Author Topic: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?  (Read 19501 times)

hope rainbow

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Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« on: December 10, 2011, 05:40:53 AM »
A little debate question:

If we have, in fact, been wandering in un-controlled cyclic rebirth since beginning-less time, then why is it that we are not yet enlightened?
In other words, why have we not made it eventhough we have had, it seems, an infinite time for it already...

Positive Change

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 06:23:05 PM »
Interesting thought Hope Rainbow... Given this scenario, being in the human realm and having such opportune conditions to practice, should we not value this chance and give it our best? Unfortunately we are still very much deluded (even after all this vast amounts of time) and think we can still 'hide' in samsara.

For those of us who have found a Lama or a Guru... this is even more incredible as our Lama or Guru is there to guide us, push our buttons, cajole us, teach us, scold us, reward us, etc etc in order for us to transform our mind and have an even better opportune conditions in our next life... because lets face it (I speak for myself), we are lazy, stubborn and have an incredibly bloated ego (whether or not we admit it) and even when smacked with the truth to our faces we still think we are right!

Baby steps are better than no steps I guess... but perhaps we should start running or sprinting already? And who better to clear the way for our practice than our Protector and The King himself. Rejoice that we have him in our midst and that we have the merits to cross paths!

Klein

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 07:38:29 PM »
Thanks for the interesting question. I shall attempt to answer this.

Being in existence since beginning-less time and still not being Enlightened clearly indicates that our wish to be Enlightened is still not as strong as our attachments. Our predominant attachments also show what we've been attached to for many lifetimes.

Let's ask ourselves now. For those of us who have a Guru, which one of us are committed to following our Guru's instructions 100%. For those who hear of a dharma teacher, how many would grab the opportunity to learn from the teacher? For those who hear of the Buddha dharma, how many are interested to learn about it?

The delusions continue to feed on itself from one lifetime to another until one day, we have the good merits to be able to make a choice to stop this cycle of delusions. When this choice is made with a long term commitment, the distance towards becoming Enlightened becomes closer.

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2011, 05:01:08 AM »
Given this scenario, being in (a) the human realm and having such (b) opportune conditions to practice, should we not (c) value this chance and give it our best?

(a) What have we done to be in the human realm, what is the generic cause?

(b) Not only the human realm, as you say, we also have the opportune conditions to practice, what have we done to get these?

(c) Why should we value it?

Unfortunately (a) we are still very much deluded (even after all this vast amounts of time) and think we can still 'hide' in samsara.

(a) Why is the negative still stronger than the positive, even though time is beginning-less?

(a) For those of us who have found a Lama or a Guru... this is even more incredible as our Lama or Guru is there to guide us, push our buttons, cajole us, teach us, scold us, reward us, etc etc in order for us to transform our mind and have an even (b) & (c) better opportune conditions in our next life... because lets face it (I speak for myself), we are lazy, stubborn and have an incredibly bloated ego (whether or not we admit it) and even when smacked with the truth to our faces we still think we are right!

(a) Is meeting a Guru a matter of probability?
In other words, because we wander since beginning-less time it is a matter of probability that one day we would meet up with a Guru? Is this how it works?

(b) Is it because the Guru cares for us that we get better opportune conditions in our next life?

(c) Can actually conditions be better in a next life? What is lacking now that would make the next life a better opportunity?

Baby steps are better than no steps I guess... but (a) & (b) perhaps we should start running or sprinting already? And who better to clear the way for our practice than our Protector and The King himself.

(a) "perhaps"?

(b) But why indeed have we not done so yet if we had infinite time for it already?

Rejoice that we have him in our midst and that we have the merits to cross paths!

Let's rejoice indeed, thank you PA for your post, I like it a lot.
It makes me think... And sorry for bombarding you with more questions...  :D
On your last sentence, I brings to my mind yet another question: How did I bring about the conditions to meet with the Dharma and a Guru? Was the cause to bring about such encounter beginning-less too?  ???

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 05:19:29 AM »
Thank you Klein, I am also trying to understand the topic I created here, and I do agree with your post.
Let's both try to capture it in more depth.

Being in existence since beginning-less time and still not being Enlightened clearly indicates that (a) & (b) & (c) our wish to be Enlightened is still not as strong as our attachments.

(a) But then if we have not overcome this yet even though we have been wandering since beginning-less time, why should I believe that I could ever achieve to overcome my attachments then?

