But enlightenment is not an end point. It is a context in which we view all of life and death. It is a space from which we perceive all the manifestations of life. It is not a state of perpetual bliss and ecstasy of escape. It is ability to be in the present moment no matter what is happening or what we are doing. That is what enlightenment was to Buddha and that is what he revealed.
He also taught how to live so the present moment reveals itself to us in profound ways that enriches our inner being, our Souls. He understood that our Soul is always and eternally Here and Now. The future, or enlightenment in the future, is not going to bring us anything. It is all about the Now because the Soul is ageless and doesn’t have anything to do with time, or any of the other human ways of measuring experience.
Let’s look at the word “believe.” “Believe” means we are willing to follow because we are not sure but it makes sense to us. “I believe it to be true,” is different from “I know it to be true.” We believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy when we were kids. Then, when we grow up, we know that Santa was a wonderful invention to make kids happy at Christmas. We don’t “believe” in him anymore.
Buddhism is not about following beliefs. It is about a proven method of alleviating suffering, both mental and physical.
Believing that everyone will eventually become enlightened is just one more statement saying, “I’m not sure but this guy sounds good so I’ll go with what he says.” That time is necessary to be enlightened.
The Soul is already enlightened, for it is not time-bound. It is eternal and doesn’t have a beginning, a middle, and an end. That is what defines the Soul, as opposed to all the other things that come and go, including our bodies. Finding our way back to our Soul and deep inner peace has nothing to do with hoping (believing) that someone is right because it makes us feel better about where humanity is going.
There is no end to enlightenment, as there is no end to Source Energy of the Universe. It is always Now. It’s not like we have to work our way into heaven. Our Souls are already there. So to “believe” that everyone will go to a heaven of enlightenment is a nice fairy tale to adhere to, but enlightenment has nothing to do with believing what other people say or any religious system that will supposedly get us there.