Month: August 2014

enlightenment eyes boudnath

Enlightenment is Real; The Eyes Have It

Most meditators I talk to don’t believe in enlightenment, for understandable reasons. Most meditators I talk to don’t believe in enlightenment. It seems like a colorful but distant part of Buddhism, not something we could enjoy for ourselves. I understand this view. Enlightenment—the permanent end of suffering—generally sounds too good to be true compared to our own experience. Most of us have never met an enlightened person, and it’s easy to see how prescientific cultures could inflate the achievements of past meditators. Furthermore, perhaps we don’t even have a clear idea what we mean when we say “enlightenment.” Is “enlightenment” even really one thing? Are there different kinds of enlightenment? Is enlightenment just whatever people say it is, or a catch-all term for the “deep” experiences that come up in meditation? Enlightenment is Real! With enlightenment, our love of ambiguity can go too far: enlightenment actually is real. All this postmodern doubt and ambiguity is familiar, even comfortable. But in the case of enlightenment, it also risks going too far—because enlightenment actually is real. Stated …