What is the path of enlightenment?

There is inside it Buddhism always talked about enlightenment, the path of enlightenment and the teachings of the enlightened one. This teaching originated with or by Gautama Buddha, who was born 563 years before Christ. He was the first to reach the path of enlightenment. How? First of all, he thought he could achieve this through fasting and meditation, but when he was severely malnourished, he became aware that this was not the right way. Exhausted, he sat under the Bodhi tree, where he entered into a deep meditation lasting 49 days. Once out of this meditation he was enlightened and understood what the path of enlightenment entails. He started spreading this teaching.

What did Buddha discover during his meditation?

He discovered that life consists of all kinds of suffering. There is pain, sorrow, envy and hatred. These are forms of suffering that are not directed by a higher power, these forms of suffering lie mainly in the person himself. If it lies in man himself, it means that man can also free himself from this.

The suffering for enlightenment of the Buddha 

This suffering is described in Buddhism Dukkha mentioned is not limited to physical and mental pain. By this is meant the universal and deeper psychological state of discontent and fear which accompanies every experience of worldly existence. Buddhism proclaims that such feelings mainly exist because of the temporality of earthly existence. In addition, these experiences go hand in hand with the fear of losing them, and so they cannot bring us lasting happiness.

Very briefly, life is a series of uninterrupted and unsatisfactory experiences of suffering, and this suffering manifests itself in dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, fear and physical suffering.

What caused the suffering?

Gautama Buddha says that suffering is mainly caused by craving. This craving is called Tanha in Buddhism and comes in three forms:

  1. the craving for sensory experiences
  2. the yearning to continue our lives
  3. the yearning for the cessation of our lives

And by liberating ourselves from craving, we liberate ourselves from suffering. This deliverance from suffering leads to the Nirvana. This is a state of absolute and everlasting peace. This means the definitive cessation of the circle of rebirths, the Samsara fleetand thus of suffering. This state would be accessible to anyone alive.

The path of enlightenment

To achieve this, there is the Eightfold Path, which leads to liberation from suffering. The eightfold path includes the following:

  1. having the right insights – in accordance with the four truths
  2. having the right intentions – not possessiveness, anger or cruelty
  3. using the right words – no lies, harsh language. Gossip or slander
  4. doing the right thing – not enjoying at the expense of others, no violence against people or animals and no stealing
  5. living the right way – an honest and beneficial profession
  6. the right effort – the commitment to promote the beneficial
  7. focusing the right attention – living and being alert to the here and now
  8. having the right concentration – on the here and now, or on a beneficial object

In brief

The path of enlightenment, as discovered by Gautama Buddha during his meditation under the Bodhi tree, revolves around the understanding of suffering (Dukkha) and its cause, namely craving (Tanha). Buddha concluded that suffering originates from the human mind and that liberation from it leads to Nirvana, a state of lasting peace and the end of the cycle of rebirth (Samsara). The Eightfold Path is the means to achieve this, including right understanding, right intentions, right actions, right living, and right concentration, among others. The goal is to achieve enlightenment and free the self from suffering.

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