Wilhelm

What are your tradition's safeguards against self-delusion or being deluded by others?

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Posted (edited)

I'm guessing everyone reading this has seen someone who has claimed they're enlightened, and doubted their claim. I've had a lot of trouble with this throughout my adulthood - discerning who's real and who isn't.

How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

If I were to go and read a ton of spiritual philosophy, it wouldn't be hard for me to build a framework of what an enlightened person 'should be'. If then, lacking self-honesty, strength of character (or possibly just good information) it wouldn't be much of a leap for me to qualify some aspect of an experience as me 'becoming enlightened'.

Let's pose the question like this - if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not? Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

 

For clarity, it would help if you could at least allude to your tradition's definition of enlightenment.  No need to define it outright and start arguing over who is correct, I would just very much appreciate your perspective from within your own tradition.  Thank you!

 

Summary: 

 

1. How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

2. if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not?

3. Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

Edited by Wilhelm
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Really important topic!
 

Look forward to seeing people’s perspectives.

 

I’ll add my own eventually.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not exactly an initiate in a formal tradition, but I'll give you my thoughts on the matter. I've found that "enlightenment" generally refers to one of two things:

a flash of knowledge and/or understanding that can happen more than once and generally confers esoteric knowledge 

or 

the state of "no more learning", that of becoming divine (Becoming a Buddha is a good example, though there are others that fit this definition)

 

The first definition is what people generally use when talking casually, while the second definition is what is used to define a "teacher" of sorts. The more famous examples of the second definition are most of the people who have founded various religions (Jesus, Abraham, Muhammed, Buddha, etc.), though there are plenty of them that have chosen not to found a movement like that. 

 

In both cases, I find the easiest way to tell if someone has such an attainment is through gut feeling. If they feel genuine, then you must check their claims against reality. If they have truly gained knowledge from some sort of enlightenment, then that knowledge should be true. Crosscheck their claims against other unrelated sources; check into the meat of what they say and do. This includes claims of gods, demons, "unseen" power, etc. It's important to remember that if someone claims that they can do something, you need to see evidence of it before you believe them. Oftentimes, the very act of making such a claim is counterproductive to self-progress (it feeds ego), so most "enlightened" folks end up with the label without ever claiming themselves as such. One of the biggest red flags in a teacher is the teacher themselves claiming enlightenment, as the only reason an enlightened being would do so is to benefit others (which most of the claims made nowadays certainly would not). 

 

Most of my knowledge on this comes from a combination of experience, academic practices, and my own realizations through practice. I would argue that it is of the utmost importance for each and every one of us to attempt to discern truth from falsehood on our own, without trusting everything another says. Afterall, there are seven billion of us on this planet; how many of us do you think are truly that attained? Odds are, you'll be lucky to come across someone who has that sort of attainment in this lifetime. 

 

Edit: 

One thing to note with the second type of enlightenment I mentioned is that such a being would not desire, and would not truly anger. The DDJ describes the way such a being would exist, but it wouldn't be because they are attempting to follow the DDJ. They simply become that way naturally, as a result of the "enlightenment". Usually, such a being would shy away from money, politics, sexual interactions, and other desire-based activities. While they would do what is needed for survival, they would not generally save in excess, and would not actively seek out more than what they need. Thus, if they were to teach, the majority of it would likely be for free, and probably not labeled as "teaching". 

 

If you are familiar with the way that the MCO manifests, it is similar in methods. The "enlightenment" is simply a river filling a trench. Without the pathway dug ahead of time, the water would spill everywhere. Without the water, the trench would simply be a trench. But when the conditions combine, it creates "enlightenment". 

Edited by Paradoxal
Adding a bit more info
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I check in with my wife

To ask whether I'm getting too weird. 

 

Her response is along the lines 

That my cooking has gotten 

Better 

 

And that I was plenty weird 

When we met.

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10 minutes ago, Sketch said:

 

I check in with my wife

 


One of the better barometers for this sort of stuff! 

