Definition - What does Enlightenment mean?
Enlightenment is a state of awakened understanding. It can be described as the transcendence of suffering and desire in order to obtain spiritual liberation (moksha). To be enlightened is to be freed from the tyranny of the mind and to experience deep spiritual peace, presence and wholeness.
The state of enlightenment is important in Hindu, Buddhist and yogic philosophy. According to the teachings of yoga, enlightenment is the goal of all meditation and yogic practices -- physical, mental or spiritual.
Yogapedia explains Enlightenment
Explanations of enlightenment vary depending on the tradition. In Buddhism, enlightenment is usually seen as an awakening to the absolute Truth, which releases the enlightened individual from the cycle of reincarnation.
In Hinduism, it is described as a divine, transcendent experience. Sometimes it is described as a sudden, transformative moment of awakening and other times it is seen as a more gradual process of being liberated from the bondage of the mind.
In terms of paths to enlightenment, different schools of yoga and philosophy prescribe different routes. For instance, classical Advaita Vedanta promotes Jnana yoga as a way of attaining enlightenment through spiritual study, whereas Bhakti yoga pursues enlightenment through devotion and the worship of God.
Many yogis and gurus agree that enlightenment is not really a state that we have to reach because, in a sense, we are all already enlightened. Therefore, the goal of the spiritual journey is to uncover what is already there. Enlightenment means revealing or remembering what our true, original nature is.
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