Wednesday, April 17, 2019
The idea of 'enlightenment'.
A quote from Sri Nisargadatta ('I Am That'):
"The idea of enlightenment is of utmost importance. Just to know that
there is such possibility, changes one's entire outlook. It acts like a
burning match in a heap of saw dust. All the great teachers did nothing
else. A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The opposite is
also true. The sun of truth remains hidden behind the cloud of
self-identification with the body."
Some spiritual teachers seek to destroy the image or false idea of 'enlightenment', and thus give the antidote of 'non-existent enlightenment'. That is to say, they negate the possibility and existence of enlightenment, and explain it as a non-event, a concept and something that does not exist.
This can serve for those who have conceptual images of enlightenment that pertain to an individual attaining something extra on top of what the individual already is.
Unfortunately, non-existent enlightenment also becomes a belief, in that the individual then takes it that there is nothing other than the self-identified state of being an individual, and 'suffering' is a part of life etc. Nihilism and other philosophies often follow. Other solutions to this problem are then inadvertently sought after.
In contrast, Sri Nisargadatta explains that the idea of 'enlightenment' is very important. For the self-identified individual, this idea becomes a beacon of light in that it provides a 'way out' from suffering, limitation, and the mess that one inevitably finds oneself in as an individual in the world. Seeking may then happen, or not, but a shift occurs with the introduction of this idea. Of course, further down the track, this idea will need to be dropped, as it will become an obstacle in itself. But initially, this idea must be taken up, as the first step or first instant of a new direction away from the same beaten path that the conditioned individual has held for time immemorial.
As the individual comes to know itself as an image, and identified consciousness becomes purified from the habit of identifying with external objects and confusion, then it can be seen that there is nothing to attain apart from What is obviously apparent and existent, and has been so for all eternity. Until then, the idea of 'enlightenment' has an important place in the world of the individual for those who identify as an individual.