I have a question.

A man should attain enlightenment to liberate himself from cycle of rebirths and every other aspects.

What if a MAN don't even care to try out to attain enlightenment. Will he be stuck in a cycle and no place to stop his process of rebirth until he attains enlightenment.

Does he be a prisoner of this birth cycle. Is there no way for him to escape until he attains Enlightenment. What is the end of this birth cycle?

I don't have in-depth knowledge in Buddhism or the question I ask. So please correct me if I am wrong.

8 Answers 8


Vimalakirti Sutra:

Śāriputra: Goddess, where will you be born when you transmigrate after death?

Goddess: I will be born where all the magical incarnations of the Tathāgata are born.

Śāriputra: But the emanated incarnations of the Tathāgata do not transmigrate nor are they born.

Goddess: All things and living beings are just the same; they do not transmigrate nor are they born!

Śāriputra: Goddess, how soon will you attain the perfect enlightenment of buddhahood?

Goddess: At such time as you, elder, become endowed once more with the qualities of an ordinary individual, then will I attain the perfect enlightenment of buddhahood.

Śāriputra: Goddess, it is impossible that I should become endowed once more with the qualities of an ordinary individual.

Goddess: Just so, reverend Śāriputra, it is impossible that I should attain the perfect enlightenment of buddhahood! Why? Because perfect enlightenment stands upon the impossible. Because it is impossible, no one attains the perfect enlightenment of buddhahood.

Śāriputra: But the Tathāgata has declared: “The tathāgatas, who are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, have attained perfect buddhahood, are attaining perfect buddhahood, and will go on attaining perfect buddhahood.”

Goddess: Reverend Śāriputra, the expression “the buddhas of the past, present, and future” is a conventional expression made up of a certain number of syllables. The buddhas are neither past, nor present, nor future. Their enlightenment transcends the three times! But tell me, elder, have you attained the state of arhat?

Śāriputra: It is attained, because there is no attainment.

Goddess: Just so, there is perfect enlightenment because there is no attainment of perfect enlightenment.

  • 6
    Thanks for the reference to this sutra which I had never seen before!
    – user13375
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 14:47
  • 1
    Yes, I too was very happy when I discovered it. It reads like a sane version of prajnaparamita line of sutras.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 20:28
  • 2
    I found this bobthurman.com/… and this bobthurman.com/… which you might enjoy :)
    – user13375
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 16:47

To your first question, the Pacceka-Buddha are individuals who attained enlightenment without the Buddha's teaching. They are very, very rare. Since they achieved enlightenment solely on their own, there is no way to know if they cared about enlightenment; they might have, and they might have not, but it does not really matter.

To your second question, 'Enlightenment' is the only way to end the birth-cycle.


Enlightenment(Nibbana) is the only way out. There is no other. As long as the causes are present, the effect will arise.

  • I think this is the succinct and correct answer. If you believe we are transmigrating beings, then nibbana is the only way to stop the transmigration.
    – user13375
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 17:03
  • @YesheTenley 'transmigration' is the wrong word to use since it means a soul passing from one body to another. Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 2:53
  • I did not use transmigration to refer to souls. I meant it with the same usage as this: accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn15/sn15.003.than.html
    – user13375
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 13:39
  • It's not a commonly used term in Buddhism to give that meaning. Someone can very easily misinterpret it as a soul or something going from life to life. Rebirth is better. Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 5:57
  • Thanissaro Bhikkhu used "trransmigration" to translate samsara in his older translation of SN 15.3 (on Access to Insight) -- his newer translation of that is "wandering-on".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 6:35

The process of purification of mind, is like the refinement of gold. One needs to do away with the impurities (fetters/hindrances) to obtain pure gold. As long as they exist, one is confined to Samsara.

According to Theravada Buddhism, there are Three Gateways to Liberation. In the Visuddhimagga, they are described as realizing the Three Characteristics of Existence.

