Enlightenment

The purpose of this discipline is to bring man into the habit of applying the insight that has come to him as the result of the preceding disciplines. When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. One should think: there is walking, there is stopping, there is realizing; not, I am walking, I am doing this, it is a good thing, it is disagreeable, I am gaining merit, it is I who am realizing how wonderful it is. Thence come vagrant thoughts, feelings of elation or of failure and unhappiness. Instead of all this, one should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquillity of mind, realization, insight and Wisdom; and one should follow the practice in faith, willingness and gladness. After long practice the bondage of old habits become weakened and disappears, and in its place appear confidence, satisfaction, awareness and tranquillity. What is the Way of Wisdom designed to accomplish? There are three classes of conditions that hinder one from advancing along the path to Enlightenment. First, there are the allurements arising from the senses, from external conditions and from the discriminating mind. Second, there are the internal conditions of the mind, its thoughts, desires and mood. All these the earlier practices (ethical and mortificatory) are designed to eliminate. In the third class of impediments are placed the individual’s instinctive and fundamental (and therefore most insidious and persistent) urges - the will to live and to enjoy, the will to cherish one’s personality, the will to propagate, which give rise to greed and lust, fear and anger, infatuation, pride and egotism. The practice of the Wisdom Paramita is designed to control and eliminate these fundamental and instinctive hindrances.

Give up the notion that there is a final state to attain. Spiritual life consists of ongoing practice undertaken as a lifetime work. This realization breeds humility, especially when we realize that in our initial infatuation with enlightenment, we underestimate the amount of inner work necessary to free us from our addictive patterns of thought and behavior.

Faith, modesty, humbleness, endeavor and wisdom are the great sources of strength to him who is seeking Enlightenment. Among these, wisdom is the greatest of all and the rest are but aspects of wisdom.

Those who believe in the theory of rebirth would say that we are here because of our past actions. It can also be said that the essence of life is the search for happiness and the fulfillment of one’s desires. All living beings strive to sustain their lives so that they might achieve happiness. As to why the self, wishing for happiness, came into being, Buddhism answers: This self has existed from beginningless time. It has no end but for it to ultimately achieve full enlightenment.

Do not build up your views upon your senses and thoughts, do not base your understanding upon you senses and thoughts; but at the same time do not seek the Mind away from your senses and thoughts, do not try to grasp Realty by rejecting your senses and thoughts. When you are neither attached to, nor detached from, then, then you enjoy your perfect unobstructed freedom, then you have your seat of enlightenment.

Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. It was never born and can never die. It shines through the whole universe, filling emptiness, one with emptiness. It is without time or space, and has no passions, actions, ignorance, or knowledge. In it there are no things, no people, and no Buddhas; it contains not the smallest hairbreadth of anything that exists objectively; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, radiant beauty: absolute reality, self-existent and uncreated. How then can you doubt that the Buddha has no mouth to speak with and nothing to teach, or that the truth is learned without learning, for who is there to learn? It is a jewel beyond all price.

God may be worshipped and contemplated in any of his aspects. But to persist in worshipping only one aspect to the exclusion of all the rest is to run into grave spiritual peril... The best that can be said for ritualistic legalism is that it improves conduct. It does little, however, to alter character and nothing of itself to modify consciousness... The complete transformation of consciousness, which is “enlightenment,” “deliverance,” “salvation,” comes only when God is thought of as the perennial Philosophy affirms Him to be - immanent as well as transcendent, supra-personal as well as personal - and when religious practices are adapted to this conception.

At first glance, life appears meaningless, futile, full of contradictions and absurdities. But a deeper, meditating look uncovers beauty, order and harmony, revealing life as a supreme accomplishment of eternal wisdom... All of creation is an act of love and providence, a drama imbued with meaning... In simple words: Life is a mission of awareness and awakening and deep enlightenment. We are here to sense this divine presence beyond all phenomena. We are here to recognize a deep urge in our hearts to act in harmony, in conformity and in love with these divinities.

Since there is really no duality, separation is unreal. Until duality is transcended and at-one-ment realized, enlightenment cannot be attained... All phenomena are your own ideas, self-conceived in the mind, like reflections in a mirror. To know whether or not this is true, look inside your own mind.

When Enlightenment is perfected, a Bodhisattva is free from the bondage of things, but does not seek to be delivered from things. Samsara (the world of becoming) is not hated by him, nor is Nirvana loved. When perfect Enlightenment shines, it is neither bondage nor deliverance.

What has become of the descendants of the irresponsible adventurers, the scapegrace sons, the bond servants, the redemptionists and the indentured maidens, the undesirables, and even the criminals, which made up, not all, of course, but nevertheless a considerable part of, the earliest emigrants to these virgin countries? They have become the leaders of the thought of the world, the vanguard in the march of progress, the inspirers of liberty, the creators of national prosperity, the sponsors of universal education and enlightenment.

The aim of our worship is the purification, enlightenment, and uplifting of our inner selves.

We possess a hidden higher self, the spark of divinity within the soul, which reflects this transcendental reality in our lives. By fulfilling certain necessary conditions, such as making ourselves more loving and compassionate, we can clear away the mental and emotional static that separates us from this inner reality, enabling the higher self to assume a central, guiding role in our lives. This awakening - called enlightenment, deliverance, or salvation in the various traditions - is the goal or purpose of human life. When we achieve this complete transformation of consciousness, we awaken from our limited, often painful condition and reconnect with our true nature.

Let life teach you what spirit it... By conforming to spiritual ideals imposed from the outside through the force of tradition, people often channel themselves into models of behavior that violate their inner essence. We are all guaranteed realization when we strip away our pre-conceived notions about spiritual perfection, give up striving form some idealized end-point called 'enlightenment,' and discover the magnificence of what we already are and live that fully.

Every kind of art is beautiful, as all life is beautiful, for much the same reason: that it embodies sentience, from the most elementary sense of vitality, individual being and continuity, to the full expansion of human perception, human love and hate, triumph and misery, enlightenment, wisdom.

The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at un-extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each even of ordinary life.

Gullibility isn’t a necessary consequence of being open-minded - but enlightenment is.

There is no enlightenment in questions, but only barbarism in belief.

It is a rare privilege to be born as a human being, as we happen to be. If we do not achieve enlightenment in this life, when do we expect to achieve it?

Words cannot describe everything. The heart’s message cannot be delivered in words. If one receives words literally, he will be lost. If he tries to explain with words, eh will not attain enlightenment in this life.