What is “enlightenment”? Is this the ultimate goal of mindfulness? (A Shared Post)

Published August 25, 2018

A Shared Post with Comments!

What is “enlightenment”? Is this the goal of mindfulness?

   Enlightenment is one of the most coveted ideas in human spirituality, and many people admire and want to emulate those who are enlightened.

   In Zen, “enlightenment” is above and beyond time and space. No one “has” enlightenment. Nobody can “grasp” or “receive” enlightenment. Enlightenment is you because you already are Absolute, unconditional Oneness. Do not cling to the fallacy that your actions can be the basis for enlightenment.
(Source: Find the Seeker, 2018)

   Do you agree with this definition? What actually is enlightenment? Is it something people can/should strive for?

John b. May: ‘Enlightenment’ is perhaps too much to aim for or expect? Why not start on a more modest venture of self-knowledge?


1.First, according to the teachings of Pythagoras, become an ‘Acousticos’ (a listener). Listen to both the exterior world and the interior world.

2. Be present and listen. The first sense is a question of developing the inner hearing. To be open to the call of deep being. “Become aware of something else in us,” according to Kurckheim.

3.Resort to silence, stop speaking, because according to a Zen master, “In opening your mouth, you are already ‘lying’ because only silence contains the truth”.

4.Make abstraction of reason (go beyond it). St. Paul, “Destroy the wisdom of the wise,” free oneself from rational and dialectical language to clear our awareness that prevents our eyes from seeing and our ears from hearing; the inner way. Ex. Koans and parables.

5.Practice meditation. Not in the sense of escape, drowsiness or daydreaming, but a discipline of physical as well as mental concentration.
“If the fullness of the mystery of being must seize me, I must leave the agitation of the multiple and detach myself from everything that occupies it.”

6. Fasting because, the body and the mind get contaminated and can stifle “the light of our being”.

Michael Kenna: Enlightenment is within and without you.


Patrick McCormick: In my 50 years of meditation I have come to understand this about enlightenment:

To know the mind of God…that is the goal. To answer the great question, “Why are we here” is what is expected of us before we advance, as that is what you must do to reach enlightenment.
Before that, we must shed all our current attachments as well as all our possible attachments. To do so requires us to experience countless incarnations…hence the parade of dreams that we call life. Each one as important as the first one. Each one as important as the last one.

Alex Mill: Enlightenment is what’s there when we stop doing everything else. The trouble is, conditioned, egocentric mind has an illusory 1,000-foot wall around our authentic nature and convinces us that there are other things more important to attend to. It’s why “yes” we are already enlightened, and “no” we don’t experience ourselves as that.

That said, I don’t think most folks interested in mindfulness are seeking freedom. Not this kind of freedom you’re talking about. They’re looking to “use mindfulness.” Freedom FROM. To reduce stress, sharpen focus and improve coping with the conditions of everyday life. Survival techniques for the jungle. Enlightenment is a radical shift in how life is experienced and lived. Awakening. All the lights coming on. Oneness.

In my experience, mindfulness is just a technique. Whereas a sincere Zen practice can lead to complete transformation. But mindfulness can be the doorway through (like yoga can be for meditation). It all depends on the person.

Raphael Tanzini: To know ones self and how we got there (nurture and nature) and then being able to let all that influence and belief and get to the REAL core of being.

My Response to the discussion:

   William L. Ingram: Enlightenment is what Jesus Is. It is not something we work to achieve. It is the God Consciousness that we can receive, each time we surrender our Ego selfishness, with Patience and Forgiveness. Then our silent emptiness gently ask to be filled, from the Perfection of God’s Presence, whose Good pleasure it is to share His Divine Light of Awareness. That is the beginning of Enlightenment!

“Be Still and Know…” Psalm 46:10