Enlightenment, Nirvana and stuff.

Jackson, May 12, 2011, originally uploaded by Maggie Osterberg.

Maggie, if the “buddhist take” is that there is no “self” to go to a heaven, is the illusion “heaven” or “the self”? And if there is no “self,” then what does “enlightenment” mean? Who — if there is no self — is being enlightened (or falling prey to an illusion)?

I’m not nearly wise enough to answer those questions in a succinct manner. For me, it’s sort of like Jazz- if you have to ask what it is, I can’t really explain it, but I know it when I hear it or play it.

I guess it’s a realization that this idea of “self” is something that we’ve come up with to distinguish ourselves from our environments, we’re focused on being waves, moving forward all the time, and this focus, this wanting to move as waves, causes us distress (are we moving in the right direction? maybe “I” should move in the same direction as that other wave?), but enlightenment allows us to see that we’re all made of ocean, that we’re all one big ocean and the thing we see as a “wave” or “self” is a passing phenomenon of something greater, a ripple in space-time, a temporary manifestation of the energy/matter that makes up the universe. We’re all made of the same stuff and since matter and energy is neither created nor destroyed in this universe, it means that this stuff just keeps changing shape and form- sometimes it’s matter and sometimes it’s energy and sometimes it’s matter that thinks it’s something apart from all the other matter, when really it’s dust to dust, electron to electron.

Told ya I couldn’t really answer it. Sorry.


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