Questions tagged [enlightenment]

The goal of the Buddhist path. Can refer to liberation, awakening or the end of suffering but is generally understood as being indescribable to an unenlightened being.

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Role of belief in Buddhism

As a westerner that self-identifies as Buddhist, I have struggled to understand the role of belief in Buddhist practice. In my culture, we are more familiar with the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, ...
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Is it possible to become UNenlightened?

Is it possible for i.e. an Arhat to become unenlightened after he reached the state of Nirvana? What if an enlightened being gets a severe brain injury by some cause leaving him with amnesia. Could ...
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If Rebirth is not taken literally then why seek Enlightenment?

I've read that some Buddhists do not believe in the literality of rebirth. As someone who is new to the study of Buddhism, this is confusing to me. My understanding, which perhaps is incorrect, is ...
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If there's nobody to get enlightened, why bother?

It seems the goal of Buddhist practice is to become an Arahant - someone who won't take a rebirth, and therefore will be eternally relieved from suffering. But WHO is this someone who doesn't get ...
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What is it like to experience enlightenment?

What is it like to expereince enlightenment? Does it change a person and if so, how?
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Do you have to follow a monastic lifestyle to attain enlightenment?

How do the different groups/sects of Buddhism view attaining enlightenment and living a common life? In other words, do they think it is possible to be a common person and achieve enlightenment? Even ...
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What exactly is Jhana?

What exactly is the theory of jhana, how does it come about and how does it relate to the buddhist practice and everyday life? feel free to answer in depth.
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Is Enlightenment a misleading ideal?

Is Enlightenment a misleading goal? Is it more of a thought-form than just an experience? I am asking because there is a lot of discussion of awakening, enlightenment, satori, differences, levels, etc....
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Are there any living enlightened people?

Is there any person who is widely believed to be enlightened by Buddhists, and who confirms that himself/herself?
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What dietary practices are most helpful for reaching enlightenment?

Gandhi, a Hindu ascetic, was adamant that the spiritual well being of a person was not disconnected from one's diet. He said "The body was never meant to be treated as a refuse bin, holding all the ...
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If there is no self, why do anything?

My limited understanding of Buddhism has already helped me in many ways and I am very glad to have found it. With that said, I have always wondered about this title question. If there is no 'I', ...
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Can we reach enlightentment with recreational drugs?

Some drugs, like ecstasy, help build empathy and help our mind see things from a different point of view. What about if meditation is the obsolete ways to see enlightment and perhaps drugs are the ...
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Why can't we reason or logic our way to NIrvana?

I have read at various places that Nirvana can't be described or reached by logic or reason. ONLY meditation is the way. Why is that so? thanks in advance.
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Enlightenment vs nibbana/nirvana

What is the difference between enlightenment/awakening and nibbana/nirvana? And how do these terms relate to parinibbana/parinirvana?
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Is there any extreme of physical pain that a fully enlightened person would find unpleasant on any level?

In other words, by not conceptualizing sensations of physical pain, do fully enlightened people still experience unpleasantness and simply not label it as such, or is the experience fundamentally ...
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Isn't Buddhist insight practice more scientific than the so-called scientific method? [closed]

All enlightened beings since the first Arahant have confirmed the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path to be true through their own experience. So there is a community of Ariya Sangha who ...
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Fear of enlightenment

(I know there have been some questions about this same topic but each one is a particular issue) I have started taking the buddhist path not long ago, less than three years. Life felt too heavy and ...
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If one's inner monologue stops forever, is one necessarily an arahant?

Question in the title. I'm looking for answers citing either canonical scripture or the position of any particular school of Buddhism. The inner monologue in the question could also be read as mental ...
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How do animals attain enlightenment?

The Wikipedia article on animals in Buddhism states that animals have Buddha nature, and therefore have potential for enlightenment. I do not dispute this as I sit here petting my cat, but wonder - ...
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Why do Buddhists believe that the Buddha was enlightened, despite that he claimed it himself?

All the answers to the question about the living enlightened people suggest that talking about one's enlightenment is taboo, so if somebody claims to be enlightened, he probably is not. Why doesn't ...
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Is it only humans who can understand Buddhism?

If Buddhism is a general theory of understanding the cycle of attachments, is it possible that any other 'wise' enough creature could achieve the same thing? In the Visuddhimagga English translation,...
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Can all human beings potentially be enlightened in this lifetime?

Does any Buddhist school or tradition make the assertion that all human beings have the capacity to be enlightened in this lifetime? Or to put it the other way are there groups of people who it just ...
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Isn't enlightenment the ultimate death?

Is it true that after you reach enlightenment you simply vanish into the vast space of existence, and you simply cease to exist? Kind of like, when you have not attained to enlightenment you keep on ...
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Who am I- according to Buddhism

What does Buddha say about the question,"Who am I"? Our body and mind perishes with time. If so then who actually attains the Truth?
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In short, what is the path to enlightenment? Where to begin?

If I were to begin meditating, what practical list of advises would you give me?
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Does (bad) karma have to be depleted to be able to attain enlightenment?

