Enlightenment At This Moment


Enlightenment is pretty much misunderstood. People tend to believe enlightenment is something you are yet to attain or achieve, but Dogen(1200-1253) gives it a different definition. Arguing that no bird ever attempts to understand everything about the sky, he debunks the idea that the path won’t be open to us until we achieve enlightenment. Instead, he argues that it is in our living that we can be open to the world. Enlightenment exists in our everyday existence. He adds to it a further explanation as follows.


The space and the path is beyond the grasp of numerical calculation, beyond the concept of possession, beyond the measure of time. They don’t either last or emerge, but they just exist as they are.

That’s beyond preference over either pursuing material affluence or finding richness in a simple, frugal life style. Instead, that’s what we have now. That’s beyond boundaries. Our life is interdependent. What we have now is here because someone else has worked it out at the expense of their time and energy. Just as we take in someone else’s ideas, we do have some impact on someone else’s life. While hoping to feel authentic, we know some parts of our existence are sustained by interaction with others. We know the value of the lessons we take from history, which is incessantly reinterpreted. What seems old often turns out to be new, and vice versa. It follows that nothing can be fixed in terms of shape or meaning. It’s just here in interaction. It’s something grasped by our broadened mind and perspective.


Only after do you take flight, you get to know how to use your wings. You lose your perspective when you get bogged down in the attempt of knowing. Instead, expose yourself to the world. You become aware of the richness and abundance of the world, which is shared with other people and is incessantly interpreted or deconstructed. It is much more resourceful than you ever know. Enlightenment is not what you achieve. It’s not what you can find in a different, sublime realm. It’s right here at this moment.


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