You said that existence is a wholeness, that everything is related, that things are melting into each other, that the tree cannot be without the sun and the sun also cannot exist without the tree. In reference to the above, please explain how ignorance and enlightenment are related to each other.
They are related. Enlightenment and ignorance are two polar opposites. Enlightenment can exist only because there is ignorance. If ignorance disappeared from the world, enlightenment would disappear simultaneously. But because of our dualistic thinking we always think that opposites are opposites. They are complementary, they are not really opposite. They are complementary because one cannot exist without the other. So they are not enemies. Birth and death are not enemies because death cannot exist if there is no birth. Birth creates the base for death to exist but if there were no death, birth could not exist.
Death creates the base – so whenever someone is dying, someone else is being born. At one point there is death, at the next point immediately there is birth. They look opposite, they work in opposition as far as the surface is concerned, but deep down they are friends helping each other. It is easy to understand about ignorance and enlightenment because we think that when a man becomes enlightened, ignorance has disappeared completely. This is the ordinary standpoint about enlightenment – that ignorance has disappeared completely. No. That is not right. Rather, on the contrary, when a person becomes enlightened, enlightenment and ignorance have both disappeared. Because if one is there the other is bound to be there; one cannot exist without the other. They exist together or they disappear together. They are aspects of one thing, two faces of one coin. You cannot make one face of the coin disappear and retain the other.
So when a person becomes a buddha, really, at that moment both have disappeared – ignorance and enlightenment both. Just consciousness is left, pure being is left, and the conflicting, opposing, helping opposites have disappeared. That is why when Buddha is asked what happens to an enlightened man, he remains silent many times. He says, “Don’t ask this because whatsoever I say will be untrue. Whatsoever I say will be untrue. If I say that he has become silent it means the opposite of silence must exist there, otherwise how can you feel silence? If I say he has become blissful, then anguish must exist side by side. How can you feel bliss without anguish?” Buddha says, “Whatsoever I say will be untrue.” So he remains consistently silent about the state of an enlightened person, because all our terms are dual. If you say light, and if someone insists, “Define it,” how are you going to define it? You will have to bring darkness in, only then can you define it. You will say that light is where darkness is not – or something like that.