What is enlightenment?

No, I don’t mean the magazine… I am wondering what it means to reach enlightenment, to become awakened. People who are awakened are so by self-proclamation. When I look at some of the behavior of those awakened ones, I wonder greatly if enlightenment is something all that great. For example, Chögyam Trungpa remained an alcoholic and died because of that. Is that enlightened? I think not. Of course, people would argue that I don’t see things clearly. Probably not. However, if someone is supposed to be enlightened and drinks himself to death, there’s something wrong. It certainly is not something I would want to strive for… I have attended a presentation by Byron Katie, where I found her to be rather impatient with and judgmental of people who questioned what she was saying. Again, to me, that is not very awakened. Or, to turn it around, if being awakened means that I only want people to blindly believe what I have to teach, I don’t want a part of that. (Incidentally, I very much value Katie’s four questions. I have found this approach to inquiry very helpful. But I don’t think Katie is enlightened, as some people seem to think.)

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What is enlightenment? — 1 Comment

  1. I like the idea that we are all ignorant. We are just ignorant about different things. Maybe some people can have a glimpse of a different reality through one of a variety of means, but to live as a human we still have to come back down to earth so to speak and be able to put the garbage out and commute.

    I don’t think striving and enlightenment have anything to do with each other. My sense is not striving and being present is about as good as it gets. This of course is easier said than done. Most of us immediately get stuck into a state of boredom if we try to slow down and just be. But even if you can be present, or a experience a greater awareness of Being, it is a tough act to keep up.

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