Neurological basis of average age of enlightenment

Siddartha Gautama was enlightened at age 35, whereas Jesus of Nazareth’s breakthrough came at the age of 33. What is it about the early-to-mid-thirties anyway?

Neurologically, we can surmise that cumulative synapse formation after thirty-plus years of life brings about some kind of critical mass where the brain is primed for the massively transforming experience that these religious leaders had. What is the nature of this nerual “readiness”, and what type of synaptic development processes could lead to it over a period of three decades? And in what way, if any, does continued brain development after that time act to lessen the likelihood of such quantum leaps in consciousness?

3 Responses to “Neurological basis of average age of enlightenment”

  1. Raven Sati Says:

    A fascinating question ! And one very similar to a question I have been asking since I lived for four years in a Tibetan monastery in India from 1988-92.

    The curent Dalai Lama reports that he directly experienced “emptiness” in this life at age 35. The founder of the Dalai Lama’s sect, Tsongkapha repoted that he experienced emptiness directly in his 40th year.

  2. Ivyc Says:

    A mysterious question with an hidden answer, or maybe that is the age when people began to see what is happening a round them. Nobody can real tell why does it have to happen at this age.

  3. Kaiser Says:

    Very interesting. The 19th Century psychologist Maurice Bucke wrote in his study of cosmic consciousness that most people who had experienced such a state of being had done so by age 35. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed in studying the biographies of spiritual masters. Most of their awakenings seem to fall in a range from mid-20s to early 40s or even 50.

    Adyashanti had an initial awakening at 25 and a more complete one at 31-33 (he has made conflicting statements). Shinzen Young was 30. Mooji was 33. Bankei was 26. Hakuin had a number of awakenings starting in his 20s and culminating in a final enlightenment at 40. Dogen was 27. Dusum Khyenpa, the 1st Karmapa, was 50. Eckhart Tolle was 29.

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