A. Enlightenment means realising that everything is empty, which can be compared to recovering from a chronic illness.
When you have recovered from a chronic disease that has tortured you all your life, your life will be so different from and better than your previous life that you may even feel as if you were reborn and living a new life. Once you’ve become perfectly well, however, recovery is neither useful nor necessary to you any more since you don’t need it any longer.
In the same way, enlightenment is to the enlightened as recovery is to the healthy. Enlightenment is useful to unenlightened people, but it is nothing to the enlightened, just like getting well is useful only to patients, but just a useless phrase to the healthy. Finding enlightenment useful to yourself means that you are still not enlightened, just as feeling the need to get well means that you are still not perfectly recovered. Buddha said, “How foolish you would be if you should keep the boat on your back after crossing a river!”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway