Bodhi is the supreme goal of Buddhist endeavours. Nirvana, or freedom from rebirth attained by the extinguishing of all desire, also has the same meaning. I think in English we call it attaining enlightenment. In Buddhism “enlightenment” also means “to be awake.” A person needs to be awakened because they were puzzled before; befuddled by passions and delusions of desire, anger, stupidity, pride and doubt.
Buddhist enlightenment also has different levels: Arahant, Bodhisattva and Buddha. They all have a different kind of enlightenment. The “best” enlightenment is Buddha’s enlightenment called “Anuttra-samyak-Sambodhi”, translated as “Unexcelled Complete Enlightenment.” Buddha got a supernatural ability with his awakening, called “Asravakshaya-Jnana” or supernatural consciousness of the waning of vicious propensities.
Enlightenment, just like the word “Chi”, is an abstract concept. I think every religion has its own way to reach enlightenment. Some people also think your work doesn’t end when you reach enlightenment, you have to integrate it into daily life. A definition of enlightenment I have heard recently is “the ability to meditate and master your Chi.” It’s a definition that stems from Taoism or Tibetan Buddhism. In Zen Buddhism the Zen Masters don’t really care about meditation and mastering your Chi. They care about mastering your mind. I explain this better in my blog entry called “Polishing a Tile into a Mirror.”
There are different ways of starting on the path of enlightenment. One is to start by practicing your body then hoping your mind will be changed in the process. Another is to simply practice mastering your mind and not care about your body.
For me “Enlightenment” means you have an untrammelled mind and can master it. Just as the Heart Sutra says:… “The Bodhisattva relying on Prajna Paramita has no obstruction in his mind because there is no obstruction. He has no fear, and he passes far beyond confused imagination.”…..