Where have all the Buddhas gone?

Not sure if this topic has already been discussed in some other thread. While reading a Bhante Sujato’s post about the different interpretations that we have today of a number of topics in the EBT (differences that seem to be vexing many of our fellow contemporaries), I was thinking about the fact that there were only about 100 million people living in the world at the time of the Buddha – in India, fewer than that of course. Yet, there was a Buddha who was teaching, and the number of Buddha’s disciples and laypeople who became Arahants - many of which also taught - were, I don’t know, in the thousands? There are now 80 times more people in the world and the population self-identifying as Buddhists is more than 500 million strong. Given those figures, why is it that we don’t have today one or few true Arahants who, like the Buddhas and his disciples, are freely teaching the Dhamma as they know it and clarifying many of the modern questions and dilemmas, for the compassion and benefit of all Dhamma followers? If there are such people, it would make sense to just follow their teachings – since those might be more attuned to our times, and their transmission would be definitely more direct – and not worry about reconciling the different interpretations of the Suttas or any particular tradition, I think? And if there aren’t any such Buddhas today, what does that say about the chances of awakening for the rest of us?

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First, distinguish between arahant and Buddhas. Buddhas are self awakened, in this Buddha era, having learnt the dhamma from the Buddha, those who got enlightened are called arahants, not Buddhas.

Second, monastic rules has that we cannot lie about having attainments if we don’t have it and cannot reveal attainments if we have them to unordained person. The culture is generally passed on so that even amongst monastics it’s not a thing to reveal true attainments to each other. As well as for lay people who are associated with monastics, they generally respect this rule enough to not reveal themselves should they have attainments.

Third, even if some people reveal themselves, like a lot of lay people who self proclaimed enlightenment which are found in many books they had written as well as online forums etc, even then, it’s not clear cut if they overestimated themselves or not. You are likely to be able to find people with different views about Jhāna and the nature of parinibbāna even amongst these people. Therefore in practical terms, they are of not much help. Certainly some people who just got close enough to some of these people might really buy into their wisdom and train with them. If they happen to find a really attained teacher, then good for them, if they happened to follow a teacher with wrong view, therefore wrong liberation, not enlightened, thinking that they are, then too bad, really. It’s very hard to change their minds about it due to devotion to the guru.

Hence the EBT is so stressing on following the guidelines of the sutta, not changing the doctrine to fit in one’s experience or claim.

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In general the attitude…only this is true…in de EBT is seen as a wrong attitude of a teacher, at least form the perspective of Buddha. Because the goal of Dhamma is to guide people to total detachment and the end of suffering. That is the true goal. One who has arrived there is a Dhamma expert, not the one that knows all texts and doctrines and can beat anyone in debates.

It was that attitude –only this is true–that the Kalama’s met. Every teachers again they met claimed it. It is not different today.

It may be troublesome, feverish that there are so many different opinions about true Dhamma, even among those who read and rely on the same texts, this is still where we have to deal with.
In the end, i believe, we do not have to forget the goal of detachment.

Some say we are all Buddhas. Some say we all have Buddha-Nature. But I don’t think there is a rational Buddhist who would tell you that we don’t all have the potential for Enlightenment.

It is good to become an Arhat who is a Buddha. And it is fully possible. Otherwise we wouldn’t have Buddhism. For who started it in this Age?


So feel free to brush the dust from your mind and melt the illusory perception of an iceblock “Self”.

And let go of all of the attachments of Samsara, value Sila and Metta…

…be peaceful, and look for the Enlightening aspect that Gautama has, directly within you, for when accepting the Dhamma, Sangha, and Buddha, in Refuge, they are fully there in what you Love, and in your Love rests the Buddha, in Awakening, the one you should ceaselessly seek. :heart:

Don’t be afraid of becoming the person you want to be the most. Keep seeking, keep knocking, and the door shall be opened for you.

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