People meditate in order to become enlightened.
Is this enough? Or do we need something more?
The Buddhist teaching of enlightenment emphasises the importance of taking refuge in the “Three Jewels” – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. All three are seen as equally important. Buddha is the enlightened state; our true nature, Dharma is the teaching and Sangha is the spiritual family.
We can awaken into Buddhahood in many ways, but no matter what brings us to this simple but arduous realization – this shift in consciousness, it requires a moment of “no thinking”. When there is no thinking, there is no thinker and no process of thinking. Everything stops in an effortless way, and in this moment we go beyond all duality. But to come to this point is one thing; to stay there is another matter. For the majority of people it requires the other two jewels of Buddhism – the Dharma and the Sangha.
It is very easy to fall back into the state of duality because we have lived in that state all of our lives and everyone around us is also living in duality; this state of ignorance. Therefore, it takes a great, one-pointed commitment to be able to stay in the reality of our true nature. The Dharma teaching supports us in this. The essence of this teaching is not really about belief systems, but about the various practices like meditation, self-inquiry, mindfulness, surrender and the contemplation of impermanence.
There are two steps: “Sudden Awakening” and “Gradual Cultivation”. Sudden awakening is a shift in consciousness and identity. In a very short effortless moment we realise that we are not really a person experiencing life. We are not a separated personal consciousness. No we are “very consciousness itself”! This insight is a gentle shock to our whole system. From one moment to the next the old world is seen as an illusion, a dream, and we are the cosmic dreamer! To cultivate and to be able to stay in this new perspective is not easy to do alone. This is why we need the Sangha. To find friends that understand us and who are also working on themselves it is very, very important. So we need the Sangha for support and sharing, and we need the Dharma to find ways to come back to our clarity when it slips away.