Predicting Your Enlightenment

enlightenmentPredicting Your Enlightenment

It is not uncommon in Mahayana Buddhist sutras for the Buddha to prophesize the future enlightenment of his disciples. Probably the best example is the Lotus sutra where the Buddha makes such proclamations on several different occasions. Here is an example from chapter six of the Lotus Sutra where the Buddha predicts Maha-Maudgalyayana’s attainment of Buddhahood in a future era:

This my disciple Maha-Maudgalyayana, after casting aside this body, will see eight thousand two hundred myriads of kotis of world-honoured Buddhas, and, for the sake of the Buddha-way, will serve and revere them. Among these Buddhas, ever practicing the brahma-life, for innumerable Kalpas, he will keep Buddha-law. After these Buddhas are extinct, he will erect stupas of the precious seven, displaying afar their golden spires, and, with flowers, perfumes, and music, pay homage to the Stupas of the Buddhas. Having gradually accomplished the bodhisattva-way, in the domain Glad Mind, he will become a Buddha, named Tamalapattra Sandal Fragrance

Essentially, what the Buddha was communicating with these predictions is that the end result for anybody who perseveres in their Dharma practice over many many lifetimes is that of Buddhahood itself. Now then, let us share with you something that is not widely known. There is a shortcut to enlightenment that means that you don’t have to wait until eternity’s end before you recognise your self-existing Buddha nature. In fact, it’s a shortcut that can place in arm’s reach the prospect of enlightenment within this very lifetime. It’s a shortcut that is so utterly simple, so direct, and so primordially truthful, that most people lack the courage to take it.

If you wish to take this more expedient route to enlightenment then this is what you should do. From the very core of your being, unreservedly offer to the Dharma all of your body, all of your possessions, all of your mind, and all of your spirit. Offer all of your past lives, every moment of this present life, and all of your future lives. Offer all of your hopes and dreams. Offer all of your happiness and all of your pain. Offer every single breath, every single footstep, and every single word you utter. Offer every thought and every mind movement. Offer every ounce of your being and completely surrender your ego to the Buddha. Offer these things with such heartfelt sincerity, such unwavering conviction, that you, there and then, allow the Buddha’s blessings to enter and nourish your being. Offer these things at all times, day-in and day-out. No matter what obstacles or pleasures you encounter, never allow even a hair’s breadth of distance to come between you and the knowledge that you are a rightful heir to the Dharma throne.

When you resolve your mind in such a manner, and surrender yourself to the Dharma without ever looking back, then you don’t need any Buddha to predict your enlightenment. You can make that prediction yourself. You can know that you have been initiated into the inner Sangha of noble beings. What will happen next is that if you have already had the good fortune to meet with an authentic master, your pure faith will enable their blessings to flow forth. If you have not yet encountered or recognised the teacher, then your Vajra-devotion will cause you to swiftly do so.

Enlightenment is in the palm of your hands – you just have to decide whether or not you want to wake up!

Edo Shonin & Ven William Van Gordon

Author: Dr Edo Shonin & Ven William Van Gordon

Dr Edo Shonin Dr Edo Shonin is research director of the Awake to Wisdom Centre for Meditation and Mindfulness Research, and a chartered psychologist at the Nottingham Trent University (UK). He sits on the editorial board for the academic journal Mindfulness and the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Edo is internationally recognised as a leading authority in mindfulness practice and research and has over 100 academic publications relating to the scientific study of meditation and Buddhist practice. He is the author of ‘The Mindful Warrior: The Path to Wellbeing, Wisdom and Awareness’ and primary editor of academic volumes on ‘The Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness’ and ‘Mindfulness and Buddhist-derived Approaches in Mental Health and Addiction’. He has been a Buddhist monk for thirty years and is spiritual director of the international Mahayana Bodhayati School of Buddhism. He has also received the higher ordination in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Edo regularly receives invitations to give keynote speeches, lectures, retreats and workshops at a range of academic and non-academic venues all over the world. Ven William Van Gordon Ven William Van Gordon has been a Buddhist monk for almost ten years. He is co-founder of the Awake to Wisdom Centre for Meditation, Mindfulness, and Psychological Wellbeing and the Mahayana Bodhayati School of Buddhism. He has been ordained within Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions and has extensive training in all aspects of Buddhist practice, psychology, and philosophy. Prior to becoming a Buddhist monk, Ven William Van Gordon worked for various blue chip companies including Marconi Plc, PepsiCo International, and Aldi Stores Limited where he worked as an Area Manager responsible for a multi-site £28 million portfolio of supermarkets with over 50 employees. Ven William Van Gordon is also a research psychologist and forms part of the Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University. His area of research expertise is the study of ‘authentic spiritual transmission’ – within mainstream Buddhism itself as well as within contemporary Buddhist-derived clinical interventions. His current research projects are concerned with evaluating the effectiveness of meditation and mindfulness for the treatment of various health conditions. Ven William Van Gordon has numerous publications relating to the clinical utility of meditative interventions including in leading peer-reviewed psychology journals. As a separate undertaking, William is currently writing-up his doctoral thesis which relates to the effects of meditation on work-related wellbeing and performance. Ven William Van Gordon enjoys fell running, martial arts, DIY, reading and writing poetry, caring for cancer patients, and studying civil litigation. He is a keen mountaineer with some arctic expedition experience.

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