Q. We practise meditation to reach enlightenment. If the process really works, then why don’t we see any monks becoming enlightened? I even sometimes feel that enlightenment is just a figment of man’s imagination. Have we lost the true technique?
A. That you have not seen an enlightened man is one thing and whether there is an enlightened man, or not, is another. Considering that only an enlightened man can recognise the enlightened, the odds are that there is no enlightened man at all, but chances are that you have not met any of them or have failed to recognise them even though there are a lot of enlightened men.
Can you recognise an enlightened man if you should meet him now? Can you tell the enlightened apart from those who are not enlightened? What do you think the enlightened are or should be like? If you can recognise an enlightened man, you are already enlightened, or at least very close to enlightenment. However, you cannot recognise the enlightened unless you yourself are enlightened, no matter how many they may be.
There is a saying ‘If you attain enlightenment, the whole universe becomes enlightened along with you’. Don’t think that there is no enlightened man but think that you can’t recognise the enlightened. Practise hard and you will understand what the words ‘If you practise sincerely, an enlightened man appears out of nowhere and helps you’ mean.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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