Can Enlightenment Come About Gradually?
Nondualists disagree among themselves about this. Some claim that enlightenment is always sudden and complete, while others claim that it is usually gradual and may come about in stages of deepening. (The purpose of Buddhist Dharma Combat or Dharma Battle, for example, is to test and increase a person’s depth of understanding.) Sometimes the difference in opinion is rooted in whether enlightenment is viewed only as a single specific event, with a preparation gradually leading to it, or whether it is viewed as a growing awakening or understanding, somewhat like the sun dawning through a thick mist and gradually burning it away. (Also, not making a distinction between enlightenment and liberation can add to the confusion.) If the claim that it is a sudden and complete single event is the only accepted view, then enlightenment may be considered exceptionally rare and almost impossible to achieve. But if the gradualist opinion is also accepted, then enlightenment does not have to be rare a