1. What Is Enlightenment?
Throughout the ages, human beings have always sought enlightenment. Some of us may not know exactly what enlightenment is, but we all have an undeniable desire to develop our souls. It’s woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Enlightenment is generally associated with religion, but it also holds a central place in the field of philosophy, which reflects both our philosophical desire to pursue the Truths and our yearning for an intellectual understanding of the mysteries and workings of the world. Whether or not Confucianism is a religion is open to discussion, but there’s no doubt that Confucius also tried to enlighten people by teaching them his particular path to the state of moral perfection.
In this chapter, I would like to focus on religious enlightenment, which encompasses a philosophical desire to attain the Truths and pursue human perfection. The heart of religious enlightenment is our connection to Buddha. We strengthen that connection and grow closer to Him by exploring the principles of the world that He created. In this respect, there is no end to the path of enlightenment. To put it another way, we can never attain complete enlightenment, no matter how much effort we put forth. It’s almost impossible to gain a complete understanding of the entire spirit world or to attain the ultimate state. Fortunately, however, there are different levels of enlightenment. In other words, it’s possible for all people to attain a certain level of enlightenment, in keeping with their own spiritual awareness. There is also an ultimate level of enlightenment for human beings dwelling in physical bodies on Earth. In this chapter, I would like to describe the different stages leading to this highest level of enlightenment attainable for human beings.