focus the thinking, thinking helps focus the writing. Certain signposts were necessary at some stages along the way, but those could be anything, not necessarily spiritual texts. Trust your intuition. If you’re sincere, you will find the truth.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
Palmer Eldritch
#3 Posted : 8/28/2023 2:13:37 AM

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More about my particular path to enlightenment:

I remember when I first started going to yoga classes and learning about the spirituality and the philosophy of yoga. It was mind-blowing – and this is coming from a person who had already tried LSD, DMT, mushrooms, and more.

At some point along the way, I decided I wanted to devote myself to the path; I wanted to become enlightened. I did yoga every day. I read the books, I meditated. And I went absolutely nowhere. Because that’s what the whole thing is designed to do, you just don’t know it.

Oh we say things like, enlightenment can take multiple lifetimes. But that’s just to keep you from taking 1 step forward. Meditation, satsang, community, it all feels good. But enlightenment isn’t about feeling good. It’s about finding the truth, even when it's uncomfortable. And feeling good is a great way to motivate you to never seek the truth.

So I did this for a number of years, making no progress on my goal to becoming enlightened. Eventually, I became disillusioned with the path for reasons entirely separated from my goal of waking up. Hell, I thought I was making progress on that front, so I carried on all the while. No, I became disillusioned with certain hypocritical figures in the yoga community that I had once looked up to.

Little did I know this would start a process that would bring the whole thing crashing down. I read a few books by some “alternative enlightened teachers” where I learned the process described above. I feverishly examined everything I knew, determined to find the truth and become enlightened.

After a couple years, I became stuck, so focused on a few revelations I thought I had. I wanted to be the enlightened guy more than I wanted to find the truth, so eventually, I stopped the process prematurely and convinced myself I was enlightened. Probably one of the biggest pitfalls to finding truth is the desire itself. I was sincere until I let the desire take over, and I let ego reign because while I did want to find the truth, in that particular moment I wanted the title of "enlightened guy" more than I wanted to find the truth. I never bothered to stop and assess to see if I had actually found truth or not.

After that, I went about my life like a normal person, pretending to be enlightened, but not thinking about it too much. Until I was diagnosed with recurrent metastatic cancer (because clearly the first diagnosis was not enough of a wake-up call). I explored psychedelics quite a bit more than usual after I learned of the recurrence. While journaling following a specific experience, it hit me: I’m not enlightened! There’s still more to go.

I polished my dusty armor and donned it for one final battle. And I destroyed everything. I tore open the fabric of reality, I eradicated all illusions, and I saw it: truth.

And I became enlightened.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
psychonautt
#4 Posted : 10/1/2023 10:58:05 AM

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Interesting post. I agree with a lot that you say, although I have some reservations about other things.

I agree that most 'spiritual' teachers peddle snake-oil, or at best promises that are true technically yet made in a way that is very deceptive. There are some out there that can genuinely help you (somewhat) to uncover the truth, though, in my opinion.
Peter Ralston (The Book of Not Knowing), for instance, who like you stresses the pursuit of truth rather than some cosmic bliss that is very desirable to ego's. Rupert Spira (Being aware of Being Aware) also, who like you conceives of enlightenment as something very simple and fundamental to all experiences, from peeling an apple to having a mystical experience. There are holes in their teachings as well, but that is almost unavoidable.

I agree that enlightenment is about truth and that when it becomes part of some self-improvement story that you are chasing your own tail. Although I also imagine that if the ego understands that truth is the most desirable of all things and that anything else will keep it imprisoned in the dynamic of grasping and aversion that is the root of its suffering, that it will collaborate in seeking truth and that this might initially be necessary to generate an interest in the truth. Once truth then begins to reveal itself, it becomes appealing for its own sake, even in spite of the ego.

Although we inevitably make concessions to language when talking about this stuff, which inevitably creates distortions and contradictions, your way of phrasing some things makes me a little skeptical. For one, I would not conceive of 'enlightened' as a quality that any entity can or cannot possess. Enlightenment is what is, it is Being/Truth. It already is and always is. The entity that would become enlightened is revealed to not exist once truth reveals itself, which I would agree occurs when illusions are removed. But there is nobody to 'be'or 'not be' enlightened.
An aphorism to encapsulate this: Being is not a property of forms, forms are a property of Being.