(b) How can I strengthen this wish so that it overcomes my attachments?

(c) Is this "wish" for enlightenment beginning-less also?

Our predominant attachments also show what we've been attached to for (a) many lifetimes.

(a) Countless life times of attachment right? Or "many lifetimes"?

(a) Let's ask ourselves now. For those of us who have a Guru, which one of us are committed to following our Guru's instructions 100%.
For those who hear of a dharma teacher, how many would grab the opportunity to learn from the teacher?
For those who hear of the Buddha dharma, how many are interested to learn about it?

(a) And so, what makes some of us value a Teacher of the Dharma more than others?

The delusions continue to feed on itself from one lifetime to another until one day, we have the good merits to be able to (a) make a choice to stop this cycle of delusions.
When this choice is made with a long term commitment, the distance towards becoming Enlightened becomes closer.

(a) How does this happen? How do we make a "choice"?
Let's take an example situation: I can steal without nobody noticing, and the object is small and nobody will notice it, what happens in my mind then in the moment between I recognize the opportunity to steal and the decision to steal or not to steal?
What causes are there that allow me to even have the possibility of making a choice?
And what tools do I have to transform that choice into a decision?
How is my decision grounded: (1) I think probably this is the best choice, or (2) I am 100% sure this is the best choice, (3) I flip a coin over it.

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 05:42:24 AM »
I just thought of something else.
Maybe we should have had another debate before this one on how to establish the "beginning-less-ness" of time.
I'll give it a try. This is going to be fun!

Let's try to imagine that time had a beginning.

WE START WITH ABSOLUTELY EQUAL CONDITIONS
Then as time "begins", we all start with the same conditions etc... It has to be like this, right?
If we were to start with different conditions, it would imply that we had created causes for these conditions to be different, and therefore it would not be logical with the idea that time just "began", because we must have had time before that to create these conditions. Right?

(a) Then why have we not all at the same level of realisation?

(b) How could we explain that some beings have already achieved liberation and others not? it seems that this could not be logically explained... Can it?

(c) Did some get more "lucky" than others? If we think like that, it implies that we believe things to happen randomly? That randomly, some of us developed a mind of renunciation before others? Without a cause? Is that logical? Is that possible? It seems NOT

(d) Can I prove the "beginning-less-ness" of time by demonstrating the absurdity of the idea of a beginning of time? Is it "one or the other" exclusive kind of situation?

(e) because time is beginning-less, does it mean that everything is beginning-less?

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 08:01:50 AM »
I just thought of something else.
Maybe we should have had another debate before this one on how to establish the "beginning-less-ness" of time.
I'll give it a try. This is going to be fun!

More thoughts:

Can something arise without causes and conditions?
NO, Something does not arise from nothing.

Thus, could "time" "begin" without a cause?
NO.

Consequence:

If causes and conditions are necessary for "time", then "time" being anything else than beginning-less is illogical.

Correct?

daka

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2011, 10:00:57 AM »
I just thought of something else.
Maybe we should have had another debate before this one on how to establish the "beginning-less-ness" of time.
I'll give it a try. This is going to be fun!

More thoughts:

Can something arise without causes and conditions?
NO, Something does not arise from nothing.

Thus, could "time" "begin" without a cause?
NO.

Consequence:

If causes and conditions are necessary for "time", then "time" being anything else than beginning-less is illogical.

Correct?

Thank you Hope Rainbow for you clear explanation. It reminds me of The law of conservation of mass where it stated that "The mass cannot be created or destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles". The same theory can be applied to The Law of Conservation of Energy as well. If our human mind is a form of energy, then the reincarnation theory is explainable.

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2011, 10:39:37 AM »
It reminds me of The law of conservation of mass where it stated that "The mass cannot be created or destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles".
The same theory can be applied to The Law of Conservation of Energy as well.
If our human mind is a form of energy, then the reincarnation theory is explainable.

Hi Daka,
It seems that you know of Physics a bit. I have some interest in that field, though I certainly have no education in it at all. Are you well versed in Physics? Or in Mathematics perhaps?
Thanks
HR

Positive Change

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 10:29:06 AM »
Dear Hope Rainbow... You have certainly made me think even more. I will try to answer your questions as best as I can:

Quote
Quote from: Positive Change on December 11, 2011, 02:23:05 AM
Given this scenario, being in (a) the human realm and having such (b) opportune conditions to practice, should we not (c) value this chance and give it our best?

