I have read a few articles and quotes recently discussing a speaker’s hatred towards enlightenment. While I can understand, I do think that simply not being to attain true enlightenment should be no reason for such generalized anger. It is currently a new frontier.
While perhaps in ancient times, lessons like the Buddha’s teachings solved the problems in the people’s lives, we have a more complicated world today. I do believe society, in general, has already learned the Buddha’s teachings. Still, people notice that they are not enlightened. While the ways of the past may have worked for the people of the past, and even for some traditional people today, the questions we face today require enlightenment to be a more rigorous topic.
That’s the first facet of this phenomena that I’d like to address. That is, the lessons of the past may have worked for the people of the past. Society, in general, does understand those lessons already. What I think is important to understand is that today’s world is a lot more complicated that it used to be. The amount of thinking, curiosities, arguments, and questions has increased. The amount of facts we possess is vastly larger and different in quality that what used to be. What this all amounts to is that there are many things to be wrong about. Because there are many things to be wrong about, there are more temptations to be wrong. One also cannot simply pretend to not know an answer that one knows, just as one should not pretend to know an answer to that does not know. This makes it easy to fail logically, while in the past, many of these possible problems did not occur due to the nature of existence being simpler and generally more abstract.
When one fails logically, one finds a state of non-enlightenment. I, again, presume enlightenment to be the original state of being, assuming existence to be of life and sentience first, which is often considered to be true on a personal and more subjective level. If there are many more ways to fail, then more people will fail. I believe this is what we’re observing in today’s state of common non-enlightenment.
There’s no reason, however, to grow angry with the lessons of the past. They likely provide benefit to many and perhaps they were closer to as advertised in past times, and possibly for people who prefer to live traditionally. I do know if I followed all of the spiritual teachings I have ever read, I would not find enlightenment. I do not see to be angry about it. I think one should be thankful that there are people trying, and ultimately getting closer, even if gradually.
This brings us back to what enlightenment is. Logically, enlightenment is a state of mind that comes from understanding the nature of the self. Understanding that one is in control of whether or not one is “happy,” or “sad,” and understanding why one uses and entertains emotions in the way one does, frees one from being an unfortunate slave to ones mysterious intentions, and allows one to enjoy the self, for its diverse set of accommodable desires.
Enlightenment is ultimately to enjoy reality. Non-enlightenment means the same thing as non-enjoying. In a large way, we expect reality to be enjoyable, as we, on some level, notice that it would be a very mean thing to do, to create an unenjoyable reality — life would make a lot less sense if we weren’t, in some way, entitled to an enjoyable reality.
Enlightenment is really a science, and I’ve read about people’s disappointments with how unscientific enlightenment-related discourse is, and I understand that. The reason this exists, however, is because the most important part of enlightenment — actually understanding what it is — has been missing, so if we don’t even know what enlightenment is, how can we be good judges of its discourse? Therefore, it is understandable that people take on a wide variety of paths in the mysterious frontier of the modern past few centuries of enlightenment. People have traveled in many directions and covered a lot of territory, and this is expected and normal for any exploration of a newly found territory.
A saddening recommendation I read from those disappointed with having tried to find enlightenment, but admittingly failed to discover such a revolutionary and highly sought after understanding, is that one should completely abandon enlightenment. They claim there are too many liars, and I think they are exaggerating. The number of blatant liars is likely few, and we are weak because we have had not much of a reliable and communicable answer. The number of people who are simply disappointed with the failure of the more mainstream ways, seek new alternatives. So, one can see, that the disappointment really is bidirectional. After switching over to the other side, either way, there are often testimonials, and anti-enlightenment and enlightenment are similar in this regard.
What is ironic about prescribing a way of life and claiming it to be not enlightenment, is that enlightenment really is about finding a good way of life, so that one can truthfully understand and enjoy life. By providing more guidance to finding a good life, the person is contributing to the body of information pertaining to enlightenment, but is using the word against its definition (utilizing that people find it ambiguous), and thus using the word in a misleading and counter-intuitive way.
