A thanks and this link to the Wanderling's page on the ten fetters. The Wanderling is a totally trippy Buddhist site but his own take on things and not always orthodox. Well, that hit a nerve on the P end which might possibly have been DC's nefarious intention.
The internet article on the fetters that you emailed me is an example of some one who has read much more than they have experienced or fully understand - or a good example of one who hasn't read enough! It is disturbing for me to read a truck-full of words that is incorrect, incomplete, and can only spread confusion. It is saddening so often to see that the desire to be a 'teacher' and expert in a subject in many cases precedes and outweighs the desire to learn a subject correctly and thoroughly... Go figure.
The (Pali) Buddha is constantly using the expression "the eradication of ignorance" (which only fully occurs at the Arahant level), and this is precisely what defines Enlightenment. When there is no more ignorance, then by any definition, there is Enlightenment. It is a state of - KNOWING - and not a state of mind... or practice. (For instance, you KNOW how to add and subtract, even when you are half-drunk or sleepy - you don't need to get up at 5:00 AM every day to practice this knowledge.) Furthermore, it is only after attaining one of the levels of 'Enlightenment' that (also by definition) the full significance of "Ignorance" becomes easily apparent! One defines the other...
Inestimatable confusion and damage has been caused by the - INVENTION - of a "Buddha" and "Sutras" five-hundred years after the Buddha's death; speaking in a language that he never spoke, lacking in the knowledge and understanding of his essential teaching, and consequentially teaching what was originally only a secondary and mundane teaching as the primary teaching and goal. This is easily explained by the fact that two-hundred years after the Buddha's death Pali was already an extinct language and only devoted scholars would have access to this teaching - but with all of the books and resources available to us today, this point should no longer be hidden or obscured! In the article that I read, it was clear to me that the guy (or gal) didn't really know and understand what the (Pali) Buddha was teaching, he didn't really understand what the fictitious (Sanskrit) Buddha was teaching, and obviously doesn't and cannot understand that they are completely different! If one isn't completely understanding of the important differences in these two teachings, you get contorted explanations and logic like: Food is an energy source. Gasoline is an energy source. You can drink gasoline, and put food in your car... This last statement is partially correct - but dangerously wrong!
Thus I have heard... The Jhanas were discovered and practiced thousands of years before the Buddha, but the Buddha (actually, at this time he is called "the Bodhisattva") after mastering this concentration system rejected even the highest levels of attainment in this practice as a realization of 'Enlightenment', something permanent, or in any way a done deal. (Though this WAS considered 'Enlightenment' for the Hindus who considered the absolute equanimity experienced in the third Immaterial Jhana of the Void as "Uniting with Brahma", and the Taoists who called it the "Tao", and the Chinese 'Buddhists' and their descendants who have numerous poetic expressions for this mind-state - Zen, Void, Mind, Sunyata (a Sanskrit word), emptiness, etc., etc.). Concentration functions to suppress thought and allows one to hold an object in mind - the stronger the concentration, the longer one can hold an object. In a state of absorption (Jhana) thought no longer arises, but stopping thought - okay, greed, hatred, and delusion won't arise - but this does not in any way lead to a conclusion that one's thinking and understanding have therefore become CORRECT after one comes out of Jhana and thought arises again! Sorry, but everything dumb about you has only been temporarily SUPRESSED! Concentration on the road to 'Enlightenment' functions like gasoline in a car; you can't really go anywhere without it - but the gas doesn't care where the car is going!. Hitler is a shining example of a high level of concentration, wrong understanding, and an ability to mesmerize massive crowds of trusting people... Go figure.
Buddha taught the Jhanas as "Right Concentration" in the Eight-fold path, and concentration (not Jhana) as "Purification of the mind" as the second level in the seven steps to Nibbana - but distinctly different and secondary to his teaching of Nibbana. As a parallel example, take a piano teacher that gives his students difficult and strenuous finger etudes to improve their ability in physically playing the piano - just because a guy can kung-fu his way up and down the piano - yeah, we're all impressed and it IS amazing, but in no way does this demonstrate or equate with a profound understanding of music. The source and process of progressing in musical understanding is completely different and will never be attained by a million finger exercises. Naturally, people who are unable to distinguish the difference are easily duped into thinking that someone who is fast and accurate plays the piano very well. Likewise, when a person has some mastery of Jhana, we can perceive that something IS different, unusual, and wonderful - it just isn't 'Enlightenment'! Thus we end up with the really fucked-up, sick, bastards like [a list of current evil Western Zen teachers], etc., etc., etc., and the unfortunate, misguided, losers that actually think that these guys are 'Enlightened'.