Do You Really Want To Be Enlightened?

I’ve been asking myself this question, and haven’t found my answer yet …
It’s actually one of the most interesting questions that the mind has presented to me during meditations lately.

How about you?

“…What is meant by complete space? Complete space has the quality of being liberated in its own self, of complete letting go. What do we let go of? We let go of hopes and fears, which arise from the lack of trust. When we develop this sense of complete intensified trust, confidence, and devotion, that space is experienced within every living moment. Whether we are sitting on a cushion meditating, walking down the street, or enjoying a cup of cappuccino, it does not matter because we have no hopes and fears. When we have no hopes and fears, we have no choice but to give rise to enlightenment…

The most important aspect of this trust is trust in our own heart. In addition, trust in the instructions of the lineage is crucial. The lineage teachings say that we may attain enlightenment “right now.” That thought might cause us some worry and make us very uncomfortable. The question is, do we really want to achieve enlightenment right now?”

And at the end something that left a slight smile on this face :slight_smile:


As a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist, I entrust in Amida Buddha, who is the Dharma-body or Buddha-nature in all things, for my future rebirth into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

Since I believe my future enlightenment to be already settled, I don’t need to worry about it.
If enlightenment is the abolishment of craving, how can we attain it by craving it?


When i realize there is nothing better to do, when time is correct or extinguished though perhaps not exhausted, when i ceases and seeks not, yes. One must say yes. :slight_smile:

This is opinion, thus, a view. As for must say… maybe must be a yes. But others with more knowledge probably can speak more skillfully, beneficially.

1 Like

By the time one gets there, all these issues will have been resolved. By definition, you wouldn’t get there otherwise. There is a sutta that says a person who despises nibbana wont attain it (sutta?). EBTs talk of a gradual path of course. Sudden stream entry is a good ‘half way house’.

with metta


Please forgive me if I’m mistaken. Are the four stages of enlightenment, from stream enterer to Arahant, each attained suddenly rather than gradually?

The Sutta Pitaka classifies the four levels according to the levels’ attainments. In the Sthaviravada and Theravada traditions, which teach that progress in understanding comes all at once, and that ‘insight’ (abhisamaya) does not come ‘gradually’ (successively - anapurva),"[4] this classification is further elaborated, with each of the four levels described as a path to be attained suddenly, followed by the realisation of the fruit of the path.

The process of becoming an Arahat is therefore characterized by four distinct and sudden changes, although in the sutras it says that the path has a gradual development, with gnosis only after a long stretch, just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual inclination with a sudden drop only after a long stretch.
Four stages of enlightenment - Wikipedia

True. But that’s the equivalent of coming to the end of eating a meal, suddenly. There is a gradual lead up to it. Otherwise there would be no need to put into practice, a certain path of which the end result is liberation (vimutti). I’m not saying all of Buddhism agrees with this of course.

With metta


When we want to buy a new car, we will have 2 options to end this craving:

  1. Satisfy it: Go ahead and get it. Once we got it, we will no longer want to buy that car. (However, this does not warranty that we will not crave for another car).

  2. Drop that wanting: Once we successfully dropped the desire to buy the car, we no longer want drop the desire to buy the car (Otherwise, we failed to drop it).

Once a desire to end another desire completed, it will also end by itself.

The goal of Buddhism is to end all cravings. When we dropped the last craving, the craving to drop the last craving will also end by itself.


There is something missing here I feel, because if i sincerely (and that’s also a bit untrue, since it’s my person who is trying to be sincere and true …) want to be enlightened, and I already comprehended the teaching (which is simple and straight forward imo).

I don’t see from the experience with formal practice how it’s possible, because every little “letting go” has been temporary but one - and that one came out of immense dukkha where one recognized a deep feeling and gave it a name from one’s heart (not mind), and then a “big letting go” happened out of itself, and not my self

A letting go that is not wobbly at all, so that kind of dukkha will never be felt again

Just the fact that I waste my time on this forum, is a indication that i’m willing to take more of the same stuff

All of those famous Ajhan’s have said the same - that one must be totally sincere and one pointed in this practice If one really want’s to end suffering - and I know from the start that I have to do this alone and all by myself, but still I keep on bullshitting my self here

And when regarding all of this talking business here, is it just hanging on to each other in so called practice and explaining the teaching for each other having a good time, and basically just making procrastinating sound as right understanding

How many more books and essays, and short films about the same “bloody thing” is needed - there are tons of stuff about one little letting go, and all is about the same same monkey hanging on to his little branch

Hope nobody feels this is offending, because that is not intended


SN 51.15 might be an interesting reading.

