Attaining Enlightenment

Attaining enlightenment seems to be what we are all looking for when we diligently practice mindful meditation every day.

I know, from personal experience, that this can be a very difficult task. When I was 19, I had three transformative experiences that shaped my life. I did not know what theses were experiences were until more than a decade later when I started investigating yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, meditation, and spiritual teachers from all over the world. I became dedicated to “attaining enlightenment!”

Over the years, I have discovered that enlightenment is only available in the present moment, as are all the wonders of life. Only when we are present for what is happening right now, can we even experience a taste of enlightenment. As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says it, “”Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment.”

Nara Buddha

Daisaku Ikeda, a Nichiren Buddhist philosopher and educator, writes a similar statement?

“In Nichiren Buddhism, attaining enlightenment is not about embarking on some inconceivably long journey to become a resplendent, godlike Buddha, it is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of ones’ being. In other words, it is not a matter of practicing in order to scale the highest summit of enlightenment at some point in the distant future. Rather, it is a constant, moment-to-moment, inner struggle between revealing our innate Dharma nature or allowing ourselves to be ruled by our fundamental darkness and delusion.”

Daisaku Ikeda from Buddhism Day by Day: Wisdom for Modern Life

So if we want to attain enlightenment, we have to be committed to be present for everything that life has to offer. We can’t escape into hopes, plans, dreams, visions or other distractions. We have to present for life just as it is!

What are your thoughts and experiences related to attaining enlightenment?

Books by Daisaku Ikeda

Buddhism Day by Day: Wisdom for Modern Life

Daisaku Ikeda

With brief, easily absorbed wisdom from the precepts of Nichiren, a 13th-century Buddhist priest, this collection of day-to-day musings can be enjoyed by casual readers and devoted followers alike. Covering a wide span of topics—from life and death to courage and winning—the practical info…

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