39 votes
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Role of belief in Buddhism

You don't need to believe anything in Buddhism, but a little faith can give you a boost in your practice. It would certainly be difficult to progress if you had no sense that the people teaching you ...
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23 votes

What is it like to experience enlightenment?

The answer does somewhat depend on which tradition you follow, and what you mean by "enlightenment". For example, in Theravada Buddhism it could refer to either someone who has let go of everything (...
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16 votes

What exactly is Jhana?

Originally in Hindu yoga and Jainism, Jhana/Dhyana was deliberate thinking on a given topic. The word seems to share its root with Sanskrit verb "dhyayati" (pronounced JAH-YA-TEE), that supposedly ...
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13 votes
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Do you have to follow a monastic lifestyle to attain enlightenment?

Do you have to follow a monastic lifestyle to attain enlightenment? At first approximation, the answer is: yes in Theravada, no in Mahayana. Since probably as early as Milindapanha (~100 BCE) and ...
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13 votes
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Is it possible to become UNenlightened?

No! Once you attain Nibbana, the defilements are annihilated without the possibility of return. Just like uprooting a tree instead of chopping it down or trimming it. So it can never grow back from ...
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13 votes

If there's nobody to get enlightened, why bother?

This linguistic terminology generally has caused a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The notion of not self is that is there no: unchanging everlasting component which we can identify as ...
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13 votes

If one's inner monologue stops forever, is one necessarily an arahant?

Thoughts are one of the six sense objects; there is no reason to think that they stop when one becomes an arahant. It is quite clear that both the Buddha and arahants did indeed have thoughts after ...
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12 votes

Does (bad) karma have to be depleted to be able to attain enlightenment?

While some of the past karma may fruit as obstacles to liberation, not all karma has to fruit before liberation, as even Buddha himself famously experienced results of his past karma after his ...
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12 votes
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Is Satori the same as Enlightenment?

No, satori is not complete enlightenment, it is an a-ha moment when the practitioner finally realizes "how things are": Seeing his own original nature, he discovers that the ground of this nature ...
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12 votes
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What dietary practices are most helpful for reaching enlightenment?

In some of the Suttas in which the Buddha describes the gradual training leading to enlightenment there is the following stock passage: "Now, when a disciple of the noble ones is consummate in ...
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  • 7,356
12 votes

If Rebirth is not taken literally then why seek Enlightenment?

I am a Rinzai Zen Monk with a decade-long monastic background so my answer will be relevant within our school's framework. From a Zen POV being 'reborn' exists only within Reality. Reality is purely ...
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12 votes
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How come enlightened people don't have any laziness?

Speaking from the first hand experience, laziness comes from attachment, fear, or ignorance. No attachment, no fear, and no ignorance - translates to no laziness. And how does attachment cause ...
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11 votes

What exactly is Jhana?

Jhāna, in Theravada Buddhism, refers to the act of meditation: The (popular etym -- ) expln of jhāna is given by Bdhgh at Vism 150 as follows: "ārammaṇ' ûpanijjhānato paccanīka -- jhāpanato vā ...
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11 votes

Can we reach enlightentment with recreational drugs?

From the perspective of the 5th precept then the answer would be no. The fifth precepts states I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness But I've ...
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10 votes
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If Dalai Lama is enlightened, why he keeps coming back?

This is a fundamental premise of Mayayana, that the goal is not to be extinguished and leave samsara like an Arhat, but to stick around until everyone is enlightened. Here is the zen formulation of ...
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10 votes

Did the Buddha Meditate?

I can't find the reference at the moment but if I recall correctly, the Buddha continued to meditate after enlightenment for two reasons, according to the Theravada tradition: (1) To dwell in a ...
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10 votes

Why is there even a way to the end of suffering?

In MN64, the Buddha discusses the conundrum of identity and the presumed immaculate innocence of infants: MN64:3.3: For a little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘identity’, so how could identity ...
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9 votes

Enlightenment vs nibbana/nirvana

Enlightenment, or Bodhi, refers to coming to a direct realization of the truth. Nibbana is the timeless state of perfect peace and happiness which occurs as a result of attaining Enlightenment, and it ...
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9 votes

Is Enlightenment a misleading ideal?

This is a very well know paradox, perhaps the main paradox of Buddhism. On one hand, there is no Enlightenment -- on the other hand, Enlightenment truly occurs! Most of Zen lore revolves around this ...
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8 votes
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Is it only humans who can understand Buddhism?

Actually, the restriction has nothing to do with being a human; it has, as the Visuddhimagga notes, everything to do with the rebirth-linking consciousness (patisandhi). Nor does it relate to "...
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8 votes
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The Seven Factors of Enlightenment

I like to teach them as linear, but it's not really that simple. The Buddha said (SN 46.53) that when the mind is agitated you should cultivate the last three (tranquility, concentration and ...
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8 votes
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Isn't Buddhist insight practice more scientific than the so-called scientific method?

I like this question (I've cleaned it up a bit for clarity). Basically, what it's asking is whether Buddhist practice should be considered more or less scientific than the scientific method. I've ...
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8 votes

Enlightenment vs nibbana/nirvana

[A Mahayana perspective] There are two components to Enlightenment: Realization (insight, awakening, Bodhi) and Liberation (unbinding, Nirvana, loss of form). Very strong and talented people, with ...
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8 votes

Are there any living enlightened people?

As Andrei says in the comments talking about achievements are taboo so it's difficult to know. However Daniel Ingram (Theravada practitioner) is a taboo buster about this and openly claims in his book ...
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8 votes

Why do Buddhists believe that the Buddha was enlightened, despite that he claimed it himself?

I said "bragging of one's achievements is bad tone" and you turned it into "talking about one's enlightenment is taboo" :) It is very easy to fall into extremes, isn't it? "If somebody claims to be ...
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8 votes

How do animals attain enlightenment?

In short they get reborn as a human being sometime in the future and practice. You could help by reading some dhamma(suttas) to your cat if you wish. There is a precedence in a sutta where a frog ...
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  • 3,380
8 votes

If Rebirth is not taken literally then why seek Enlightenment?

Let's consider Andrei's definition of Buddhism, for example (because it's a short and easy definition). Buddhists believe that human experiences originate in the mind, training which through ...
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