Me? A Puff of Smoke?
What makes this dharma talk different than most is that often the subject of enlightenment creates anxiety so people not want to discuss. Enlightenment is this thing that you should be trying to do, you are very bad and wrong not to be enlightened already, and you should be making more effort towards this enlightenment thingy.
However, today I am more interested in knowing what you think enlightenment is.The reason for asking is because there is something inside you, which has produced energetic attitudes that are not easy to describe or even encouraged to be revealed by yourself or others. So, for the purpose of gaining progress for the benefit of all sentient beings, I am absolutely not interested in hearing you tell us something that even you don't believe is true, down deep. I am already bored to hear once again what you read in Tricycle Magazine or on the back of a bus by His Holiness the Dalai Lama exhorting you to peace and hope. Nah! For the purpose of this right now let’s not go there. OK?
Please think lightly and then more strongly about what has become ingrained in you, not located in your brain, but right here (points to heart), the seat of your mind, in order for you to uncover your own attitudes regarding what you actually believe enlightenment is. In deep retreat after much effort, a meditator can sometimes reach a level where they can hear their own view. This can come as a very big surprise to them. If you can uncover what you actually believe, no matter how politically incorrect or embarrassingly juvenile it might be, you will become more capable of changing toward a healthier model. In Buddhism we call it revealing or exposing the view. It is associated with the innate view of believing what is not real to be real. In that process, many layers of fantasy are exposed.
An important fantasy that meditators project is an enlightenment breakthrough. However, first stage enlightenment is not perfection. It only gets you to the platform where you can begin to work in earnest. There are people who are actually afraid of enlightenment because they believe that they will disappear like a puff of smoke once they become enlightened. And so, although they do try to meditate, they are not very good at it because they are afraid they might actually gain enlightenment and disappear - which they are totally not ready to do.
I've heard more than once, "If I become enlightened, I won't care any more about my wife or my husband or my children. And since I do care about them, I actually don't want to become enlightened even though I say I do and am meditating regularly." Some say that they felt enlightened beings were separate from them in an elite society, and they were angry at enlightened beings for being separate and elite.
If your innate view and its companions of energetic influences on your mind are creating obstacles to your true and pure desire to attain enlightenment then make determination now to uncover the rascal hiding in your own mind! Take time today to contemplate fearlessly your own attitudes toward the enlightened state, accept responsibility for any defective view and begin fresh from where you are to change them.