Whether or not enlightenment is possible at the moment of death, the practices that prepare one for this possibility also bring one closer to the bone of life.
They themselves are makers of themselves by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.
Three typical historic philosophies of education were considered from this point of view. The Platonic was found to have an ideal formally quite similar to that stated, but which was compromised in its working out by making a class rather than an individual the social unit. The so-called individualism of the eighteenth- century enlightenment was found to involve the notion of a society as broad as humanity, of whose progress the individual was to be the organ. But it lacked any agency for securing the development of its ideal as was evidenced in its falling back upon Nature. The institutional idealistic philosophies of the nineteenth century supplied this lack by making the national state the agency, but in so doing narrowed the conception of the social aim to those who were members of the same political unit, and reintroduced the idea of the subordination of the individual to the institution.
The progress of human enlightenment can go no further than in picturing people not as vicious, but as mistaken.
Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.
Studying the Buddha way is studying oneself. Studying oneself is forgetting oneself. Forgetting oneself is being enlightened by all things. Being enlightened by all things is to shed the body-mind of oneself, and those of others. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless enlightenment
In Buddhism, practice and enlightenment are identical. You can experience this practice within enlightenment even now by assuming a beginner’s mind and devoting yourself to the way; this is the entirety of intrinsic enlightenment. Why do we recommend in the instructions for practice not having any expectation of enlightenment? Because practice is already the intrinsic realization that points directly to your true self. Enlightenment is practice, so it has no end; practice is enlightenment, so it has no beginning.
Charity has no label, compassion no religion, wisdom no dogma, empathy no rules. Integrity needs no laws, enlightenment no temples. Living in total harmony with Tao is beyond culture, oneness with Tao beyond philosophy. Emptiness and silence cannot be defined. The Way has no name, for it is Tao.
Looking for enlightenment is like looking for a flashlight when all you need the flashlight for is to find the flashlight.
At the very time when we have been boasting of our enlightenment and knowledge and understanding, there is this tragic breakdown in personal relationships.
Your own body is a sanctuary and celestial mansion... in the monastery of your heart and body, you have a temple where all buddhas unite... the very basis of his [marpa's] teaching is that this meditation be practiced in solitude... for a life that leads to enlightenment is more precious than a billion worlds filled with gold... having embraced the spirit rather than the letter, I forgot how to play with words... measuring the infinitude of non-duality, he will loose his arrows throughout the world. Those whom he will strike are the faithful ones. that which he will kill is their clinging to self.
God desired, however, that there should be a [theurgic] way for man to free himself from the physical restrictions [of the natural world]. In this manner, he would then be able [through the use of theurgy] to attain things as a result of spiritual rules rather than those of physical law. He would thus be able to attain enlightenment and a perception of the spiritual....In attaining this, man would also be able to better elevate all existence to its preferred good state [of unity]. He would be able to accomplish this both below and on high, both in the Roots and in the Branches.
If one can attain enlightenment through love it is one of the most beautiful experiences, far more beautiful than to attain enlightenment through meditation because meditation is a single note, solo, there is no orchestra in it. Love is an orchestra, two beings playing together. It is far richer.
Enlightenment is not something like an achievement; one cannot achieve it. One has to disappear for it to happen. It is a happening and it happens only in the absence of the ego. And whenever you are doing something the ego becomes more and more strengthened. The ego is a doer, and enlightenment happens in a state of nondoing. It is simply the realization of who you are; it is not a question of achievement. You are already it! Just an awakening, just a turning in!
In a single moment, in one stroke, you can become enlightened. It is not a gradual process, because enlightenment is not something that you have to invent. It is something that you have to discover. It is already there. It is not something that you have to manufacture. If you have to manufacture it, of course, it will take time; but it is already there. Close your eyes and see it there. Be silent and have a taste of it. Your very nature is what I call enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something alien, outside you. It is not somewhere else in time and space. It is you, your very core.
The idea of enlightenment is to remain in the present moment. I call it meditation — not to go into the past, which is no more, not to go into the future, which is not yet — because if you go into past and future, you are going to miss the present moment, which is the only reality. Just be here, now. And if you are here and now, enlightenment comes of its own accord. It is not a goal that you have to reach. It is not somewhere far away, so that you have to travel a path to it. It comes to you, you never go to it. It is not your doing, it is a happening.
But nobody’s approval can make anything real. Even if the whole world denies your enlightenment you will still be enlightened, there will be no difference. Or vice versa: even if the whole world approves your enlightenment and you are not enlightened, all that approval is not going to make you enlightened.
The education that exists in the world is not true education. True education will be a help towards enlightenment because it will make you more meditative, more silent, more aware, more inward-looking. The education that exists in the world makes you more ambitious, outward-looking, more egoistic, more superficial. It gives you all kinds of wrong values. It is a kind of poisoning. It does not help you, in any way, to be yourself. It is destructive. It helps you to be somebody else, and that’s its very destructive foundation. It is a poisoning, but so slow that you never become aware. It begins the day you are born and it goes on slowly slowly destroying you, distracting you from your nature.
The succession of thoughts appears in time, but the gap between two of them is outside time. The gap itself is normally unobserved. The chance of enlightenment is missed.
On What the Bleep: I think there's an awful lot of what we might call flaky pop science, where people look at modern physics, because it's a sort of wonderland of abstract ideas and they look at quantum mechanics and black holes and at a very superficial level think that it opens the way to spiritual enlightenment without fully understanding what these subjects are about.