The explanation of enlightenment differs a bit, depending who you ask. But the meaning is much the same:
Enlightenment is a term used in spirituality, philosophy and psychology
related to achieving clarity of perception, reason and a greater knowledge.
The inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being,
or the deepest values and meanings by which people live.
A final blessed state free from ignorance, desire and suffering.
Enlightenment is a true spiritual experience that lies within all people.
In Buddhism, enlightenment refers to a unique experience which completely transforms the individual from their former state in samsara.
Achieving enlightenment corresponds to attain Nirvana, or achieve Buddha hood, and is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
Within the Buddhist tradition, several other words are closely related to the word enlightenment.
– Kensho and Satori are experiences at the start of the path to full enlightenment.
– Nirvana and Mind are often nearly synonymous with the word enlightenment, and in experience – may be the same things.
– Tathagata and Buddha-nature are often used as impersonal translations of enlightenment.
– Bodhi, in turn, means “awakened”, that is, aware of the Buddha nature of all beings.
What can bring enlightenment?
There are different ways to achieve enlightenment. Meditation, prayer and contemplation are some of the tools used to gain clarity and knowledge.
Also a Near-death experience can trigger the beginning of a new way of life.
The various Buddhists uses different techniques to achieve enlightenment.
Some focus on mantras (a sound, syllable, word, or group of words repeated over and over), and on devotion to Buddha ancestors,
while others focus on meditation, threefold training (Higher virtue, mind and wisdom. Leads to the abandonment of lust, hatred and delusion), mental development and Prajñā (the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about enlightenment).
All Buddhists teachings, no matter where the focus lies, are working with “The four noble truths“. One of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings. “The four noble truths” are: Suffering, The cause of suffering, The cessation of suffering and The eightfold path to the cessation of suffering.
To go deeper into the techniques, you can read a lot of books on the subject, or visit one of the Buddhist schools, course centres, local evening events etc.
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