‘Enlightenment’ is the classically stereotypical buzzword. It has nothing but positive connotations; as a result, many people use it to convince you you need to buy or study certain things in order to ‘achieve’ it. Enlightenment is often seen as a destination rather than a journey, and many people expect that once they reach it, they’ll be on a cloud, spiritually invincible and brimming with endless knowledge.
I think enlightenment is an abstract concept. There’s a Zen proverb that says, “Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” The non-Buddhist Western world— America especially (see religious demographics here)— is concerned with the end results of everything. It’s almost as if the Christian ideal of eternal salvation has been adapted to pop-Buddhism to mean enlightenment.
Enlightenment isn’t heaven.
*Read the rest, it’s great.*