The concept of being enlightened is a very complex thing as it varies from person to person which has different perceptions on how enlightenment should be constituted as. But in Buddhist terms, Enlightenment is a very sacred word and it serves like some sort of an ultimate goal that they reach and long for as they journey through the path they put their lives into.
To understand what enlightenment is one must know a wee bit of Buddhism background knowledge. Enlightenment is the ultimate goal of the ones in this religion they treat as their lives one great goal.
Buddhism encourages a very interesting way of life that upholds holistic growth in all aspects of one's life, may that be physical, mental or emotional growth. They follow some sort of rules that would help them reach their ultimate goal of enlightenment and they call this the eightfold path. The eightfold path is symbolized by a wheel that signifies a cycle in which people should follow to again meet their life long goal which is the enlightenment The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
The eightfold path is one of the four things Siddhartha Gautama introduced in order to end suffering. It is part of the four noble truths that he preaches. So to speak, The eightfold path is the method for attaining the end of suffering, known to Buddhists as the Noble Eightfold Path. As mentioned earlier the steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Buddhists believe that following the Eightfold Path will help them to reach enlightenment . This will end the cycle of suffering. They try to perform good actions, that are solely based in generosity and compassion. They avoid performing bad actions, like ones that are based on greed and hatred. Following the Noble Eightfold Path leads to liberation in the form of nirvana, a state also capped by the same one who created the eightfold path, nirvana is a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
Buddhism has a very interesting way of life regardless of its whitewashed stereotypes. This concept of enlightenment is totally one of the most fascinating and effective ways of living. There are of course other ways to achieve this, from the beginning, meditation and observance of moral precepts were the foundation of Buddhist practice. The five basic moral precepts, undertaken by members of monastic orders and the laity, are to refrain from taking life, stealing, acting unchastely, speaking falsely, and drinking intoxicants, avoiding these 'temptations' as Buddha would call them would ultimately lead to one's goal of being enlightened. For giving into temptations always leads to suffering, like how excessive alcohol can bring you an illness and owning too much money can make you even more greedy and so on.
Do not confuse enlightenment being the same as nirvana for Nirvana is the bliss of enlightenment. It is also said to be the final state after leaving the body for a Buddha while Enlightenment is Self Realization with the extinction of the causes of suffering and then continuing to live as that. Enlightenment is Moksha, Liberation from the mind. Two not so different things that come hand in hand, although confused as being the same more often than not, one must know that it differs from one another.