I thought I'd add this to the topic. Its an excerpt from page 1-2 of a transcript of a talk given by Ajahn Amaro in 2018 (he's abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK), with the title: " Unshakeable Well Being : Is the Buddhist Concept of Enlightenment a Meaningful Possibility in the Current Age ? " (PDF)
In Buddhist tradition, and in a more mythological expression, enlightenment is also called ‘the ending of the cycle of birth and death’ – this makes reference to rebirth as well as to the diminishing and ending of rebirth. I think it’s helpful here to say that one of the things that attracted me and many other people towards the Buddha’s teachings is its non-dogmatic nature. I am quite aware that many people don’t like the concepts of past lives, future lives and rebirth. That sort of terminology may send shudders through the system and that’s fair enough. I feel that even though the texts talk in terms like ‘ending the cycles of birth and death’, it is completely valid to think of that in terms of ‘psychological birth and death’.
What do I mean by that phrase? For example, you might be born into your current book project or your new experimental design. That is a birth. The mind takes hold of a particular venture, a possession, an identity, a personal relationship or a social role. We might say that we are born into the role of being a Dhamma teacher or into the role of being a professor, born into founding a particular project, and with that birth is also a delight.
The delight comes from the sense that everything is going well, there is the aspiration that beautiful and useful things might come forth from it. But there is also the death element; perhaps things don’t work so well, or you don’t get funded the next time, or you present your thesis and you get slammed by your professors. There is a bitterness that comes when you have invested in something and then have to see your aspirations die. That is birth and death. Buddhist language does not just refer to physical birth and death, it also refers to psychological birth and death.
My own teacher Ajahn Chah would use these terms when he talked about birth and death. He would talk about being born into a hope, being born into a building project, being born into the role of being a monk or a nun. So I feel it’s completely valid to think in terms of the freedom from birth and death as meaning freedom from being reborn into the entanglement and toxic identification that can come with taking hold of a project or a role or a position and so forth. ‘Freedom from birth and death’ therefore means a complete independence from addictive and compulsive attachments, as well as from self-centred attitudes.
https://forestsangha.org/teachings/book ... ge=English