Article: What is enlightenment
Article: What is enlightenment

What is Enlightenment?

Sharing ancient wisdom for modern times, Master Sri Avinash answers the age-old question, what is enlightenment?

Reading Time – 5 minutes

There are so many ways to explain what enlightenment is. There are so many ways to look at it.

Gautama Buddha says that it’s the end of suffering. And he’s right—after enlightenment there’s no more suffering. This explanation of enlightenment  is probably the best in terms of understanding and being able to relate to it. Because you know when you’re suffering, and enlightenment is when you no longer have that anymore.

Another way to look at enlightenment is—there’s no more ego. In other words, there’s no more, “I am something.” There’s no more, “I am something special,” and there’s no more, “I am something not special.” There’s no more, “I am intelligent… I’m worthy of respect… I am a royal… I am athletic.”

So when the ego is gone, or the “I am something” is gone, what do you feel? Well, based on that logic, if you’re not something, then you feel like you are nothing. It’s very simple! If you’re not something, you are nothing. So when there’s no ego, when the person is egoless, they will feel, “I am nothing.”

Now, in the English language, when you say, “I am nothing,” that creates an implied meaning of inferiority. But nothing cannot be inferior. Only something can be superior or inferior. But nothing can’t be inferior.

So when the ego goes, then you feel, “I am nothing.” Now, does nothing try to impress others? Only something or somebody can try to impress others. But nothing can’t try to impress anybody. So when you feel like you are nothing, that’s the end of trying to impress others. That’s the end of attention seeking and needing approval.

And when the ego is there, or the person feels like, “I am something,” that’s where all the suffering lies. When a person is rude to you and you are something, then you will be offended. But if that person is behaving in a rude manner when you feel you are nothing, now will you be offended? Will you be thinking about it two minutes later, “Oh, why was that person behaving like that, offending me?” The only way you can be thinking like that is when you think you are something.

So, one method on the path to enlightenment is to try to be nothing. And in more practical terms you try to be humble. A humble person is kind of small. Take the judgement out—in the English language, ‘small’ is bad, but take that out. A person who is humble, is small.

You can shoot an arrow at a balloon, but you can’t shoot an arrow at a mosquito, from 10 metres away! When you’re small, it’s very hard to be hurt. Now, it is the fear of being small, or humble, that stops us from striving towards being small and humble. It’s the fear of being small that makes us try to impress others with our wealth and our success. So, one method to attaining enlightenment is being humble. Make the ego small.

Now, to be small is not easy, because that means you have to be able to not care about other people’s judgements of your failure. So if you have only one dollar in the bank, and you tell someone this, you don&