Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are you enlightened?

There’s a Zen proverb that says, Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Or as Jack Kornfield, a Theravadan teacher, says in the title of one of his books: After the Ecstasy, The Laundry.

All of which points to the idea that when we become enlightened – if we become enlightened – we don’t get to sit under a tree and withdraw from the business of the world. We don’t go poof! and find ourselves on a higher plane of existence where there is no more need for mundane tasks.

We stay in the world, and the tasks stay the same -- we see them differently. How does that happen? Through meditation.

The Buddha, in the Sattipattana Sutta, listed seven factors of enlightenment, which are the results of a meditation practice:

Mindfulness, or knowing what is happening in this very moment.

Investigation of mental objects (such as thoughts, emotions, labels).






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