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Thread: Why do people make public claims to Enlightement?

  1. #71
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    I agree, its just one more thing to let go of....

  2. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    I would also suggest that, in keeping with the theme of this thread, that the idea of disregarding experiences should also be looked on as something to let go of.

    Perhaps also meaning that others should regard you as a fully enlightened being yourself, Phil?

    Here are some quotes from your self-published book "Enlightenment for Grown-Ups" which are available to read:

    "Enlightenment for grown-ups gives it to you straight. Develop meditation techniques, use them in a structured way to revisit key ideas that are responsible for how your brain is wired up and you too will experience the world as an enlightened being. And the journey isn't bad either."



    "Full enlightenment not your goal? Even if you have decided not to go all the way, this book is still for you....."

    "Enlightenment experiences will show you the world as it really is, laid out there in front of you, ready to understand in your own unique way."




  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    I would also suggest that, in keeping with the theme of this thread, that the idea of disregarding experiences should also be looked on as something to let go of.
    I think your reply highlights the difficulties that people have when caught up in clinging to phenomena they have genuinely had as part of practice toward a preconceived goal.

    Letting go I believe is a much misunderstood concept, if you think for one second that you can simple let go and that is an end to it, you have not been paying attention.

    Letting go is not egocentric, letting go is what happens when the self steps aside and the petty concerns of the ego are no longer functioning, so your suggestion that "the idea of disregarding experiences should also be looked on as something to let go of" is an oxymoron

  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Perhaps also meaning that others should regard you as a fully enlightened being yourself, Phil?

    Here are some quotes from your self-published book "Enlightenment for Grown-Ups" which are available to read:

    I see you added 'fully' to stuff I wrote, so modifying it. Actually, that is one problem of this thread, the definition of enlightenment and what it means for people. In the context of my writing, it means the enlightenment experience itself, that few seconds outside time and space. I like the book, but I'm in the process of rewriting it under a second title to have a wider, more secular appeal.

    The quotes you give in the blurb on the site will be changed to something like, 'and you too will see the world having gone through your own enlightenment experience'. This reflects more the inside of the book, which is about insight meditation in an updating of the Satipatthana Sutta, making it more relevant to the non-expert, and hopefully much more usable. The third quote you gave becomes, 'Enlightenment experiences will show you the world in a different way, ready to understand in your own, unique way' or something like that.

    Do I claim to be a 'fully enlightened being' as you put it? Rather it is my claim that I have gone through what we can all go through as a universal human experience, but that what you do with it afterwards is your own business. I identify a huge problem; that the aftermath of such an experience parallels that of post-traumatic syndrome. The mind is in turmoil trying to make sense of something you can't make sense of. Instead it grasps at what others suggests it means, whether it be religious or secular explanations and interpretations. The book goes on to say that you could do worse than study the Buddhist path and Dharma, that here is a chance to learn from others' experiences and maybe take some advice there.

    I value your comments and many thanks for them. I think about them deeply, and am modifying the language both on the website and in the next, additional, version of the book, to perhaps not tread on so many toes, but certainly to reflect my current ideas about the enlightenment experience and its aftermath.

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKmike View Post
    Letting go is not egocentric, letting go is what happens when the self steps aside and the petty concerns of the ego are no longer functioning, so your suggestion that "the idea of disregarding experiences should also be looked on as something to let go of" is an oxymoron
    I think my somewhat tongue in cheek reply, reflecting my sense of humor perhaps, was misunderstood. I meant that the idea of disregarding someone's experiences out of hand is an idea, a 'thing', and can be treated as such, as something not to be attached to. In the end, as you say, you step aside from all ideas so that you are, as the Heart Sutra says, 'holding to nothing whatsoever' (at least in my favorite version). Tightly holding on to ideas such as disregarding the experiences of others is not something I would suggest people adhere to. My view is that it makes it harder for the self to step aside.

  6. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    I see you added 'fully' to stuff I wrote, so modifying it.
    Huh ? I haven't a clue what you're refering to Phil, because I haven't modified anything that you've written with the word "fully"!

    All through this topic I've been assuming that you must think that you're fully enlightened though - because otherwise why would you write a book called "Enlightenment for Grown-Ups " and tell people if they read it: "you too will experience the world as an enlightened being."? (Why does that remind me of a TV commercial?)