I would also not conceive of enlightenment as a 'state', as this would seem to place it in the relative domain, i.e. as a state relative to other states. Absolute truth is not any image, any experience, any thought, any emotion, any state-- it is not any distinction or form. Enlightenment/truth is what is-- and even that is saying too much.

I should not that I don't consider myself 'enlightened', although (in my own estimation) Truth has revealed itself to me on multiple occasions. (There are those concessions to language again.)
“Joy at the smallest things comes to you only when you have accepted death. But if you look out greedily for all that you could still live, then nothing is great enough for your pleasure, and the smallest things that continue to surround you are no longer a joy” -C.G. Jung

"When in the body of a donkey, enjoy the taste of grass." -Tibetan Buddhist saying
 
Voidmatrix
#5 Posted : 10/1/2023 5:40:33 PM

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Thank you for sharing, though, I've always wondered if one who is Enlightened needs to stipulate such.

I agree there seem to be a lot of misguided "teachers" out there, with an agenda, that may or may not be attached to their ego (such as being in some privileged position wherein others look up to them), and so they necessitate people to teach and followers.

All the same, for the claims of such states of enlightenment and those ideals closely related, there seems to be variance the world over. This is one of the reasons that I've always thought that enlightenment and transcendence can be found anywhere, it's about putting the work in. While many practices talk about enlightenment in an objective way, it's phenomenological experience at the end of the day (or time), and so different "forms" might appeal differently to different people. Even the Buddha commented to not just listen to him, but to discover for yourself.

Which lends me to the idea that what if in some traditions (perhaps all) wherein we are choosing to find "truth" and liberate ourselves from illusion/delusion that we're not swapping one illusion/delusion for another; that is what if liberation is in the truth that we will always be immersed in some illusion/delusion? So I look towards skepticism for such liberation, so that I may even be liberated and unattached from needing some idea of truth, if such exists.

That's not to say that I'm enlightened.

Are we not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by stipulating that something as expansive as enlightenment is relegated towards one thing, in this case "truth" (if there is such a thing, since we assume it)?

Your comments about enlightenment being "boring" brings up the idea "before enlightenement, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

Thank you for sharing.

One love
What if the "truth" is: the "truth" is indescernible/unknowable/nonexistent? Then the closest we get is through being true to and with ourselves.


Know thyself, nothing in excess, certainty brings insanity- Delphic Maxims

DMT always has something new to show you Twisted Evil

Question everything... including questioning everything... There's so much I could be wrong about and have no idea...
All posts and supposed experiences are from an imaginary interdimensional being. This being has the proclivity and compulsion for delving in depths it shouldn't. Posts should be taken with a grain of salt. 👽
 
clearlyone
#6 Posted : 10/3/2023 3:29:40 AM

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Thought provoking post. A few thoughts came up from the perspective of non-dual philosophy.

If the “I” in the statement “I am enlightened” refers to the one infinite and unlimited being that everyone and everything is; then of course. But it is always already is so. It never “became” that. So “I became enlightened” isn’t a truism. And away goes any reality to any personal process (personal story) of becoming.

If the “I” in “I am enlightened” refers to the individual you feel yourself to be; then the feeling of being, in your essence, a separate being indicates the mind is mistaking an appearance for reality. A natural thing in the human experience.

“I am enlightened” as a statement has the same failings as “I am God”. If a certain detailed context is held by the speaker and the listener it could be said to be truthful. But there are many ways the ego can assert the wrong understanding and ultimately make it such a statement unhelpful.

I think the best we can say from a “personal” perspective is that the particular mind being experienced no longer holds the belief, and the body no longer holds the feeling in the gut, of being a separate person (dependent on a physical body born out of a physical world). In addition, the direct apprehension that the body and mind don’t contain you but rather are aspects of experience known by, held in, and made of, the infinite one - pure unchanging unbound awareness. That’s all quite wordy though.

People have said “I am That” or “I am This” or “I am that I Am” or “there is not two” or “I and my Father are one” or simply “I Am”. To me, these feel helpful. Which I feel is a main reason to speak - along with celebration and artistic creativity.

