Thursday, January 15, 2009

Enlightenment 102

This picture is provided by: Derick

The problem with Eastern philosophies and religions is that while they have been translated and interpreted many times, they have rarely being understood and assimilated.
See: Lost in translation Part II
While we have lots of scholars and students of Eastern mysticism, we have but very few buddhas.
We too often forget that “buddha”is first and foremost an adjective, a title not a noun, or person.
We should properly say Gautama the Buddha not Gautama Buddha, since he was “a Buddha” not “the Buddha”.

What Gautama Buddha envisioned in his moment of enlightenment was a recipe not a dogma.
Gautama did not aim to be a scholar, a philosopher or a writer.
His quest and great achievement was his own enlightenment.
His teachings and philosophy are only incidental not central to his achievement.
Buddhism is not a dogma; it is neither a philosophy nor a religion.
Buddhism is a practical approach to enlightenment.

It makes no sense to study piano or crocheting if you want to become a cook, does it?
There is no point in studying Buddhism if you don’t understand what the point of Buddhism is.
Buddhism is the path to enlightenment.
The whole purpose of embracing its teachings is to attain satori, nirvana, awakening, enlightenment.

The student of Buddhism doesn’t have anything to learn and the Zen master has nothing to teach.

The Zen master throws the student into the waters of metaphysics not to study the water and discover its secrets but in the hope the student will forget about the water and start swimming.
Every time the student floats up to the surface thinking “I got it!” the master pushes him back under the water., where the student struggles again to breath and urgently seeks the surface, just to be met by the same adamant master and be pushed back into the depths of his despair.
This game goes on and on, until one day the student realizes that there is no secret, that the teacher has nothing to teach and he has nothing to learn.
And then his struggle is over and he “rows, rows, rows his boat, happily down the stream…”

Let me put it this way, since we are mostly westerners here:
Life is like driving a car. The problem of life is that we get scared and we step on the brakes but we have to keep up with the traffic at the same time, so we are forced to step on the gas.
This creates the stress of life that we all feel. The “suffering” everybody is talking about is because we are running our car with both feet on the brakes and the gas at the same time.
Buddhism doesn’t teach you anything, doesn’t give you anything you already don’t have. Buddhism simply teaches us:
“Take your foot off the brakes! Have faith. Everything is going to be OK!”
Here is another parable you may find interesting: Row, row, row your boat…

So, are you ready for a swim?


Brigit said...

I think sometimes you need to take your foot off the brake and the gas. Let the traffic pass you by, and just be.

Talon said...

I like the car analogy. Unfortunately for most people, it's difficult to simple let go of the controls and trust in the universe.

Anonymous said...

So many of us keep rowing round in circles sometimes ... until the tide turns and sends us in another direction.

Lydia said...

I've been in such a whir lately and am fighting panic attacks, so when I read this I thought that I really should take my two feet off the gas. I might benefit from coasting for a little while then rev the engines back up and hopefully be more fruitful in my endeavors.

Buddha said...

@ Bright & Talon – To have that kind of faith would be wonderful. I would settle just to have control over my brakes.

@Aggie – That doesn’t sound too bad. I usually have to hit the bottom before changing.

@ Lydia – You are driving yourself to hard. Here is a little meditation to help you with your panic attack: To fear or not to fear

Lydia said...

Thank you for the wonderful meditation. Really. I will visualize all that tonight in my bed, omitting the screaming out loud part!

derick said...

Surrendering is difficult but not entirely impossible---
It all depends on the perspective of what one thinks one is loosing and of course the fear of conditioned results.

Patricia said...

Thank you for the added insight into being Budda. I've read/studied some of the teachings and truly say that it continues to help me focus.

Buddha said...

@ Lydia – I hope that helped and you are feeling better. Remember, if you need a friend you are always welcomed here 

@ Derick – Yes, I agree with you. We have to have faith. And thank you for your wonderful work.

@ Patricia – Life is a learning process. The moment we stop learning we start dieing. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Spiritual Blogger said...


"What Gautama Buddha envisioned in his moment of enlightenment was a recipe not a dogma".

SO much of spirituality seems to become dogma. I've often wondered why this is so. The best I can come up with is that spirituality and enlightenment is something which must be experienced to be truly understood. Words alone are never enough. Where does it leave us bloggers?! LOL ;-)