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44 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

I'm guessing everyone reading this has seen someone who has claimed they're enlightened, and doubted their claim. I've had a lot of trouble with this throughout my adulthood - discerning who's real and who isn't.

How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

 

 

I am going to classify this 'deluding yourself' as  'spiritual pride'   and the remedy against that is a sense of humour, especially about the self and its sacred cows  and the tradition itself .  The 'deluded by others' remedy is developing a sharp and observant mind, becoming aware of your own propensities  and weaknesses   ( including what areas of 'flattery' you are susceptible to ) and learning about the different types of human psychologies, including your own  and where your strengths and weaknesses lie  ( eg  . via astrology ) 

 

And following and being attentive to its teachings  eg;

 

*  Yet, oh aspirant, let thy victories bring thee not Vanity, for with increase of Knowledge should come increase of Wisdom. He who knoweth little, thinketh he knoweth much; but he who knoweth much hath learned his own ignorance. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit?

 

*  Thou therefore who desirest Magical Gifts, be sure that thy soul is firm and steadfast; for it is by flattering thy weaknesses that the Weak Ones will gain power over thee. Humble thyself before thy Self, yet fear neither man not spirit. Fear is failure, and the forerunner of failure: and courage is the beginning of virtue

 

*  Worship and neglect not, the physical body which is thy temporary connection with the outer and material world. Therefore let thy mental Equilibrium be above disturbance by material events; strengthen and control the animal passions, discipline the emotions and the reason, nourish the Higher Aspirations

 

* . Do good unto others for its own sake, not for reward, not for gratitude from them, not for sympathy. If thou art generous, thou wilt not long for thine ears to be tickled by expressions of gratitude

 

*  Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.

It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.

. The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly these:
("a") A widening of the horizon of the mind.
("b") An improvement of the control of the mind.

 

... and so on .

 

44 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

If I were to go and read a ton of spiritual philosophy, it wouldn't be hard for me to build a framework of what an enlightened person 'should be'. If then, lacking self-honesty, strength of character (or possibly just good information) it wouldn't be much of a leap for me to qualify some aspect of an experience as me 'becoming enlightened'.

 

 

Then you would be a     Naep    .

 

 

  'New Age Enlightened  Person'   

 

A few years back -  woman friend that had a  Naep  ' courting her  '     ( wow , thats old fashioned !  .... he 'wanted to have sex with her ) so telling her all sorts of BS . One day she angriy declares   " I've got more enlightenment in my little finger than everyone arond here ."

 

:D  

 

44 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

Let's pose the question like this - if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not? Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

 

 

Pfffft !   It deals with that by having nothing to do with it . It doesnt have 'enlightenment ; in it .  What is it anyway ? Ask the question here and see the variety and type of answers you get .   Regarding whether one is full of it or not, the above techniques help . Also empty claims are not on - each level of achievement  is done by examination and what is produced  requiring physical, intellectual and philosophical achievement  in certain fields .

 

44 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

For clarity, it would help if you could at least allude to your tradition's definition of enlightenment. 

 

 

 

NOW  we get to the juice .

 

  ... we dont have one .  I suppose the closest thing would be  knowing and understanding your specific purpose for this incarnation and getting on with it .

 

 

44 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

No need to define it outright and start arguing over who is correct, I would just very much appreciate your perspective from within your own tradition.  Thank you!

 

Summary: 

 

1. How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

2. if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not?

3. Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

 

 

1. As above .

 

2.  As I said above, its not a term we use . But I can substitute the question  with , lets say ' the achievement of levels towards 'our aims '  and remove the word 'enlightenment ' ;

" if I were to tell you that I had ' achieved '  according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not?

 

I could test you . We have 'tests' so we can recognise and identify each other . 

 

3.  Well, yes and no ...... yes to over the forum as its easy to discern who is a flamin' idiot  but to sort out  as in my  2. above , practical demo required .

