佛學講座 - 佛學問答(English) - Exactly what does enlightenment mean?
Exactly what does enlightenment mean?

Enlightenment in the worldly context is unraveling something formerly

unclear, unexplained, whilst in the Buddhist context, enlightening the

mind to behold the Buddha-nature, thorough comprehension of the

Dharma.

Like the ancient Chan master, when teaching on how to seek instruction

in practice, would often tell students to assume the format of reflecting

on hua-tou, punch line in speech. Such is the path to samadhi via entering

peace and quiet, purity and transformation, whilst reflecting on

a singular line of speech, like ‘who is remembering the Buddha’ or ‘how

is Buddhahood to be attained.‘ The mind of an individual reflecting on

‘who is remembering the Buddha‘ is in contemplation—in itself what

remembering connotes. The individual in contemplation of the Buddha

image and mulling over the Buddha‘s doctrine is the self.

Who exactly does self represent? Self is life as it be composed of

the five skandhas or form, sensation, perception, mental formations,

and consciousness and four elements or earth, water, fire, and wind.

Five skandhas or four elements, though, extinction in the end is the

inevitable. But, before reaching any determinant conclusion, it is

imperative to keep thinking and keep looking, to get to see life‘s

impermanence—therein with nothing by nature dominating, independent,

unchanging, or lasting, and to come to realize own unfailing

abidance in a state of impermanence and change—just as what the

Buddha teaches:

‘Arising when conditions assemble;

Annihilation when conditions scatter.’

On comprehending, enlightenment next ensues.