Buddhist Enlightenment and Salvation
"The Buddha's aim was not to know the world or to improve it," wrote historian Daniel Boorstin, "but to escape its suffering. His whole concern was salvation. It is hard for us in the West to understand or even name this Buddhist concern. To say that the Buddhists had a 'philosophy' would be misleading." The process of salvation is seen as a never-ending one. Since there was an infinite number of selves, there of course would never be a time when all of them achieved Nirvana. [Source:"The Creators" by Daniel Boorstin]
Hinduism promise of samsarea (Sanskrit for migration), escape from the endless round of "life everlasting" by "disappearance of the individual into an unchanging anonymous Absolute." Buddhism also offered the escape for the "weary reiteration" of life towards nirvana.
Although enlightenment is something that occurs in a flash and is complete and total. Reaching enlightenment is not something that comes immediately, however, but rather occurs gradually with training and practice. A teacher can help a novice to understand the true meaning of things as they really are but ultimately enlightenment must achieved through one’s own efforts by following the Way.
by Jeffrey Hays