Enlightenment

I was watching a TV commercial this morning in which a master was asked, "What is enlightenment?" The master responded, "Enlightenment is awakening." In the commercial, the matter is dropped in order to sell the product but it does lead to the question, "What, then, is awakening?"

There's a story told in Buddhist circles about a Brahmin who questions the Buddha:

Are you a god?”
”Are you a man?”

To which the Buddha replies, “No, I am awake.”

This is not quite an accurate portrayal of the Dona Sutta (to read the sutta for yourself, click here), but again we ask, what does being awake mean? As I understand it, it means the complete cessation of duality: inside/outside, black/white, self/not-self. It means non-identification with phenomena. A buddah lives in this non-dual state continuously, but it's perfectly possible for the rest of us to have what Jack Kornfield calls enlightenments (awakened moments)--and many of us have experienced them and not recognized them. A transcript of Jack's talk on enlightenments may be found here. If you prefer to listen, Jack has given the talk several times over the years; you can find a selection of recordings at Dharmaseed or visit Jack's website.

Posted by Deb.