You are here:

Buddhists/Questions about enlightenment


Tony wrote at 2013-07-03 05:54:43
1. Is ego-death required to reach enlightenment?

Yes. Your ego is your beliefs, judgments, opinions, interpretations, knowledge and experience about this world of Phenomenon. That which you refer to as "enlightenment" is simply your natural, unconditioned, uncontrived, unstructured consciousness. Your "ego" is getting in the way of your natural, primordial, basic and fundamental being. And that is the being that exists before thoughts, words or language arises in the mind. How is it possible for the ego to exist within a being whose perception is clear without being influenced by random thoughts and the external world. The ego is selfish, arrogant, angry, jealous, envious, greedy, hateful and conceited. To be "enlightened" which is what you have always been, means not being influenced by all these things.

2. If ego-death is required to reach enlightenment, does this mean I will lose attachment to the people I love (like my girlfriend?), or will I continue to love her just as equally? Will I be able to maintain a relationship with her? I feel like attachment is a part of the ego, and is a requirement for keeping the relationship. Am I wrong about this?

Yes, attachment must go. Attachment keeps you from knowing your true nature. Your love for the people in your life will be different. There is no other way to explain it. What most people think of as love is actually attachment. Attachment is not necessary for love. Attachment is selfishness. Your desire not to lose a person or thing. Because you believe it is  necessary for your happiness and you will suffer if it is lost.   There is something, but it can't be described with words. It's intuitive. Love is just a word created by the mind to try and describe an occurrence within ones consciousness and body. We as human beings sense changes in our minds and bodies. We have feelings and emotions. We need language in order to attempt to express that which is being experienced. We create these ideas about this and that.

There is no reason why you cannot maintain your current relationships. As a matter of fact, your relations will improve 100% because your state of mind is not influenced by all the changing events of life. You approach all situations with equanimity.

3. This is a tricky question. What purpose to people seek enlightenment? I have heard from many teachers that thinking of enlightenment as 'gaining' something is wrong. It is simply a way of being. However, if it is not gaining anything, then what drives these people to become enlightened in the first place?

It's simply a shift in perception. It's observing the external and internal world with equanimity. You cannot gain that which already exist within you. It's simply obscured by thoughts, beliefs, opinions, judgments about this and that, interpretations based on knowledge and experience. It's like being an actor playing a part in a movie. You play the role you have been given. To the audience, you appear to be truly experiencing all the normal things people normally experience in life. But internally, you know it's all a fabrication. A shared fantasy. You realize it's all illusory and therefore it doesn't affect your consciousness. People seek a better situation. Humanity has always sought better situations. But they do so blindly because they don't know what exactly they are seeking.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Alex Wilding


I have practiced and studied Tibetan Buddhism in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions since the early 1970s, and have a good knowledge of theory, history and of the struggles of trying to practice the teachings, including meditation, while leading a normal, modern life. I am also available to provide background information for journalists.


I have been a practitioner since the early 1970s; have run a small Buddhist centre in the English Midlands and was vice-president of Kagyu Benchen Ling e.V. in Germany, for whom I managed three large Buddhist summer-camps. More importantly, I maintain a habit of personal practice. I am the "owner" of the Kagyu list at Yahoo.

My first degree was an M.A. from Oxford. I later obtained a Master of Philosophy degree for a research thesis in "Initiation in Tibetan Buddhism" from Leicester University. I also have engineering and educational qualifications.

©2016 All rights reserved.