Enlightenment in stages: Bodhisattvas …

.. before anything else: i know nothing about this subject from my own experience. My meditation skills are lousy to say the best, and my ethics are very unpolished. Moreover, I have an ego the size of the Notre Dame in Paris and I’m even proud of it. I only have second hand information, through listening and reading ..

I listened to a podcast by Craig Hamilton the other day, and what he said made a bell ring. I’ll try to forward what he said in a different light. My interpretation, but his information.

Whenever we think of a spiritual teacher, what inspires us? Is it how they show up in the world and how they are as a personality, or do we look at them because they have access to all kinds of meditative states. Normally we would look at the first kind of traits in a person. This is basic common sense.
We get disappointed or deeply disillusioned when we find out that a spiritual teacher is financially corrupt, abusive, or a sexual predators on their followers.

What then is an enlightened human?
By the awakening to higher dimensions the highest virtues must show up, and the vices should disappear. The awakening is instantaneous, but the process of developing these virtues and getting rid of the vices is not. Awakening is not enlightenment.

There are many stages. Let’s have a look.

Breakthrough 1: Realizing “ULTIMATE REALITY”
This is however not a guarantee to enlightenment. The problem is that if the realizer sees our daily reality as a cosmic game, then it doesn’t matter to that person to become more moral, or a better person.

Breakthrough 2: The important step for the realizer is to see that nirvana and samsara are both real.

The awakening bodhisattva needs breakthrough 2 as well:

a. the emptiness and ultimate reality is real and
b. the whole universe as we see it is real.

(this is called NON-DUALITY)

How to deal with that? With breakthrough 2 there is a problem:
This Realization is blissful and painful.
The primordial ground is unimaginable glorious perfect to infinity.
At the same time the manifest world that we live in is a bloody mess.

3. the realizer recognizes that it doesn’t have to be like this.

So much of the horrors of the human condition are based on the fundamental misunderstanding of what is REALLY happening. Based on our idea of separation, and everything that flows out of that. The many practical things that are wrong with the world have to do with un-evolved consciousness.

4. This gives rise to BODHICHITTA: the realizer becomes somebody who decides to give every breath to try to awaken the whole world. Seeing the ultimate reality, he sees what could really happen in our manifest world, a beautiful perfect world, but it is not happening! A “passion” is then activated to transform the world. This passion is GREAT COMPASSION. A person who realised step 4 is a bodhisattva!

It is however extremely rare that somebody touches this ultimate realization, and starts to live it.

Consequences of becoming a bodhisattva:

What is spiritual awakening: consciously awakening to the dharma.
Our wisdom eye begins to open. Dharma means 1. truth, 2. law and 3. path.

We [why not we 🙂 you and i becoming a bodhisattva] begin to see the truth which reveals the law which then guides the path, and this engages every aspect of our humanity.

TRUTH: non separation, but also the profound web of interrelatedness that binds us all together, and how delicate everything really is.

LAW: the realization of the law of karma: we start to see how every action we take starts to affect the whole. One starts to feel that one better does the right thing, because that really counts. This leads to an ordering principal in the cosmos- the trajectory of everything: The way we act is either helping this trajectory, or holding it back.

the PATH: are the actions one has to take in every moment to stay aligned with the law. The moment one starts to violate the law, sensitivity closes and one goes back to ego. We feel literally a kind of pain when we violate the law.

Impact on the individual: the result is a complete revolution in the core of ones being.

On VALUES level, priorities are rearranged: cosmic-centric, what is best for the universe.

On ETHICS level, complete allignment to cosmic ethics.

The INTERPERSONAL level: becoming profoundly attuned and sensitive to other people. Not self preoccupied. Seeing into the souls, and seeing what is best for their evolution towards enlightenment. Regardless whether those individuals like that at that moment.

On a COGNITIVE level: liberate the mind from rigid thinking. the ability to be fluid in ones perspective.

On an EMOTIONAL level: feeling everything very much more intensely than the mind would ever be able to cope with. That sense expands for the whole, feeling the pain and the extacy of the cosmos.

If all levels are finally lived to the fullest realization, and every negative aspect is destroyed, the bodhisattva becomes an enlightened buddha.

[This is a very simplified explanation. Tibetan buddhism knows 10 levels of buddhahood and many more levels before. I hope this brings some clarity in the mind of some people.]

2 thoughts on “Enlightenment in stages: Bodhisattvas …

  1. I can only smile, since i’m not an expert at all. I also started now 9 years ago with Yogananda, but Kriya Yoga is not for me (yet?). Becoming speechless and in consequence mind-silent seems to be easier, but i have no idea whether this leads to anything more than peace. I had some profound discussions about awakening, enlightenment and tulkus with my good friend and teacher, 14 days ago in Manali. I will probably put them in one or more blogs (To India with Sofie: Day 6-10) within the next 2 weeks or so.
    Just do what needs to be done, seems to be a good guideline. 🙂

  2. I like your honesty and you made me feel like maybe there is hope for me. I have been a terrible meditator, following Yogananda. May not be the right path for me. Left hanging doing Mindfulness training and at timed even blowing that off. So your post hooked me.

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