(a) What have we done to be in the human realm, what is the generic cause?

(b) Not only the human realm, as you say, we also have the opportune conditions to practice, what have we done to get these?

(c) Why should we value it?

Answer:
(a) Ethics or moral discipline acts a karmic cause for human rebirth.

(b) Because it is extremely rare and extremely valuable, valuable because it can be used to achieve liberation.

(c) Merits or “root virtues”.

Quote
Quote from: Positive Change on December 11, 2011, 02:23:05 AM
Unfortunately (a) we are still very much deluded (even after all this vast amounts of time) and think we can still 'hide' in samsara.

(a) Why is the negative still stronger than the positive, even though time is beginning-less?

Answer:
Because...
-the positive karma can lessen the negative
-the negative karma can lessen the positive
-and as we have spent more time creating negative karma than positive karma, the negative tends to overcome the positive
-this even though time is beginning-less, because in the absolute, we still have larger portion of this infinite time spent at creating negative karma.

Quote
Quote from: Positive Change on December 11, 2011, 02:23:05 AM
(a) For those of us who have found a Lama or a Guru... this is even more incredible as our Lama or Guru is there to guide us, push our buttons, cajole us, teach us, scold us, reward us, etc etc in order for us to transform our mind and have an even (b) & (c) better opportune conditions in our next life... because lets face it (I speak for myself), we are lazy, stubborn and have an incredibly bloated ego (whether or not we admit it) and even when smacked with the truth to our faces we still think we are right!

(a) Is meeting a Guru a matter of probability?
In other words, because we wander since beginning-less time it is a matter of probability that one day we would meet up with a Guru? Is this how it works?

(b) Is it because the Guru cares for us that we get better opportune conditions in our next life?

(c) Can actually conditions be better in a next life? What is lacking now that would make the next life a better opportunity?

Answers:
(a) Without an aspiration to meet a Guru, I doubt we’d meet one ever.

(b) It is because our Guru knows how best to guide our deluded minds in order for us to have better opportune conditions in our next life. Even if we do not have the karma to "receive" the teachings, the seeds will be planted!

(c) I believe if we actually knew this answer we wont actually be here... but I guess we need to trust our Guru and continue to practice in the hopes that someday that lightbulb moment will indeed manifest.

Quote
Quote from: Positive Change on December 11, 2011, 02:23:05 AM
Baby steps are better than no steps I guess... but (a) & (b) perhaps we should start running or sprinting already? And who better to clear the way for our practice than our Protector and The King himself.

(a) "perhaps"?

(b) But why indeed have we not done so yet if we had infinite time for it already?

Answers:
(a) Just a figure of speech only...

(b) Maybe tine is beginning-less, but this is how it could be explained: our practice of Dharma is not, it started at some point, and not at the same time for each of us, obviously… and so we are not all art the same level…

Hope this helps... :)

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 02:52:27 AM »
Thank you PA for your thoughts.

Now, I wonder, let's say someone enjoys both;
(1) merit (lots of it)
and a solid basis of (2) wisdom.

So on one hand, the karmic conditions to practice are all there, Dharma is available, conditions to practice are there, we have the body and intellectual abilities, we have the sponsors, we have the time for it, and we even found a Teacher and a Sangha.

Then on the other hand, we have developed enough insight to propel us on the next level of wisdom, we understand the Dharma teachings, we even have good glimpses at "emptiness", and for that matter are even able to meditate properly and "get" more wisdom.

Thus we rate very well on the scale of the two accumulations: merit and wisdom.
And it is said that these 2 accumulations are the two "wings" one needs to fly.

My question is this:
Do these 2 accumulations of merit and wisdom constitute a guarantee for progress on the spiritual path and eventually liberation?
Or is something else needed?

Positive Change

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 04:37:17 PM »
Thank you PA for your thoughts.

Now, I wonder, let's say someone enjoys both;
(1) merit (lots of it)
and a solid basis of (2) wisdom.

So on one hand, the karmic conditions to practice are all there, Dharma is available, conditions to practice are there, we have the body and intellectual abilities, we have the sponsors, we have the time for it, and we even found a Teacher and a Sangha.

Then on the other hand, we have developed enough insight to propel us on the next level of wisdom, we understand the Dharma teachings, we even have good glimpses at "emptiness", and for that matter are even able to meditate properly and "get" more wisdom.

