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Hello welcome.

My name is Ms. Pauvaday.

We're going to be doing some more lessons on Buddhism Today we are going to be looking at this, trying to understand this very, very rare, very, very mystical state known as enlightenment.

So stick with me and let's get started.

So as usual, you need to make sure that you have some items with you.

So you need a pen.

You need some paper we need to today is, you know, we're talking about enlightenment and Nirvana.

So these are quite a strange ideas.

So we need to make sure that we have our curious minds switched on.

And it's also important that I tell you that again, we are going to be, there are going to be some themes around death and suffering.

So again, if you don't feel comfortable doing this with both of them, do go and ask a parent or a guardian to join you.

That's completely fine.

Totally okay.

And I also encourage people to, once they've learned something, go and speak about it as well.

So if there's anything that you find perhaps a bit, doesn't quite sit right with you do go and talk to someone about it, someone in your family to make sure that you feel supported.


So go ahead and pause.

Make sure that you're in a nice quiet environment, no distractions, and join me when you're ready.

So we are going to be looking at the cycle of Samsara.

We're going to be looking we've kind of looked at that already, but we're going to see how it kind of ties in with this idea of enlightenment and Nirvana.

And then we're going to be looking at a term called omniscience.

And some of you I'm sure might have come across this already.

Particularly when you look at Christianity, if not, then it will be something new a new fancy word that you can show off with.

So that's even better.

We'll be trying to understand what we, what this strange thing enlightenment means.

And we will be looking at any differences.

You know, what's an Arahat and where are the differences between an Arahat and the Buddha.

And finally, what is, Nirvana? Another very mystical, strange state that only very, very few people in the world have achieved.

So yes, let's get going.

The first thing I want you to ask, think about is if you wanted to really examine something, if you really wanted to know how something worked, we've got lots of different kinds of scientific disciplines, philosophy underpins most science because it asks all these big questions and then these different sciences kind of try and unpack, create testing circumstances in order to test these theories and to really examine the inner workings of certain things.

You, and you might recognise that when you, in, for example, in biology, when you're trying to understand how photosynthesis works or something like that, so what kind of tools would you use if you were really trying to examine something? I think many of you would think, okay, you might use some kind of a device that enables you to see very, very clearly very microscopic entities.

You might try and grow certain cells or what have you.

We tend to use certain tools for us to help us understand and really unpick the parts of objects, particularly in science.

But the reason I'm saying this is because this is where kind of meditation focus comes in, because what Buddhists do is they try to cultivate the mind in order to focus to really, really deeply focus.

Now it's not the just the Buddhists that do this.

There was a long history in India of other different religions, other different groups of people doing is learning to really focus the mind.

If you think back to the Holy man that the Buddha saw in the Four Signs he would have been someone who was trying to cultivate his mind when the Buddha initially left, left the palace and he joined, he went into the forest.

He would have learnt from other Holy men, different techniques in order to focus the mind.

So it's always, really, it's always existed and it remains in Buddhism and you will know it as mindfulness or meditation and yoga because yoga has the same function, really.

So, and the whole purpose is to really examine what's in the mind.

So what you are thinking, what you are perceiving, and eventually this takes you to the ability to really examine the true nature, to see with your own eyes, to experience yourself the true nature of, of reality.

So through really, really deep, precise focus of the mind.

So really it's the instrument in this case is the mind, which is very interesting when you think about it, this is, this is what the Buddha was able to do.

He was able to really focus his mind, and we're going to sort of piece all of this together in a moment.

But first of all, I did say we were going to learn some terms here.

So let's see what you know already.

I've got some pictures and I've got the terms we've got omniscient, which means all knowing omnipotent, which means all powerful and omnibenevolent, which means more loving.

Now they look a little bit scary.

You don't need to be scared because it's quite straightforward.

Omni means all.

If you look at the first one, scient that kind of looks like the word science, so that can help you remember that omniscient means science knowledge and potent.

If you look at omnipotent, potent, the word potent exists already, and often, often means something that's strong.

So commoly it might be used, someone might say, oh, that's potent.

And they might be talking about a strong smell or strong taste.

And omnibenevolent.

There's a really good trick in this word.

If you look at it closely, you've actually got the word love in it backwards.