 

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I think there¬īs value in spending time with enlightened (and perhaps endarkened!) beings but it¬īs not something I particularly search out.¬† Instead, I look for people who have something to teach me.¬† Nevermind enlightenment, these teachers often have some particularly glaring personality flaws.¬† I¬īve found that people can excel in some areas and be real flub-ups in others, and I try to learn what I can where I can.

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1 minute ago, liminal_luke said:

I think there¬īs value in spending time with enlightened (and perhaps endarkened!) beings but it¬īs not something I particularly search out.¬† Instead, I look for people who have something to teach me.¬† Nevermind enlightenment, these teachers often have some particularly glaring personality flaws.¬† I¬īve found that people can excel in some areas and be real flub-ups in others, and I try to learn what I can where I can.

 

 

;)

 

 

Seek the gold - discard the dross .

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" flub - ups "     :D   ... never heard that one before  ! 

 

Sounds like a fat guy on a trampoline .

 

 

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Just now, Nungali said:

" flub - ups "     :D   ... never heard that one before  ! 

 

Sounds like a fat guy on a trampoline .

 

 

 

Next time I¬īll include a selfie.

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I just prefer nice people.

Rich or poor, tall or short doesn't really matter.

How they treat animals is a strong indication of their character.

And how they might treat me or others of my ilk, few and far between  we are.

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19 minutes ago, natural said:

I just prefer nice people.

Rich or poor, tall or short doesn't really matter.

How they treat animals is a strong indication of their character.

And how they might treat me or others of my ilk, few and far between  we are.

 

 

double 'like' . 

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1 hour ago, Wilhelm said:

I'm guessing everyone reading this has seen someone who has claimed they're enlightened, and doubted their claim. I've had a lot of trouble with this throughout my adulthood - discerning who's real and who isn't.

How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

If I were to go and read a ton of spiritual philosophy, it wouldn't be hard for me to build a framework of what an enlightened person 'should be'. If then, lacking self-honesty, strength of character (or possibly just good information) it wouldn't be much of a leap for me to qualify some aspect of an experience as me 'becoming enlightened'.

Let's pose the question like this - if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not? Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

 

For clarity, it would help if you could at least allude to your tradition's definition of enlightenment.  No need to define it outright and start arguing over who is correct, I would just very much appreciate your perspective from within your own tradition.  Thank you!

 

Summary: 

 

1. How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

2. if I were to tell you that I had achieved enlightenment according to the definition provided by your tradition (to be clear, I'm not actually claiming this), how would you know if I was full of shit or not?

3. Is this something that's possible to discern over a forum, or would a practical demonstration be required?  

 

Good question but from what I understand of Buddhism, if I still feel desire or aversion or have a self identity then I can know I'm not there yet.

BTW I'm not there yet lol.

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5 hours ago, Wilhelm said:

How does your tradition protect you from deluding yourself, or being deluded by others?

 

Hi Wilhelm,

 

Guard your own mind...

 

your-own-mind.gif

 

 

- Anand

 

 

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Mostly people won‚Äôt know if someone is ‚Äúenlightened‚ÄĚ or not, irrespective of whether that someone¬†¬†claims so or otherwise.¬†
 

Personally ¬†for me, I see how I feel in someone‚Äôs¬†presence ‚ÄĒ for example, when I‚Äôm with my teacher, I always feel joy, love and total lack of any pretension from him. He is like a child ‚ÄĒ a 70+ year old child. I prefer his company over stern¬†monks with their rules and rituals.¬†
 

I also know others who I suspect are enlightened, i.e., have Self-realization and a dropping of most habitual patterns of the mind, and they each have different personalities. Some like to travel, some like to cook, some like to eat, and so on.
 

Being enlightened doesn’t mean the individual is suddenly sterilized of their personality or superficial quirks :) 


Some people, when you listen to them speak, speak from the core (true nature) with minimal to no filters of the acquired mind,  as opposed to, most others, speaking from the acquired mind and its ways. Such people, will point you back to your true nature, and you might find yourself falling into deep silence and stillness. 
 