Peace
"Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling, and knowing, they don't perceive the radiance of the source. If they could eliminate all conceptual thinking, this source would appear, like the sun rising through the empty sky and illuminating the whole universe." - Huang Po
 
DoingKermit
#7 Posted : 10/3/2023 8:29:30 PM

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One of the most enlightened people I have ever seen is the guy down the street who wears a green jacket and helps kids cross the street with one of those lollipop stop signs. Exploding with joy, grinning and dancing, every car and person who goes by can't help but be infected with his amazing vibe - cars honk, people smile and wave. He is the Buddha in my eyes. God with a green vest.
 
Palmer Eldritch
#8 Posted : 10/15/2023 3:20:47 AM

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psychonautt wrote:
Inter
Although I also imagine that if the ego understands that truth is the most desirable of all things and that anything else will keep it imprisoned in the dynamic of grasping and aversion that is the root of its suffering, that it will collaborate in seeking truth and that this might initially be necessary to generate an interest in the truth. Once truth then begins to reveal itself, it becomes appealing for its own sake, even in spite of the ego.


Truth is not the most desirable thing. If it were, everyone would want it. And wanting is the primary battle. If you want it, truly want to know the truth, you can't hide from it any longer.

Think of it like an addiction. I was addicted to cigarettes and I was addicted to weed at one point in my life. Cigarettes are often considered much more addicting than weed, and yet I was able to quit no problem. Because I wanted to quit. (I didn't want to quit weed until many years later.) Most people never make it to the wanting to quit stage.

Likewise, most people never get to the wanting to know the truth stage.

Quote:
For one, I would not conceive of 'enlightened' as a quality that any entity can or cannot possess. Enlightenment is what is, it is Being/Truth. It already is and always is. The entity that would become enlightened is revealed to not exist once truth reveals itself, which I would agree occurs when illusions are removed. But there is nobody to 'be'or 'not be' enlightened.

I would also not conceive of enlightenment as a 'state', as this would seem to place it in the relative domain, i.e. as a state relative to other states. Absolute truth is not any image, any experience, any thought, any emotion, any state-- it is not any distinction or form. Enlightenment/truth is what is-- and even that is saying too much.

I should not that I don't consider myself 'enlightened', although (in my own estimation) Truth has revealed itself to me on multiple occasions. (There are those concessions to language again.)


I will say this, for someone who isn't enlightened (by your own admission), you seem to have a lot of ideas about what enlightenment is and isn't. Everything you say is right; I won't argue with that. But it's not True.

The things you're saying are meant to be ideas that can, at best, partially describe enlightenment/Truth from the enlightened perspective. From the unenlightened perspective they should be taken as merely pointers. Getting caught up in a description of enlightenment is hardly going to help you achieve enlightenment. There's no way to know until you get here and once you're here, descriptions don't matter.

Everything anyone can say about enlightenment is a pointer. It either points to what enlightenment is, or it points how to get to Truth. None of what's said is actually Truth itself; it's merely the way things look from this side.

To your final point, you either know Truth or you do not. There are no degrees. There is no glimpse. Imagine someone telling you they took 1 microgram of LSD and fully understand and appreciate the psychedelic state.

My good friend and author of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali describes the "glimpse of truth" state as one type of samadhi; enlightenment is the second type and the two couldn't be more dissimilar. Cognitive samadhi can give you deep insight, bursts of pure bliss, and moments of pure awareness. This is not enlightenment; it's more like a mystical state. Seedless samadhi is enlightenment and is not a state of mind or experience. It is the ultimate Truth.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
Palmer Eldritch
#9 Posted : 10/15/2023 3:25:29 AM

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Voidmatrix wrote:
Thank you for sharing, though, I've always wondered if one who is Enlightened needs to stipulate such.


Caught me. I was fishing for affirmations from random internet people. I guess it didn't work. Big grin

Quote:
Which lends me to the idea that what if in some traditions (perhaps all) wherein we are choosing to find "truth" and liberate ourselves from illusion/delusion that we're not swapping one illusion/delusion for another; that is what if liberation is in the truth that we will always be immersed in some illusion/delusion?


This is an important point. Swapping any belief for another is just perpetuating the cycle. Divesting yourself from belief and experiencing the truth directly is how you become enlightened.