So you will see Omni, you see bene B E N E, and then V O L E N T.

So it's the last bit.

So you can see that love is written in it backwards, and that's how it's going to help you remember that it's all loving.

Now, go ahead and see if you can match these terms. Okay.

So I'm sure this was so easy for all of you and you've learned some very cool terms. So all knowing we're going to link to the idea of knowledge books, All powerful, I've got a picture of the Poseidon there.

Powerful because they're often related to being completely powerful, having all the power available.

Omniscient is having all the knowledge that exists and omnibenevolent means being totally loving, completely loving.

Now, the reason I'm asking this is, do we think we can describe the Buddha in this way? So I want you to just have a think about that.

Just think, what do you know so far about Buddha? Is it possible to describe Buddha in any of these ways? I'm not going to tell you the answer straight away.

We're going to just think about it for a moment.

So okay.

To help you get to that.

I want you to think, was the Buddha a God? Okay.

So you might have had a quick pause, a quick think.

Hopefully you might even had a chat with somebody.

Do you think the Buddha was a God? No, he was just a man.

He was a human being.

That's what's so interesting about Buddhism is that he, he was saying, look, anyone can do this.

Anyone can get there to this, this place of enlightenment.

So we typically associate things like omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, which we haven't actually looked at with a godlike being that only something that's not human, not like us because we're obviously, you know, we've got limitations.

You know, we're not invincible.

We can't, we're not going to live forever.

We're not completely powerful.

We're not completely knowledgeable.

There's lots that we don't know.

So we typically associate these terms on this omniscience omnipotence with a godlike being, but the Buddha was not a God.

So it's important that we recognise that.

However, even though he was just a man, he was trying to uncover a practical problem.

And we're going to see how some of these terms might be used.

So about how sometimes the Buddha might be seen as omniscient.

So he was just a human being.

He was trying to uncover the very practical problem of human suffering.

You know, everything suffers.

So not just human suffering, but all beings suffer.

And eventually he arrived in kind of really focusing his mind using the instrument of his mind.

He arrived at this place of enlightenment where he actually, according to the tradition, he had experienced everything.

And there's there's descriptions.

When you look at the discourses of the Buddha where he's able to experience the tiniest tiniest particles known to man.

So, and that there is some symmetry with kind of physics here.

It's not exactly the same.

So, so let's not get confused, but, there is some symmetry.

And so therefore some Buddhas they kind of liken this to being omniscient because the Buddha was able to really experience with his mind with this tool, his mind, everything in reality.

So like when I talk about this with students, the natural question that comes up is, well, did he experience aliens or other worlds or God? And the thing about the Buddha was he wasn't really interested in any of that.

He wasn't, he didn't talk very much about it, but that doesn't mean that he didn't know.

So it's difficult for Buddhists to really try and work this out.

But ultimately they're not really that interested.

And we're going to look at why in a moment.

So this idea of not kind of really being interested in these kinds of other questions about the cosmos is really, really nicely laid out in the parable of the poisoned arrow.

And it was written down in the Majhima Nikaya, which is part of the Pali Canon.

So that's the set of texts.

There were the fast texts that were written down.

The first words of the Buddha written down in Sri Lanka and written in the ancient language Pali.

And what happens is the Buddha is responding to this really impatient monk who really wants to know about life and death.

What happens afterwards? He's asking all of these questions.

So the Buddha tells him this parable.

He tells him this story and he says, once there was a king and as they were moving through the forest, the king was suddenly struck by a poisoned arrow.

And immediately he fell down and was seriously injured.

The guards rushed to him.

They want to get him to a doctor.

They can see that this is really doing some damage, that he might die.

And they're trying to get him to the doctor, but the king is asking all these questions, like, where did this arrow come from? What's the arrow like? Who did this to me? I want you to go and find out.

I saw someone over there.

He's asking all these questions.

And the guards are saying, please, please, we need to get you to a doctor.

But the king only wants to know about what this arrow is.

What poison was it? Where did it come from? That's the only thing that he's interested in.

And in pursuing all those questions, he was so consumed by these questions that he eventually dies.

The wound was making him suffer.

And rather than tending to the wound, he wanted to know why.

