I once met a Sensei from California who tried to impress that Enlightenment was only about Nirvana. There is a Western Enlightenment, it does exist. Enlightenment in Buddhism refers to Nirvana. But there is a Western Nirvana in philosophy.
European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. It was heavily influenced by 17th-century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton, and its prominent exponents include Kant, Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Adam Smith.
Since Buddhism denies the existence of a separate self, as explicated in the teachings of anatman and sunyata, self-realization is a contradictio in terminis for Buddhism. Though the tathagatagarbha-teachings seem to teach the existence of a separate self, they point to the inherent possibility of attaining awakening, not to the existence of a separate self. The dharmadhatu-teachings make this even more clear: reality is an undivided whole; awakening is the realization of this whole.
In western Enlightenment refers to Education, expanding the conscious, humanities, and more. To “Enlighenment” someone means to give them an intellectual moment of adding to the augmentation of learning from someone.
When I went to Rev Sonnam Wangdi Bhutia’s lecture at the New York Buddhist Church. The lecture and seminar can be said to be “Enlightening.” He didn’t make me a Buddha, but I walked away with many things. What i walked away with is knowledge and the
desire to learn more.
I formed an interest in Sikkim, Khatmandhu, Nepal, and varied items in each culture. I run videos on Gangtok, and Buddhism. I even explored these places on google maps.
To pursue teaching contributes to opening a re-invigoration of the mind of faith. It opened my and to Buddha Dharma more. Even so it opened my Buddhist perspective telling people, Buddha is Medicine for the mind and makes us happy.
In Mahāyāna Buddhism the Bodhisattva is the ideal. The ultimate goal is not only of one’s own liberation in Buddhahood, but the liberation of all living beings.
Buddhist education should teach people to be good people and abandon any regressive instincts and bad behaviors. Moreover, it teaches people the path to attain mental freedom.
One of the way to carry out Buddhist education is to establish Buddhism as the primary philosophy and to derive an educational philosophy from that. The other way is to teach Buddhism in schools and institutions so as to enrich all people with Buddhist teachings. This is a good way to train the youth to be good person and purify their mind with moral merits. But it doesn’t mean that we will make Buddhism as the basis of the system of education, but to reinforce the existing education system.
The critical goal of Buddhist education is to attain wisdom. Buddhism believes that the ultimate of wisdom is inherent in each person’s nature, stating that everyone has the potential to achieve wisdom. However, the majority are distracted by misunderstanding and misconceptions, therefore, are incapable of being aware of this kind of potential. In this sense, Buddhism aims to teach us recognize the intrinsic part of human nature.
Buddhist wisdom varies from individual to individual. It is related to the degree to which one’s delusion is and there is no inherent difference among all human beings. Buddhism helps us remove delusion and regain the wisdom to remove confusions of individual potential and achieve happiness.
The entire system of Buddhist education must be rooted in faith (saddha) — faith in the Triple Gem, and above all in the Buddha as the Fully Enlightened One, the peerless teacher and supreme guide to right living and right understanding. Based on this faith, the students must be inspired to become accomplished in virtue (sila) by following the moral guidelines spelled out by the Five Precepts.
There are teachers in the West that are indeed worth the effort to study and some teachers, even living teachers open our minds no matter of East and West.
Enlightenment on the Western perspective enhances Eastern Enlightenment just as much. My friend, Young Suk, who received a masters in Philosophy said that Western Philosophers are capable of Enlightenment as the Buddha.
It is wisdom that the Buddha held up as the direct instrument of final liberation, as the key for opening the doors to the Deathless, and also as the infallible guide to success in meeting life’s mundane challenges. Thus wisdom is the crown and pinnacle of Enlightenment.