    Earlier in this BWB topic you wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    Currently, my understanding is that the enlightenment experience is the same for everyone, in it's timeless quality, and in the feeling of oneness with everything. Actually, there is no thought in that instance, so you rely on the memory of something that cant be described or communicated in any way.
    What you're describing in those 3 lines is a fairly common meditation experience for Buddhist practitioners,....and for my Hindu optician also, who is a keen meditator and described that very experience of the settled mind as being: "At one with everything" to me when we were chatting about meditation at my last appointment.

    I'm wondering if you actually discussed your meditation with any of the Triratna teachers at all?



  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    What you're describing in those 3 lines is a fairly common meditation experience for Buddhist practitioners,....and for my Hindu optician also, who is a keen meditator and described that very experience of the settled mind being: "At one with everything" to me when we were chatting about meditation at my last appointment.

    I'm wondering if you actually discussed your meditation with any of the Triratna teachers at all?
    1. I see the problem. I wrote 'full enlightenment', meaning not just another insight experience, but 'full-on' enlightenment, as opposed to one of many possible insight experiences. A 'fully enlightened being' is rather different, and somewhat loaded with a number of different understandings. And as I say, in the light of your helpful comments I am rewriting aspects of the book for the new version, modifying the language somewhat, so thanks for that. The 'an enlightened being' means someone who has gone through such an experience, but I have been careful,I hope, not to say 'a Buddha', which is a very different thing.

    2. I'm glad that your optician has gone through such an experience, although I wonder whether your use of 'settled mind' is what I write about? I'll have a go at googling it and meditate around it, and see what I think, and let you know. I suspect that it is a stage along the way, but who knows? I'm also glad that it is a common experience, as I write about that very thing, but for people who are not Buddhists (although they are welcome to read it too). I would like them to have such experiences too, and that is the purpose of the book. I advise the reader to go to a Buddhist centre instead, but if that's not their thing, then perhaps the book is for them.

    3. It was only after my experiences that I went to a Buddhist centre to try to make sense of what I went through, not to have it 'validated' but to get some guidance. The reaction was mostly as on this site. People taking time to be helpful, but mainly pretty negative. I quickly learned that, as here, it's easier not to say anything about enlightenment.

    4. In the end I spent the next thirty years or so doing my own research, attending Buddhist courses on the Dharma, meditation courses, going on retreats, and so on, eventually going through a public ceremony to become a Buddhist. All of which eventually led to the book, a distillation of my experience and thoughts about everything I have heard and read. Other books to follow, now that I am retired.

    5. Let me tell you what the difference between the many insight experiences I have had and the big one. Line up everyone who has ever lived on Earth or beyond, or ever will. Have them all insist that they know what went on in my head was not an enlightenment experience and I will smile, bow to each one and then kindly shrug. I would do the same to the Buddha himself, letting him know that I appreciate his interest, but that's as far as it goes.

    6. As I say, I got dragged into this stuff because I was interested in experimenting with meditation as a way of changing state of consciousness. I did not expect anything to happen, but was always interested in finding meaning in life. I didn't think, despite my Methodist upbringing, that there was any. Now I know different, and, being a teacher, naturally want to share my experiences with anyone else who may have such interests. If only one person finds it useful, then it has succeeded.

    7. Please keep throwing this stuff at me. Who knows? It may even lead to yet another book....

  8. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    Now I know different, and, being a teacher, naturally want to share my experiences with anyone else who may have such interests. If only one person finds it useful, then it has succeeded.
    I'm a qualified (secondary school) teacher too, (and also a complementary therapist), but I don't feel any need to share or teach my meditation experiences with/to the general public. Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes!

    I'm not an authorised Dhamma/Dharma teacher either .....and neither are you.


    Quote Originally Posted by philg

    I'm glad that your optician has gone through such an experience, although I wonder whether your use of 'settled mind' is what I write about?
    The optician and myself were simply refering to a calm, clear, thought-free mind in meditation, which isn't rocket science, nor is it "enlightenment."

    Maybe you should try to make an effort to have an interview with a reputable Buddhist meditation teacher to discuss your "experiences," somewhere other than a Triratna centre .

    Personally, I feel indebted to my knowledgeable and wise Vajrayana and Theravada teachers for their previous teachings, guidance and feedback in connection with my ongoing practice. Remembering their advice has helped to sustain me through some very difficult times in my life.


    Thanks a lot for the chat Phil, and be well and happy.



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