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awakening

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Awakening cannot be reduced to a single experience. It is a process of dissolution, which involves letting go completely of hatred, greed and delusion. You do not awaken to something external, but to your own true nature.

Stephen Batchelor

At the root of Buddhist meditation is the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment, or awakening. The root of Buddha is budh, which means 'to awaken’, 'to understand'. So 'awakening’ is perhaps a better word to use to describe this moment than 'enlightenment'.

reflectDoes the word 'enlightenment’ have romantic associations for you? Do you imagine flicking a switch and being suddenly surrounded by light? Do you  imagine that enlightenment will bring utter peace and contentment, that it will solve all your problems or transform you into a totally different person? Do you see enlightenment as liberation from the pain of this world, and equate it with a kind of extinction? Or are you attracted to the heroic nature of the word and fantasize that through enlightenment you will save the world?