Quote:
Your comments about enlightenment being "boring" brings up the idea "before enlightenement, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."


Indeed.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
Palmer Eldritch
#10 Posted : 10/15/2023 3:34:27 AM

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clearlyone wrote:
Thought provoking post. A few thoughts came up from the perspective of non-dual philosophy.

.....

“I am enlightened” as a statement has the same failings as “I am God”. If a certain detailed context is held by the speaker and the listener it could be said to be truthful. But there are many ways the ego can assert the wrong understanding and ultimately make it such a statement unhelpful.


This entire line of reasoning, while interesting, holds no value if you desire to achieve enlightenment. Everything about enlightenment and truth is a paradox. I can't be enlightened, as you rightly pointed out, yet I am. You can't grasp truth directly, and yet that's how you become enlightened.

Quote:
I think the best we can say from a “personal” perspective is that the particular mind being experienced no longer holds the belief, and the body no longer holds the feeling in the gut, of being a separate person (dependent on a physical body born out of a physical world). In addition, the direct apprehension that the body and mind don’t contain you but rather are aspects of experience known by, held in, and made of, the infinite one - pure unchanging unbound awareness. That’s all quite wordy though.


I'm sorry, you lost me a little here. There's a lot of assumptions buried in here about what enlightenment is or isn't. And it's not accurate from my perspective.

Quote:
People have said “I am That” or “I am This” or “I am that I Am” or “there is not two” or “I and my Father are one” or simply “I Am”. To me, these feel helpful. Which I feel is a main reason to speak - along with celebration and artistic creativity.

Peace


I do enjoy those statements. So poetic. But holding onto these statements is unhelpful for the seeker. If you believe that encapsulates the essence of enlightenment, you've become trapped by mistaking a pointer for the Truth. These statements are all merely pointing to the truth; they are not themselves True.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
Palmer Eldritch
#11 Posted : 10/15/2023 3:38:14 AM

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DoingKermit wrote:
One of the most enlightened people I have ever seen is the guy down the street who wears a green jacket and helps kids cross the street with one of those lollipop stop signs. Exploding with joy, grinning and dancing, every car and person who goes by can't help but be infected with his amazing vibe - cars honk, people smile and wave. He is the Buddha in my eyes. God with a green vest.


Hmm, could be. I won't argue that this particular person is or isn't enlightened. But I will say one of the most powerful pointers I encountered on my journey was "Kill the Buddha". Believing this person to be enlightened can be an obstacle. Believing me to be enlightened can be an obstacle.

The obstacle lies primarily with a simple logical fallacy. Basically if Buddha is enlightened, he knows the Truth; therefore, he's speaking about the Truth, he's describing Truth, he's explaining it. But, in reality, Buddha is merely pointing you to Truth. And once you meet Buddha on the path, you have to kill him and keep going.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
rkba
#12 Posted : 10/15/2023 3:32:57 PM

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I think that there are no two states with enlightenment. From what I have observed, so far, is that when there are only two options to choose from, it is the third option that isn't. "To be or not to be" is not the question. "There is no spoon", but there is.

The answer is the third option, that isn't.

Important is to enjoy the ride of the Flux you're on and let it guide you to the third option that isn't.

Flux with joy!
 
Tomtegubbe
#13 Posted : 10/15/2023 9:28:21 PM

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Yes, enjoy the ride! That is what I've gathered from all the religious and philosophical studies, meditation and psychedelics. Enjoying the ride is an art you can learn and it's indeed very much about opening up to the unknown third option when you feel you are stuck. Breath in, breath out, wait, let God, the Great Spirit or whatever you call the sublime supreme. There is always something you don't see. Learning to stop and listen will open the gates. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.
My preferred method:
Very easy pharmahuasca recipe

My preferred introductory article:
Just a Wee Bit More About DMT, by Nick Sand
 
OneIsEros
#14 Posted : 10/15/2023 11:53:59 PM

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I’m going to quote extensively from an article in Tricycle magazine with Bhikkhu Bodhi, the most prolific English translator of the Pali suttas currently living. I’m quoting rather than linking because you have to sign up for their newsletter, but the article is entitled “In Defense of Enlightenment”. He’s being interviewed about an article he wrote elsewhere where he defended his use of the term “enlightenment” as a translation of “Bodhi”, rather than “awakening”.

