The word “Enlightenment” provokes extreme and varied reactions from believers, agnostics, skeptics and seekers. There is no consensus about what Enlightenment is. For those for whom “Enlightenment” is merely an attractive word, this presents no problem, indeed it allows “Enlightenment” to be used as spice word to pepper otherwise dull conversation in the same way that sexual imagery is used to sell unappealing products. “Enlightenment” in its undefined form is as ubiquitous as snow at Christmas, and if you can't find the real thing, you can always spray it from a can.
Enlightenment for the Hindu or Buddhist is like Heaven for the Christian, the faithful want to enter it but can never arrive. Enlightenment and Heaven thus become the stuff of myth, depicted by artists, speculated over by hair-splitting philosophers and fantasised about by monks intoxicated by their sublimated sexual vapours and wanting to escape the hardships of cell life.
The concept of Enlightenment is cheapened and degraded, like gold everyone wants some, at least the shine, but not the weight. Obscuring occultists, inanely smiling gurus, human potential coaches, science fiction writers, role-game players and big bucks religious organisations like to hint and point to the possibility of Enlightenment without ever actually providing any evidence that it exists.
Very few members of an authoritarian spiritual group would dare to admit that they are spiritual virgins, instead they will exaggerate, upgrading their fleeting imaginary experiences to full blown spiritual revelations. In this way, they clothe their naked emperor and thereby gain his co-dependent loyalty.
The job of any seeker and teacher should be to question apparent reality and remove all occluding beliefs. Only in this way can a seeker start to appraise the truth of existence.
Mass-produced religion, including the mega-gurus and celebrity lamas (typically Tibetan) spawned from their ranks, have created a misrepresentation of Enlightenment in every way as fictitious as the fake-named Indian and Chinese dishes sold in Western restaurants to an unsuspecting and undiscerning public.
Enlightenment is real but to find the way to it you must clear your head of obscuring nonsense. You also need to get close the real thing, an enlightened person, not a clown-in-a-gown who you only get to watch at a safe distance (for him) up there on a stage.
Enlightenment is a living attainment not a crystallised state trapped forever like a prehistoric fly in amber. If the Buddha was the only Enlightened person ever, as many Buddhists believe, then everyone should give up all hope or else sit under a banana tree, act like a banana and pray that the Buddha notices them.
Religion has moved Enlightenment far away from the ordinary man and woman. Pity, because Enlightenment is everyone's birthright.
Fortunately, Enlightenment is here. It is available for anyone who sincerely wants it. It is also being given a more accurate definition.
In the online class, "The Reality of Absolute, Complete, Eternal, Enlightenment", I will explore the veracity of concepts which have been associated with Enlightenment by comparing them with my own experience of Enlightenment.
Fri, 6 Jul 2012