This question came to me from over thinking the "Angulimala" story. He had to "repent" to some extent for the murders he committed, by being scolded an hit by stones. However, the effect of the karma ...
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Is Satori the same as Enlightenment?

Is the Zen term Satori the same as enlightenment or does it have different nuances or emphasis over what is commonly meant by enlightenment in non-Zen texts. If it is the same then why is used at all. ...
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Did the Buddha Meditate?

This may come off as a very strange question. From small days I have been taught Buddhism, not in the way it should have been, but in a way which took most stories and teachings for granted. Those ...
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What does Buddhism say about creativity and spiritual development?

Does Buddhism say anything about a relationship between greatness in art, music or other creative areas, and spiritual development? For example, consider the well-known great composers: is there ...
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Does enlightenment mean achieving purity?

Usually, the word enlightenment is not directly understandable; a newcomer might understand incorrectly. In the Visuddhimagga (Path to Purification, p. 6), Nibbana is illustrated as follows: "...
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Attainment of enlightenment without desire

The Noble Truths make us aware that the cause of suffering is desire. Isn't it a desire to become enlightened and attain Nirvana; thus, causes suffering? If you drop the desire, will it be possible to ...
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Why should I study the Suttas?

If the Buddha said that we shouldn't take his teachings as dogma, but rather try to experience for ourselves what realization is--why should we study the scriptures?
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How should I stop thinking that I am even slightly enlightened?

I don't know how else to phrase this question, but please advise. I have this constant irritating feeling that I am kind of enlightened. It is confusing. I don't really know if it is my ego which is ...
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What makes someone enlightened?

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 ...
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Dealing with angriness or sadness that comes up with “meditation”

Ok, my "meditation" is physical exercise where I concentrate on what I am doing concentrate on my breath If I exercise in morning, I feel violent anger. When I confront why I feel such anger, I ...
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“Anyone can be enlightened”

To my limited knowledge, in Zen, it is believed that anyone can be enlightened(if dedicated enough). Does everyone have this potential in other branches of Buddhism? Can everyone achieve this ...
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Is there anything like “positive suffering” for Buddhists?

In some religions, suffering is seen as a positive thing, some people even see it as a necessary step for growing, however in Buddhism suffering is seen as something that should be avoid or eliminated,...
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Is it “bad” to want a “materialistic” happiness?

After reading several articles and a book about Buddhism, I now feel a bit uncertain about what Buddhism actually is about. Am I not allowed to dance? To sing? To fall in love? Is the purpose of ...
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Do enlighted people cry? Did the Buddha ever cry?

What is the Buddhist view on crying? I don't remember hearing or reading about the Buddha ever crying. Is crying a consequence of "lack of understanding" of the ultimate reality?
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How to identify a sotapanna (stream enterer)

I just wan to know whether there are any measurements advised by the Buddha to identify a stream enterer (sotapanna). I know for a fact that from the stream enterer and above, all four types have ...
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The Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Are the Seven Factors of Enlightenment understood to happen as specific phases in a linear progression in one's journey or are they understood to happen in a circular manner with ever deepening ...
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What is the Distinction Between Knowledge of The Path and the Fruit?

It is said that this happens in close proximity. So it is always referenced together. What happens when you get the knowledge and how do to transition to the Fruit? What happens just before the ...
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Was the Buddha an arahant?

According to Theravadan Buddhism would the Buddha have been considered an arahant? Is this word synonymous with the title 'the Buddha' or does being the Buddha mean something over and above being an ...
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If Dalai Lama is enlightened, why he keeps coming back?

Assuming the result of enlightenment is attainment of Nirvana, and assuming Dalai Lama is enlightened, why does he keep on getting reborn? Could it mean that Nirvana means something else, for example ...
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Too much Dhamma in modern age

Ajahn Brahm’s quite interesting position on "too much Dharma" and studying Abhidharma might be conveyed in this citation: I think of our modern age is that too much Dhamma. So much Dhamma that ...
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Need some pointers about the current phase

I know this is a big letter but it is important. Would really appreciate your help. My spiritual path very much goes along with my career. I knew since my school days that I never wanted to be part ...
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Betraying People

Today people are betraying each other in different levels without considering relationships and bonds. For example scenarios: Children betrays parents and ignore them Boy/Girl cheats on Girl/Boy due ...
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What is the nature of impermanence, desire and anatman?

If everything in unstable, unsatisfying and out of control then what is the point in living? Isn't the 'point of life' meant to be a journey to stability, satisfaction and self control? Thanks :).
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Are arahants infallible?

I've heard it said that Popes are infallible,(whether one believes this or not). Although the arahant has removed all the defilements, can they still be wrong, make mistakes, or are they all-knowing?...
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Did the Buddha state that there is only one way, and state/imply that any other path (such as those practiced by yogis) was futile?

This question mainly came up to my mind as I thought about how interconnected some concepts and practices of Buddhism are with other spiritual practices, such as meditation, and the concept of letting ...