First of all, I have to admit, Enlightenment is a vast experience. There should be no mold to mold it, no rules to measure it, and no definition to spoil it.
However, without description, Enlightenment becomes vague and confusing. Those who travel on "the way" probably ask themselves the question many times: " ...Am I enlighten yet?" Only no clear answers were given. Yet there are ministers, masters, who publicly claimed themselves as "enlightened" or "messenger"!! On the other hand, we can recognize some figures as exemplifications, such as the late mother Teresa or HH the Dalai Lama, though themselves never claimed it.
Speaking of Enlightenment is analogous to speaking of a finger that point to the moon. While a finger can give the direction to where the moon is, a finger can never represent the moon. My description of Enlightenment -like the above finger- is stiff and rigid. While true Enlightenment is so fresh, so dynamic, full of inspiration, emotion, genuine, spontaneous. Anyway, I'll do my best to describe it, but don't take my word for real -- always refer to these 2 disclaimers. Thanks.
DESCRIPTION 1 - "Ordinary Mind Is The Way"
True enlightenment is not in the knowledge, not how much one knows, or how one defines the truth. But how on can apply it to his daily life, to live his truth, the Way of Life.
An enlightened person is one who lives with a fully awakened and conscious mind. Who has an understanding and awareness of everything happens around, and able to respond with wisdom and in most humane ways.
Who is in control of one's own destiny, by making the best out of any situation, by making every situations become meaningful.
Who is of utmost honesty.
Who is able to break free from all biases and one sided judgments, able to see things as it is, to achieve true knowledge, unbias, unjudging thinking.
Who is selfless and put his interest behind for the goods of others. Who loves all beings indiscriminately.
DESCRIPTION 2 - "Beyond The Six"
"Who eats chocolate ice cream, and smokes cigars atop a cliff, cursing into the wind for no apparent reason... " - Hexx420.
"Ummon's staff becoming a dragon.
Ummon held out his staff and said to the assembled monk, "The staff has transformed itself into a dragon and swallowed up the universe! Where are the mountains, the rivers, and the great world?" - Hekiganroku.
The expressions above demonstrate the freedom would be experienced from an enlightened mind when all mysteries of the universe are revealed. One has seen the minds of God and Buddha. Now he can stay or go at will.
DESCRIPTION 3 - It's not what you think . . .
...Empty oneself and continue emtying oneself, always be an empty vessel. This is the way. Read, learn, study, meditate, communicate, observe, opine, and then forget it all, empty oneself. The sculpted clay pot is most beautiful when it is empty. Fill it up and you spoil its purity, its truth, its artistic beauty, clutter it with dried flowers, and suddenly, it becomes just a container for other matters.." - BeckyFay_friend.
The above statements is similar to a Koan, which contains multi-layers of understanding. It's a great advice to move forward, but wait, there is more... if one thinks he already knew the answer, thinks again. ... It's not what you think...
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ISSUES ON ENLIGHTENMENT
The purpose and meaning of Enlightenment - The three stages of a Learning process
From the description above, there is an important 3 stages of a Learning process that can be observed:
Stage 1: Empty
Stage 2: Fill up
Stage 3: Empty again
This process may look simple and doesn't make sense at first. Let's see the Zen koan below:
Once there was a Zen master who said, "before I learned about the truth, I saw mountain as mountain, and river as river (stage 1 - empty). During my study, I saw mountain was not mountain, and river was not river (Stage 2 - fill up). After 10 years, I saw mountain as mountain, and river as river (stage 3 - empty.)
Let' stop for a second and give it a thought. What is the different in the views between Stage 3 - Empty, and Stage 1 - Empty? Does it mean essentially the same thing?
Most of the children at the age from one to three years old under normal circumstance would be considered as of good nature, simple and innocent (stage 1). When a child grows up, he learns more about life, dreams big dream, and gets more sophisticate. He would get involve into more complicated matters (stage 2). Then one day, he may decide to change all that, to become simple and live a normal life again (stage 3).
Example 3: The story of Eden.
Adam & Eve were very naive, simple, and child like innocent (stage 1). They ate of the fruit of knowledge of good and bad, and thus were able to distinguish between good, bad, right, wrong (dualism). Therefore, they ejected themselves out of the state of Satori, Samadhi, and thus got more and more complicated in life (stage 2). Only if they could find the Tree of Life and eat of it, (be able to live in satori, oneness, unjudgment, egoless, selfless-love, compassion, charity) will they become like before (stage 3)
From the three stage of learning process above, we can conclude that stage 3 is the same as Stage 1. But stage 3 is the turning point, what meditation is all about. In stage 3, there were also the added wisdom, the mastering, and understanding of how, why. The confidence and peace of mind when knowing that all questions were answered, that's the Way is correct. That's when one went through the three stages of learning process of the way, he is simply enlightened!
Enlighten Heart - Enlighten Mind:
The definition of Enlightenment could be divided in two parts: Heart and Mind. In other words, an enlightened person should have an enlightened heart, and an enlightened mind. The enlightened heart is the Selfless Love and Compassion, which is best described by the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. While the enlightened Mind is the Emptiness' Principle, which is best described in the teaching of the buddha, especially in the Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra.
A person could reach enlightenment either by way of Enlighten Heart (Selfless Love -- most suited for emotional person, artist, or outward type people) or by way of Enlighten Mind (Emptiness -- most suite for logical person, scientific, or inward type people) or combination of both. (Heart and mind, Christian-Buddhist). Whatever way one may choose, once reached Enlightened, the results will all be the same.