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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Demystifying Nirvana

Living without enlightenment is like choosing to walk in the dark in your home, without turning the lights on!

We have all been brought up with a romantic view of enlightenment. That it is something special which only the 'chosen' few can attain. Wrong. Enlightenment, or 'nirvana', as explained in Buddhism, means simply to blow out__'nir' meaning out and 'vana' meaning to blow. So, reaching this stage means to blow out the darkness of ignorance and, consequently, invite the light of awareness to brighten up your Life. Attaining 'nirvana', therefore, does not require us to abdicate the Life we have been given.

One day a rich man came to Gautama Buddha. And calling him the Awakened One, he asked Gautama if he too should give up his wealth, his work and sit under a tree, to understand the meaning of Life and find his true Purpose. "Should I give up everything to find Truth and Happiness," asked the man. The Compassionate Buddha replied patiently,"Anyone can receive the bliss of finding Truth as long as he follows the path of unselfishness. If you are going to cling to your wealth, then it is better to throw it away than let it poison your heart. But if you do not cling to it, and use it wisely, then you will be a blessing to people. It is not wealth and power that make people slaves, but clinging to them sure does."

So, you__and I__too can attain 'nirvana' if we recognize that living in this world with what has been given to us is not sinful. Being attached to our worldly acquisitions – including material things, relationships and opinions  is what brings us misery. So, the way to enlightenment is to live in this world and yet be above it. To remain free of all attachments. To invite this awareness requires nothing more than the effort you will need to make to turn on the lights in your home. If you choose not to, despite the fact that you know the layout of your home, you will stumble, trip, even fall, hurting yourself in the process. But the moment you turn on the lights, you move freely. Unrestricted.

Osho, the Master, exhorts each one of us to be a Buddha. "It is just a question of opening your eyes. You are asleep. If you awaken, you too can be a Buddha. There have been many Buddhas before Gautama, many after him and there will continue to be many more in the future,"he says. Buddha really means 'the Awakened One'. Gautama Buddha's message simply was 'Be a Light unto yourself'. Here's hoping you turn on the light in your Life and live with awareness and in joy hereafter!

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