The Triple Gateway To Liberation

It enters upon the state of the triple gateway to liberation now with the predominance of [one of] three faculties according as the contemplation occurs in [one of] the three ways. For it is the three contemplations that are called the three gateways to liberation, according as it is said: “But these three gateways to liberation lead to the outlet from the world, [that is to say,]

(i) to the seeing of all formations as limited and circumscribed and to the entering of consciousness into the signless element,

(ii) to the stirring up of the mind with respect to all formations and to the entering of consciousness into the desireless element,

(iii) to the seeing of all things (dhamma) as alien and to the entering of consciousness into the voidness element. These three gateways to liberation lead to the outlet from the world”.

-- Visuddhimagga: The Path of Purification, p. 685-88, by Ven. Buddhaghosa


A person who doesn't exert himself to attain it will obviously go without an attainment of knowledge & vision leading to the non emergence of a future due to an exhaustion of it's requisite causes & conditions.

The cessation of that which changes as it persists is thought about as it's cessation principle on account of which a yogi realizes the foremost meditative release.

The knowledge & vision of the release arises when the mind is properly inclined to it through the development of perceptions leading to disenchantment with transient elements as opposed to an inclination to a perpetual conception & perception of & through doors of the senses on account of fascination & enchantment with various states of perception & feeling.

The cessation is a freedom to be directly realized, it is a freedom from being and a freedom to be and this seeing with wisdom [judgement] destroys defilements of greed, anger & delusion as that sorrowless state is void of these elements.

One who practices this release of the mind will eventually remove delusion, greed & anger from his mind altogether, destroying the root [of becoming] they say, this is called unprovoked release or nibbana with residue. Their minds are in that made like the cessation element void of delusion and their incline to cessation as they become completely cool in regards to expectations & determinations for a future.

With their mind having no inclination to conception & perception of this or that state of existence due to disenchantment and with the breakup of the body by which they were experiencing pleasant & unpleasant sensations all modes of being come to an end.


One who need to stop this cycle of birth,at least have to become sovan,A person who became to sovan state has just 7 rebirths.. All others haven't even understood sovan state'll be in this circle of rebirth


Although I am no monk or Buddhist expert, I consider myself a Buddhist. As it is understood by me, Enlightenment CAN include the cessation of the rebirth cycle if an enlightened being so chooses it. Some do not, such as the Dahli Lama. His Inner Buddha Nature/Perfect Light, whatever you choose to call an enlightened soul, seems to have the choice of whether to continue or stop the rebirth cycle. Enlightenment seems to me to have the most to do with no longer possessing the self or I and no longer considering things from the position of a "personal singularity" or self. An enlightened being no longer need consider anything from the position of self or I, but of an all empathetic and compassionate entity no longer bound by the restrictions or "chains," if you will, of a single being. this is purely my opinion/understanding and not taken from any writings or teachings that I know of to exist. Namaste, Brian Burke Jr.

  • just to clarify smth Dalai Lama practises a certain type of yoga which allows him to pass his awareness to the next rebirth and remembering parts of his past life, however this is not enlightenment!
    – user13064
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 20:29
  • SO, the Dahli Lama or any of the Dahli Lamas have never attained enlightenment? I am a lay Buddhist and must find a teacher and a meditation guide. In Rochester, NY the only Buddhist centre I know of is the Zen Center started by Philip Kapleau (3 Pillars of Zen author) Do most of the people on here practice Zen Buddhism? Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 3:33
  • I'm not from NY, Enlightened beings are not reborn again,but the third Dalai Lama that I have read had achieved Enlightened
    – user13064
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 7:03
  • @BrianF.BurkeJr. IMO a majority of people who post on this site are Theravada (not Zen), and not American, though there are also people who post on Mahayana (including Zen although more usually Tibetan) topics. As for finding a Center, people sometimes ask a question like this, but you'd be lucky to find another user here from Rochester. See also the World Buddhist Directory for Rochester NY.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 12:49
  • Thank you all for your answers. ChrisW - I will indeed try to look in the "World Buddhist Dictionary for Rochester, NY" It would appear I have a lot of reading to do. Any suggestions of beginner books that are rather complete would be appreciated. Thank you again to everyone who answered my question so thoughtfully. Peace, Brian Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 6:39

If a MAN don't even care to try out to attain enlightenment then he is not a prisoner.

As for the end of this "birth" cycle, it is when the mind stops conceiving "self".

Refer to SN 22.99 Gaddula Sutta.


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