Why, why, why, why? So, what do you think the parable, this parable tells us the parable of the poison arrow.

What do you think it tells us about the Buddhist attitude to questions about God.

So go ahead and pause.

Go back to the previous slide if you want to.

Have a think about the parable.

What do you think it's trying to tell about questions about God and the cosmos? Okay.

So hopefully you've had a good think about that.

And you've had a good chat with someone who's with you.

So, and I'm sure you've got this.

I'm sure you worked out very quickly.

The wound is supposed to represent.

So the arrow, the poisoned arrow in the wound is supposed to represent the suffering that every being experienced is that's the fourth, that's the first noble truth.

Life is suffering.

And by not attending to the wound and asking questions about what's God like? Where we get going? What happens after you die? You're not actually fixing the wound.

So this is why the Buddha was saying, you know, these questions are not helpful.

They don't help us understand why we're suffering and how to overcome suffering.

That's why he wasn't interested in these questions.

And following that, do you now then think Buddhists, believe in an ultimate being like God? So go and have a pause, have a think about it.

Think about what you've learned so far and yeah.

Just what do you think? Oh, getting ahead of myself.


So what do Buddhists believe? Do they believe in an ultimate being like God? The answer is actually, it could be all sorts of things.

So you find the thing about Buddhism often it's seen as a philosophy for life rather than a religion, partly because there is no real belief in an ultimate deity.

Buddhism does not teach that.

That's why.

But that's not to say Buddhists don't necessarily believe in a God.

There are many Buddhists who, do believe in something bigger, but they're not really using Buddhism in that way.

They're using the Buddhist teachings to help them overcome suffering right here right now, to learn, to be present, to learn, to enjoy things, being in the moment.

That's why they're using Buddhism or Buddhist teachings.

And we talked about this, I think, right at the beginning, syncretism religions, they kind of merge into each other because, because people move around cultures, move around, ideas, kind of get swapped around.

You've seen that.

I've kind of linked some of these Indian ideas to ancient Greek ideas, ancient philosophy, other philosophy, because these ideas kind of merged together.

So what you do find is for example, in Sri Lanka, where many Hindus might have converted to Christianity because of the conflict there, many Buddhists also converted as well.

I know that many people have, have used the teachings of the Buddha to kind of understand what it's, you know, Jesus like consciousness, how to be a bit more like Jesus.

So they believe in God they're Christians, but they use the techniques of Buddhism to just be better people, to be a bit more like Jesus.

So there are obviously conflicts there, but that's how people behave.

And then you obviously find Buddhists who just, they just don't believe in it they're atheists.

So they don't believe in any God.

Again, they're using the techniques, the teachings of the Buddha in order to live a good life.

So let's come back to this question that we asked earlier on, was the Buddha omniscient? Was he all knowing? It's not really that clear actually, how can we know? We can't climb into his mind.

We can't possibly know what he actually knew.

All we know is what he talked.

However, there are actually quite a few hints that he experienced a lot more than he taught.

And the classic one is he was staying, staying in a place called Kosambi, in India, with the Sangha so we had his monks with him and his nuns.

And he picked up some leaves because they were in the forest and said to one of the monks, which of these, which is more numerous than the leaves in my hand, or the leaves in the world? And obviously the monks, were like the leaves in the world.

And then he says something like, and I'm paraphrasing here.

He says something like, the things I've seen with direct knowledge are far more numerous than what I have taught.

And that's, I have paraphrase.

It's not exactly what it's like in the Samyutta Nikaya.

But what he's effectively saying is I just, haven't taught you everything I've experienced because I've experienced so much.

So he's only teaching what he thinks people need in order to escape suffering.

And you know, it doesn't matter if he's omniscience or not.

So, you know, lots of Buddhist traditions are going to say it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter if he's like a God or if he had the saying knowledge of God, those questions don't matter because they don't help people come out of suffering.

This is a practical religion.

It's about trying to help people alleviate suffering.

So they don't see those questions as particularly useful.

The only way that they're useful is in trying to understand various states.

So what you might find is in the Mahayana tradition, which is a particular form of Buddhism, they do kind of see the Buddha as being somewhat omniscient in the Theravada tradition.