Any life guidance is an attempt to bring people to enlightenment. Most lessons labeled as, “enlightenment,” teach that happiness is something that one produces internally, and relying on outside sources for happiness results in actually having less happiness. Most enlightenment lessons teach that if one can be happy in the present, then one will be much happier than if one is only happy at target points. These lessons are of simple logic, and I believe they are similar to common sense.
To suggest one should obey a philosophy of non-enlightenment, or anti-enlightenment, would be to suggest that these common-sense lessons that are learned with the transfer of the teachings of enlightenment (and not so often realized by the casual layman) are to be regarded as untrustworthy. If this advice is taken, we may just end up fixating on a bright light forever (which would be unsatisfying).
Sure, surfing the advice of the social mind has some advantages, but is it really fulfilling to not truly understanding what one is doing? One can abandon nearly all intuition and live only on the most popular social guidance, but then what does one become? Can one assume that collectivism in and of itself is sufficient to foster a good future?
The suggestion I usually see is to become a part of the most common social advice stream. They suggest to abandon all internal inquiries regarding spirituality, God, and anything not easily known. I think it is technically impossible to completely abandon the desire to understand life from an experiential perspective, yet there is advice to essentially do so. On the other end, further from enlightenment philosophy, I read that people making significant amounts of money, who have dedicated their lives to attaining greater financial prosperity don’t find happiness in life, either. Therefore, the suggestion that a better form of enlightenment is anti-enlightenment, is still unproven. And while it takes no one to sell you a dollar, you think it’s going to enlighten you, anyway. And while you may have already purchased popularity, you still think it’s going to enlighten you. No matter what advice, calling it “enlightenment” or “avoiding enlightenment,” it is still trying to find a form of happiness, that we can logically call, “enlightenment,” even if the advice is to “accept unhappiness.”
Another pattern I see and do not think is healthy, is to think that just because one never found the true attainment of enlightenment, that one has wasted their life, and that it was all useless. This, I believe, is a harmful thing to do. Many people practice this pattern in the name of progress, and it is unhealthy. Just because you believe you have improved, does not mean you were bad before. Everything you did, you did out of some desire, and these desires represent a true love for life, a love so powerful it can move the material world. When you then improve and regard all that experience of life as just useless, you are threatening to extinguish valuable emotions — emotions that remind you of the whole reason we experience life — because life itself is enjoyable. When we forget this lesson, we commit partial suicides in the name of betterment, and I believe that pattern should be avoided. A story of appreciation helps one remember the love that made one feel blessed, and a story of self-condemnation may be unhealthy for the soul. I believe that worshipping betterment is a form of worshipping Lucifer, which is a more abstract concept of worshipping an external happiness. External happiness, like music, can be enjoyed, but if one replaces internal happiness with external happiness, then one will find unhappiness.
In this article, I use the words, “happiness” and “unhappiness,” in the most general sense. I have discussed before that appreciations of emotions is important for the health of the psyche, as there is reason and intention behind emotions. In this article, I am not referring to the emotion of happiness, but instead the state of acceptance or unacceptance.
It is good to express thanks, however, for venturing on the untraveled path and contributing wisdom to the collective body of enlightenment discourse. It is understandable to be saddened by the inconclusiveness, lack of communicability, lack of evidence, and lack of rigor in the science and pursuit of enlightenment. The best way to remedy this is to help, and understanding it has been proven to be of the most difficult things in existence, it is understandable if one can’t be the one to actually solve and understand it, in a rigorous, logical, verifiable, and scientific way.
It is a great battlefield and it’s also an unfortunate tragedy. It’s not just a tragedy for those disheartened seekers of sustained spiritual bliss, but it’s also a tragedy to those who protect themselves behind social mindlessness, as they cannot see the light of heaven as bright, and it seems that for both sides, there is not a soul in the this world that is without suffering — legends exist, but communicability of this ability is necessary for it to be verifiable and acceptable as fact.
I hope my writings will give you what you need to fully understand enlightenment. When you understand something, it is simple, and when you understand it well, it shines with clarity. Enlightenment cannot be found by the modern man or woman without a true and explicit understanding of how it works and what it is.
Please excuse those that are shy of the truth. They follow a similar light as I. I know it may not be communicable knowledge, but at least there’s the ability to experience life. Everyone is crying anyway.