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To: alt.zen
Subject: Re: Enlightenment?!
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 15:16:29 GMT

On 18 Dec 1996 10:54:19 GMT,
(Wizard of AZ) wrote:

>The definitions haven't been very practical, so far.
>Is it an actual experience (the opening of the eye) that has a 
>certain duration or is it an everlasting 'state of mind'?

Very roughly, several different but related things have been called
'enlightenment', IMHO:

1. An intellectual realisation that there is a distinction between
what is happening and what one thinks is happening.  This is
enlightenment in the Western (historical) sense.  It is a grasp of the
concept of objectivity.

2. An intellectual realisation that there is a distinction between
what is happening and the significance (meaning) of what is happening.
This is enlightenment in the sense of Buddhism as a philosophy, as
also of the many home-grown variations of enlightenment training and
the better sort of New Age stuff generally.  It is the opening of the
'wisdom-eye' (prajna).  This is what 'un-sticks' one's experience of
life, makes life a realm of openness and possibility rather than a
realm of closure, of fixed being.

3. Actually experiencing life from within either of these distinctions
or both, such that the distinction is not merely grasped
intellectually but lived through.  This can be a sudden 'flash'
experience or a permanent transition to another 'level' of being.  The
'flash' experience can occur relative to one's sense of self or one's
sense of things: this is what is commonly called the experience of
'emptiness' (i.e. lack of intrinsic significance, meaning, in things).
This kind of experience is relatively easy to get: to make it
permanent and ongoing is much more difficult.

4. Various experiences of other dimensions, planes of existence, etc.

5. Various experiences of peace and calm, lack of thoughts, 'going
with the flow', work-related 'flow' experiences.

6. Drug experiences.

7. Various combinations of the above.

It should also be noted that there are various degrees and depths to
all these things.

I hope this is practical enough!

Guru George

"Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing -

Everything happens by itself."

--Gendun Rinpoche

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