Enlightenment is awakening to the true nature of the cosmos - it doesn't of necessity imply union only understanding.
>maybe also the Buddhist ideal of avoiding extreme asceticism as well as avoiding worldly
things, as borne out by the life of Gautama Buddha himself. Though whilst the means may be
different, isn't the Buddhist Nirvana very, very similar to the Hindu moksha -- a union
with the cosmic that takes the soul out of the trials and tribulations of rebirth?
(My limited understanding of this Buddhist ideal is that it sort-of covers both things --
an enlightenment in life leading ot a union with the cosmic in death
Theravada Buddhists might think something along those lines but I was more coming from a Mahayana direction as exemplified by the Bodhisattva vow "May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings". An important point of the life of Buddha is that after his enlightenment he chose to teach others who "only had a little dust on their eyes" rather than retreating from the world (as he said he could have). He point blank refused to even speculate about what would happen to him after death.
Hence my qualms: mysticism is an attempt to reject and escape the world, enlightenment is about embracing the world as it truly is and trying to improve it for others. Very different in my thinking.
I'm not sure Nysalorean illumination is either as defined above, thinking about it!
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