recently i read a book on zen philosophy. i noticed something strange. the buddhist monks who purge their desires to become enlightened still desire one thing, secretly perhaps. they desire to be enlightened.
how do we measure enlightenment? even among humans there are differences. for example people require different amounts of food. what then is the difference between need and want? each person has a different level of need and thus if they ate the same amount of food would have different levels of wanting and thus be seen differently along the path to enlightenment (simplistic but sound logic). how then does anyone determine who is wanting much and who is wanting little and who is actually enlightened? the fact that some buddhists claim to know objectively who is enlighteed and who is not but are unable to show a system for measuring wants exposes fundamental problems with buddhist philosophy.
those that we see as enlightened are probably not enlightened. they rely on institutions, teacher-student relationships, temple infrastructure, the food farmed by the other humans toiling in the earth. if any of those groups posses desire then their desire is baked into the things they do, the ‘fruits of desire.’ for example take food, we claim to ‘need’ it but we only need it if we want to live. this seems obvious; usually humans desire and want to live and not to die. still it is a desire and not a necessity to eat food. there is always a choice and eating food is a choice between living and dying and a human could choose to not want food and as a result die. since there is no recording of a society of enlightened humans measuring strictly everyones needs and producing in accordance with that measurement we can say that these things the enlightened claim to need are masked desires, wants wearing other faces.
there is probably only one enlightened system in the universe and that is the universe itself. it does not rely on masked desires (as far as we can perceive). the universe may be enlightened. we are unsure if it is.