Can humans reach enlightenment?

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Grantywanty, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Why? You are an illusion to begin with. All boundries are the result of definition.
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  3. CheskiChips Banned Banned

    That's not true. Boundaries define themselves, we simply find them.
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  5. VossistArts 3MTA3 Registered Senior Member

    So realizing or knowing we are and everything is only illusion is the point? So there's nothing, after knowing or having learned all there is to be learned, such as in the Buddha's case, worth doing? I understand that making speculations on what might possibly go through the mind of a human in that place is sort of unreasonable but still, what about like the bodhisattva ideal? I just cant imagine coming to a point where I thought ( or didnt think) " I'm good. I will cease to exist now."
    Somehow I dont think overcoming ego and the imagination of ones self necessarily means that a being no longer has the means by which to decide to continue on in some way for some reason or another.
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  7. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    It sounds like you have a definition involving two sets

    the real
    the illusory.
  8. onemoment Registered Senior Member

    All boundaries are arbitary so how can they define themselves? For example, you can put a boundary around the body-mind but if someone were up on the moon looking down, then where is the boundary of a body-mind then. And if we look on a microscopic level - the body-mind is made up of cells, and then if we look at the body from a physics perspective it is nothing but space/light.

    Boundaries are abitary, we are the ones that define them. We are the ones that come up with words for a new boundary we apparently have discovered. Boundaries are determined/defined for the purposes of communication but how can the 'word' we give to something be what that something really is? It's just a name we have given a compartment (we compart-mentalize - this word implies it is just thinking and not reality), it does not describe reality - we just talk around reality.

    If you think there are no such 'beings' as 'enlightened beings' check out some of the peoople featured on the site. Of course none of them claim to be enlightened for that would make them separate and with 'enlightenment' the illusion of separation is no longer.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  9. onemoment Registered Senior Member

    Here is a response from someone I know is enlightened to the question that you pose;

    He is asked; So Bob is there any such a thing as enlightenment?

    His response was as follows: Well ‘enlightenment’ implies there’s somebody that needs to be enlightened, that there is something to get, something to do. But you see, as soon as there’s that idea of somebody, for start off, you’ve got a belief in a separate entity, which is dualism. You’ve also got the belief that at some future time you’ll become something – that again is taking you away from omnipresence – and also the belief that something or someone is going to give it to you – again taking you away from that knowledge that you are that omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence. You are the totality.

    So enlightenment is an erroneous belief, again, that keeps the so called seeker in the search. And while ever there’s a so called seeker there’s going to be a search. The seekers never become finder.

    Bob Adamson is his name and there are many free podcasts on featuring him - see for yourself if you think he is 'enlightened' or not - see if what he says rings true for you.
  10. kmguru Staff Member

    But a seeker can be a reacher...right?

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  11. onemoment Registered Senior Member

    What is the difference? Am I somehow missing your joke? Please elaborate.

    The implication is the the 'individual' never reaches 'enlightenment' or finds 'enlightenment' because when it is 'found' or 'reached' the individual is no more.
  12. kmguru Staff Member

    The OP was "Can humans reach enlightenment? "
  13. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Grantywanty: Can humans reach enlightenment?


    Grantywanty: If your answer is yes, how did you reach this conclusion?


    Baron Max is there nothing else to strive for?

    more practice

    Baron Max Is that the end of all human endeavors?

    no more or less than before.

    Baron Max "enlightenment" needs a whole lot of defining!

    defining, while a fun pastime, is unfortunately irrelevant.

    Enmos Well, if that's true how can we ever answer the question ?


    cosmictraveler Enlightenment comes only after you have lost your fear of death.

    There is not any particular necessary or sufficient condition nor is there a lack of necessary and sufficient conditions. Practice helps, but even that is not a final answer. Sometimes it is stop practicing. But practice more first so that in the mean time you will be cultivating a virtue.

    Wisdom_Seeker enlightenment comes when you stop identifying yourself with your body and personality; enlightenment is disidentification.

    It is so absolutely blisteringly simple and easy that smart people babble all manner of odd stuff to make it harder. Practice and find out is the only way to get a valid answer to when it comes for you.

    cosmictraveler I'd agree but losing fear is the key I would think.

    There are a number of fun side effects. I would say not making more fear than you need to, but I can be a bit pedantic.

    Klippymitch How does one know when he has reached the stage of enlightenment?

    Pay attention.

    VitalOne First when I did ... I achieved that voidness, nothingness state. Then after practicing more ...I achieved the bliss ...after I practiced ...then truly the greatest happiness emerged.

    wonderful example of karma. practice/achieve, more practice/more achieve

    some people get caught up in what they should practice, just practice. Practice meditation like VitalOne or practice tea or practice discipline or practice thinking or practice nothing

    VitalOne: When you destroy ALL your insecurities, impulses, destructive thoughts and feelings, etc...then you achieve the highest perfection.

    Absolutes are just more traps. There is nothing to destroy. There are as many insecurities, impulses, destructive thoughts and feelings, etc as you care to make. It is thinking that you must destroy them which causes you to make more so there is an object for your destruction. Even highest perfection is a trap, an unobtainable idea. Just stop and it all goes away. The real secret you are already doing - practice. It is the goal that is the illusion.

    Enmos I am not afraid of death, but I do fear a painful process of dying.[\i]

    Meditation provides basic volitional control over heart rate and respiration as well as the ability to mediate pain response. It requires a bit of time investment and discipline. 15 min a day, every day, for about a year would get you a decent start. But you will be able to check out under most any circumstance which you would actually be aware of.

