What is enlightenment, and why bother?

What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/25/23 10:57 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Dream Walker 4/25/23 12:53 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/27/23 7:39 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Robert L. 4/27/23 3:10 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/29/23 3:12 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 4/28/23 11:46 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/28/23 10:01 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 4/28/23 11:47 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/29/23 2:38 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 4/29/23 4:35 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Robert L. 4/28/23 5:32 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 4/29/23 3:26 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Robert L. 4/29/23 5:59 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Robert L. 4/29/23 6:08 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/3/23 2:54 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 5/4/23 8:43 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? shargrol 5/3/23 7:47 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/4/23 12:02 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? shargrol 5/4/23 6:45 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? supermonkey :) 5/5/23 8:31 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/4/23 10:27 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/4/23 11:46 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/4/23 12:26 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/4/23 1:17 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/5/23 2:50 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Martin 5/5/23 4:05 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 5/6/23 9:09 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? shargrol 5/6/23 12:31 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/6/23 2:44 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/6/23 3:27 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Shivadasa Om 5/6/23 4:33 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/6/23 11:59 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Adi Vader 5/7/23 4:30 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Stirling Campbell 5/7/23 12:15 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Chris M 5/6/23 6:37 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Aeon . 5/6/23 8:55 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Stirling Campbell 5/7/23 12:15 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/8/23 11:01 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Stirling Campbell 5/8/23 7:55 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/9/23 9:50 AM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Jim Smith 5/8/23 9:53 PM
RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother? Ni Nurta 5/8/23 11:10 AM
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/25/23 10:57 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/25/23 10:57 AM

What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Working definition of enlightenment: A radical shift in how one processes input from 5 senses + mind.
Elucidation of the definition:
   -Before enlightenment, input from five senses + mind interpreted as existence of an "I" separate and apart from the rest of what is perceived as a material universe with its diverse contents. (Note: This view has been or is in the process of being disproven by science.)
    -After enlightenment, input from five senses perceived without conceptual elaboration. Input from mind sense available upon request only.

So it's really just a shift in how information is processed. It can be realized intellectually, and a lot of people have. But extremely few have also realized it as their day-to-day experience. I believe that it must be realized intellectually first, then the intellectual realization fused in samadhi. This is the initial awakening. Some Buddhist say crossing the A&P.

Realized as one's day-to-day experience, enlightenment is a form of insanity. 

Whenever my own consciousness expands into this awareness, the feeling from a sensory perspective is sort of like I remember when I, as a young lieutenant with about 200 hours in the F-16, would be flying that jet 600 miles an hour, 100 feet off the ground in some canyon in Turkey, trying to keep formation with my lead: as exhilirated as I had ever been in my life, and at the same time terrified. That's what "Ananda" (the so-called bliss of awakening) feels like to me, when it comes.

It comes and it goes. The body mind complex remains subject to the arising and passing away of all phenomena. Plus, who would really want to exist like that all the time? All is impermanence, including ananda.

So, there is this immense felt sense of complete freedom. Imagine what that kind of freedom might lead to in a being who has not done substantial work in sila, metta, etc.? Karma acts as an impediment to enlightenment for those who remain slaves to lust, greed, power, etc.

But since there is a strong possibility of ego hijacking the desire for liberation and making it just another ambition, a slight reframe of the reason to practice helped me. I started to motivate myself to practice by simply realizing that there was a vast, unexplored territory that these spiritual practices--meditation, contemplation, some Bhakti for me (not required and not for everyone), really studying and contemplating and analyzing scriptural writings. All are the Hubble and Webb telescopes of mind. 

Reminds me of a Jesus quote from the book of Thomas: whatever is inside you that you discover will set you free; whatever is inside you that you don't discover will destroy you." Or something like that. It's true.

If I had been seriously doing some practice for a few years and still not at least intellectually enlightened (had the intellectual paradigm shift), I might try other things. But I would never stop doing anapanasati, every day, for a minimum of 10 minutes up to an hour or so. 

I say you cannot meditate your way to enlightenment. But the vast majority of beings will need to meditate in order to become enlightened.

