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Enlightenment, the Open Secret

August 14, 2013

Q: How would you describe The Buddha’s path to enlightenment to ordinary people in simple language?

The Arahant: Well, to put the Buddha’s complete teaching in plain language would not be possible, since there are so many technical terms for which there are no direct translation. But certainly the beginning could be expressed in ordinary terms, and it would go something like this:

‘Everything you believe, everything you know, everything you think, everything you do and say, who you are, what you feel, your hopes, dreams and desires—even the universe in which you live and all the beings within it, including its creator—are nothing but temporary fabrications. You are deluded; you are in illusion; the reality is right before your very eyes—yet you never see it because you are in a state of perpetual self-hypnosis.

‘You are suffering, and you will continue to suffer—wounded by the past, fearing for the future, deluded by conceit, exploited by desire, naively hoping that somehow you can escape the certainty of old age, sickness and death. You are trapped in a never-ending struggle for wealth, power, fame and enjoyment; but these are as insubstantial as smoke. The cure of chasing pleasure doesn’t work—and it’s more painful than the disease.

‘Actually you are nothing but a kept animal, a slave living in a world fashioned by powerful men as their playground, misled by your senses into all manner of stupid and fruitless activity. But you convince yourself and others that you are intelligent, civilized and educated by filling your head and mouth with empty symbols. Your life is nothing but a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, going nowhere, changing nothing.

‘The solution lies before you, free for the taking, but you refuse to accept it because of your ignorant beliefs and constant self-deception. You are like an elephant tied by a thick rope since birth, a bull kept in a strong corral since being a calf. You are conditioned to think that you cannot break free; but actually you are strong enough to easily escape.

‘In fact, the solution is so simple you are literally incapable of thinking of it. The Buddha discovered it over 25 centuries ago, and made it available free for all who take refuge in him. That original solution is still available today. Of course, first you will have to prove yourself worthy by avoiding all the phonies, cheaters, con-men and swindlers. Only one whose intention is pure can avoid the dangers on the path and recognize the truly enlightened masters. But the challenge of getting through that filter is a necessary part of the enlightenment process.

‘There’s really nothing else to do here except get out. Enlightenment is the only game in town—in fact, in the entire universe. Stop wasting your time with useless nonsense. Open the package, read the instructions and get started. Some assembly required. Think of it as an intelligence test.’

Q: Hmm, not very good marketing. Maybe you should read How to Win Friends and Influence People

The Arahant: [laughs] Maybe all the blind, weak-hearted, cripple-minded schoolchildren out there should grow up, stop looking for someone else to solve their problems, take responsibility for their condition, read the Suttas, look within and find out for themselves what the Buddha discovered: the solution to all the problems of life.

The ultimate enlightenment cannot be described because it is beyond words, cannot be understood because it beyond thought, and cannot be taught for the same reasons. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a cheat. You are just going to have to work it out or yourself. You’ll know when you get it, but it may take a while. Good luck.

From → Q&A

2 Comments
  1. dhamma123 permalink

    I see. So, Enlightenment or Nibbana can be sought through the following: the Suttas and oneself. Is this correct? So, we should study from the Suttas alone rather than follow an established system? Finally, how do we study Suttas without misinterpreting it?

    • Excellent questions. I shall submit them to The Arahant for his review. Thank you.

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