By Dayamay Dunsby
Somebody asked me recently about the nature of enlightenment. I had to think quite hard before I answered. Because it’s quite a complicated question and the answer has layers and nuances.
Of course, what I associate most strongly with enlightenment is the image of Shakyamuni Buddha, deep in meditation, underneath a tree, glowing with the Dharma, radiating out wisdom and compassion. Or Amitabah Buddha, arms outstretched in a gesture of warm, unconditional acceptance.
But I don’t think that’s necessarily the whole story.
I think that, for some, enlightenment can be momentary clarity or temporary understanding, a glimpse of some depth in the world which normally escapes their attention. It is not reserved for the pious or erudite and is arguably in better hands in the ordinary person for whom it offers a unique perspective on life, the universe and the way things really are.
For me, regular spiritual practice is key to understanding the nature and importance of enlightenment.
I would say that, given the balance of deep positive change in my life and the persistence of my human nature, I only really know enlightenment to the extent that I have understood the importance of spiritual practice enough, that I have put it at the centre of my life and my priorities.
So, maybe for me, enlightenment and practice are inseparable. Enlightenment is practice and practice is enlightenment. Maybe this is as simple or complicated as it ever needs to be.
Namo Amida Bu( ,
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