“ The classical Pali text on grammar, Saddanīti, assigns to this root the meanings of “knowing (or understanding),” “blossoming,” and “waking up,” in that order of importance. The Pali-Sanskrit noun buddhi, which designates the intellect or faculty of cognition, is derived from budh, yet entails no sense of “awakening.” Further, when we look at the ordinary use of verbs based on budh in the Pali suttas, we can see that these verbs mean “to know, to understand, to recognize.” My paper cites several passages where rendering the verb as “awakens” would stretch the English word beyond its ordinary limits. In those contexts, “knows,” “understands,” “recognizes,” or “realizes” would fit much better. The verbs derived from budh that do mean “awaken” are generally preceded by a prefix, but they are not used to refer to the Buddha’s attainment of bodhi.”

“ I rest my case largely on the use of imagery in the texts. The root budh itself has no reference to light, but the imagery used to illustrate the Buddha’s attainment usually involves light, radiance, or luminosity. The texts speak of his attainment of sambodhi as the arising of light. They refer to the Buddha as a “maker of light” and “one who dispels darkness.” That kind of imagery is quite in keeping with the use of “enlightenment” as a rendering of bodhi. On the other hand, we find absolutely no similes, metaphors, or imagery in the canonical texts that illustrate the Buddha’s attainment of complete sambodhi as a waking up from sleep or the Buddha as one who has woken up from the sleep of ignorance or who wakes other people up from sleep.

As you know, the suttas abound in similes, so if “awakening” were intended by bodhi, we would expect to find texts where the Buddha says: “Just as a man might awaken from a deep sleep, so I have awakened from ignorance and attained supreme bodhi.” But we find nothing like that. Rather, we find: “Ignorance was dispelled, and knowledge arose, just as darkness is dispelled when light arises.” And again: “In regard to these four noble truths, there arose in me vision, knowledge, and light.” The Buddha, as teacher, is compared to the sun rising in the sky and lighting up the world, and to a man who brings a bright lamp into a dark room so those in the room can see forms. Thus there is no canonical basis for preferring “awakening” to “enlightenment,” and much against this choice.”

“ We might be able to relate more easily to “awakening” than to “enlightenment” because every day we literally wake up from sleep, while “enlightenment” suggests something exalted and remote. And I confess that in introductory talks on Buddhism I sometimes use “the awakened one” for the Buddha, precisely because it is more accessible. But one of the reservations I have about “awakening” is that to my mind it fails to convey the depth, thoroughness, and transformative impact of sambodhi, the attainment that makes a person a buddha or an arhat. The word “awakening” suggests an instantaneous change in one’s level of consciousness. But in the texts the Buddha describes his attainment as a multifaceted, comprehensive understanding, an act of penetrating the nature of reality—the nature of experience—from multiple angles. It involved understanding the four noble truths from twelve angles, the five aggregates from twenty angles, the links of dependent origination from countless angles. In my view, the word “enlightenment” better conveys this vast, profound, stable, and comprehensive level of understanding.”

“ I would say that “awakening” better describes instantaneous insights into the nature of existence, for example, into impermanence or selflessness, than the consummate achievement of buddhahood. One might also use “awakening” to represent the first of the four stages of realization, which is usually translated as “stream-entry”—that is, the first decisive breakthrough, where, just momentarily, one dispels the darkness of ignorance, sees into the truth of the dhamma, and enters the irreversible path to liberation. So even though the texts don’t use a Pali word that corresponds to “waking up from sleep” for “stream-entry,” I would say that this attainment might be described as an awakening.

However, what my paper deals with is the appropriate word to use for the Buddha’s attainment, and for arhatship, the fourth and final stage of realization. Within the canonical texts, that’s where we find the word bodhi or sambodhi [sambodhi=“complete” or “perfect” enlightenment].”

“ I’m trying to determine what the Buddha’s disciples would have heard him saying. I raised the question: Did they hear him say, in effect, “I am an awakened one, one who has attained awakening”? If we correctly understand the use of the word bodhi and the verbs connected with it, I think there’s no evidence that that was what they heard him say.