“If that’s so, Master Ananda, then it’s an endless path, and not one with an end, for it’s impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire.”


Wanting to be enlightened may not be the same with wanting to end all sufferings.

When we want to be enlightened, we may want to get what we do not have (want to be a Buddha, to be this or that, to be able to do this or that, to go to nibbana…)

When we want to end all sufferings, we need to know what make us suffering, see the dangers and the drawback from them, develop dispassion to them and find a way to end/cut them off for good with no future re-arisen and do that. This is letting go. This is not easy. This must be from actual practice, not from books or from some famous teachers or other’s sayings (even we can use them as our helpers).

We may say to let go, but we actually want to do so to get something better than what we currently got and we do not, or simply because somebody said so. That’s why we suffer.

We may not be ready for letting go, but we try to follow the letting go path because we want to be enlightened or because some teachers say so or because we want to get or achieve something that we don’t know. That’s why we suffer.

If I still see my money is my happiness and want to have more money, then letting go all of my money will lead to my suffering.

If I am looking for a happy life that I can get or do whatever I want at anytime without any trouble, then letting go all cravings will not lead me to that goal and I will suffer.

Letting go path is not for everybody. Very few people are ready for it. If you walk a wrong path (the path that will not lead to your goal), you will suffer, disappointed and may not be able to complete the path no matter how well that path is.

Letting go path is not an easy path that everybody is ready for and can do it. Most people are in the opposite way of this path.

Speaking from suttas, books or other’s sayings shows that we do not know, but that is what we accepted, understood or believed. If we really know, we can speak from our own experiences without the need of other’s sayings.

We may think that we understood the teaching, but that is just our belief/view. Moreover, if we still not actually be able to put it into our own practice, to repeatedly validate and experience it, we still do not know no matter how well we can recite or explain the teaching.

Letting go practice is not simply sitting in a quiet and comfortable place waiting for some magical experiences happen (even if this is a helper part for our practice). It is understanding ourselves in every moment so that we can let go whatever disturbance that arose. When we are angry, we know that we are angry. We know the danger and the drawback of anger, we distaste with that anger and letting it go. We learn to see that “anger” arise and cease. We learn/practice not to see that I am right or wrong or it should be this or that…, but focus on the anger itself. We know what will happen if we keep that anger with us, we know what will happen if we let it go. We know all of these from our repeated actual experiences, not from our intellectual thinking or from others’ sayings.

Letting go practice is not simply learning from books, suttas, famous teachers…(even if these may help us). No matter how much and how well we learn from them, they are still external to us. The more we learn and think we know, the more we may cling to that.

If we do not know ourselves then we know nothing no matter if we are famous Buddhist scholar or teacher. What we think we know is from books and other’s sayings, and it is not our actual knowledge, but just our belief/view.


From what I have read and heard from skilled teachers, would indicate that while one is alive, one is subject to conditions. These conditions still trigger responses, but these can be recognised either; 1) some time afterwards 2) immediately the response has been triggered 3) almost simultaneously with the response 4) recognised just before the trigger and averted.

It is only with the cessation of life (the experience of conditions) that one can be completely liberated from suffering > no more sense doors or self.

Note this is my own summary, and not based on a specific text from EBTs.

With regard to the process, I agree with @Mat says, it is a gradual training.

However, insight occurs in leaps and starts. To my mind it is a bit like a bursting bubble. We are in a specific perception/understanding bubble. As our knowledge of dhamma increases, so does the pressure inside this bubble. There comes a point where BANG the bubble ruptures - our view is completely altered. LOL this happens over and over and over again :smiley: Every time I think “Ah Ha! now I understand” - I am amused to see that these bubbles within bubbles seem to stretch on for eternity. :rofl:

To be perfectly enlightened like Gotama Buddha, would mean all the ‘bubbles’ have burst and FINALLY one perfectly and completely comprehends all existence as it truly is. No more bubbles.

