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What is meant by Enlightenment?

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2012-10-28 05:14:34
2012-10-28 05:14:34

The Buddha didn't use a word meaning "enlightenment" when he talked about the change that came to him under the Bodhi tree, the change that he taught could occur to anyone; he used a word that meant "Awake" and sometimes "liberation" or the word "nibbana" which makes reference to the cooling off/blowing out of a flame. The translation of these terms into the word "enlightenment" seems to have come from the vocabulary of westerners who lived in the Post-Enlightenment era (the 1800s).

What is meant by "awakening" is seeing the world more clearly, as opposed to our natural state in which we drift through life not paying a whole lot of attention to what's going on or how things work; this is an attempt to point out that there is a better way to see the world but it does require paying attention, and is preferable to living in a somewhat unreal dream. What is meant by "liberation" is freedom from suffering (dukkha). What is meant by the cooling of "nibbana" (aka "nirvana") is the pleasant state of equanimity reached when one has gotten good at seeing the world more accurately and therefore learned a way of being that ends self-created problems, leading to calm. That which is "blown out" is the concept of a lasting, separate, changeless self.

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