Enlightenment is Not Enough
When I speak of Enlightenment, I mean in the Buddhist sense – where you are able to understand how things are in their most basic sense, and be free from delusion. The practitioner achieves this completely on her own – or as she might say: by merging with Buddha nature.
It is important not to get stuck in words at this point, because this is not a verbal process, and part of the practice is staying away from words. After the fact, different people will use different words to explain what happened. But the smart ones will refrain from doing so.
In my experience, most people who profess enthusiasm for Buddhism know practically nothing about it, and don’t really want to – since it is a way of life, not a way of thinking about life. And living is something they avoid.
Which brings me to my point – we have to acknowledge, intellectually, that we have been hit by a new force we were not prepared for. And include this knowledge in our personal practice, whatever it is.
What is this new force? To answer this we have to work backward from where we are, and take careful stock of our present situation. Something no one wants to do, because the present situation is to horrible to contemplate. It requires going back and forth between the meditative (non-thinking) state and the thinking state. Something we have never done before.
We have to realize how destructive our dominant activity, business, has become. This is something no one is willing to recognize. Even meditators, who have been hard at work at perfecting their craft, refuse to look at this, or take it into account.
Business, in itself, is not the problem. It is a natural human activity. But this new kind of business is very much a problem. It probably started with the Industrial Revolution, where large, powerful machines (starting with the sailing ship) made their appearance.
They (and all their service industries, such as banking) could be used to obtain immense wealth (for a few). But more importantly, they provided employment for vast numbers of ignorant people, who were content to live mediocre lives. The era of mass man had arrived.
This is the new force I was talking about. But these new people are incapable of (and unwilling to) understand it – or anything else. They are very much part of it, cannot separate themselves from it, and are afraid of living.
There is an aware minority, as always, but they do not seem to understand the basic problem. Which means we are in a very serious situation indeed.