Some years ago I somehow managed to stay almost the whole day without any thought, and for several months I used to be in that state of consciousness. I had the breathtaking feeling of emptiness and freedom, there were no ups and downs anymore, I was completely balanced and a profound happiness had taken me. I thought I had become a Buddha, but the thoughts started to come in and this state of consciousness faded. What makes someone enlightened? I read that if you stay 45 minutes without even the subtlest thought crossing your mind you'll be enlightened. Well, I think that is very challenging.

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    Do you have the source for that 45 minute bit? I don't even recognize what sort of Buddhism that might be. Most of the doctrinal material in Buddhism was established between 200BC and 1500AD before accurate clocks, so this sounds like a modern idea. Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 4:13
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    I think what you experienced is one of the Jhanas?
    – ruben2020
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 0:29
  • sounds like a non buddhist meditation to me. it obviously worked out well for you though :)
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:24
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    I'm not a buddhist, I would just watch the thinking process very attentively. Anyone can reach it, buddhism just provides a set of techniques to get that state of consciousness and a lot terminologies to describe the stages one may go through along the path Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 15:38
  • I call what you described a "Neo state" (self with ego temporarily not operating). Nonduality (non-self) comes after that. Enlightenment is a word, so you will have to define it to get an answer.
    – user2341
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 2:03

7 Answers 7


States of calm attained thorough meditation is only temporary.Enlightenment is permanent.You can't stay in that state forever.The key is not to get rid of thoughts or be in a state of no thought but to see the nature of these thoughts to the point that it doesn't bother you.

I read that if you stay 45 minutes without even the subtlest thought crossing your mind you'll be enlightened


i don't know maybe.But i think it takes more than 45 minutes to be enlightened.Unless your an Anagami.Also enlightenment is not a not thinking contest.If that was the case i can think of a few people who'd be enlightened by now.

  • yeah one of my brothers (post smoker) says he quite literally never thinks about anything. he's not a Buddhist, and i wouldn't think him self enlightened, just cos he has no interest in that sort of thing
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:14
  • * pot smoker, of course... it may sound detached to have no interest in the buddha dharma and he's definitely a cool / decent person, but i just can't see his life being thought of as that of someone who is self enlightened. he's not about to throw himself off that famous cliff when he dies anyway: i.e. not really "religious" overtly, or otherwise
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:32

Traditionally (as in the early buddhist suttas), enlightenment (understood as nibānna) is reached with the permanent cessation of dukkha. A pre-requisite is the destruction of all fetters. So, nibbāna is not a temporary state where the mind is somewhat still.

The word "enlightenment", though, is used in texts of different schools (buddhist and otherwise) to describe different experiences (eg. "satori").

  • is a still mind an absence of thinking?
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:15
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    yeah, I meant that way
    – user382
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:25
  • ok cool i just asked a question about that :)
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 4:26

No. See Sam Harris' book "Waking Up", pages 131-133 of Chapter 4, "Meditation". In it he relates the story of a woman who experienced just what you're describing, and the subsequent events that showed that although her experiences did represent some degree of progress, they simply were not the big E.

ADDITION: Actually, the relevant part is reproduced here. The key part starts at the third paragraph, but it's worth reading the first two as well, for context. (And I highly recommend buying the entire book.)

  • Neo. It is obvious once you see it. They are everywhere. They recognize each other... So Beautiful. Still a Self.
    – user2341
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 2:12

Enlightenment is not being without thinking, and is not a feeling.

AFAIK and as far as my research into this.

Some schools of zen meditation taught that but they died out.


You experience it when the 5 aggregates cease momentarily and then starts again. You see Dependent Origination and this experience causes a paradigm shift and your perceptions are charged for ever.


You have to complete the dasa paramita (Ten Perfections), and prior to that you should have done enough good karma to be an arahat, and when you reached that much you can decide either to be a buddha/pase buddha or an arhat. If you decided to be a buddha, then you have to take "niyatha vivarana" (something like guidance or prediction) from another buddha, then since that life you start doing Ten Perfections until the life you become the buddha. It takes many life times. You can't expect to be a buddha in this lifetime with some meditation, if it's that much easy then there would be a ton of buddhas out there. Being a buddha is a hard work according to the theravada buddhism, it's easier to be an arhat. besides the whole purpose of the buddhism is free from the suffering, which is achievable through being an arhat.

Ten Perfections:

  1. Dana - Charity
  2. Sila - Morality
  3. Nekkhamma - Renunciation
  4. Panna - Wisdom
  5. Viriya - Perseverance
  6. Khanti - Patience
  7. Sacca - Truthfulness
  8. Adhitthana - Determination
  9. Metta - Loving-kindness
  10. Upekkha - Equanimity

It seems like you are on the right path. You just need to keep practising . Well I heard that enlightment/ nibanna is not in the body. You pracically loose all the 6 senses..I cannot claim it to be truth but that's a common experience. So it 's even beyound conciousness and it's a collapse of witness. What you were describing sound like Awareness. You were present and aware at peace, but I guess that is not the final state.

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