With regards to the OP question - Yes - in a heartbeat!

Once doubt has been extinguished, one lives in a state of being ready to cease at any time… Living each moment in a way that doesn’t generate any regret from any perspective. It certainly increases motivation to follow the N8fp.

So I’d have to conclude by saying Relax!! Following the N8fp one step after another will get you there eventually, if not this life then cumulatively through many lifetimes



Or it might result in letting go of everything included the eightfold path and begone!


I really like this question, because i don’t know and that’s fine … It won’t go away, so it belongs here

1 Like

Even better! :smiley:

Though quite honestly I think that by this stage the N8fp is not viewed as a set of rules but simply the most beneficial /least suffering way to live.


I should have paused for longer before replying… so to elaborate…

It might be worth considering the process of letting go, since absolute ‘letting go’ is often closely associated with enlightenment.

I can only talk from personal experience about letting go, but to me it is not an active thing. Rather attachments sort of slip away when one stops grasping - so it is an absence of an activity or intention, rather than a conscious activity of letting go.

Active letting go has not worked very well for me… it is like a decision to enforce a particular rule/desire. Contrarily, when dispassion (or absolute indifference) exists, the desire is absent - there is no action - no attachment, hence no issue. Like when one decides to go on a diet and enforces letting go of certain foods - this is all about discipline and abstinence. The hunger is still there. If there is no hunger, there is no need to enforce a diet.

I find support for this In the suttas, where there are all the references to both desire and aversion being identified as unsatisfactory. It is a very subtle point, but imo a crucial one :slight_smile:

This is why the 4 noble truths are so vital - and how the N8fp supports them so well. It forms the basis for gradually developing understanding and therefore both dispassion and acceptance of samsara, which would be equanimity :relieved:


4 Ways of Letting Go by Ajahn Brahn. YouTube i found this very helpful

On letting go being something that happens rather than something done: renunciation is something which can be done, and might be essential sometimes for letting go to happen.


If my recollection is sound that talk has been listened to 3 times, at least, and it’s a very good one

I like the word “renunciation” … it’s about words i guess, and some strange “fine tuning” in time/space …
Another word that dropped into mind yesterday was “surrender”. Maybe I like it because it’s also a bit touchy for this western mind …
If something makes me a bit uneasy, I tend to try moving closer to it and see what’s the matter here

1 Like

Because Nirvana means “to blow out,” there’s a common misconception that Nirvana entails personal annihilation. Instead, Nirvana is the extinguishment of suffering:

Thus the image underlying nibbana (nirvana) is one of freedom. The Pali commentaries support this point by tracing the word nibbana to its verbal root, which means “unbinding.” What kind of unbinding? The texts describe two levels. One is the unbinding in this lifetime, symbolized by a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm. This stands for the enlightened arahant, who is conscious of sights and sounds, sensitive to pleasure and pain, but freed from passion, aversion, and delusion. The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it’s the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.

Shinran understood the Pure Land as the realm of Nirvana, and referred to rebirth in the Pure Land as the birth of non-birth, just as the Buddha described Nirvana as the unborn.

Rather than wanting to be enlightened, I trust that my future rebirth in the Pure Land is already a settled matter, for which I am relieved and grateful.

You see what you did there … ?



Discipline might be helpful for some (addictions) but for many giving up cravings happen with time and maturity. These things are natural friends of the practice. To move things along a bit faster it is possible to let go by noting the drawbacks of craving and the objects that are received by craving.

With metta


If it’s helpful for addictions it should also be likewise for the biggest of them all, the addictions of grasping for rebirth and another round in samsara

And my before mentioned true letting go without wobble, was a kind that by others addicted being held as something one never could be sure enough about, and just a little touch of the same thing would put one right back into “Hell”.
So I had to try it several times just to be sure.

So to get control over a addiction, and be a better person is not what I belive is the right letting go in this practice. It must be here and now, not something that grows upon one’s personality, because then it seams to me being just more of the same_sakkaya ditthi_