Aspects of Enlightenment
(1) Original Enlightenment: The essence of the Mind is free from thoughts. The characteristic of that which is free from thoughts is analogous to that of the sphere of empty space that pervades everywhere. The one [without any second, i.e., the absolute] aspect of the World of Reality (dharma-dhātu) is none other than the undifferentiated Dharmakāya, the “Essence-body” of the Tath1gata. [Since the essence of Mind is] grounded on the Dharmakāya, it is to be called the original enlightenment. Why? Because “original enlightenment” indicates [the essence of Mind (a priori )] in contradistinction to [the essence of Mind in] the process of actualization of enlightenment; the process of actualization of enlightenment is none other than [the process of integrating] the identity with the original enlightenment.
*Invincible Enlightenment: Herein is what Suzuki’s translation summates as “That is to say, it is the universal Dharmakaya of all Tathagatas.” That’s Invincible Enlightenment-cut and dry, end of story. IT is unequivocally “a-priori”—supernal gnosis prior to the conflicting agencies of discriminative thought. Thus all Tathagatas eternally abide in this Dharmakayaic First-Principle radiating unstained Bodhi. Bodhi—from the root “budh”, meaning to awaken but it also encompasses the refined aspect of Invincible Enlightenment:
Enlightenment (Sk. bodhi, T. byang chub), and such cognates as nirvāna (T. mya ngan las ‘das pa), vimokṣa (T. roam thar) and vimukti (T. roam ‘grol), all connote for traditional Buddhists the attainment of a state that radically and finally transcends the unsatisfactoriness that pervades existence in the cycle of rebirths known as saṃsāra. Whether enlightenment is conceived of as merely the elimination of attachment, aversion and ignorance, or is invested with such qualities as omniscience, omnibenevolence and miraculous powers, it is a state far beyond anything most of us have ever believed possible, let alone experienced. (IS ENLIGHTENMENT POSSIBLE? Roger R. Jackson)
This excerpt is bursting with the juice of the Original Enlightenment experience:
[From: The Sutra on the Foundation of the Buddhist Order (Catusparisatsutra) : Relating the Events from the Bodhisattva’s Enlightenment up to the Conversion of Upatisya (Sariputra) and Kolita (Maudgalyayana) Kloppenborg, Ria ( translator )]
Unfortunately the above abstracted text (Google Books) is long out of print (am presently awaiting its arrival via Inter-Library Loan) but wanted to post what is presently available to muster in the reader’s mind that taste of Lord Buddha’s supernal, and yes, “supernatural” epiphany beneath the Bodhi-Tree—Invincible Enlightenment par excellence.
(2) The Process of Actualization of Enlightenment: Grounded on the original enlightenment is nonenlightenment. And because of nonenlightenment, the process of actualization of enlightenment can be spoken of.
Now, to be [fully] enlightened to the fountainhead of Mind is called the final enlightenment; and not to be enlightened to the fountainhead of Mind, nonfinal enlightenment.
What is the meaning of this? An ordinary man becomes aware that his former thoughts were wrong; then he is able to stop (nirodha) such thoughts from arising again. Although this sometimes may also be called enlightenment, [properly it is not enlightenment at all] because it is not enlightenment [that reaches the fountainhead of Mind].
*Vincible Enlightenment: Portion from Suzuki’s translation:
Common people (prthagjana), who, becoming conscious of errors that occur in a succession of their mental states, abstain from making conclusions, may be spoken of as enlightened; but in reality theirs is non-enlightenment.
Suzuki’s footnote on prthagjana (puthujjana) refers to the profanum vulgus, that unspiritual lot subjected to incessant transmigration in the realms of impermanence. Their ‘enlightenment’ is vincible—meaning that any supernal motivation and/or recognition is short-lived and subject to being overcome at any given moment. That it’s referred to as ‘enlightenment’ at all is only by way of linguistic framework, for lack of a comparable expedient device.
Śravakas,Pratyekabuddhas, and those Bodhisattvas who have just entered their course, recognizing the difference between subjectivity and the transcending of subjectivity both in essence and attributes, have become emancipated from the coarse form of particularisation. This is called enlightenment in appearance.
This is a step forward towards Invincible Enlightenment, but only a ‘growing awareness’—not fully recognized by the SUCH.
Bodhisattvas of the Dharmakaya, having recognized that subjectivity and the transcending of subjectivity have no reality of their own [i. e., are relative], have become emancipated from the intermediate form of particularisation. This is called approximate enlightenment.
Nearly AS ONE in the SUCH but still a varying degree of the Ultimate Recognition.
Those who have transcended the stage of Bodhisattvahood and attained the ultimate goal, possess a consciousness which is consistent and harmonious ; they have recognised the origin from which consciousness [or mentation] starts. This will truly be called enlightenment.
The Vajrasattvas are indicated here—Being AS ONE with the DIAMOND-MIND of all Tathagatas; they are truly in Invincible Company.
Having transcended the attributes of enlightenment and the subtlest form of particularisation, they [i. e., Buddhas] have gained a perfect and eternal insight into the very nature of the soul [i. e., suchness], because the latter now presents itself to them in its absolute and immutable form. Therefore they are called Tathagatas, and theirs is perfect enlightenment ; and therefore it is said in the Sutra that those who have an insight into the non-reality of all subjectivity, attain to the wisdom of the Tathagata.
The perfect Wisdom-Store of Bhūtathatā
In the preceding statement we referred to the origin from which consciousness [or mentation] starts according to the popular expression. In truth there is no such thing as the origin of consciousness [or mentation] ; for consciousness [being purely subjective] has no absolute [but only a phenomenal] existence. How can we then speak of its origin?
-Reference to the body-consciousness and its Alaya-receptacle-
The multitude of people (bahujana) are said to be lacking in enlightenment, because ignorance (avidya) prevails there from all eternity, because there is a constant succession of confused subjective states (smrti) from which they have never been emancipated.
But when they transcend their subjectivity, they can then recognise that all states of mentation, viz., their appearance, presence, change, and disappearance [in the field of consciousness] have no [genuine] reality. They are neither in a temporal nor in a spatial relation with the one soul, for they are not self-existent.
When you understand this, you also understand that enlightenment a posteriori cannot be manufactured, for it is no other thing than enlightenment a priori [which is uncreate and must be discovered].
Entrapped in the lower-bhumis of the subjective-spheres the non-enlightened are subjected to a continuous-stream of defiled garbha; once the subjective-straightjacket is removed, the ‘shades of the prison house’ subside giving intimations that all sensate phenomena pales against the Absolute Horizon. Indeed, enlightenment ‘a posteriori’,yea, after the fold of Suchness, is a mere ‘manufactured-phenomenon’, and Enlightenment is NOT a phenomenon but a supernal Recognition of the Undifferentiated Dharmakaya.