38

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 knew what they were talking about. But in the end, a good teacher will just tell you "This is the path to enlightenment", rather than "I am enlightened", and ...


19

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 (āsavakkhaya), or someone who has come to understand everything (sabbaññū). And in Mahayana, from what I've heard, a bodhisatta who is reborn again and again is ...


14

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 means "to think over", "to imagine", "to visualize". Jains, the primary contenders for a honorary title of "precursors to Buddhism", used to recognize four types ...


13

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 most certainly by the time of Vissudhimagga (~430CE), the orthodox (~Theravada) position was, you must be a monk to attain Nirvana. But since you asked about ...


13

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 enlightenment (e.g. when Devadatta wounded the Buddha's foot with a rock). As I explained in https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/1672/43 Buddha rejected the theory ...


13

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 roots. Nibbana does not depend on the condition of the body or any other thing. It is uncaused, unborn and permanent. Venerable Moggalana was beaten up by thugs ...


13

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 becoming enlightened. E.g.: And the knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Āḷāra Kālāma died seven days ago.’ I thought: ‘Āḷāra Kālāmaʹs loss is a great one. If he ...


12

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 self. Other contemporary teachers tried to identify such a part which they called Atman there is nothing to which any one can have absolute or ever lasting ...


12

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 virtue in this way, guards the doors to his sense faculties in this way, knows moderation in eating in this way, is devoted to wakefulness in this way, is ...


12

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 this one moment here and now. With each breath, with each action we are reborn. The choices we make are fresh and new. The Enlightened being will make those ...


11

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 is innately free of defilement, and that he himself is originally endowed with the non‐outflow wisdom‐nature which is not a hair's breadth different from ...


10

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 jhānaŋ," i.e. called jh. from meditation on objects & from burning up anything adverse (PED, p. 286) According to the Pali commentaries, it can be of two types:...


10

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 the Bodhisattva Vow (couldn't find the Tibetan version) Beings are numberless; I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them. Dharma ...


10

The shortest explanation of the path to enlightenment is to not crave or cling egoistically (possessively) to anything, which includes meditation & enlightenment. For example, in meditation, if everything becomes peaceful, calm & blissful, the mind does not think: "I am blissful" or "I love this bliss". Instead, the mind just experiences the bliss, ...


9

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 often seen this rendered as I undertake the training rule to abstain from intoxicating substances While the fact that it breaks the precept might leave you ...


9

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 will occur immediately after attaining any of the four stages of enlightenment, and can be re-cultivated as well. Parinibbana in common usage today refers to ...


9

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 pleasant abiding here and now (jhana) (2) to set an example for his followers


9

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? First, one should study the scriptures so one is not caught on hearsay of what the Buddha might have taught. Moreover, how can one expect to learn the teachings of the Buddha while at the same ...


8

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 "understanding Buddhism" per se, but rather attainment of samatha jhana and nibbana. Only a being who is reborn with all three of the wholesome roots - non-delusion (...


8

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 tried to make this argument before - most recently in a talk at the University of South Florida. The concepts are still a bit vague, but I think the argument is ...


8

[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 very few mental/emotional obscurations, determined on becoming Enlightened, and therefore diligently cleansing their minds from even slightest traces of ...


8

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 Mastering the Core teachings that he is an ahrat. So basically that he is enlightened. That might seem like massive hubris and just in bad taste but if you ...


8

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 enlightened, he probably is not" -- here is a simple explanation. Among other things Enlightenment involves shedding the mistaken identification with the ...


8

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 very pivot point. You are right in your intuition that thinking and talking of Enlightenment is counterproductive. At the same time, to simply go on with life ...


8

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 was listening to a Buddha's discourse and got killed because someone accidentally impaled it with a walking stick. It was then reborn as a deva.


8

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 cultivation of ethics, meditation, and wisdom leads to nirvana (the release from suffering) or enlightenment -- the insight into the true nature of things. ...


8

It essentially doesn't change anything. If you look hard, that "I" was always an illusion. No matter where you try to draw a boundary - it is artificial: Does the body belong to the self or not? How about that constant flow of matter and energy in and out - at what point does it even belong to the body? Do thoughts belong to the self or not? You are ...


7

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 equanimity), and when the mind is sluggish, the second through fourth(investigation of dhammas, effort and rapture): "At such times, monks, as the mind is sluggish, ...


7

Yes, there is, as mentioned in the Upanisa Sutta of the Samyutta Nikaya: "Faith, monks, also has a supporting condition, I say, it does not lack a supporting condition. And what is the supporting condition for faith? 'Suffering' should be the reply. (SN 12.23, Bodhi, trans) Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote an article on this sutta here: http://www....


7

The Buddhist path is the Noble 8 Fold Path which is divided into Morality Mastery over the mind Wisdom (Three fold training.) You should start by leading a moral life, develop mastery over out mind without being a slave to it, then practice Vipassana gain Wisdom. This intern helps you strengthen you morality and so on and so forth. In addition you have ...


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