Buddhism: Details on what a man does following enlightenment
February 29, 2012 3:04 PM Subscribe
Once a man has reached enlightenment, and finds the ultimate peace and bliss merely sitting in meditation, regardless of his surroundings, does he have motivation for leaving this position and doing anything at all in the world? See extended explanation...
posted by mondotwistedmojo to Religion & Philosophy (40 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
First, I know he would eat and otherwise do tasks required to keep his body healthy, since he doesn't want to seek pain anymore than he wants to seek pleasure.
Also, he would spend time with/ tend to other people, with the ultimate goal of helping them reach enlightenment as well.
However, let's say that these two activities weren't necessary: say the man is the last person on earth, and he has a robotic body that doesn't require any food or maintenance. What, then, would be spend his days doing? If he has found ultimate happiness sitting in meditation, wouldn't any other earthly activity be futile pleasure seeking? Why go out and appreciate the beauty of nature when you see the beauty in the transitory nature of all things- wouldn't the wall in your room be just as beautiful as anything else?
My reading has indicated that people tend to find their traditional interests and hobbies becoming uninteresting as they practice Buddhism, and why shouldn't they, if literally everything we do is either to seek pleasure or avoid pain - including seeking out and observing beauty (to the enlightened, all things would be equally beautiful anyway).
So, if there had been no other people to enlighten and his body had required no maintenance, would the Buddha have remained under the tree forever/ until he died?
As a side question, when an enlightened man helps others, what types of actions take priority? Since traditional relationships are another form of pleasure seeking (relieving loneliness, ego reinforcement), there would be no need to interact with others unless you were helping them. It seems like the best activity is to help others become enlightened, and merely relieving their suffering temporarily (by helping them in literally any other way) is an inferior activity (yet worthy if the former is not possible). So, should the man devote his time to teaching and enlightening just a few, or spend an equal amount of time relieving the acute suffering of a greater number? How does one decide who to help first, especially if all of one's self-preservation activites are done alone?