What’s the Big Deal With the Buddha? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question:

How do we know that the Buddha was the enlightened one? Did someone give him a certificate? What’s the big deal with the Buddha?

Response:

Enlightenment, such a nasty word, misunderstood, and maligned. If there was an aversion to have, this word might be the perfect candidate.

I’ll latch onto something I was reading recently (Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa). He said it nicely. I’ll have to paraphrase. Enlightenment is not something we get or achieve, it’s something we uncover or discover.

So really, we come with the certificate and its ours to find.

You then went and said “enlightened one”! Phew, who’d have thought adding one little word could make a bad thing so much worse.

If we all come with the certificate, why is\was Buddha the “one”. What’s the big deal about Siddhartha Gautama? Maybe its just a grammar thing. He’s not the only one, he’s not more enlightened than anyone else. If you would ascribe anything special to the Buddha, it would be that he did a decent job articulating the fundamentals of liberation and that his followers did a good job keeping his message alive.
For every Siddhartha Gautama, there are countless other Buddhas, past present, and future, surrounding us in this very moment. For this I am deeply grateful.

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Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

Dialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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