A couple of ‚Äúfamous‚ÄĚ westerners who can do that are Eckhart Tolle and Rupert Spira.¬†
 

So in summary, mostly, enlightened people can’t be recognized if they stood in front of us. But also, if we took the time to really listen, true nature can speak to true nature, depending on how thin the obscuration is in the mind of the listener. 

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Posted (edited)

For the years I've been a practicing Buddhist, I've never ever heard a master/teacher (of Buddhism) say he or she is enlightened, even those whom others acknowledge as so. Self effacement is quite the norm among the really authentic guides, I noticed, repeatedly. Its always others that see it.... thru demeanour, speech, conduct. Their daily habits, from how they wake up in the morning, to how they prepare for sleep (generally at night, but not necessarily so) are good indicators. A lot of whats being done for others is done away from the open - and this applies to both right and wrong actions. Good guides get endless requests for prayers from their flock of sangha members, and such are usually performed privately. So unless you get really close enough to observe this very basic ritual (of waking and pre-sleep) don't get too excited over every other (claim). 

Edited by C T
changed 'and' to 'to'
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Posted (edited)

Hello all (and sorry for my bad english) 

As I know there are different steps of that what is often called enlightement (from some daoist point of view) 

First "you" have to awaken, to realize what "you" really are. Not only for a short time but for constant time. And therefore it needs also work with your body, not only mental work. 

After that there comes the step of stepping out of the wheel of incarnation...

After that it comes immortality... 

That's what me was told. But I'm far far away from own experience. 

I only have sometimes a glimpse of the first step, the awakening...I've got a long road to go, with many further incarnations... :-) 

Best wishes 

Feng69 

Edited by Feng69
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Posted (edited)

I've had a few 'awakening' experiences in my life... one was as a child after a car plowed into me and my friend... but another (more interesting) time was with a teacher who I considered enlightened.

 

What happened with the teacher was subtle and profound... He's one of these non-dual type teachers that talks and 'points' at various aspects of what's in the way of 'enlightenment' - in an effort to help you notice, then drop these things to reveal what lies beneath.

 

The moment it happened was quite ordinary - we were sitting in a small group and our teacher was talking, as he does - but suddenly without any context, he paused in the middle of a sentence. I hadn't been listening because at the time, inside of me all I could do was struggle with a wave of radiating heat and a kind of strong (very unpleasant) self-consciousness - like everyone just caught me with my pants down.

 

But the teacher paused - and he looked at his senior student (as whatever was going on in me was reaching a crescendo.)

 

"Did you notice?" - the senior nodded... "Who is it?" - the senior points at me.

 

Except at that moment what 'me' meant became completely abstract.

 

Everyone just sat in silence for a good 10 minutes.

 

It felt like coming home... like all the stuff and identification and separation that I was busily maintaining throughout my life simply fell away - and what was left wasn't some dark abyss but just a simple presence... no inner dialogue, no habitual identification - my awareness was equally within and without and there was no separation between me and the leaf fluttering in the wind outside - or even the space between us. I could feel this gentle peace - like this huge burden had been lifted. Over the next hour or so I tuned into this sense of Love - but not love with a direction (like "I" love -> "you") - but more like a kind of vibration pervading everything.

 

Actually many of the participants that day experienced the same thing.

 

It felt funny because all that happened was that we simply stopped this massively energy-intensive juggling act that we thought was our self... but as soon as all the balls were allowed to drop to the floor and our concern for keeping them up and moving was let go of, this much less 'personal' Self emerged... and it was hilarious. All we had to do was stop - so silly.

 

Our teacher apparently lived in this state constantly... no inner dialogue at all... no real subject-object separation... the way he talked was exactly as Dwai states above - you could tell every word was 'fresh' and spontaneous - not coming from the personality - but from somewhere else.

 

I was convinced he's enlightened.

 

But... turns out he's not.

 

Not even close.

 

(though closer than most!)

 

And it took years to find that out.

 

Although I'd left that group for practical reasons, I stayed in touch with a couple of the other students.

 

In time, it came to light that our teacher was deeply depressed. In fact he secretly attempted suicide several times. He'd get addicted to random stuff like sugar or sex or even gadgets (even though he owned barely anything) and even drugs. He'd attempt all kinds of other practices from qigong to kundalini stuff - it seemed out of desperation.

 

Several of the students went a similar way.

 

Turns out the juggling balls we dropped were still there... and in fact they began to putrefy and infect us from the ground up.

 

I'm still hugely fond of that teacher - he's an incredible person and I miss being in his presence... listening to him talk was like hearing a talented jazz ensemble spontaneously create the most incredible music that touches you to the core... In fact he was the first person to assuage my skepticism - that there really is something to all this spiritual stuff - and in many ways he set me on my path to sell everything I have and travel the world in search of spiritual teachings... I went from a materially successful person to being basically homeless - which at the time was a pretty stark change.

 

I eventually found what I was looking for - in traditional schools a lot less 'exciting' - but turns out they've been doing this stuff and perfecting it over hundreds of generations. And as I trained, the context of all my prior spiritual experiences became apparent.

 

I did eventually meet someone fully enlightened (and it's way beyond what I'd assumed physically or even conceptually possible) - but that's another story - don't want to bore everyone with a 'wall of text' post.... (and I really need to consider what I can share so openly).

 

(I also need to actually answer the question of discernment!!)

Edited by freeform
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The Buddha said don't take my word for it or somebody else's word for it based on reputation or just faith but listen to their teachings and see if they make sense.

 

It's less about the person and more about what they teach.

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Hi @Wilhelm,

 

I practice Tibetan Buddhism.  In this system enlightenment  is defined in a variety of ways - 'seeing things as they really are', 'waking up', 'liberation from suffering' and so on.

 

There are many great Lamas who have achieved realisations - but not a single one which I have encountered or listened to would claim enlightenment.  This is not modesty - true enlightenment = buddhahood is vastly beyond anyone you are going to encounter.  But that doesn't mean there are not great teachers out there.  This can be somewhat confused by the vajrayana principle of regarding your teacher as a buddha (particularly in initiations and empowerments) - its a subtle distinction.

 

To choose a Lama as a teacher you are supposed to go through a 12 years assessment (this is leapfrogged by a lot of stupid westerners) in which you can see if a ) they conduct themselves according to the dharma, b  ) they have studied and have a high degree of understanding of the texts and c ) they have attained a level of realisation.  They should really tick all three boxes but some teachers are very academic while others just have the basics in terms of (b) for instance.  What over rides this is a karmic connection which is usually what sparks your interest in the first place.

 

 

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I don't think you can ever really know for sure, but you can tell whether a teaching helps you. 

 

I have been learned that there are three main things:

1. The teaching of the teacher

2. The teaching of the tradition, usually in the form of scriptures and commentators

3. Personal experience

 

These keep each other in check. If the teacher does not align with the tradition or your experience, then you should find another. If your thoughts of accomplishment do not accord with the teacher and the tradition, you're likely delusional. And the scriptures/commentaries are dead letter unless they come to life in the living experience of yourself and the teacher. 

 

I would also add that as a Buddhist, I have been taught generally to look for an increase in compassion over time, and a decrease in suffering. 

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Thank you all for your help!  I'm going to now poke and prod a few of you for more information.  Sorry for the trouble!

 

18 hours ago, Paradoxal said:

In both cases, I find the easiest way to tell if someone has such an attainment is through gut feeling. If they feel genuine, then you must check their claims against reality. If they have truly gained knowledge from some sort of enlightenment, then that knowledge should be true. Crosscheck their claims against other unrelated sources; check into the meat of what they say and do. This includes claims of gods, demons, "unseen" power, etc. It's important to remember that if someone claims that they can do something, you need to see evidence of it before you believe them. Oftentimes, the very act of making such a claim is counterproductive to self-progress (it feeds ego), so most "enlightened" folks end up with the label without ever claiming themselves as such. One of the biggest red flags in a teacher is the teacher themselves claiming enlightenment, as the only reason an enlightened being would do so is to benefit others (which most of the claims made nowadays certainly would not). 

 

This seems reasonable to me.  Was it your experience that these gut feelings always came through clearly?  If so, then I think you had a 'clearer' gut than me!  Many times I thought I was going with my 'gut', but it was just my brain tricking me into believing it again!  After lots of work, I might be able to partially rely on this method :P

 

18 hours ago, Paradoxal said:

I would argue that it is of the utmost importance for each and every one of us to attempt to discern truth from falsehood on our own, without trusting everything another says. Afterall, there are seven billion of us on this planet; how many of us do you think are truly that attained? Odds are, you'll be lucky to come across someone who has that sort of attainment in this lifetime. 

Strongly agree!

 

1 minute ago, Apech said:

Hi @Wilhelm,

 

I practice Tibetan Buddhism.  In this system enlightenment  is defined in a variety of ways - 'seeing things as they really are', 'waking up', 'liberation from suffering' and so on.

 

There are many great Lamas who have achieved realisations - but not a single one which I have encountered or listened to would claim enlightenment.  This is not modesty - true enlightenment = buddhahood is vastly beyond anyone you are going to encounter.  But that doesn't mean there are not great teachers out there.  This can be somewhat confused by the vajrayana principle of regarding your teacher as a buddha (particularly in initiations and empowerments) - its a subtle distinction.

 

To choose a Lama as a teacher you are supposed to go through a 12 years assessment (this is leapfrogged by a lot of stupid westerners) in which you can see if a ) they conduct themselves according to the dharma, b  ) they have studied and have a high degree of understanding of the texts and c ) they have attained a level of realisation.  They should really tick all three boxes but some teachers are very academic while others just have the basics in terms of (b) for instance.  What over rides this is a karmic connection which is usually what sparks your interest in the first place.

Still getting used to the quote system - quoted this out of order.  Thank you very much!  That seems a very well thought out method to stop people from wasting a lifetime!

 

17 hours ago, Nungali said:

 

I am going to classify this 'deluding yourself' as  'spiritual pride'   and the remedy against that is a sense of humour, especially about the self and its sacred cows  and the tradition itself .  The 'deluded by others' remedy is developing a sharp and observant mind, becoming aware of your own propensities  and weaknesses   ( including what areas of 'flattery' you are susceptible to ) and learning about the different types of human psychologies, including your own  and where your strengths and weaknesses lie  ( eg  . via astrology ) 

 

And following and being attentive to its teachings 

Love both of these examples.  

 

17 hours ago, Nungali said:

Pfffft !   It deals with that by having nothing to do with it . It doesnt have 'enlightenment ; in it .  What is it anyway ? Ask the question here and see the variety and type of answers you get .   Regarding whether one is full of it or not, the above techniques help . Also empty claims are not on - each level of achievement  is done by examination and what is produced  requiring physical, intellectual and philosophical achievement  in certain fields .

Very cool.  I'm aware of physical examinations in my tradition (as in your body reflecting quite clearly what you've accomplished), but I'd never heard of intellectual and philosophical tests (other then Koans, I suppose - and all I know about those is that they're called Koans)

 

17 hours ago, Nungali said:

  ... we dont have one .  I suppose the closest thing would be  knowing and understanding your specific purpose for this incarnation and getting on with it .

Really?  Is that by design - so no one will attach false meanings to the attainment (such as calling it an attainment)?

 

17 hours ago, Nungali said:

I could test you . We have 'tests' so we can recognise and identify each other . 

 

3.  Well, yes and no ...... yes to over the forum as its easy to discern who is a flamin' idiot  but to sort out  as in my  2. above , practical demo required .

This is what the fellows whose material I'm studying do as well.

