Talk:Enlightenment in Buddhism

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Enlightenment (religious) page[edit]

i vote we just remove this page as there exists now an Enlightenment (religious) page which within links to Bodhi and other related concepts...

Needs improvements[edit]

This article needs a lot of improvement. Gantuya eng (talk) 10:55, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, this article sucks right now. But I'm not sure what purpose this article should serve in relation to bodhi and buddhahood.Sylvain1972 (talk) 17:11, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm increasingly feeling that either this should redirect to bodhi or bodhi should redirect here.Sylvain1972 (talk) 19:00, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


I re-ordered the page into a logical sequence of:

  • Various terms and concepts translated by "enlightenment"
  • Terms describing insight
  • Buddhahood, the way to it, and the differences in opinion
  • Western understanding of "enlightenment"

As far as I know and can see, the word "enlightenment" is often used in a gross way, throwing together different meanings. This does definately not contribute to our western understanding. Careful disentanglement of the different words is necessary, just as the difference between initial insight and full buddhahood - if that exists anyway. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 21:38, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

"Scientific consideration" Literal interpretations[edit]

The article by Paul G. Joseph is speculative:

  • Paul G. Joseph's understanding of "enlightenment" is quite limited, if not nihil. He refers to Schumann, "The Historical Buddha". Schumann refers to Majjhima Nikaya sutra 36, in which the search of the Buddha is described. In this sutra, after having eaten, the Buddha enters the four jhanas, to purify the mind. He then acquires the knowledge of his former lives, the knowledge of the "Passing away and reappearance of beings" (Nanamoli & Bodhi p.341), and the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. These knowledges 'banish ignorance and darkness', giving way to insight. That's what "enlightenment" is about, not "altered states of consciousness".
  • Paul G. Joseph takes the enlightenment story of Gautama quite literal, as if it is an objective eyewitness-account. It isn't, of course. It's a story, to meant to teach a Buddhist teaching. The story of taking food after a long time of starvation tells us to avoid extremes. The descriptions of the knowledges are part of a standard repertoire of "higher knowledges" supposed to be acquired by liberated beings in the age of Gautama. Warder mentions even ten different of such 'higher knowledges'.
  • Buddhism has a history of 2500 years. To take one story as the normative account of "enlightenment" is to ignore these 2500 years, and the experiences of thousands of people. That's not science.
  • The notion of "enlightenment experience" itself is problematic. See Sharf, Robert H. (1995-B), "Buddhist Modernism and the Rhetoric of Meditative Experience", NUMEN, vol.42 (1995) 
  • The stories about Elijah, Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus are also stories, not objective case-studies. The story about saddhus et cetera is interesting, but not related to Gautama.
  • The alternative hypotheses are also quite limited, to put it mildly. Aldous Huxley is not exactly considered to be a "scientist".

Paul G. Joseph is quite careless in his assumptions, and pares knowledge of biochemistry to a lack of knowledge of Buddhism and the meaning of "enlightenment", and an utterly naive lack of knowledge of critical textual studies, as any theologists could have told him. This article can't be taken serious; it's mere speculation. The fact that it's published in a scientific journal does not change the fatc that it's speculation. Joshua Jonathan
(talk) 04:51, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

About the publication in a scientific journal, did anyone see the title of this journal. "Medical hypotheses"? I quote:
"Medical hypotheses was therefore launched, and still exists today, to give novel, radical new ideas and speculations in medicine open-minded consideration, opening the field to radical hypotheses which would be rejected by most conventional journals. [...] The journal therefore constitutes a bridge between cutting-edge theory and the mainstream of medical and scientific communication," (my italics)
This is not what we call a reliable source. Apart from that, I agree with Joshua's criticism of the content. Enlightenment is not an experience. This hypothesis by Joseph should not be part of this article. Lova Falk talk 09:04, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Full awakening[edit]

There is a difference between "is said to have achieved full awakening" and "has achieved full awakening". According to Buddhist tradition, Gautama achieved full awakening. If this is so, cannot be reliably determined; it's an article of faith of Buddhism. And even within Buddhism, there are different viewpoints: "The Buddha and Bodhiharma are still practising" (Harris, Ishwar C. (2004), The Laughing Buddha of Tofukuji: The Life of Zen Master Keidō Fukushima, Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom, ISBN 978-0-941-53262-4  p.103) Joshua Jonathan (talk) 11:51, 19 November 2012 (UTC)