Have you met any such people? I personally have doubts that I have, even though I have met my share of seemingly peaceful and well-trained monks. Just like the housewife Vedehikā in the you cite, someone who is to all appearances very peaceful and well-composed in a life organized around a predictable way of life and the habits cultivated for living that predictable life might turn out to have a number of lingering attachments and emotional defilements when pushed into unanticipated circumstances.
I have met dozens via the Internet, but alas not amongst Buddhists, unless they are unusually reluctant to admit to their awakening, which upon reading a recent article by Jack Kornfield, I thought might be the case, at least for a small number.
But in general it seems to me these people are to be found among those who are pursuing the nondual path rather than Buddhism. Makes me wonder if Buddhism hasn’t perhaps lost its power to guide others in its particular ways? I sometimes think of it as an ancient galleon, encrusted with centuries’ accumulation of barnacles on its underside, wallowing its way along somewhat directionlessly. I feel a sadness for it, but perhaps its has served its duty honorably for long enough and has to give way to new ways of doing things. But it is a truly grand old dame
I would like to suggest that, unless one is awakened oneself, it is not possible to know who is actually awakened among those who profess to be awakened, or among those who appear to be awakened, or among those who exhibit patterns of speech and behavior that conform to one’s personal model of what it means to be awakened. Simply “taking a good game” about enlightenment on the Internet isn’t compelling evidence.
For that matter, it might not even be possible for those who are awakened to infallibly judge the matter, since being awakened does not entail omniscience or telepathic mind reading powers.
A good short interview article published Friday.
The motives of monks blocking the higher ordination of nuns are questionable. I am encouraged by the work of Sangha who are working to reduce inequality. We will have to agree to disagree and follow our separate ways.
Ocean, my heart is with the nuns, big time, but my head is almost persuaded by Thanissaro’s arguments, so I would like to say what you say to my heart and head but I have to live with both of them, no separate ways here. So, we shall see…
I think it doesn’t matter what Ajhan Thanissaro thinks though I have much respect for the studies he has carried out.
The monk and exellent teacher, like the other Ajahn’s , has to kiss their mothers ass, and I suggest we all do the same.
Mother is boss, period!
Dear Dkervick, It would take a lot of time and effort to unpack what you said. You raised many issues, and I am just going to pick what I feel is perhaps the most pertinent one to respond to, if that’s OK with you. If not, then please feel free to again raise whatever I might not have addressed adequately.
I absolutely understand that my evidence is not compelling to you, and if I interpret “taking a good game” to mean taking a gamble, you are quite correct. I live far from Europe, the USA and Asia, and for various other reasons I can’t travel, so I have not been able to meet with teachers who claim to have awakened personally, but I have interacted with some of them live via the Internet in face-to-face sessions.
I certainly don’t pick them on the basis of their patterns of speech and behavior. Some even irritate me quite a bit, but I prefer to choose them on the basis of two things: firstly, that they claim to be awakened, and secondly, that they offer me guidance which makes sense and which is practical and effective. I have found such skilled guidance in abundance amongst the people I have consulted and I feel I can say that I have progressed more in the last five years of talking to these people than in all the preceding 30 years of Buddhist practice.
There is a freshness of vision and expression among these people that Buddhism, regrettably, seems to have lost. But more importantly, they actually produce results! Or, of course, it may be that they simply attract people who are ready to hear what they have to offer, and so the “results” do not really result from any techniques they might offer, but simply attest to the ripeness of the students.
I don’t take their awakeness for granted at all, and I have questioned them most closely, and without exception I have found them to be my idea of the “real thing”, in other words, people who actually experience the emptiness of being in their daily lives, and whose suffering has definitively ended.
They claim no special psychic powers and most are just ordinary people bringing up children or living in relationships with partners – certainly no monks or nuns!
I hope this answers some of your reservations. Thank you for an interesting and constructive discussion.
I shouldn’t have used that American idiom without explaining it. As I understand it, the saying comes from a sports context. It refers to athletes who are very good at talking about how to play a game well, and what needs to to be done to be successful, but whose actual performance might be lacking.
I think if a person spends a lot of time reading books on spirituality, including Buddhist spirituality, and intellectually masters and internalizes the teachings and training instructions they have read, and has some understanding of what, according to their tradition, the traits of a fully awakened spiritual master are supposed to be, and if they have some gift with language, then they can probably produce writings and talks that seem to most of us ordinary practitioners to exhibit all of the outward appearances of being awakened, or “enlightened”, or having attained nibbana, even if they are far short of the ultimate attainment.
If they are the kind of person who likes the air of authority, and the attention, that comes from having the reputation of being a wise teacher, or if they are in the business of teaching or selling books about spirituality to make a living, then they are going to do everything they can to act as enlightened as possible, and might even represent themselves to others as enlightened.
I would view many of these representations with skepticism.
Is there a pdf online?
AN3.87 mentions 150 rules of which some would presumably be lesser. However, I have not found any formal declaration of exactly which are minor or lesser, except perhaps that we can agree that the ones involving confession are lesser. The ones involving expulsion are clearly major. However the ones involving suspension are open for debate.:
“Mendicants, each fortnight over a hundred and fifty training rules come up for recitation, in which respectable people who love themselves train.
I’m surprised that there are more that 150. Were more rules added between AN3.87 and the Buddha’s death?
Is there a pdf online?
I meant the translation in to Sinhala.
Hi DKervick, I’m as skeptical as you are, which is why I have had to interview and research these folk rigorously for myself, so if they interest you at all that’s about the only option I can see. If you need any names, let me know. If not, I wish you well on you path. Blessings and bows.
@Mat, different versions (last one is latest)