They see the Buddha this knowledge that the Buddha had was just that he had complete and perfect knowledge of the four noble truths and how that plays out across all time, all space across all beings.

So really what we need to take from this is this idea of being omniscient.

Really being able to experience everything acutely, really focused past present, and future.

That gives us a clue as to what it means to be enlightened.

What kind of existence that is, because remember, we're not talking about gods, we're not talking about supernatural beings.

We're talking about people, people who have reached this state, where they have that much knowledge, because they have experienced it personally by really focusing the mind, really, really focusing the mind.

And what's the point? So this takes us back to the cycle of Samsara.

So lots of my students like, well, this is great.

We just, you know, could be reborn.

Next I'm going to be reborn as Beyonce or, you know, that kind of thing.

It seems great, but Buddhists maintain.

And he knew Hindus as well, maintain that this constant cycle, you know, constant cycle does damage.

It creates suffering.

It puts stress on the bodies.

It puts stress on the mind and it does.

It's not good because you're just eternal wandering.

And those of you might remember from a few lessons back when we talked about the myth of Sisyphus is pushing the rock up the hill and letting it fall down.

Eternally kind of what's the point? Really? So in Buddhism, the point is ultimately to break this cycle and to reach this place of Nirvana.

And you do that by becoming an enlightened being.

In Hinduism, you also become an enlightened being, but then you join, you become pure energy like Brahman, you've returned to this state known as Moksha.

And both of these traditions, the way that happens is it's linked to your actions.

It's linked to the way you behave.

So there's not another God that's going to say, you've been naughty.

You're going to, you're going to hell.

That kind of thing.

That's, that's not really what happens in, in Buddhism, in the Abrahamic traditions.

It's really important that you, you follow the teachings of God because God is this omniscient being.

This all powerful being that has created you.

And therefore you, God knows how you need to behave in order for you to reach a place of perfection and no suffering.

God already knows that God's trying to help you achieve that in Buddhism and Hinduism it's on you.

Because there isn't this, God, that's going to tell you you've been bad or good or bad.

You need to work out how your behaviour is going to, is going to have consequences and the impact of those consequences.

That's what karma is.

Karma means action.

So enlightenment.

So what do we mean by a enlightenment? Generally speaking, enlightenment is described as a state of being, which sounds really airy-fairy.

It's really difficult.

I think this is one of the, I find fascinating, but perhaps slightly difficult things about Indian traditions is that they they're quite far from our experiences.

So what do we mean by state of being? I think the best way for me to kind of describe this is, you know, becoming a parent, suddenly your life completely changes.

Now I'm a new parent.

I've got very, very young twins and my life just kind of went completely flipped over.

Everything was completely different.

And I'm sure if you talk to your guardians, the people that have known you since you were a little baby, they will say, Oh yeah, yeah.

And they will understand.

When you were a child, you, the way that it's new, see the world is quite specific.

You see through the kind of vision it's funnelled through being a teenager, it's funnelled through being a small child.

Those are different States of being, we see the world in, in terms of the kind of state that we're in.

So if you were a child, you're going to see the world as a child, as a teenager, you get to know the world a bit more.

You start to realise the world is a bit more complex than you realise.

You start to see the world in that way.

As an adult, you start to see it differently.

And when you become a parent, again, you have complete change in state of being suddenly.

When you're a parent, you are perhaps more careful about what you, you know, you perhaps might be a bit more protective.

You might be a bit more careful about how you treat your body, because you don't want to be there for your kids, all of this kind of thing.

So the best way for us to maybe try and understand this is enlightenment is a complete and fundamental, like completely fundamental, radical, completely radical change in being.

Really rare quite extreme.

But you know, obviously a very, very good thing, because so many people are trying to attain it.

There's millions of people across the world who are trying to attain this state as we speak so complete radical change.

And often you will see that you will see this all over in Hinduism and Buddhism.

So you'll see the Lotus flower and the Lotus flower symbolises this journey of enlightenment.

So difficult for us to tell here because again, with this Lotus flowers, not really common to, to the UK, but if you go to hotter countries, you see them Lotus flowers, what happens is their root is in water.

And so it starts its journey in kind of dark murky water.

And it begins to go upwards to, towards the lights.

