MCTB The Sudden Schools of Awakening
There are schools of awakening, particularly some Zen (Chan) traditions from China and Korea, and some interpretations of Hinduism, though this is not a complete list, that say that awakening happens in one big shift and that’s basically it, regardless of exactly how you define “it”. They deny the claims of the progressive schools (Theravada, Tibetans, some other strains of Zen, most schools of Sufism, Khabbala, other Western Traditions, etc.) that there is mappable territory before awakening and that there might be lots to do after stream entry or whatever you want to call it. Possible explanations for these schools include:
- There may be a few rare individuals that somehow manage to go straight to full awakening due to whatever interesting way they are wired or practiced, though I have never met anyone who did this.
- There may be schools founded or influenced by people who got to the first stage of awakening and somehow never realized there could be anything more than that or got trapped in a lie about being fully awakened when they hadn’t yet realized there was more to go and never retracted their initial, erroneous claim.
- There are people who just thought that was the dogma somehow, and stuck with it regardless of any issues of actually having insight.
- Other explanations I haven’t thought of or run across.
Because every single person I have ever known has followed a progressive path, including myself, it is very hard for me to believe the sudden claims except for keeping open the possibility that there may be the exceedingly rare practitioner who occasionally manages to pull this off and thus imagines, based on their limited experience, that this is how it happens in general. In short, if you manage to do this, more power to you, and please let me know. Otherwise, I would bet on the gradual, progressive schools, and if you attain something that you are pretty impressed by, give it time to see how it holds up when the troubles of the world come knocking at your door over the months and years after that shift of perspective.