What is enlightenment anyway?

buddha statue

To me, the buddha statue represents awakening and spiritual growth.

What is enlightenment?  Is it only for those who believe in Buddhism?  Is it truly achievable?

If you were to google the internet on enlightenment, you would see many ways to describe it.  You would see definitions like this:

  • ‘being free from all karma, being fully self-realized’
  • ‘being free from the cycle of karma and rebirth’
  • ‘being at oneness with the universe’
  • ‘being who you really are’
  • ‘being free from all your imaginary suffering’
  • ‘inner awakening’
  • ‘finding that there is nothing to find’

When I asked a wise friend of mine this question, his answer was ‘Total acceptance of self’.  This is an answer that really resonates with me. If we truly accept ourselves, we don’t get angry, frustrated and generally annoyed with life and other people and circumstances.

You may have experienced moments of enlightenment. Have you ever felt totally and completely at peace even for a short moment, even through your life’s challenges?  It’s a feeling of extreme inner joy and peace.

If you are on an intentional spiritual path, you are more likely to experience moments of enlightenment, because you are more awake and aware.

I am not a Buddhist, although I find most of Buddha’s teachings very helpful for daily guidance.  I find peace and serenity within lovely buddhas.  Moments of enlightenment can happen for anyone and when you experience it, I think you’ll know it.

In our western society lifestyles, I think it’s too much to expect that we can ‘achieve enlightenment’. However, we can achieve ‘moments of enlightenment’ with practice, the right intention and living our lives with compassion.

11 thoughts on “What is enlightenment anyway?

  1. I have read many books about Buddhism, and books written the Dalai Lama. Buddhism has a lot to offer when it comes to self-acceptance and compassion. My favorite book of all time on this topic is “Happiness” by Matthieu Ricard. If you’re interested here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Guide-Developing-Lifes-Important/dp/0316167258/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333028937&sr=8-2.

    This was a wonderful, and simple post. A great reminder in our busy Western society.

  2. Enlightenment is a person’s emergence from his self-sustained dependency.  “Dependency” is the inability to make use of one’s intellect without the supervision of another.  One’s dependency is “self-sustained” when its cause lies not in defect of intellect but in lack of the decisiveness and courage to make use of one’s mind without the direction of another.  Sapere aude!  “Have the courage to make use of your own mind!” is thus the slogan of the Enlightenment.
    Kant

  3. Thank you for your wonderful blog! I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Well-deserved. Please see my most recent post for more about the award. 🙂

  4. “In our western society lifestyles, I think it’s too much to expect that we can ‘achieve enlightenment’.”

    I think that the western society lifestyle definitely creates blocks to achieving enlightenment, but if you don’t expect to or believe you can ‘achieve enlightenment,’ then it’s gonna be really hard to ever get there! Focus on changing that belief and you’ll move more quickly towards where you wanna be.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Love & Light,
    DCP

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