And the root begins in darkness, which is signified symbolises ignorance, us, not really being aware of people, not really being aware of the true nature of reality.

Then it kind of goes up towards the light and that's known as the Dhamma and finally the flower blooms above the waterline.

And that's often used to symbolise enlightenment.

I've actually got one here.

So you can say that you've got the Lotus flower and on top you have the, the Buddha and this is the mudra of teaching.

So we're going to talk about that a bit later on, but do go back and see if you can spot how many Lotus flowers you'll find them in Hinduism.

You find them in Buddhism.

And again, it represents this idea of becoming enlightened, being somewhat omniscient.

There we go and there is our Lotus flower.

So why then do you think the Buddha is often depicted sitting on top of our Lotus flowers? Have a good think.


So yes, the Buddha is often seen sitting on top, as we see here in this, in this statue, which is also like a candle holder, I think.

And it means that the Buddha has achieved this state of enlightenment that he's succeeded and that he has moved beyond that as well.

He's moved beyond this state of enlightenment.

So what do we mean by enlightenment? So that again, we talk about the Mahayana tradition.

This is one of the schools of types of Buddhism if you like.

They do have this belief that he's omniscient and in, they have different stages of enlightenment, which is very long.

Those of you interested do go and look into it.

They do say that there are different stages of enlightenment in Mahayana tradition, the seventh and the eighth stage towards Buddhahood.

They believe that the Buddha at this stage could become any being and could visit any time or place and affect it, which is, which is just blows my mind.

When I think about that kind of thing, that, that, that this is what this tradition is saying.

That with the focus of mind, that you could just move.

So they don't have this sense of kind of time and space being linear.

We talked about kind of quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity, how time can change.

The Buddha experienced all of that and to the point where he could be any being and at any time the Jataka tales, which we'll look at another lesson is supposed to be the different lives that he had.

He wrote all of this he's not, he didn't write it down, but he spoke about the different rebirths that he had.

Theravada tradition.

They like I've mentioned, they think this is perfect knowledge, complete perfect knowledge of the four noble truths.

But what is interesting is most traditions believe that this state of enlightenment is a way of being in which you're completely free from pain and suffering.

So you've beaten this cycle of suffering and you no longer are suffering.

So it's kind of this evolution as Buddhists believe that as they train and they follow the eightfold path, they are coping with better and better with the idea of suffering.

And eventually after a lot, lot, lot, lot, lots of hard work may be several rebirths.

They can achieve this state of, of enlightenment where there's no more any pain.

So we've got to remember that Buddha was a man.

He wasn't a God, he wasn't a prophet.

So to do something like that is quite incredible.

He wasn't the first one by, by any means.

So just anyone being able to do that is quite incredible.

And it's also said that, you know, he, one of the things that he did was he taught people how to get there.

So this kind of shows his compassion.

And there is one account that says that after he reached enlightenment, what he said, and again, I'm paraphrasing, he said something like, wow, it's, it's incredible.

All beings are already enlightened.

So what he was saying is that this, it kind of reinforces this idea that enlightenment is for everyone, for all beings.

And also, interestingly, it's not the case that you have to fight for it.

It's really about unveiling the truth of your actual existence, unveiling, this illusion coming out of this illusion and realising you are already an enlightened being similar to the idea in Hinduism where this realisation of you are already divine because you're made of this divine energy, this godlike energies, similar kind of idea.

Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, really fascinating.

Really interesting to think about it in this way.

And, but like I say, this is something that has been experienced.

It's not a theory.

It's something that people who have got to this state have actually experienced for themselves and are relaying that message.

So, okay.

Let's have a look at some definitions.

I'm just going to move my face over here.

So what do you think? So pause, go ahead and pause.

Just try and match the definition with the term.


So I'm sure you've nailed this.

I'm sure you've nailed this.

This is really what you need to know.

So let's remind ourselves a Buddha is an awakened being.

Enlightenment is a state of complete knowledge free from any pain and suffering.

And omniscience means all knowing.

Well done, give yourselves a pat on the shoulder.

And we did say at the beginning, I did say at the beginning, we're going to just kind of briefly talk about Arahats, which are seekers.

