The Experience of Enlightenment
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Do you see the light? Enlightenment is one of david hoffmeister those terms that mean a lot of different things to many different people. In the Yogic, Buddhist and Mystical traditions, one of the primary goals in meditation is enlightenment. Enlightenment is notably characterized by the story of the Buddha. Before Buddha was the Buddha, he was known as Siddhartha, which very interestingly means, “One who achieves his aim”. The story goes that Siddhartha was a prince having been born into a royal family. He was raised in wealth and luxury. He knew very little about life outside of the palace or about the lives of the common people. When he became older, he wanted to learn more about his kingdom and the people who lived there. He began to travel and learn about the pain and suffering of the many people around his village. He became disillusioned about the life of royalty and began to search for truth. He learned various meditative practices and after many years, experienced enlightenment. Enlightenment is basically the English translation of the Buddhist word, bodhi; which also means to awaken or to know. Buddha means “One who has awakened”. To be awakened is to become completely transformed to the ultimate level of reality where there is no dualism, no pleasure or pain, no suffering and no ego. One has become liberated and no longer tied to the wheel of samsara or the cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.
The Yogic tradition also embraces the goal of enlightenment. Patanjali, who is considered the Father of Yoga, maintained that the final goal of yoga was liberation from samsara through moksha. Moksha is derived from the Sanskrit root, muc which means to “let loose” or “release” and is the liberation from all illusion, suffering and pain. Moksha is the release from the worldly conception of the self or the ego, and the realization of the true nature of the self (self-realization). It is an experience of bliss and joy that is no longer tied to pleasure and pain, and where normal duality is transcended through union with God/Spirit. Patanjali outlined an eightfold process whereby the Yogi can achieve moksha through purification and meditation. The final steps consist of deep meditation into Samadhi where the individual transcends the limitations of the ego and merges into the Infinite source of all being.