Enlightenment? What is that?
The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen - gives the following definition. "The word Enlightenment is used to translate the Sanskrit term bodhi (literally awakened) and the Japanese satori. A person awakens to the nowness of emptiness which he himself is - even as the entire universe is emptiness - and which alone enables him to comprehend the true nature of things. Since enlightenment is repeatedly misunderstood as an experience of light and experiences of light wrongly understood as enlightenment, the term awakening is preferable, since it more accurately conveys the experience. The emptiness experienced here is no nihilistic emptiness, rather it is something unpreceivable, unthinkable, unfeelable, and endless beyond existence and nonexistence. Emptiness is no object that could be experienced by a subject, since the subject itself is dissolved in the emptiness."
The Shambhala Dictionary goes on to say, "The perfect enlightenment of Buddha is the beginning of the buddhadharma, i.e., that which is known as Buddhism. Buddhism is basically a religion of enlightenment, without this experience there would be no Buddhism."
Why this web site?
We might then conclude that Enlightenment is both an experience of direct truth - and the basis of Buddhism. Since I am a Unitarian Universalist Buddhist my form of practice is necessarily different. Here is a service I hope to soon give at my UU church in Huntsville Alabama -Buddhist Beliefs Explained - I do Enlightenment the Dyad way.
Traditional Buddhism teaches dharma, the truth, as a living tradition. The Eastern culture is rich with wisdom and this works for them. Here in the West, we are much more caught in our heads. We might need a new path towards dharma. Buddhism has always adapted to find what works now. Zen is an example of that adaption. The goal of all Buddhism is to reach enlightenment. Non-traditional Buddhism is any process that has the same goal of enlightenment but uses a new path. The dyad is a meditation and communication process that allows direct experience of dharma. We call it 'The Western Way to Enlightenment.' We think that in another hundred years it too will be called traditional Buddhism, it just seems strange now.
So how can aUnitarian Universalist teach a process that will result in Enlightenment? First recognize that the Dyad process is not owned by any organized religion. It is not a process that feeds in outside "theories" or "teaches in a classroom setting." It is a process of true self-discovery. Catholics, Jews, or Fundamental Christians, almost anyone can do this process. A true Catholic who works in a Dyad becomes a better Catholic. Of course this is not a rule - it depends on the individual - and their personal truth. The Dyad allows people to connect in and realize their own deep spiritual truth. Not necessarily my way or in my words - They connect to their way. That is what counts in the end - personal responsibility - personal honesty - personal truth - as personal experience - not as abstract ideas. Click for the Schedule of our next Enlightenment Intensive.
In June of 1968 Charles Burner initiated the Dyad process at the first Enlightenment Intensive. It lasted five days and I was one of those 26 - now called "old timers" - who attended that first experimental Enlightenment Intensive in the high desert of Lucerne Valley California. From that early experiment the Dyad process was identified and during the last 35+ years it has been refined. The Dyad process is currently practiced in many countries but our overall numbers are still very small. Everyone knows the truth - but not many are willing to face it. People would prefer to have it on the cheap - to avoid life in some way - to get something for nothing - to escape - and to hide out. Those who follow the Dyad way live deep spiritual truth as ordinary life. Nothing out of the ordinary - except they are at peace with themselves and others.
Enlightenment is a charged word - so let me start with the easier to understand term "awakening." How do we approach our own awakening? We must in some way be sleeping, in order to "wake up" to the ever present now. We must therefore be unaware of something. It is a big experience to be fully alive and aware - in the now. It is big and raw without protection, no place for wimps, no place to hide. How do we avoid that big experience and just hide out? It seems easy to fall into a kind of mental sleep walk. Maybe we like living in our heads? Maybe we are somehow choosing to be isolated? Maybe anything? Only you know these answers. What help can I give you that will empower you to wake up? What help can I give? How about some new language that will allow discovery?
Let me introduce you to the concept of communication cycles - as a basis of all shared reality. Communication can be thought of as a cycle having 12 parts. There is a lot more going on between us than most people are aware of. When all 12 parts are experienced and recognized people feel complete - when parts are missing they feel empty. As a person starts to pay attention to completing communication cycles - their clarity, presentation, affinity, reality, connection, focus, and listening skills naturally start to improve. This reduces their reliance on the reactive mind -and they start to make progress. They improve their personal reality. They start to enjoy life more. Some make natural progress right up to and including full-blown Enlightenment Experiences. They connect in to their deep quiet nature and they draw out great personal strength. Others don't. Others get stuck. They get stuck because of contamination and trip laying. They buy in to group think and accept indirect knowledge as truth.
Our culture is swimming in unclear communication - buy this soap and you will be loved - contamination is how we sell goods - it is how we keep the economy going. Everything has "spin" on it. Nothing is simple - everything has a "because" attached to it. Your choice becomes hidden - you are naturally "expected" to buy this or that product. This widespread contamination can easily set us at cross-purposes. We get stuck doing both sides of the issues - we are in opposition with ourselves. We end up - in the long run - fighting ourselves. We therefore lose the great power of choice.
Once you know about communication cycles - and you are willing to put in the hard personal work to set yourself right with truth - you are ready to sign up and attend a three-day Enlightenment Intensive.