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If we are in a slow gradual process of ‘Awakening’... what do we awaken to? The fact that ‘we’ don’t exist? Becoming one with the universe? A different dimension (does a dimension even exist without the manifestation in the mind?)

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The question is invalid as it is based on a false assumption. "We are in a slow gradual process of ‘Awakening' - I doubt any teaching in Theravada Buddhism says this.

But if you are simply asking, "what do we attain when we become enlightened?", the answer is: freedom from suffering. 

by (1.5k points)
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Is there any gAre we not deluded that we exist? And if we are deluded, then are we living a dream that we exist? Is the spiritual path not waking us up to that realisation? And is this a gradual process?
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by (500 points)
Awakening is sort of a buzz word I came across in new-age spirituality and non-dual communities. These communities also talk about enlightenment but have different definitions. I am not sure where you have heard it from , but yes as said above , Buddha doesn’t make much mention of the word awakening as far as I know too.

The buddhas path is not based on the idea that there is a self , much less a self which is asleep and must be awoken.

Transferring and mixing up terminology from different spiritual paradigms with different core teachings will lead to confusion.

It is helpful to use only Buddhist terminology when we are talking about Buddhas teachings and be aware that even the same words have different meanings in other spiritualities.

It’s a great question.
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Thank you. There was one Venerable I was listening to before I came across Bhante on youtube.  The late, Dr. Bhante Punnaji, who identifies as Theravada (and a scholar in the Pali Canon). He talks very often about Awakening.  Also, both words, Awakening and Enlightenment seem to draw connotations to Western translations, rather than Pali. Does that mean, whichever teacher we come across, we just get moulded with a specific train of thought and interpretation? Isn’t that an issue in the Theravada community? This is not my argument, but would you suggest he is using buzz words from new age spirituality? Either way,  I think it’s interesting hearing different answers and opinions to the interpretations of the Dhamma, and Pali, without really taking sides.  It helps us to see different perspectives and arguments. That’s the beauty of  online forums such as this.
by (500 points)
That’s a good point about both words. When I met one western teacher in Theravada Buddhism, he seemed to express dislike towards the use of the word enlightenment and the ideas people have about it.

So I think you are right  teachers are going to have different views on word choices - and that would be based on their cultural surroundings  for example.

To me Dr Bhante Punnaji might be using a buzzword but maybe he was not aware that awakening has other specific meanings. So I guess it’s not a problem rather just the results of being at different places and different times.
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Oh I see, I guess it shows how choices of words can lead to confusion.  pardon me for creating the confusion, and thank you for clarifying this.
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