Enlightenment is one of those terms that has a lot of different meanings, depending on who you ask. Today, I want to define what I mean when I use the term enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the act of seeing through the illusions of the mind, particularly the illusion of the personal “me” – the body, mind, and ego that most of us identify with and believe we are.
So, enlightenment is essentially a shattering of that paradigm, a shattering of the belief in the existence of a personal “me” that is burdened with issues, problems, and suffering.
In essence, enlightenment is a fundamental change in identification. It brings about certain effects, one of which is the cessation of suffering. Suffering, in this context, refers to mental anguish and hurt that we create in our minds. While physical pain may arise from the nerves of the body, suffering is rooted in the mind.
Once we see through the illusions of the mind, especially the illusion of the personal “me” upon which all problems and suffering are based, suffering ceases. This understanding aligns with what the Buddha often spoke of – that enlightenment or awakening is the cessation of suffering. Based on my own experience, I tend to agree with this perspective.