Enlightenment is a term that is used to describe a spiritual all-knowing, and the process of gaining an insight into the true nature of reality. It is a word commonly used in Buddhism, as it was Buddha himself who reached a state of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the goal of the buddhist path. This article takes a look at different techniques that can lead people to enlightenment.
The Path to Enlightenment
There is no guidebook which tells you step by step how to reach enlightenment. The path to enlightenment will vary from person to person. The are various techniques that will help to develop a person’s spiritual practice, and potentially lead them on the path to enlightenment. After Buddha gained enlightenment, he created a doctrine containing four noble truths which formed the foundation of all Buddhist teachings. The four noble truths are:
- The truth of dukkha
- The truth of the origin of dukkha
- The truth of the cessation of dukkha
- The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha
Dukkha is a sanskrit term which translates as anxiety, suffering, stress, and dissatisfaction. All of the noble truths are based around eliminating this suffering from life. It is worth noting that Buddhists neither hold an optimistic nor pessimistic view, instead they can clearly see that suffering is an inevitable part of human existence, and that happiness is only brief because of the constant changes that occur in life. One of the main techniques is to watch your thoughts, which of course become your beliefs and your actions. The average person has thousands of thoughts a day, yet so many of them are just repeats from the day before. We have thought them so much that they have become part of our belief system, even if they are not true or they longer serve us. This is where some people believe the term original sin comes from, as it doesn’t have to refer to a physical sin as such, but it can mean the first ever thought that was wrongly taken as one’s own. Become aware of your thoughts, take the time throughout the day to notice what you are thinking, and if that thought does not benefit you then simply change it to something else.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. – Buddha
Meditation should also been incorporated into your daily practice. By quieting the mind from its endless chatter, we are able to connect with an infinite consciousness, and cultivate an air of calmness.
Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak. ― Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati,
Yoga is also able to help people on their spiritual path. A series of species of poses called asanas are designed to align the mind, body, and soul. There are breathing exercises known as pranayama, which can also be used in the meditation process. Enlightenment cannot be rushed or pushed, it will be revealed when the seeker is truly ready. You can combine some of the above techniques, while making a vow to yourself to live your life to the fullest and to the best that you can in every moment of every day. It’s about progress and self improvement, and that is working on improving yourself as person, and bringing as much joy, happiness, and love into the world as possible. A great way to do this, is to practice a random act of kindness once a day for a week. A random act of kindness is something that is done selflessly to lift up the life of another person. It can be anything from giving someone a genuine compliment, paying for a coffee or a meal for the person behind you in a drive-through, or giving a homeless person some food, clothing or bedding.
When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. -The 14th Dalai Lama