Thus we rate very well on the scale of the two accumulations: merit and wisdom.
And it is said that these 2 accumulations are the two "wings" one needs to fly.

My question is this:
Do these 2 accumulations of merit and wisdom constitute a guarantee for progress on the spiritual path and eventually liberation?
Or is something else needed?

Hmmm... Now you got me thinking... Well, I would say it is all good and well to have both merit and wisdom, however with merely these two one cannot achieve liberation. I think we would merely be living like Gods and are very clever. Thats all really!

I believe we need another key ingredient which is RENUNCIATION and if possibly, throw in BODHICITTA too! Because without either, what good are merits and wisdom as we are still IN samsara without the realization of suffering. Furthermore, without renunciation we are actually using up our karma and loosing the causes for us to enjoy an easy existence (stemming from merits) after which is a looooong way down... for perhaps a very looooong time. Perhaps we have been doing that over and over and over again... hence we are still 'stuck' for aeons upon aeons.

So my question back to you is.... how do we change that? It is easy to hypothesize but what should we do to gain these key ingredients? What are your thoughts?


hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 06:05:52 PM »
So my question back to you is.... how do we change that? It is easy to hypothesize but what should we do to gain these key ingredients? What are your thoughts?

mmm....
I'll give it a try.
Let's see, what do we have already:

1. time is beginning-less

2. the circumstances for my spiritual practice is not beginning-less, well at least not renunciation (if I have any), not to mention bodhichitta

3. I have loads of merit and some wisdom, obviously, otherwise I would not even be part of this conversation

4. without renunciation (at least), merit and wisdom are reduced to some kind of aristocratic samsara collections

5. my compulsion to take and justify unethical decisions denotes a weak wisdom mind that shatters when  challenged by attachments, lacking in habits of focus and determination.

So, how to counter that?
I would say this:

A. develop renunciation with, at least, an aspiring bodhichitta.

B. keep building up the two accumulations of merit (*) and wisdom (**)

(*) with clean guru samaya, abide by my vows and serve my Guru
(**) through study, debate and the practice of meditation

C. build up a habit of resilience over my spiritual practice just like an athlete wanting to win the Olympic gold medal, and persevere with a joy over the result that is coming from the effort. I AM GOING TO MAKE IT! Hopefully this habit of perseverance will carry on from lifetime to lifetime.

So this comes down to renunciation again and how we get to achieve that mind, ain't it?
For us Gelugpas, the best would then be to go through the lamrim again and all chapters relevant to renunciation:

- the opportune human rebirth
- death (it will come, we don't know when and only Dharma is useful at the time of death)
- karma
- sufferings (banes, lower realms, upper realms and the 3 generic types)
- 12 inter-dependant links

If we have the merit to have found a Guru, then we should also develop Guru devotion and bodhicitta, for the simple reason that if we could not develop these yet we would not have found a Guru yet. So, yes, I guess it means that we are ready...

An alternative way is the 4 Noble truths:

- truth of suffering
- truth of its causes
- truth of the cessation of suffering
- truth of its causes

And here again it starts by recognizing our state of suffering so that a mind of renunciation may arise towards its causes.

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 02:11:11 AM »
And yet:
If I have not overcome my mind of attachment yet even though I have been trying for eons and wandering since beginning-less time, why should I believe that I could ever achieve to overcome them?

hope rainbow

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Re: Why is it that are we not enlightened yet?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 02:59:05 AM »
Wisdom is not an accumulation.  Wisdom are states of attainments.  Attainments are irreversible and cannot be destroyed. Wisdom is like a destination and merits are like fuel for a vehicle to get to that destination. We can destroy the fuel by whatever means that will stop our vehicle from getting any closer to that destination but if we have already reached that destination, we will still be there even if you destroy the fuel and the vehicle.  Therefore, wisdom cannot be destroyed, not by anger or any thing else.

I have copied this post from another topic on "is wisdom destroyed by anger, just like merit is?".
I have copied this here because I think it has some relevance to the topic here.
Indeed, and I refer to the analogy of the vehicle, the fuel being merit and the destination being wisdom.
If states of attainments towards full wisdom cannot be destroyed, then there is hope, it seems, that we can achieve enlightenment, as we keep moving closer and closer, even if we remain without fuel for long periods of time.

Where is the next petrol station?