One of the oldest spiritual techniques in the world is the use of meditation for enlightenment.
While many modern meditation techniques focus on creating relaxation, inner peace, happiness, and other positive states of mind, traditional Buddhism takes a slightly different approach.
Traditional Buddhist dharma advocates the use of meditation for attaining enlightenment. Where many other religions consider the highest achievement to be communication with God (or gods), Buddhists see the highest achievement as the attainment of enlightenment.
Why Is Enlightenment Important?
Life is full of suffering.
A great deal of our time spent on Earth is spending fearing, fighting, avoiding, or confronting pain and suffering.
Suffering is caused by the ego. The ego perceives itself as a separate entity to the “outside world.” It actually takes quite a lot of sustained mental effort to create and maintain the delusional perspective of ourselves as an entity separate from the outside world.
Buddhists view this duality, the idea of an “I” separate to the outside world, the highest form of ignorance.
Duality is the chief form of suffering.
When we perceive ourselves as a separate part of the world, we become attached to other separate parts of the world, such as the people in our lives. More specifically, we become attached to them precisely as they are. But everything and everybody is impermanent. Life changes. We become attached to something that we wish were permanent (we hope people we love, for instance, never change). But inevitably this will cause pain because life is transitory and people do change all the time.
Kill your ego and you achieve oneness.
Buddha taught that the way to break free of the ego and of the suffering that the ego causes is to achieve enlightenment. The way to achieve enlightenment is by following the four noble truths.
If You Want To Use Meditation To Achieve Oneness, Start With Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths
1: Dukkha: All temporary things and states are unsatisfying.
2: The Arising of Dukkha: Yet we crave and cling to these things and states, which is the cause of pain.
3: Cessation of Dukkha: We can free ourselves of Dukkha by letting go of our attachments. We can still enjoy positive relationships, but we can do so while accepting the transitory nature of reality.
4: The path to the end of Dukkha: following the Noble Eightfold Path, namely behaving decently, not acting on impulses, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, will lead to freedom from Dukkha, and freedom from suffering.
It is possible to sum the four noble truths up in one sentence: “Letting go of all attachments leads to complete freedom from suffering.”
Life would be very, very easy if we simply accepted the fact that things change, and if we no longer cling onto things.
And that is where the Eightfold Path comes in.
If you wish to use meditation for enlightenment, follow the Eightfold Path.
1: Right perspective: The mind has a predisposition for delusion and over-complication. Buddhists advocate perception of things in their pure and simplest form. See things as they are. To achieve this, practice Samatha Meditation and then Dhyana Meditation. These meditations have a powerful effect on your perspective, so much so that they’ve even been proven to stop racism.
2: Right Intention: Buddha advocated noble intention, which includes strict adherence to honesty.
3: Right Speech: Speak from the heart and with honesty.
4: Right Action: We must act in ways that do not harm others and which bring about peace and love. (which is the reason for Loving Kindness Meditation)
5: Right life: Wherever you are, do the best you can do there. Whoever you are with, do the best you can do for them. Maybe you think you’d be better off elsewhere. But you are where you are. Serve the place where you are and the people who are around you.
6: Right Effort: Buddhists see “Right Effort” as a combination of four things. The first is the effort to prevent evil in oneself. Secondly, effort to prevent evil elsewhere. Thirdly, effort to bring out the best in oneself. And fourth, to bring out the best in others.
7: Right Mindfulness: This is where the actual “meditation” part of enlightenment comes in. We need to be mindful and live in the present moment with non-judgmental observation of reality.
8: Right Concentration: The Blessed One said: “Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions.” —Maha-cattarisaka Sutta
Using Daily Practice And Meditation For Enlightenment
Now that we’ve discussed what enlightenment is, it becomes a lot easier to see how we can use daily practice and meditation for enlightenment. Here are some of the practices for attaining enlightenment.
1: Use Mindfulness for “Right Perspective”: Mindfulness is the beginning of enlightenment. Make an effort to be mindful and to live in the present moment and all times. You will find it helpful to practice mindfulness meditation in order to achieve this.
2: For “Right Intention” Be Mindful Of Your Desires And Aims
What are your aims and desires? Whatever they are, they should be for the betterment of all. They should not harm any sentient being. They must not be selfish or egotistical, and it is best if they include helping people in your own community. For this, try doing volunteer work at a local charity or shelter. This is right intention.
3: For “Right speech” Use Nonviolent Communication:
Nonviolent communication is communication that is free of judgment and hostility and also does not include delusional perspectives. Nonviolent communication is about peace and love.
4: For Right Action, Commit To A Life Of Truth And Love
Right Action must be achieved through mindful choice. You must decide to dedicate yourself to the path of love and peace.
5: For Right Life, Try Loving Kindness
Right Life is about helping the people and animals in your life, about helping your community. Try practicing Loving Kindness Meditation. Send thoughts of love and kindness to people in your community. This will naturally motivate you to get positively involved with your community.
6: For Right Effort, focus on the positive
No matter where you are or who you are with, focus on the positives. Be the kindest and most compassionate you that you can be, and try to inspire other people to be the kindness and most compassionate they can be too. If you would like to develop your levels of compassion, you will find my guide to Karuna meditation very helpful.
Mindfulness is arguably the most important part of enlightenment. It’s here that we begin to actually use meditation for enlightenment. I recommend using as many different types of meditation technique as you can. In order to help out I’ve created a meditation schedule at the bottom of this page. I think you’ll find it really helpful.
8: For Right Concentration, Print This
I’m going to recommend that in order to create right concentration you print this page and put it on your fridge. That way you’ll see it every day and it will remind you what to do. You could also put it on your blog or your website, share it with friends, whatever will help you to keep this guide in mind.
And that is the path to enlightenment. Follow this guide and you will find enlightenment.
Do You Want To Walk The Path To Enlightenment?