In Buddhism we talk much of enlightenment yet there is much confusion as to what a student might expect. Is enlightenment a sudden realization? Does one become transfixed? Do we become a deathless Buddha?
In traditional Buddhism full enlightenment, a total awakening, comes only through countless lifetimes of progress. After enlightenment life goes on. Even, Tathagata himself upon his full enlightenment went back to being an itinerant teacher with saffron robe and begging bowl.
Buddhism, like Christianity, at first glance seems to set a standard which is impossible for mere mortals to obtain. How can any of us live our lives entirely in compassion, joy and love? How can we always forgive? How can we give up all attachment and live entirely without fear even fear of death? Has anybody ever done this since Tathagata 2500 years ago? Are there Buddhas alive today? If this process takes eons to accomplish why even bother if we are not to see results in this life … in the now?
What does bliss “feel like”? That is a bit like explaining the color “red” to a man blind from birth. However, if I were pressed I would say this: Remember the first time you heard the most beautiful song you ever experienced? Remember how your heart soared with the music and nothing but the music existed for you? That was bliss. The bliss of the One is such a thing only infinitely greater.
So we see that enlightenment is a process. It is a progression. You will see results immediately as you progress. Living life in harmony, compassion and love will benefit not only you but everybody which you come in contact. According to scripture we are in an the epoch of the Buddhas. More Buddhas are coming into being in this era than in any before it. As this era progresses we will see an increase in the light, an increase in harmony and beauty, one soul at a time.
Do not be attached to the idea of Buddha-hood. Just live in mindfulness, follow the Eightfold Path. Love your neighbor. Give freely of yourself and your possessions. Every day of your life add to the sum total of Good in this universe but forget about goals and rewards. On this the Christ and the Buddha both agree.
Be free for thy own sake. Follow your bliss and be joyful.
☯ Samsaran ॐ