It seems that the term “enlightenment” is falling out of favor these days, and for several reasons.
At first glance, it may seem that enlightenment has a clear definition: it is a stable awakening as Big Mind. But what exactly does that mean, and is it that clear-cut in real life?
In my own experience, there are many forms of awakenings – many phases and flavors. And some are glimpses (states), while other become more stable (stages). But even when it apparently is more stable, there can be a great deal of fluctuation over time. And then there is the integration aspect of it as well.
Also, there are significant differences between awakening as pure awareness (encountering the absolute), awakening as Big Mind (absolute & relative), and to what extent the awakening is integrated into our human life.
If we awaken as pure awareness, it is still one-sided – there is still a belief in the thought “I” as pure awareness and “other” as the world of phenomena. Awakening as Big Mind, as that which is beyond and embracing all polarities, comes to different degrees of clarity and depth. And the integration into our human life certainly comes to different degrees as well, and different levels and areas of skills etc.
So the real life experience of all this is very rich. It seems that each path and each current experience is unique. And there are many different flavors and phases of awakening and integration.
All this makes it pretty difficult to use a term such as Enlightenment. It makes it appear as something which has a clear definition and can easily be identified, and it also makes it appear as something that is either/or. Of course, awakenings do tend to appear as either/or, but again, they tend to come in a wide range of flavors and phases.
And this is only to be expected.
God, Existence, Buddha Mind seem to seek to experience itself in an as wide range of ways as possible, so why should it be different for awakenings?