Enlightenment in Buddhism refers to a state of consciousness that is free of suffering and delusion. It’s a timeless state that reflects the true nature of our eternal souls. Between incarnated lifetimes, our soul-consciousness returns to the pure, formless potential and infinite Source of Unconditional Love from which we came; however, Enlightenment allows us a connection with this dynamic, high-vibration state even while on earth.
Enlightened humans have mastery of the mind and are not ruled by thoughts, emotions, desire, aversion, fear or ego. Their brains and nervous systems function differently, and they are in touch with a profound peace that is at once deeply serene and incredibly powerful. Something about them seems to exist outside of space and time. To borrow from Christianity, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” An Enlightened consciousness will characterize the next iteration of humans on earth.
The Bodhisattva Vow
In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva refers to someone who is committed to the Enlightenment of all beings. The Bodhisattva has no enemies and understands that at the most fundamental level, we are all facets of One consciousness. Suffering can take many forms. When even one person is suffering, we all suffer.
As such, deep compassion is at the heart of Buddhist teachings as well as the Bodhisattva Vow. These Buddhists strive to live and act out of love and good intentions for all beings and for the Highest Good on earth. It could be said that compassion is love in action, and this can manifest as praying and holding space for the Enlightenment of everyone.
We can certainly pray for earthly abundance for others; however, praying for a state of consciousness that allows them to be free of fear and aligned with a deep, unperturbed inner peace regardless of their outer circumstances is perhaps the most loving intention we can have for anyone.
The Bodhisattva Vow may take one of two forms: Bodhisattvas can use their own Enlightenment to help teach and inspire others to reach this state. They may also forestall their own Enlightenment with the prayer that others reach this state before them. In this way, they choose to delay their own Enlightenment or Ascension out of compassion for others who are still suffering. They know we all succeed eventually, but their focus is on minimizing suffering here on earth while maximizing and expediting higher consciousness.
Bringing It Down to Earth
What might a world of Enlightened beings look like?
How do you feel when love fills your heart for a partner, a friend, a child, a pet, an admired public figure, or even someone who has touched your heart on YouTube? How do you feel when compassion fills your heart for someone you love, or perhaps even for a stranger?
How do you feel when you are in the flow of the activities you love to do most while here on earth, such as working on a technological or social advance that helps humanity, parenting your children with unconditional love, excelling in a sport, or creating a work of art that comes from your soul?
“Flavors” of Enlightenment: Compassion, Love and Gratitude
Think of your very best and most uplifting moments in life, the times when you’ve felt the most amazing. Perhaps it’s the beauty of a favorite spot in nature, the smell of the air during your favorite season, sharing laughter with friends, or how you felt as a child at the beginning of summer vacation. Our best moments in life often have these two elements: deep gratitude for what is happening, and excited anticipation about a positive future.
An Enlightened humanity could be characterized by an endless array of these kinds of positive feelings as our natural state. Our eternal essence would shine through in this dimension in harmonious partnership with our human avatars, other human beings, and all of nature. From there, who knows what might be possible for us as a species?
Any positive feeling that has a “timeless” quality could be called a “flavor” (expression) of the Enlightened state. Bodhisattvas pray that all beings find their ideal path to Enlightenment. Whether you are Buddhist or not, we can all hold this prayer in our hearts for others and envision a world where humanity celebrates both its diversity and unity as facets of One consciousness.
Enlightenment is the destiny of us all, whether in this lifetime or another. Let’s all pray for the most efficient end to suffering possible here and the emergence of a glorious world consciousness grounded in Love, goodwill and Oneness awareness for all.
Still not sure how to pray for the Enlightenment of others? Saying the Metta (Lovingkindness) Prayeris a kind and compassionate act you can do every day. You can also spin a prayer wheel, or wear mala meditation beads as a reminder to put love first and wish others well.