“Only when the insights of bodhi are completely absorbed into one’s character and conduct would the Buddha call a person truly awake.”
“Why are you taking spiritual pilgrimage again? There has to be a purpose! Are you seeking enlightenment?”
I smile sweetly at my Dad as we face one another enjoying the winter brisk of a clear skied noon. I gaze at him with one eye present and the other eye wandering far into the depths of his questions.
What is enlightenment anyway? I hear people using it regularly. I use it occasionally,
and I must admit,
I love an old spiritual kook who claims knowledge of the all knowing kind.
Who are we if not what we project and the making of our own projections?
Who’s the old kook if not you and me?
Next month, I journey into Yogi territory. The mother land of the enlightened, India. My saving grace, the Ganges river, where I can lay my soul to rest and claim independence of the human bondage game, but I digress.
The action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened.
Thank you Google for that enlightening description, but I prefer Eknath Easwaran’s definition better:
Enlightenment is an instantaneous experience in which mental activity is momentarily suspended completely and sleeping realms of consciousness are dazzled into full wakefulness.
Do I seek mindfulness, vigor, joy, serenity, concentration, equanimity, and to see dharma everywhere and in everyday life?
Do I desire enlightenment? Absolutely not! Paradoxically, how can that be?
A humble friend says to me:
I see, I learn, and I weave in and out of the scenes of those who use spiritual gain to feel superior over others. Is this what the great sages expounded on everyday? For us to read and play with their words, interpret in our own little ego filled way that mocks the true self that connects us to the presence of our own folly and games? To desire enlightenment, this friend proclaims, is sheer trickery of will, the razor’s edge cuts at such, and how dense the mind stuff fills our ability to grow the ego. It is in those who humble their heads low that live in truth synchronized with the great wheel that spins a transparent web of interconnected karmic residue that spreads. So here, my friend says with great affliction and I’m staring into his dark brown eyes, take the time to know true bodhi and remember the seven fields of enlightenment: Mindfulness, energy, joy, serenity, concentration, equanimity, and investigation. If not for you, for your lover, for your mother, father, neighbor, sister and brother, for all who have to deal with you. This is what true spiritual aspiration was meant and created to do.
I say now with fixed, focused eyes to my dad who has been patiently waiting, I take pilgrimage for sanity when the lines on the enlightened road become fuzzy with insanity.
My source: Easwaran, Eknath, The Dhammapada. Canada: Nilgiri Press, 2007.