One reason frequently cited by Buddhists is that pondering a distant goal might be a waste of energy that would be better applied to practice: Quiet the flow of obsessive thinking, put yourself in a mindful state of presence, and let enlightenment take care of itself. In this book, however, Wright contends that pondering this question is meditative practice--that attentive inquiry of this kind is essential as the starting point and guide for any mindful practice of life. Meditative reflection on the meaning of enlightenment focuses us on our aim and direction in life. It guides us in shaping our practices, our ideals, and the kinds of lives we will live. Asking what enlightenment is as a basic form of meditation helps to activate our lives and get transformative practice underway. From Wright's perspective, there is no more important question to ask than this one.
What is Buddhist Enlightenment? offers a wide-ranging exploration of issues that have a bearing on the contemporary meaning of enlightenment, including a concluding section with 10 theses that answer the title's question. Written by a leading scholar of Buddhism, the book balances deep learning and an accessible style, offering valuable insights for students, scholars, and practitioners alike. While he takes an examination of what enlightenment has been in past Buddhist traditions as his point of departure, Wright's historical considerations yield to the question that our lives press upon us--what kinds of lives should we aspire to live here, now, and into the future?