Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q221. I have heard that we are already enlightened but we don’t realise the fact. Why do we need to strive to attain enlightenment?

A. The expression ‘We are already enlightened but we don’t realise the fact’ is a very incorrect expression. The right expression is ‘We are already perfect but we don’t realise the fact’. To realise the fact that we are already perfect is enlightenment. Then, you might ask, “Why should we try to attain enlightenment when we are already perfect?” The key problem is that we are not aware of the truth. However perfect we are, we can’t be said to be perfect if we struggle in vain to become perfect while not conscious of the truth that we are already perfect.



We are like a billionaire who is living as a beggar because he is not aware of the fact that he has a great deal of money in his bank account and a lot of real estate to his name. Even though he is told that he is very rich, he can’t accept the fact easily since he has never seen the huge wealth and never lived a rich life lavishing the money freely. Can we say that he is rich? Whatever we say, he is no more than a poor beggar until he realises the fact that he is wealthy. Likewise, we cannot be said to be perfect until we realise and enjoy the truth that we are perfect. Enlightenment is to confirm the truth that we are perfect just like a rich beggar confirms that he is a billionaire.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway