Share on Facebook
Page 6 of 8 FirstFirst ... 4 5 6 7 8 LastLast

Thread: Why do people make public claims to Enlightement?

  1. #51
    Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu answers the question "Why don't we hear about enlightened beings today?"

    (Approximately 3 minutes.)



  2. #52
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    263
    An interesting talk. The main point is that there is no need for a Buddha in the time of a Buddhafield such as we have now. So the question becomes 'What do you do with enlightenment experiences afterwards?' There is no need to re-invent Buddhism since it still exists. Maybe it depends on the context of your practice, and most people involved in Buddhism simply keep quiet about it and carry on as before.

  3. #53
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    450
    I suspect that people who abide in nibbana do not need to seek publicity, even the Buddha was not sure if it was possible to teach it, I think that those that who make the claim are often doing so from a deluded position rather than an enlightened position

    Who can know, if someone else is enlightened, you would never know for sure, the buddha pointed the way the individual has to walk it

  4. #54
    Here's a video (12 minutes) of Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner talking about "enlightenment experiences", including his own.



  5. #55
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    263
    Quote Originally Posted by McKmike View Post
    I suspect that people who abide in nibbana do not need to seek publicity, even the Buddha was not sure if it was possible to teach it, I think that those that who make the claim are often doing so from a deluded position rather than an enlightened position

    Who can know, if someone else is enlightened, you would never know for sure, the buddha pointed the way the individual has to walk it
    The problem with this point of view is that no one then discusses their experiences. We should be sharing all experiences, rather than running scared of being dismissed as deluded. Personally I tend to write as someone who has been through life-changing experiences, rather than claiming to abide in nibbana, which, for mere mortals such as ourselves , is not something we can do and also live any kind of ordinary life. It's exploring how we live our lives after an experience that I am most interested in, rather than trying to stay in one.

  6. #56
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    732
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    The problem with this point of view is that no one then discusses their experiences. We should be sharing all experiences, rather than running scared of being dismissed as deluded.
    There are other motivations here than "running scared", of course...

    Quote Originally Posted by Snp 4.8
    They say: “In our Dharma purity’s found”
    but deny that it is found in the Dharma of others.
    On what they depend they say “it’s the best”,
    and so settle down in their individual truths.

    Those disputants into the assembly rush,
    and perceive opposedly “the other” as a fool.
    But in disputes, on others they rely—
    these so-called experts ever-loving praise.

    Engrossed in conflict midst the assembly,
    fearing defeat, they wish only for praise,
    having been refuted, that one’s truly confused,
    angry at blame seeks weakness in the other.

    “Through investigation is your argument
    refuted and destroyed”—so they say.
    That one grieves and laments—that mere arguer,
    “Oh! I am overcome” that person wails.

    Arisen among monks—those controversies
    among them cause both elation and depression.
    Refrain therefore, from disputation!
    No meaning’s in it save the prize of praise.

    Praised in the midst of the assembly
    for the presentation of arguments,
    then that one laughs, or else is haughty.
    So they say, “Conceited by winning debate”.

    Though haughtiness will be ground for a downfall,
    still proudly that one speaks, and with arrogance:
    this having seen, refrain from disputations—
    not by that is there purity, so the skilled say.

    Just as a strong man, fed
    upon royal food, might roar forth,
    wishing for a champion rival,
    but finds from the first there’s nought to fight.

    Those holding a view and disputing, say thus:
    “This alone is the truth”, so they aver;
    then reply to them: “But no one’s here
    to retaliate through disputation”.

    They continue with their practice, offering no opposition
    against others, offering no view opposed to view.
    But then, Pasūra, what would you obtain?
    For them there is nothing to be grasped as the highest.

    As you’ve come here, in your mind
    thinking and speculating on various views,
    you have met with a Washed One
    But will not be able to make progress with him.
    Virtually every single instance of someone trying to discuss their contemplative experiences involves an argument about what the experiences mean, usually because the experiences themselves are colonized by one's interlocutor and pressed into service supporting their own claims, or else the one having the experiences is certain of their own conclusions based on them. In both cases, mutual conversation & support cannot happen because of conflicting certainty, and...

    ...that is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.
    It's kinda repulsive, overall.
    Last edited by daverupa; 12 Jan 18 at 16:03.

  7. #57
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    263
    Maybe. But does it always have to be like that? I'm interested in exploring alternatives, where the aftermath of such experiences is left more open. Which, I admit, is difficult because the emotional impact is so overwhelming that I'm not surprised that many people struggle to come to terms with the interpretation of the experience afterwards, and that many allocate meaning where there may be none.

    My current thinking is that it's possible that the enlightenment experience is a fundamental human experience that we can all go through with the right conditions, such as sitting and doing absolutely nothing. That we are all able to do this, and then move on, but that over time the process has been hijacked in the name of social cohesion, brought about by a need for a common world view. The place of the interlocutor in society.

    I'm pretty sure, as my current self, that there is no place for revealed knowledge in such an experience, that there is nothing to be gained but the experience itself and the changes it brings about in oneself. There is everything to be lost in the aftermath, however, which is why I think the Buddha is relevant to those trying to make sense of it, particularly if you need some guide as to what to hold on to and what to let go of.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    the enlightenment experience
    What exactly is that for you, though, phil? ...and what about the experiences some people have with hallucinogenic drugs, do you think they're as valid as your own personal "enlightenment", or are they something different, and if so why?

  9. #59
    Here's a Tibetan Buddhist point of view from the late Tralegkyabgon Rinpoche in an article "Letting Go of Spiritual Experience".


    Spiritual Experiences and Realizations

    There will be all sorts of experiences on the spiritual path. Positive periods of development—those that are reassuring and comforting—are an important part of the process. It is important to realize, however, that even positive experiences will fluctuate. We will rarely, if ever, perceive a steady development of them, precisely because experiences are fickle by nature. Enjoying a series of good experiences does not ensure that they will continue indefinitely; they may stop suddenly. Even so, they remain an important part of spiritual practice, not least because they help to maintain our motivation to continue practicing.

    The way in which these positive experiences arise also varies enormously. You may have some amazingly moving experiences, something like a spiritual awakening that appears to arise out of the blue. In fact, such experiences do not really come from nowhere; psychic conditions will always precede them, although they appear to our conscious experience as independent. They can also vanish just as quickly as they appear. At other times, certain experiences will grow over a period of time, peak, and then gradually fade away again.

    As spiritual practitioners, we are instructed not to attach too much significance to these experiences. The advice is to resist the temptation to become fixated on the experiences themselves. Experiences will come and go. Each experience has to be let go of, or the mind will simply close down in its fixation on that experience, leaving little or no room for new experiences to arise. This is because your fixation will encourage worries and doubts to arise in the mind and interfere with the development process. If there is no fixation involved in the process, positive spiritual experiences will start to lead you to spiritual realizations.

    In Buddhism, we distinguish between spiritual experiences and spiritual realizations. Spiritual experiences are usually more vivid and intense than realizations because they are generally accompanied by physiological and psychological changes. Realizations, on the other hand, may be felt, but the experience is less pronounced. Realization is about acquiring insight. Therefore, while realizations arise out of our spiritual experiences, they are not identical to them. Spiritual realizations are considered vastly more important because they cannot fluctuate.

    The distinction between spiritual experiences and realizations is continually emphasized in Buddhist thought. If we avoid excessively fixating on our experiences, we will be under less stress in our practice. Without that stress, we will be better able to cope with whatever arises, the possibility of suffering from psychic disturbances will be greatly reduced, and we will notice a significant shift in the fundamental texture of our experience.

    There are many accounts in Tibetan Buddhist literature of how spiritual disturbances may arise, but all point to fixation on experiences as the cause. Fixation on our experiences is seen as another variation of fixation on the self.


    Continues at the link



  10. #60
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    263
    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    What exactly is that for you, though, phil? ...and what about the experiences some people have with hallucinogenic drugs, do you think they're as valid as your own personal "enlightenment", or are they something different, and if so why?
    The second part is a really interesting question, and one I've tried to find more about but, as I say, it's difficult as many people either don't bother sharing their experiences or have, as has been said here, some interpretation to 'push'. The question becomes more valid with time as there are techniques being developed which may indeed generate such experiences. I'm thinking electromagnetic stimulation as well as medical drugs developed from existing hallucinogenic and other drugs.

    I'm starting to understand the experience, not in terms of the experience itself, which has a timeless, indescribable quality, but the immediate and later aftermath. Immediate, because as soon as conscious reasoning kicks in again, the moment is lost, and one is left stunned and overwhelmed by what has just happened. Later, because the experience becomes up for grabs, that one struggles over time to come to terms with what happened, within the culture and interpretations available to the individual at the time.

    The research I've done over the last ten years or so has led me to the conclusion that the actual experience is universal, that it is the same for all individuals, however it happened. What is not the same is the continuing context. To get back to your question, your use of the word 'valid' brings in some kind of judgement call. The experience may be identical no matter how it comes about, but the contexts, and so the consequences for the individual, are different.

    In my writings I warn about the hazards of trying such shortcuts, without first having some idea of what the significance might be for the rest of your life. I think it applies to people trying meditation too, of whatever type, for whatever reason, outside of a community designed for helping people both practice meditation and come to terms with what happens as a result. Are would an experience be 'valid' if not within some kind of structured programme developed over many years? Perhaps the validity is in the consequences for the individual, even if the experience itself is the same for all, and therefore of equal 'validity'.

    So what of the writings of those who have bothered to share? Personally I find them interesting as examples of sharing an interpretation, but make no value judgement about what their personal understanding might be, or might mean for them. Their 'enlightenment' may be valid for them as individuals, but does necessarily not extend to anyone else, just as my experiences are valid for me, but may not be of use to anyone else.

    As for the first part, what it means for me, this is another interesting question, but rather more complicated. As a life-changing experience it has a number of consequences, both 'good' and 'bad'. Overall, I wouldn't undo it, even if that were possible, as, for me, it has enhanced the quality of my existence, and continues to do so. I'm currently rewriting the bits about what it means for me, as meanings change over the years and I get new perspectives on what happened. Maybe you could zero in on some more specific aspects? Thanks for your continued interest, Aloka. I enjoy thinking about such searching questions and feel that they move my understanding on.

Page 6 of 8 FirstFirst ... 4 5 6 7 8 LastLast
Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Wed, 3:37 AM Wed, 5:37 AM Wed, 11:37 AM Wed, 4:07 PM Wed, 6:37 PM Wed, 8:37 PM