Enlightenment And Buddhism

What is Enlightenment in Buddhism?

Enlightenment is the inner light of wisdom that is permanently free from all mistaken appearance,

and whose function is to bestow mental peace upon each and every living being every day. (1)

Who Can Become Enlightened?

Our compassion is our Buddha seed or Buddha nature, our potential to become a Buddha.

It is because all living beings possess this seed that they will all eventually become Buddhas. (2)

This video shows how people living in London can combine daily life with practicing the path to Enlightenment –

Why Become Enlightened?

When we attain enlightenment we shall have fulfilled our own wishes, and we can fulfil the wishes of all other living beings;

we shall have liberated ourself permanently from the sufferings of this life and countless future lives,

and we can directly benefit each and every living being every day.

The attainment of enlightenment is therefore the real meaning of human life. (1)

“When we attain a Buddha’s enlightenment we shall be able to benefit each and every living being directly through bestowing blessings and through our countless emanations.” (1)

How To Become Enlightened

To follow the Buddhist path to enlightenment there is no need to change our external lifestyle.

We do not need to abandon our family, friends or enjoyments, and retire to a mountain cave.

All we need to do is change the object of our cherishing.

Until now we have cherished ourself above all others, and for as long as we continue to do this our suffering will never end.

However, if we learn to cherish all beings more than ourself we will soon enjoy the bliss of Buddhahood.

The path to enlightenment is really very simple – all we need to do is stop cherishing ourself and learn to cherish others. All other spiritual realizations will naturally follow from this. (2)

This video contains a beautiful teaching that offers us encouragement in becoming a better person –

What Is Compassion?

Compassion is a mind that is motivated by cherishing other living beings and wishes to release them from their suffering. (2)

How To Develop Compassion

There are two essential stages to cultivating universal compassion.

First we need to love all living beings, and then, on the basis of cherishing others,

we need to contemplate their suffering. (2)

What Is Love?

In general, there are three types of love:

  • affectionate love
  • cherishing love
  • wishing love

Affectionate love is a mind unmixed with desirous attachment that sees another person as pleasant, likeable or beautiful.

For example, when a mother looks at her children she feels great affection for them and perceives them to be beautiful, no matter how they appear to other people.

Because of her affectionate love she naturally feels them to be precious and important; this feeling is cherishing love.

Because she cherishes her children she sincerely wishes for them to be happy; this wish is wishing love.

Wishing love arises from cherishing love, which in turn arises from affectionate love.

We need to develop these three types of love towards all living beings without exception. (2)

Enlightenment And Compassion

If we genuinely want to realize our potential by attaining full enlightenment

we need to increase the scope of our compassion until it embraces all living beings without exception,

just as a loving mother feels compassion for all her children irrespective of whether they are behaving well or badly.

This universal compassion is the heart of Mahayana Buddhism.

Unlike our present limited compassion, which already arises naturally from time to time,

universal compassion must be cultivated deliberately in meditation over a long period of time. (2)

Meditation and Enlightenment

The function of meditation is to give rise to mental peace.

The supreme permanent mental peace is enlightenment.

What is enlightenment?

Enlightenment is the inner light of wisdom that is permanently free from all mistaken appearance,

and whose function is to bestow mental peace upon each and every living being every day.

Only human beings can attain this through practising meditation.

How fortunate we are! (4)

If our mind is peaceful all the time, we will be happy all the time. So, if we really wish for ourself and others to be happy all the time we must learn to practise meditation (4)

How To Attain A Buddha’s Enlightenment

The gateway through which we enter the Bodhisattva’s path is bodhichitta.

‘Bodhi’ means enlightenment and ‘chitta’ means mind.

Bodhichitta is a mind that spontaneously wishes to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being directly.

The moment we develop this precious mind of bodhichitta we become a Bodhisattva –

a person who spontaneously wishes to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings –

and we become a Son or Daughter of the Conqueror Buddhas.

This supreme good heart of bodhichitta cannot be developed without training.

Je Tsongkhapa said:

Through watering the ground of affectionate love with cherishing love,

And then sowing the seeds of wishing love and compassion,

The medicinal tree of bodhichitta will grow. (1)

What Is The Path To Enlightenment?

The six perfections are the actual path to enlightenment, and they are also the path of bodhichitta and the Bodhisattva’s path.

Through following this path with the vehicle of bodhichitta we shall definitely reach the state of enlightenment.

Our bodhichitta wish is to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being directly.

The six perfections are the practices of –

  • Giving
  • Moral discipline
  • Patience
  • Effort
  • Wisdom

motivated by bodhichitta.

We should recognize that the six perfections are our daily practice. (1)

Examples of Enlightened Beings

The founder of Buddhism is Buddha Shakyamuni,

who showed the manner of accomplishing the ultimate goal of living beings, the attainment of enlightenment,

at Bodh Gaya in India in BC 589.

At the request of the gods Indra and Brahma,

Buddha then began to expound his profound teachings, or ‘turned the Wheel of Dharma’.

Buddha gave eighty-four thousand teachings,

and from these precious teachings Buddhism developed in this world. (1)

What to do next?


  1. Modern Buddhism: Volume 1 Sutra.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications
  2. The New Eight Steps to Happiness.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications
  3. Joyful Path of Good Fortune.” Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications
  4. The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications

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