So basically people who are seeking Buddhists or, not all people who are Buddhists use these teachings, like I mentioned, you've got Christians or Hindus who might use this teachings who might use the teachings of the Buddha.

I had to ask seekers, they tend to be monks or nuns, and they are quite serious about reaching this state of enlightenment and crucially they're known as Arahats because they have reached this state of enlightenment.

Buddha's seen as quite different because he initially he was seen as an Arahat but because he didn't have a teacher, he kind of taught himself.

He's seen as having been really special and having kind of extra, you know, powers.

If you like extra kind of focus of mind, that really unique being, whereas Arahats have had the teaching of the Buddha.

They've had the Dharma and to help them get there.

So they're still incredible beings because they've been able to get to this state.

And once they're in at the, they've reached the state of enlightenment after that, when they die, they can then pass into this state known as Nirvana.

And so Nirvana is the ultimate end goal.

That's the end of this cycle.

It's breaking that cycle of Samsara it's the end of craving, end of desire and no more rebirths.

And the way that you get there is by being completely present, letting go of any attachments past, present, and future, no more karma that you're producing.

And the way that happens is through real, you know, dedicated following of the eightfold path and the teachings of the Buddha according to Buddhism.

Right now, there is a problem here.

There is a problem, and I'm sure some of you clever clogs have already picked up on that.

Can you see a problem with wanting to reach Nirvana? Have a good think about this.

Look at the question carefully.

Can you see a problem with this? Okay.


So, Oh, I've got ahead of myself.

I have to be careful because Nirvana, the idea of wanting to reach Nirvana could be seen as a desire, could be seen as a current craving.

And the whole point of, you know, Buddhism is the whole cause of suffering is desire and ignorance.

So, Buddhists have to, people who have actually attained who are close.

You know, this is year, sometimes many, many lives of practise of, of these teachings.

According to the Buddhist tradition, they have to get to the place where they are going to achieve enlightenment.

Not because it's a desire, but because it's just the next step, it's very difficult for us to understand, but that is one of the things that comes up where people think, well, hang on a minute, how can you want to Nirvana? Isn't that a desire? But there is that it is acknowledged in Buddhism, lots of teachings in the Ahbidhamma Sutta about how monks cause mostly monks and nuns, how do they cope with this conflict of desire of desire and trying to reach Nirvana and actually getting there.

So it's really difficult to say what it is, but Nirvana actually means extinguishing because things like suffering, the things that make us suffer like cravings and desire, ignorance and greed, they kind of depicted as, as a lack of fire that kind of consumes us.

So that's where the terminology Nirvana comes from because it means extinguishing all of those fires that consumers and a way of describing Nirvana is often it's described in this negative terms. So that doesn't mean the negatives as in the bad things.

It means what is it not? So it's not a place of suffering.

It's not part of this realm of existence.

It's not a place where there are physical and mental states.

So therefore it's kind of seen as a kind of state of pure bliss.

It's the complete opposite of suffering.

And you are hopefully.

Some of you are definitely going to see some symmetry here with ideas like in heaven of heaven, that kind of idea.

Okay, right now, what I'd like you to do is have a go at drawing this diagram, use, go and draw a Lotus and annotate it.

So you can see the journey of the Buddha's enlightenment.

So make sure that you include different stages.

You could include explanation.

So you want things like Annica and Anatta.

What's happening at this state? Where are you going to put it in the journey of the Lotus flower? Where does Dharma begin? Add examples and a guide out of, out of suffering? Where does enlightenment happen? So make sure that you've got notes on that and make sure that you have it ascending as well and do share it with us if you can.

We'd love to see it.

I'm sure you've done some excellent work, but make sure you get permission and I'll see you soon.

So well done for another good, great lesson.

I'm sure that you gained lots from that.

Very, very interesting.

Not something that's discussed particularly often.

So something really interesting that you can share with your friends and family.

What I'd like you to do now is two things as usual.

Have a go at the quiz.

Make sure that we are really revisiting that knowledge and consolidating the knowledge that we've picked up today.

And if you can talk to someone about what you've studied, what you've learned today, and also, if you can share your work first, we want to see your excellent work.

Make sure you get permission.

And if you can upload the work to our Twitter account, that would be great.

And I'll see you next time.