    For mechanically assisted suicide CO seems to be the most effective readily available source for most people. You can also use water, though it can be tedious. Drink at least a gallon in a 30 minute period. You'll know you are close when you start feeling "intoxicated."
  14. swarm Registered Senior Member

    John99 Isn't loving everyone and every living creature enough to be considered enlightened.

    No. Loving everyone and every living creature is loving everyone and every living creature.

    John99 BUT look what happens when you do?

    You mean being very happy with a life saturated with love surrounded by happy people loving you back?

    greenberg A complete cessation of suffering.

    A complete cessation of suffering, aka dukkha, in Buddhism can be confusing. It doesn’t mean that you never feel pain or never know loss. It is more that you stop creating imagined hardships for yourself by giving up wanting what is not, hating what is, lusting after ill ways, cultivating ignorance and other such nonsense. Instead you cultivate a good lifestyle, compassion for yourself and others, and develop your insight, focus and balance. Or in a nutshell do what works well for all, avoid ill ways, learn to tell the difference by practicing and paying attention.

    Myles How will you know that you have arrived at a point where you are seeing the world as it truly is ?

    You don’t bump into stuff unexpectedly so much.

    Myles: My understanding of the Pali canon, mainly by reading commentaries and talking to two Buddhist monks, is that it teaches "anatta". That is, it denies the existence of.

    Literally “no soul.”

    Myles: So how do we learn to love, etc., what does not exist ?

    Has no independent self been a hindrance so far?

    The study of Buddhism can be a big hindrance to the realization of Buddhism. All this time you’ve been learning to love without an independent self. Someone tells you anatta and suddenly you are wondering how you do what you’ve been doing all alone without effort.

    What does not exist are all the parts of you that are not this right here right now.

    Myles: If we stick with your idea of a Lego house, AT WHAT POINT DOES IT CEASE TO BE A HOUSE ?

    There is no inherent “houseness.” Anything ceases to be a house when those who know what a house is no longer know it to be a house just as it becomes a house when those who know what a house is know it to be a house. Yes there can be disagreement and overlap.

    Myles Each day a philosopher removes a single hair from his beard. At what point does it cease to be a beard ?

    Never. The rate of extraction is less than the rate of regrowth. But if he was making a more strenuous effort it would cease to be a beard when those who know what a beard is no longer know he has a beard and yes there can be disagreement and overlap during the transitional phase.

    Grantywanty As you have pointed out elsewhere some Buddhists tend to view the self as mythological. They find no consistant quality over time.

    Just to pick some nits, I think it would be more accurate to say one’s concept of oneself is mythological, a good word for it BTW, and Buddhists find no inherent/independent quality over time. Decay would be the consistent quality over time, though these days they might use entropy instead.

    VossistArts did the Buddha just cease to exist after attaining his complete enlightenment?
    Spidergoat Yes, he ceased to exist.
    VossistArts At a glance that seems a little pointless.

    After as in after about fifty years since according to the story he clued-in in his 30s and died in his 80s. Everyone ceases to exist. It’s the before that which is interesting.
  15. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Are you enlightened?
    If not, what makes you think those experiences you have had so far give you enough information to know you will reach enlightenment later?
    What makes you think you understand something you have not experienced?
    if you have experienced enlightenment what makes you think it will continue or that it 'really' is enlightenment?
  16. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Simon Anders: Are you enlightened?

    Can't you tell?
  17. kmguru Staff Member

    Good answer...

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  18. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Avoidance of the issue.
    What makes you think that enlightenment is the end state of the practices you follow or that others follow?

    Why should I accept the 'rantings' of an information age keyboard user?

    Can you back up your claims or is that only for others to do?
  19. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Simon Anders Avoidance of the issue.

    You are mistaken. It is the heart of the matter. If you can't tell then it is pointless for me to say yes or no.

    Simon Anders What makes you think that enlightenment is the end state of the practices you follow or that others follow?

    Where have I said it was a state, let alone an end state?

    Simon Anders Why should I accept the 'rantings' of an information age keyboard user?

    Why should you be a ranting information age keyboard user?

    Ask whatever questions you have and I'll answer them as best I can, but no better.
  20. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    What makes you think enlightenment can be reached?
    You previous answer was 'practice'?
    This could imply that you have practiced enlightenment?
    It could refer to some practice, as yet not clarified.
    What was it about 'practice' that led you to believe enlightenment can be reached?

    It seems you want to avoid backing up your claims.
    How would you respond to a Christian who said
    I know there is a God.
    And so on with other 'evidence' - in the repeated use of 'practice' - to back up further claims.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  21. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Did you really not understand what I meant here?
  22. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member


    I suppose the assumption that underlies my frustration with people who claim to be enlightened (or that they know God) is this:
    Those who are enlightened will be (1) able and (2) willing to bring others to enlightenment, and (3) within a foreseeable time.

    But I am not sure any of the parts (1-3) of this assumption is true.
  23. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Yes, I have practiced.

    No. There are practices that some prefer, there are some that others think of as best, but like I said its just practice. I recommend practicing what you need to learn, but its your choice.

    Doing it.

    Please be specific about what you are asking about

    I'm not making an epistomological claim nor am I requiring any faith or belief. I'm making a pragmatic claim. What I'm suggesting has worked well for me. If you try the same I suspect it will have similar results. Since I'm not suggesting anything which you are unable to do, you can arrive at your own conclusions. Maybe it won't work for you. Maybe you will find a different way. Its no big deal.

    1-2) Its something you have to do yourself and even the Buddha could only point the way and I'm not him. Of course there is always some one who says they can do it for you...

    3) It only takes as long as it takes.

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