 

11 hours ago, dwai said:

Personally ¬†for me, I see how I feel in someone‚Äôs¬†presence ‚ÄĒ for example, when I‚Äôm with my teacher, I always feel joy, love and total lack of any pretension from him. He is like a child ‚ÄĒ a 70+ year old child. I prefer his company over stern¬†monks with their rules and rituals.¬†

 

...


Some people, when you listen to them speak, speak from the core (true nature) with minimal to no filters of the acquired mind,  as opposed to, most others, speaking from the acquired mind and its ways. Such people, will point you back to your true nature, and you might find yourself falling into deep silence and stillness. 
 

...

 

So in summary, mostly, enlightened people can’t be recognized if they stood in front of us. But also, if we took the time to really listen, true nature can speak to true nature, depending on how thin the obscuration is in the mind of the listener. 

Thank you!  That sounds quite similar to the definition from Swami Sarvapriyananda's video here (which, incidentally, I may have watched based on a reccomendation you gave in another thread).  My question is - how do you differentiate between spiritual attainment and mundane charisma?  I am definitely not at the same place you are in terms of spiritual progression, but I could say I've felt uplifted and 'taken in' by people with a range of motives (even one insurance salesman!), and probably some less-than-savoury cults of personality are able to draw well-meaning people in this way.  Does this method have prerequisites?

5 hours ago, RobB said:

Beng Chuan.

 

ūüėĄ

Could you be more specific?  Urban Dictionary's takes on this word were very funny but possibly not what you were getting at!

5 hours ago, C T said:

Their daily habits, from how they wake up in the morning, to how they prepare for sleep (generally at night, but not necessarily so) are good indicators.

That's very fortunate that you were able to live close enough to your teachers to observe such things!  (Or maybe it came with their teachings - the fellows whose material I study gave me this information as well)

5 hours ago, C T said:

A lot of whats being done for others is done away from the open - and this applies to both right and wrong actions. Good guides get endless requests for prayers from their flock of sangha members, and such are usually performed privately. So unless you get really close enough to observe this very basic ritual (of waking and pre-sleep) don't get too excited over every other (claim). 

I see what you're saying.  Popularity of priestly/monastic skills (i.e. prayers) definitely point to something, but as you're saying not necessarily the 'big thing'.

5 hours ago, Toni said:

scepticism is always important to me.

Me too!  To a certain point, and then it gets in my way :P

2 hours ago, freeform said:

The moment it happened was quite ordinary - we were sitting in a small group and our teacher was talking, as he does - but suddenly without any context, he paused in the middle of a sentence. I hadn't been listening because at the time, inside of me all I could do was struggle with a wave of radiating heat and a kind of strong (very unpleasant) self-consciousness - like everyone just caught me with my pants down.

 

...

 

(I also need to actually answer the question of discernment!!)

Thank you very much!  That was really fun to read.  The first time I asked a question to one of the individuals whose material I'm studying I felt something very similar - as if he'd discerned all my worst qualities from the one single (seemingly innocent) question, and that if I didn't move that very second something horrible was going to happen.  So... I got up and moved :lol: aaaargh.  Next time I'll keep my ass planted, just in case.  It looks like you've got more coming, so I won't add anything else :)

1 hour ago, dmattwads said:

The Buddha said don't take my word for it or somebody else's word for it based on reputation or just faith but listen to their teachings and see if they make sense.

 

It's less about the person and more about what they teach.

I think I see what you're getting at though I imagine you're paraphrasing because what makes sense to a fool (for example, me) might not get them anywhere.

 

 

One theme I saw in a few of the answers seemed to point towards discernment.  In your responses - could you mention whether this is an inherent skill, and if not, how it can be cultivated?

 

Thank you all again!

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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

I did eventually meet someone fully enlightened (and it's way beyond what I'd assumed physically or even conceptually possible) - but that's another story - don't want to bore everyone with a 'wall of text' post.... (and I really need to consider what I can share so openly).

 

 

I¬īm sure there are lots of good reasons to keep your story of meeting a fully enlightened person to yourself.¬† The potential for "boring" us is not one of them.¬† That seems very unlikely.¬†^_^

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