Sunday, March 31, 2013

J. C. Amberchele - Enlightenment


What’s your take on enlightenment? I’ve read about all the great spiritual masters who were enlightened, about the Buddha being enlightened.

No one has ever been enlightened.

So what does enlightenment mean, then?

The best definition I’ve heard is that enlightenment is the absence of anyone to be enlightened. Put it this way, it’s not something you “get.” It’s not attained because it’s what you already are, and what you already are is the absence of what you think you are, a separate, self-existing “self.” It’s also a term that people use to distinguish between those who supposedly know how things really are and those who don’t, the “enlightened” and the “endarkened,” which makes no sense to those who know how things really are.
Then why do people strive for it?
Because it’s the best game in town, especially when other games are seen through and no longer work. One gets to be “spiritual,” a seeker of truth. One has apparent meaning in their life, and can join others who have similar aspirations. One gets to be pious, righteous, and may even experience spiritual “highs” from time to time.
What’s so bad about that?
Nothing. It’s not bad, it’s just not different from any other game of being “somebody” and having a “life.” It’s no differ­ent from being a doctor, a janitor, or a car mechanic.
People want to get free, and think enlightenment is freedom. Apparently you disagree.
They were never bound, and in seeking enlightenment, they bind themselves all the more. It’s the same with “awaken­ing”—they were never asleep, and only sink deeper into dreamland by trying to wake up.
So what can be done? How does anyone go about waking up?
They don’t. What we’re talking about here is merely a shift in perception, and no one does it. It just happens. I can tell you to try this method or that, but it won’t make a bit of difference unless you’re ready, and I don’t even know what “ready” means.
So you’re not enlightened?
Then why are we having this conversation?
Because you think I can help you fi nd enlightenment?
Yes, I guess that’s the reason.
Well, sorry to disappoint you, but in the end, others can’t help you. At some point The Absolute—Who You Really Are—chooses to consciously know itself, and in a fl ash of insight, turns in on itself, sees itself, looks back on itself and recognizes the Empty Awareness that it is. It’s called See­ing, and it doesn’t happen to a separate self for the obvious reason that the separate self is an object, an appearance in Seeing, in Who You Really Are, and can therefore never see, never know, anything.
This Seeing can be the end of the road, the end of seek­ing. Or it can be the beginning of a process of confi rmation whereby years are spent meditating, reading, meeting with others interested in spiritual matters, and maybe inquiring into the nature of the separate self, searching it out, pinning it down, discovering where it resides if it resides anywhere. This inquiry may reveal the real story of the separate self, that one’s identity as the body and mind is in fact just that—a story. In this way, perhaps over and over, as the mind repeat­edly searches for and repeatedly fails to find a separate self, conditioning is eroded, and one’s identity is left suspended in the unknown.
What happens then? Will I be lost, or will I be awake?
Who you think you are will perhaps be lost, but never awake. Who You Really Are is Awakeness Itself, and can never be lost.
Well, I feel a little lost right now.
Hang in there, it only gets worse—and that’s the good news! 

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