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What Is Enlightenment?

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.
Sep 16 · 2 min read

I recently received a comment on an article I wrote about why I Will Never Be Enlightened. I get a lot of great feedback and comments on all my articles, but this one stood out to me in particular. This person suggested that the reason I will never be enlightened is that I don’t have a clear definition of what enlightenment is, and that definition is one step towards any goal. That is what prompted this current article that you’re reading.

Enlightenment doesn’t need to be defined. It’s all there is. There is only enlightenment. Whatever is happening, that’s enlightenment. What seems to be happening is clearly absolutely all there ever is and ever could be. It is unchanging, non-separable, perfect, complete, wholeness. It is everything and nothing all at once, timelessly. Why would we define something with a concept which is all there is and could be. It’s immediate. It’s in-your-face this. If a concept appeared, that would also be what was happening and that would also be everything, liberation, enlightenment. But there’s no need for this to appear any different that it already is. It’s already complete and fulfilled.

Now, if there is an illusion that something is separate from what seems to be happening, if there is a self-illusion, then, by its very nature as an illusion of separation, it will cover over and obscure from itself the perfectly free, totally complete, unified nature of what seems to be happening. This apparent illusion of separation itself would also be what seems to be happening and it too would be enlightenment appearing as an illusion of non-enlightenment (an illusion of self, a subject experiencing an object). It is complete, whole, fulfilled, perfect, non-changing, unconditioned, and totally liberated.

Enlightenment is not a goal. How would it be possible for this, which is unchanging, to become what it already is? How would it be possible for an illusion of separation, the self, to find what it hides by its very nature? How can separation find wholeness? How can all there is (and is not) be lost? How can all there is (and is not) be found? Who could lose everything? Who could find everything?

Enlightenment is not a goal.

Enlightenment is all there is (and is not). Enlightenment is what seems to be happening. Enlightenment is this.

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.

Written by

An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com

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