Enlightenment



The Bodhisatta, having put Mara to flight, gave himself up to

meditation. All the miseries of the world, the evils produced by

evil deeds and the sufferings arising therefrom, passed before

his mental eye, and he thought:



"Surely if living creatures saw the results of all their evil

deeds, they would turn away from them in disgust. But selfhood

blinds them, and they cling to their obnoxious desires.



"They crave pleasure for themselves and they cause pain to

others; when death destroys their individuality, they find no

peace; their thirst for existence abides and their selfhood

reappears in new births.



"Thus they continue to move in the coil and can find no escape

from the hell of their own making. And how empty are their

pleasures, how vain are their endeavors! Hollow like the

plantain-tree and without contents like the bubble.



"The world is full of evil and sorrow, because it is full of

lust. Men go astray because they think that delusion is better

than truth. Rather than truth they follow error, which is

pleasant to look at in the beginning but in the end causes

anxiety, tribulation, and misery."



And the Bodhisatta began to expound the Dharma. The Dharma is the

truth. The Dharma is the sacred law. The Dharma is religion. The

Dharma alone can deliver us from error, from wrong and from

sorrow.



Pondering on the origin of birth and death, the Enlightened One

recognized that ignorance was the root of all evil; and these are

the links in the development of life, called the twelve nidanas:



In the beginning there is existence blind and without knowledge;

and in this sea of ignorance there are stirrings formative and

organizing. From stirrings, formative and organizing, rises

awareness or feelings. Feelings beget organisms that live as

individual beings. These organisms develop the six fields, that

is, the five senses and the mind. The six fields come in contact

with things. Contact begets sensation. Sensation creates the

thirst of individualized being. The thirst of being creates a

cleaving to things. The cleaving produces the growth and

continuation of selfhood. Selfhood continues in renewed births.

The renewed births of selfhood are the cause of suffering, old

age, sickness, and death. They produce lamentation, anxiety, and

despair.



The cause of all sorrow lies at the very beginning; it is hidden

in the ignorance from which life grows. Remove ignorance and you

will destroy the wrong appetences that rise from ignorance;

destroy these appetences and you will wipe out the wrong

perception that rises from them. Destroy wrong perception and

there is an end of errors in individualized beings. Destroy the

errors in individualized beings and the illusions of the six

fields will disappear. Destroy illusions and the contact with

things will cease to beget misconception. Destroy misconception

and you do away with thirst. Destroy thirst and you will be free

of ail morbid cleaving. Remove the cleaving and you destroy the

selfishness of selfhood. If the selfishness of selfhood is

destroyed you will be above birth, old age, disease, and death,

and you will escape all suffering.



The Enlightened One saw the four noble truths which point out the

path that leads to Nirvana or the extinction of self:



The first noble truth is the existence of sorrow.



The second noble truth is the cause of suffering.



The third noble truth is the cessation of sorrow.



The fourth noble truth is the eightfold path that leads to the

cessation of sorrow.



This is the Dharma. This is the truth. This is religion. And the

Enlightened One uttered this stanza:



"Through many births I sought in vain

The Builder of this House of Pain.

Now, Builder, thee I plainly see!

This is the last abode for me.

Thy gable's yoke and rafters broke,

My heart has peace. All lust will cease."



There is self and there is truth. Where self is, truth is not.

Where truth is, self is not. Self is the fleeting error of

samsara; it is individual separateness and that egotism which

begets envy and hatred. Self is the yearning for pleasure and the

lust after vanity. Truth is the correct comprehension of things;

it is the permanent and everlasting, the real in all existence,

the bliss of righteousness. 17 The existence of self is an

illusion, and there is no wrong in this world, no vice, no evil,

except what flows from the assertion of self.



The attainment of truth is possible only when self is recognized

as an illusion. Righteousness can be practised only when we have

freed our mind from passions of egotism. Perfect peace can dwell

only where all vanity has disappeared.



Blessed is he who has understood the Dharma. Blessed is he who

does no harm to his fellow-beings. Blessed is he who overcomes

wrong and is free from passion. To the highest bliss has he

attained who has conquered all selfishness and vanity. He has

become the Buddha, the Perfect One, the Blessed One, the Holy

One.





;