We began publishing this blog as a way express our frustration with common depictions of the what is called "enlightenment." Most commercially-successful gurus use these ideas to promote themselves to potential
Over the course of the last 5 years, we've corralled these notions into a "folk theory of enlightenment." Recently, we've caught echoes of this idea in the words of Dzogchen rinpoches who are quoted by the bad-ass Buddhists of Twitter, but today we found the folk theory stated as a list of expectations about enlightenment on a blog called Open Enlightenment:
A few months ago we published a similar list, which at the time we called the folk theory of guru-based spirituality. The idea has come a long way since then, and now that we're working on a conference presentation about the folk theory of enlightenment, finding Alan's blog has been a great confirmation.
- Enlightenment is the transformation into a God, and it only happens to very special people.
- Enlightenment will confer specific knowledge of everything, ever. The enlightened person knows what happened at the beginning of the universe, everything that is happening now, and everything that will happen right up to the very end. The enlightened person can provide an answer to all the Big Questions, because he/she knows God personally. He/she’s in on the plan.
- Enlightenment is the terrifying knowledge of Absolutely Nothing.
- Enlightenment is the death of the self while still alive.
- Enlightenment can only happen to men.
- Enlightenment is the complete destruction of the universe, right in front of your eyes.
- Enlightenment is a shocking, earth-shattering, cataclysmic, reality-tearing, mind-destroying, adrenalin-fueled mystical explosion.
- Enlightenment is the realisation that the world is an illusion, and so the enlightened person can walk through walls, fly, teleport, and perform all kinds of other miracles.
- Enlightenment is waking up from the dream of reality.
- Enlightenment is knowledge of heaven, hell, past lives, spiritual realms, Gods, Goddesses, dead people, angels, elves, pixies and ascended masters.
- Enlightenment is the end of suffering, pain, depression, despair, anger, hate, revulsion and disgust. It will heal my damaged self, and preserve who I am for ever in eternal bliss. I will never hurt again.
- Enlightenment is perpetual bliss.
- Enlightenment is an incomprehensible non-experience that promises nothing, and it is debatable if it actually has any benefit.
Open Enlightenment is a lighthouse spinning a beam of high-intensity clarity for those lost in the morass of myth, miracle-mongering and superstition that is the commercial spiritual marketplace today. It definitely should be read by anyone who seeks to understand enlightenment in the context of what a big-time guru is telling them. It's so good that we may just decide to retire from this blog entirely.