by Robert Wilkinson
It seems that everyone I have ever known on any path to enlightenment at one time or another found themselves on the horns of a dilemma. As we turn inward, the outer world pressures seem to beckon stronger, and yet when we turn to outer things, we know we crave the deepest inward experiences of peace that only withdrawal from outer things brings. This creates the question, What is enlightenment, anyway?
Each answers the question in their own way and time, and yet we all share elements with each other. The dilemma of whether to retreat inward to an unformulatable reality or be a Consciousness bringing forth forms of perfect action, feeling, thought, and aspiration is one that everyone confronts more than once as we move through this 4 dimensional reality.
I wrote something on this a year ago, and while perusing my archives I thought it warranted another look, since it is a somewhat global issue for any Truth seeking Soul in one life or another. From the original article:
This dilemma of choosing the inner versus the outer is part of an age-old duality all of humanity has sought to resolve for centuries. To use a timeless metaphor to describe this "choice," it could be called the difference between the so-called "Way of the Buddha" versus the "Way of the Bodhisattva." One is inward and transcendent, the other outward and compassionate.
The Way of realizing the ultimate "Buddha-nature" strives for ultimate transcendence of all form and desire, and finally passes away into a state called "Nirvana," or absolute bliss of the beyond of Existence. We are told this Path leads the consciousness never to return to the world of duality and impermanent forms.
The Way of the Bodhisattva, on the other hand, posits that the ultimate state is to behold fulfillment and perfection of understanding, but turn away from the Gate to No-form, and return to this world to teach in order to lessen the suffering of other beings. This state is enlightened, yet remains in the World to demonstrate compassion in many forms to assist those who suffer. One is the Way of Transcendence. One is the Way of Compassion.
Please read the entire piece and enjoy exploring how its precepts relates to your own experience. For your consideration, The Way of Buddha and the Way of Bodhisattva - Two Eternal Choices That Confront Us All. Enjoy!
© Copyright 2009 Robert Wilkinson