Spiritual Enlightenment

In the Hindu-Buddhist framework there is more to religion than prayer and worship, ethical behavior and festivals. Religion involves leading a spiritual life. Spiritual life implies thoughts, attitudes,  and actions that are based on the idea that undergirding the physical world of matter and energy there is a spiritual Reality that is transcendent, all pervading and  eternal. One may give the crude analogy of a slate of a black board and the scribbles on them. Many things are written and drawn on them. They are but transient features. While many things are written and erased, the slate or the black board remains unaffected. It is the undergirding persistent Reality behind it all.  So it is with perceived reality which corresponds to the writings on the board.

Spiritual life refers to a mode of living in which one never forgets that underlying deeper Reality. What this means is that no matter what we think, say, or do we not only remember that larger canvas on which everything occurs, but also dedicate our thoughts, words, and deeds to that transcendent Reality. The dedication means adopting a posture of humility and reverence, gentleness and love towards all beings great and small.

One  learns to live such a life through regular and rigorous practice. The practice itself involves various yogas which involve meditation in a devotional frame of mind.

Often this practice lasts for many months, even years. After a sufficient stretch of time  one begins to realize in an intensely personal way the existence of that transcendental reality that mystics speak of. This recognition can occur in a slow manner, or suddenly with a eureka exclamation. When that occurs one is said to have a spiritual awakening. That awakening is referred a (spiritual) Enlightenment. It is actually the discovery of the link between one’s individual and cosmic consciousness. It is known by various in various Asian languages: bodhi or moksha in Sanskrit, satori in Japanese, pin-tin in Chinese, wú in Korean, and so on.

The Buddha is said to have reminded us that just as a candle cannot burn burn without fire, we cannot live without recognizing the spiritual dimension of the world.

Published by:

Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.

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