Sivali Meditation Centre
Chiang Mai, Thailand
What is the meaning of Enlightenment in Buddhism ? Enlightenment* in Buddhism is the attainment of the supreme knowledge, Wisdom. To attain this Wisdom, we have to understand the fact of our basic of lives. The fact of life is to be born, grews old, and die at last. In between every one has experince in sufferring of feeling pain, experience loss or harm, enduring misfortune, ect. This fact is that every one is experience its many times in those life circles. There is a way to get out of these life circles, called the middle way of practice, the Eight Noble Path and you can find more details in the Chapter I.
What is so suffering of being born, growing old or to die ? And why do the clear understanding have made us getting away from the life circle?
The following translation of some parts of the Morning Chant should be a better explaination.
Birth, Ageing, Death are disstressful. Sorrow, Upsetting, Troubling are disstressful. Association with things disliked is disstressful, separation from things liked is disstressful, not getting what one wants is disstressful. In brief, the clinging to body, feeling, memory, imagination, and consciousness are disstressful. Because of body, feeling, memory, imagination, and consciousness are inconstant. Anything that is inconstant, it is not-self. Therefore it is disstressful. All creatures are inconstant. All teachings are not-self. Be wise to clearly see the truth of birth, ageing, death, sorrow, upseting, troubling ,disstressful and then make yourself practise toward enlightenment.
Why do we want to leave these life circles? It is your choice, some want but some don't. Life is yours, you will decide your future. So far by the time you read upto this chapter, you have understood well of Buddhism Karma. You are aware that the Budhist practice is not that simple and to attain the supreme knowledge of Entightement need your devoted works.
People who feel that life is repeating more or less the same, and get tired of these repeating, they will see the point of why wanting to get out of the life circles. For people who enjoy their lives still, will not see the point of why do we leave. Then they will be informed to lead their lives safe according to the five precepts, not kill, not steal, not misconduct, not lie and not dink alcoholic.
What is the state of Enlightenment ? The Buddha has explained the state of Enlightenment of the person who attianed that this way. 'Where there is no satisfaction or dissatisfaction, where there is neutrality and indifference, and there is only awareness, which is the pure nature of the mind'. These people were called 'Arahant' people.
Where does the Arahant person go when they die? This is a very difficult answer, but the Buddha made it simply this way. 'When we put off the light of candle, light is off. Where do you think the light go? The same as all the Aranhant people when they die, all off.' All those of their good karma, bad karma or neutral karma are off, no more results of the karma. No more happiness or sadness, no more pleasantness or disappointment, no more satisfaction or dissatisfaction. All Arahant people had been through those experiences many lives and had enough. They had carried their lives in peace, awareness and well understanding of all beings to the end of their karma.
People who have trained themself well until thay attained enlightenment. Many of them are monks from the Buddha times up to today's date, and almost of them have their special ability called Abbinnna. The Buddha had explained and classified Abbinna to six categories;
1. Magical Powers
2. Divine Ear
3. Penetration of the minds of others
4. Remebrance of former existences, retrocognition
5. Divine Eye
6. Knowledge of the exhaustion of all mental intoxicants.
If you read up to this part, you will have another question. It doesn't seem that the Buddha or Buddhist have paid much attention to the super special ability. The answer is as simple as Enlightenment is divine goal of practice. Once the person who has practised well this ability will happen, and will be well control to use for only good action and for only good benefit for beings. I will be glad to put more details and sample of some of the good monks from the Buddha time to now a day in the next chapter.
* or is called 'Arahanta' for the holy one who has attained Nirvana.
* Pali Language is Indo-Aryan language that developed in India, language of the sacred literature of Buddhism; called Tri Pitaka. The Buddha had taught in Pali Language and as well as were writen in Pali originally. The Tri Pitaka was translated to Sanskrit language much later.
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