Why Enlightenment No Longer Matters?
In spite of ongoing controversies, there is a general consensus on enlightenment among ascetic devotees. Enlightenment means the discovery of one’s inner Buddha-nature or true self through which one can obtain absolute peace of mind. It is also believed to offer one the freedom to leave the earth, enabling one to escape from reincarnation. Though there are still many controversies about the principles and operations of reincarnation, ardent wishes of ascetic devotees to escape from continuing the lives of suffering increase the attachment to enlightenment.
There are problems in most of the ascetic devotees’ perceptions of ascetic practice and enlightenment. First of all, they believe that ascetic practices are always good, and mundane everyday life has nothing beneficial to ascetic practice and enlightenment. However, there is no need to distinguish ascetic practice from everyday life if one agrees that the true purpose of life is to accumulate true knowing through vivid experiences. In other words, true knowing can be accumulated through not only ascetic practice but also everyday life.
The characteristics of accumulated knowing differ between ascetic practice and everyday life. Among the various relationships to be learned in a life, ascetic life offers intensive learning of the relationships with the heaven, the universe, and divine providence whereas everyday life mostly provides the learning of various human relationships. From the viewpoint of spiritual growth, however, one kind of knowing is not more important than the other, and thus ascetic life is not more important than ordinary life. There are only more or less urgent experiences from the standpoint of each soul’s progress and accumulated knowing.
One thing that ascetic devotees do not know well or misunderstand is the relationship between enlightenment and geun-gi (the original capacity to understand Buddha’s teachings), or consciousness level. Especially, most Buddhists assume that everyone has Buddha-nature and can achieve enlightenment through right practices. However, as I explained in other essays, humans are beings who become awakened little by little through numerous reincarnations. Enlightenment or the accumulation of true knowing can never be achieved at once but can only be achieved gradually through vivid experiences.
Sudden enlightenment may seem to exist from the viewpoint of the current life, but no such thing exists from that of long-term reincarnations. One’s enlightenment in the current life is only possible because enough knowing has been accumulated through one’s numerous past lives. One who does not have enough knowing accumulated through past lives or who has a low geun-gi cannot achieve enlightenment no matter how hard one may try.
We come to realize that ascetic devotees’ attachment to enlightenment is useless if we understand enlightenment as a special spiritual experience undergone suddenly by an opportunity when one has reached a certain threshold through sufficient accumulation of true knowing. The dream can never come true no matter what special ascetic practices they may try. The dream of enlightenment becomes another attachment to them, which may interfere with their spiritual growth.
While Buddha implied that a soul grows little by little through long-term reincarnations, referring to geun-gi, only few ascetic devotees seem to understand it correctly, and most Buddhist high monks seem not to try to mention it for various reasons. Thus, in the prevalence of the delusive story that anyone can achieve enlightenment through ascetic practices, sayings about the importance of ascetic practices has been passed on, being distorted and exaggerated.
Since enlightenment can never be achieved within a short time no matter how hard one may try, hastiness is unnecessary. Every soul grows step by step through all of the essential processes and progresses, as learning all the necessary things. Someday enlightenment may come naturally when true knowing is accumulated enough.
Another reason ascetic devotees should abandon the idea of enlightenment is related with the ongoing changes of the earth. Enlightenment is a unique experience on the earth, where various souls with different levels of consciousnesses coexist. The earth has been a material planet isolated from the universe, and all of the beings reincarnated into human bodies have had tough and vivid experiences.
Nevertheless, the earth is going through great changes, and its characteristics will completely change. Up to now, the earth as a special learning place and an isolated planet has been closed to outer space in principle. However, human beings—who are to be reborn—will be true “cosmic humans,” using various communication channels and freely interacting with beings in outer space. Thus, the reincarnation system, which prevented the souls from leaving the earth, will no longer exist, and enjoying absolute freedom by escaping from the earth will no longer be limited to the enlightened beings. In other words, enlightenment—a special event in spiritual growth that has been very meaningful to the souls on the earth—will completely lose its significance.
As the new era comes, words such as ascetic practice and enlightenment will gradually disappear. As everyday life becomes like ascetic practice and vice versa, there will be no need to talk about ascetic practice anymore. Moreover, as most people on the earth transform themselves into true “cosmic humans,” enlightenment will no longer have a special meaning.
Though it is true that everything in the universe keeps changing, the earth at the moment is particularly undergoing special changes which have never occurred since the start of modern civilization. They will start with energy changes and continue on to physical ones. Meanwhile, the meanings and significances of many teachings which have been regarded as orthodox are changing. As time goes by, teachings in the past will lose their significances, and the teachings of great saints, which many people have assumed as eternal truth, will be interpreted differently.
From the perspective beyond the Buddhist or Christian frameworks, the teachings of one of the most exemplary saints on the earth—Buddha or Jesus Christ—are also dependent on the period. Each man delivered his messages most suitable to the situations at that time and offered teachings that can effectively lead the people of that specific period. However, they never showed the whole picture of the universe, and not all of their teachings contain absolute value that is timeless. Many ascetic devotees still adhere to traditional teachings and orthodox practices. When we adhere to “orthodox” views, we can never escape from our own frameworks and egotism.
As the earth changes, many messages are now delivered to us through various channels. Many messages are the same, but there are also many messages that contradict one another. Blindly believing these messages may bring one to great confusion, but this can be avoided by using one’s inner guide system. People who can sense gi (subtle energy) can feel the energy from the messages while others can listen to their inner feelings. When someone speaks of cosmic truth, we feel touched and resonate with it. Many beings that have come to the earth for the earth’s Great Change have begun to awaken, and some of them have started their tasks, delivering messages from the universe. We can feel who the true workers are through our feelings or the energy that our bodies perceive. It is never appropriate to close one’s heart and distrust them for the reason that their teachings, words, and behaviors are different from those of traditional ascetic devotees or saints. Their levels of consciousnesses may be much higher than those of the traditional holy people. Sensing with your inner feelings and body before judging with your head is required of all the courageous souls in the earth that have chosen to live in this special period. 2012 Apocalypse