What If Enlightenment Was Only…
realising the true nature of self and all phenomena.
That our imagined self and all phenomena
are empty of true existence:
they are all a fabrication and there is nothing more than that.
Is ‘Enlightenment’ being enlightened about these matters, and the obstacles to realising spiritual insight?
And if so, so what?
A realisation of this means that we do not become attached to our ideas of self and phenomena: we do not take these seriously, as they are the cause of suffering. The suffering of others, however, we do take seriously, using the four enlightened, compassionate activities of pacifying, magnetising, enriching and destroying in order to bring about the cessation of suffering of mind games (search ‘four enlightened activities’ for details).
What if there are no miracles, no flying, no walking on water, no leaving imprints on rock, etcetera etcetera? After all, if these are not experienced by us, then they are just in our imagination: they are a belief, a story, and of no practical benefit (we’ve been to Padmasambhava’s cave and seen the ‘foot imprints’ on the ground – it had no effect on us whatsoever).
For some, visuals are important. They act as metaphors, figures of speech, figurative expressions, images, allegories, parables, analogies, symbols, emblems, word paintings to convince a certain type of mindset. But if we are not careful, these become ‘sticking posts’ created by hope and fear.
Does the understanding that our imagined self and all phenomena are empty of true existence have a simplifying effect on the mind? Does it bring about a deep sense of relief? Because that is what it is all about, and nothing else.
Could we be doing too much, chasing after experiences that will never satisfy?
Are we not like hungry ghosts? These beings are symbolised as creatures with large bellies, thin necks and tiny mouths, craving more than they can cope with.
We can spend an awful lot of time either speculating or blindly accepting that these things did happen. This creates a heavy load of expectations which can either pull us down or propel us into a realm of fantasy. We may feel guilt that we aren’t doing things properly, when we can have direct experience that is simply for this age. Maybe in the past, these things did happen but they’re not happening now, so they can only be used as metaphors which need to be dropped in order that we do not become over-fascinated and attached.
What do those of enlightened understanding do?
Earn their daily bread and wash the dishes.