Always hoping for the quick fix? The sudden, lasting moment of inspiration and brilliance, enlightenment, clear view, wisdom, love and compassion?
It don’t happen like that, baby.
Here’s an excerpt(I highly recommend that you read the whole thing) from a talk entitled ‘The Fourth Moment’by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the current issue of the Shambala Sun:
“It’s deceptive if we see the process as a sudden one: once you get your title, you think you have become a slightly advanced and different person. From the point of view of true spirituality, we have to face this misunderstanding. There is nothing that should be regarded as a sudden jump at all. Rather, there is a gradual process, an actual process that takes place constantly.
People talk about sudden enlightenment, a sudden glimpse, satori, and all kinds of other spiritual attainments. But those things require the conditions for you to pull yourself together. You need to be in the right frame of mind to experience such a thing. So-called sudden enlightenment needs enough preparation for it to be sudden. Otherwise it can’t happen at all. If you have a sudden accident in your motorcar, you had to have been driving in your car. Otherwise you couldn’t have had the accident. That is the whole point: Whenever we talk about suddenness and sudden flashes of all kinds, we are talking in terms of conditional suddenness, conditional sudden enlightenment.
Sudden enlightenment is dependent on the slow growth of the spiritual process-the growth of commitment, discipline and experience. This takes place not only in the sitting practice of meditation alone, but also through the lifelong experience of dealing with your wife, your husband, your kids, your parents, your job, your money, your sex life, your emotions, whatever you have. You have to deal with everything you experience in life, and you have to work with and learn from those situations. Then the gradual process is almost inevitable.
Scholastically and experiencially there is no such thing as sudden enlightenment in Buddhism. So-called sudden enlightenment is simply insight, or understanding, that depends on what we have already experienced. We call it sudden in the same way that you might say: ’suddenly, I saw the sun rise’, or ’suddenly, I saw the sun set’. But what you are seeing is dependent on the situation that already exists, and you are just making it sound dramatic. The sun doesn’t suddenly rise or set, although you may suddenly notice that it’s happening. It depends on your experience.
The point here is that there is continuity in the spiritual journey. You begin solidly, you progress solidly, and you evolve solidly. Don’t expect supranormal magic of any kind on the spiritual path. Some of you may have experienced some kind of magic-maybe so. Some of you have read that such magic does exist, did exist, or will exist.
However, magic doesn’t suddenly exist. The magic depends on the magician, and the magician depends on his trainers, so magic cannot appear unless there is a magical situation or environment. The sudden magical ‘zap’ we have been told about is purely mythical. The zap cannot take place unless you are in the situation to be zapped. Automatically, the zapping is part of a gradual process rather than a sudden experience.’
That’s what I like about buddhism. It’s nuthin’ but the cold, cold truth, but somehow, that’s kind of encouraging.