The objective of the spiritual quest in the Indian ascetic circles of the time was to attain the supreme knowledge that brings liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death. So when the Buddha said that he had attained sambodhi, that he was a buddha, his first disciples heard him claim that he had attained supreme knowledge, the knowledge that brings the attainment of nirvana—the goal they were all striving for. So it wasn’t that they were asleep, living in a dream world, and now he’s woken up. Rather, they were living in the darkness of ignorance, and now he had attained the supreme knowledge that has dispelled the darkness of ignorance.

If translators want to use “awakening” and “awakened one,” they’re certainly entitled to do so. But what I maintain is that it would be a mistake to assume that the Buddha intended the words bodhi and buddha to convey those meanings. Rather, I argue, he intended to say: “I am one who has known the liberating truth. I have arrived at supreme knowledge.” And this supreme knowledge, this unsurpassed perfect sambodhi, I maintain, is better represented by the English word enlightenment than by awakening.”
 
OneIsEros
#15 Posted : 10/16/2023 1:22:04 PM

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For a contrary opinion, Bhikkhu Analayo:
https://www.academia.edu...he_Significance_of_bodhi
 
Palmer Eldritch
#16 Posted : 10/17/2023 3:37:58 AM

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OneIsEros wrote:
I’m going to quote extensively from an article in Tricycle magazine with Bhikkhu Bodhi, the most prolific English translator of the Pali suttas currently living.


Thanks for sharing! I was unable to access the link to the other one (Chrome gave me a security warning thingy), but the one you quoted was interesting.

While I do find the semantic topic interesting (anything to better describe enlightenment is pretty cool!), I'm personally not attached to the language we're using and don't mind using multiple ways of describing enlightenment, as long as they serve the purpose of pointing ever so faintly toward Truth. Any language used to describe enlightenment is a very poor approximation, with oodles of figurative language and analogies galore. As long as we have a loose understanding of what we mean by enlightenment.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
OneIsEros
#17 Posted : 10/17/2023 5:52:52 PM

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Out of curiosity, do you subscribe to the hypothesis of “perennial philosophy”?
 
Palmer Eldritch
#18 Posted : 10/19/2023 8:12:29 PM

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OneIsEros wrote:
Out of curiosity, do you subscribe to the hypothesis of “perennial philosophy”?


I don't subscribe to any philosophy.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
Voidmatrix
#19 Posted : 10/19/2023 8:39:40 PM

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I think I know why he's asking.

https://youtu.be/IA2ZEM4T-vo?si=CLvw0Y2eyg6SV0tL

https://youtu.be/P_CNg4dpU54?si=1LcciayU65CmpAOi

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What if the "truth" is: the "truth" is indescernible/unknowable/nonexistent? Then the closest we get is through being true to and with ourselves.


Know thyself, nothing in excess, certainty brings insanity- Delphic Maxims

DMT always has something new to show you Twisted Evil

Question everything... including questioning everything... There's so much I could be wrong about and have no idea...
All posts and supposed experiences are from an imaginary interdimensional being. This being has the proclivity and compulsion for delving in depths it shouldn't. Posts should be taken with a grain of salt. 👽
 
Palmer Eldritch
#20 Posted : 10/20/2023 2:51:25 AM

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Thanks for the context Void!

Well, the answer's still no; I don't subscribe to any philosophy because it cannot contain the truth.
When you're seeking, just about anything can point to truth, often unexpected things. But this whole notion seems just as likely to get you stuck as it is to move your forward.

Why focus on this philosophy? Allow it to become entrenched in your understanding of the world? If you're seeking enlightenment, replacing one entrenched idea for another is how you get stuck. I'm not saying it has no value to the seeker at all. But if you see it for what it is, a pointer to truth, you'll follow the sign where it's pointing and forgot about it. But if you misunderstand and believe the sign to be Truth and begin to cultivate that in your understanding of the world, you've become lost.

Again, if enlightenment isn't your thing, isn't your goal, that's fine. Believe whatever you want.
All posts are written from the perspective of Palmer Eldritch, the subject of Philip K Dick's 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

"Modular forms and elliptic curves! Infinite phi revolving around infinite parallels, Fractals of infinite reality, Each cascading, gliding in an infinite wheel! Tell me the true nature of my reality!"

"You gotta chill, man!"
 
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