The Enlightenment of A Christian
Language and terms are a tricky thing. Everyday people speak or write words to each other in an attempt to communicate thoughts and feels. The reality is the intent of the one speaking the words to communicate their thoughts and feelings is rarely ever met. Words are symbols for thoughts and feelings and the meaning of a symbol is many different things to many different people. I grew up on the west coast of the USA in a non-denomination Christian family. I understand and speak in non-denominational Christian west coast symbol. I live in the east coast and I am not a part of a Christian church you can imagine the difficulty I have in communicating what I think and feel.
For today’s symbol I am using the word “Enlightenment”.
Enlightenment is a term Paul the Apostle used in his writing the letter of Ephesians “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Eph.1:18” In most cases where a Christian uses the term enlightenment, the words of Paul are not thought of instead the Christian thinks it is a non-Christian term and is from the teaching of Buddha. Now Buddha did experience enlightenment but my thought and questions is, “is this word and experience a non-Christ experience”?
The Greek word used by Paul is πεφωτισμένους pephōtismenous 5461 and it means: to shine, give light.
In the verse Paul states the reason for enlightenment is εἰςeis to reach a point or entry into perceiving, hence to know.
Another way of saying it might be “enlightenment is the the doorway for the eyes or your heart or conscientiousness to obtain the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual realities”.
So this is Paul’s use of the symbol but how does Buddha use the symbol? In Buddhism, bodhi or enlightenment means the awakening experience. It speaks of the Buddha, Buddha means “one who has awakened.” To awaken means to open ones eyes.
Leaving his kingdom and loved ones behind, Prince Siddhartha became a wandering monk. He cut off his hair to show that he had renounced the worldly lifestyle and called himself Gautama. He wore ragged robes and wandered from place to place. In his search for truth, he studied with the wisest teachers of his day. None of them knew how to end suffering, so he continued the search on his own.
For six years he practiced severe asceticism thinking this would lead him to enlightenment. He sat in meditation and ate only roots, leaves and fruit. At times he ate nothing. He could endure more hardships than anyone else, but this did not take him anywhere. He thought, “Neither my life of luxury in the palace nor my life as an ascetic in the forest is the way to freedom. Overdoing things can not lead to happiness. ” He began to eat nourishing food again and regained his strength.
On a full-moon day in May, he sat under the Bodhi tree in deep meditation and said. “I will not leave this spot until I find an end to suffering.” During the night, he was visited by Mara, the evil one, who tried to tempt him away from his virtuous path. First he sent his beautiful daughters to lure Gautama into pleasure. Next he sent bolts of lightning, wind and heavy rain. Last he sent his demonic armies with weapons and flaming rocks. One by one, Gautama met the armies and defeated them with his virtue.
As the struggle ended, he realized the cause of suffering and how to remove it. He had gained the most supreme wisdom and understood things as they truly are. He became the Buddha, ‘The Awakened One’. From then on, his name was changed and he was called Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni “sage of the Shakyas,” Shakya being the name of the tribe or clan to which his family belonged. … Shakyamuni died at the age of eighty. His last words were, “Work out your own salvation with diligence”.
Paul would write 500+ years later : “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; Phil.2:12”
It seems that Shakyamuni Buddha used the word enlightenment in the same way Paul used it. I Once Was Blind, But Now Can See!
Saul on the road to Damascus was blinded by the light of Jesus Christ and after that he could see what he could not before. When he could see his name was changed to Paul meaning small. Prince Siddhartha was blind with his life of riches and later in his life of poverty but in being still he was able to overcome and see what he could not before. When he could see his name was changed to Shakyamuni Buddha meaning teacher from Shakya one who has awakened.
Eph.5:13-14 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Paul the Apostle
All things….Everything that is visible is LIGHT..Just open your eyes, awaken to what is and be enlightened!!!!!
This entry was posted on July 31, 2010 by Eclectic Mind. It was filed under Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Friends, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings .