You can’t chase it…

It’s a good thing this isn’t the Dark Ages and I’m not a religious dissenter because otherwise I’d be a candidate for the next community stake burning. –The Practical Buddhist

I say this because of what I’m going to say next:

Seeking enlightenment is pointless

Does this sound counter-intuitive to everything you’ve ever heard about Buddhism or Eastern spirituality? If you’re from a Protestant background like me, it probably flies in the face of your ideas about Buddhism.

After all, isn’t His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHTDL) -admittedly the coolest guy on the planet- seeking enlightenment? Wouldn’t you think after all the dharma talks he’s delivered, all the festivals he’s attended, and all the ceremonies he’s conducted, that he’d easily be categorized as one seeking enlightenment?

The Dalai Lama isn’t seeking enlightenment

He knows something that a lot of us somehow didn’t get when we were passively looking into Buddhism. What is it that HHTDL knows that you and I may have forgotten or overlooked?

You can’t seek enlightenment any more than a fish can seek water.

Think about that for a minute or two.

  • Fish swim their whole lives in water. They don’t go looking for it.

  • Birds fly in the sky their whole lives. They aren’t seeking it.

What can we learn from this?

If you wish to be enlightened, embrace the present moment

Do not think about the past, nor speculate about the future. Enlightenment is the understanding that only by becoming aware of this present moment can we find true meaning and fulfillment.

  • Enlightenment is awakening to the fact that seeking is pointless. Being is everything.

  • Seeking is another form of wanting. It’s rejecting the reality of the present. Being is accepting what there is right here, right now.

In Practical Buddhism, nothing matters but the direct experience of reality. There resides enlightenment. You need only to embrace it… in this moment.