Peace
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Dream Walker, modified 4 Months ago at 4/25/23 12:53 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/25/23 12:53 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1590 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Shivadasa Om
hey, sup?
Working definition of enlightenment: A radical shift in how one processes input from 5 senses + mind.
Your working definition? Are you claiming to know all the levels of awakening or what? 
Elucidation of the definition:
   
-Before enlightenment, input from five senses + mind interpreted as existence of an "I" separate and apart from the rest of what is perceived as a material universe with its diverse contents. (Note: This view has been or is in the process of being disproven by science.)
Thats crap....seperate and apart how? So you postulate what? My science disproves your science....since yours is not linked to anything mine shall not either.
   
-After enlightenment, input from five senses perceived without conceptual elaboration. Input from mind sense available upon request only.
Conceptual elaboration? What do you mean by that? How does one request only?
So it's really just a shift in how information is processed.
Just what?
It can be realized intellectually, and a lot of people have.
It can? What can? How might one do that in your experience? OHHHHhhh, a LOT of people have?
But extremely few have also realized it as their day-to-day experience.
But only extremely few? Hows that?
I believe that it must be realized intellectually first, then the intellectual realization fused in samadhi.
Great to believe something.

This is the initial awakening.
Oh, great. initial? so you got that?

Some Buddhist say crossing the A&P. Realized as one's day-to-day experience, enlightenment is a form of insanity.
Some people say a lot of stuff..

Whenever my own consciousness expands into this awareness,
It does? cool. What do you mean by "this awareness"

the feeling from a sensory perspective is sort of like I remember when I, as a young lieutenant with about 200 hours in the F-16, would be flying that jet 600 miles an hour, 100 feet off the ground in some canyon in Turkey, trying to keep formation with my lead: as exhilirated as I had ever been in my life, and at the same time terrified. That's what "Ananda" (the so-called bliss of awakening) feels like to me, when it comes. It comes and it goes. The body mind complex remains subject to the arising and passing away of all phenomena. Plus, who would really want to exist like that all the time? All is impermanence, including ananda. So, there is this immense felt sense of complete freedom.
Actual experience finally, good on you.

Imagine what that kind of freedom might lead to in a being who has not done substantial work in sila, metta, etc.? Karma acts as an impediment to enlightenment for those who remain slaves to lust, greed, power, etc. But since there is a strong possibility of ego hijacking the desire for liberation and making it just another ambition,
I imagine that you might talk from experience, maybe fear projection too.

a slight reframe of the reason to practice helped me. I started to motivate myself to practice by simply realizing that there was a vast, unexplored territory that these spiritual practices--meditation, contemplation, some Bhakti for me (not required and not for everyone), really studying and contemplating and analyzing scriptural writings.
I think that whatever reason to practice that helps you is truely is the most honest message you have said.
All are the Hubble and Webb telescopes of mind. 
All are what?
Reminds me of a Jesus quote from the book of Thomas: whatever is inside you that you discover will set you free; whatever is inside you that you don't discover will destroy you." Or something like that. It's true.
Something like anything is true. How true that is.
If I had been seriously doing some practice for a few years and still not at least intellectually enlightened (had the intellectual paradigm shift), I might try other things.
Try getting actual awakenings first, then try to intellectualize it a bit.

But I would never stop doing anapanasati, every day, for a minimum of 10 minutes up to an hour or so.  I say you cannot meditate your way to enlightenment. But the vast majority of beings will need to meditate in order to become enlightened. Peace
Wow, I won't even try to unpack that
Thanks for posting,
So fun responding,
​​​​​​​~D
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/27/23 7:39 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/27/23 7:39 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Yes I speak from experience. You are correct about that. 
Robert L, modified 4 Months ago at 4/27/23 3:10 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/27/23 3:10 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 2/10/19 Recent Posts
Shivadasa. Before you wrote this post, you wrote in response to another post, "All you Hinayanists with your incorrect views have no chance of liberation." Why? 
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 3:12 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 9:11 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Hi Robert. 

I meant to say they have no chance in this lifetime. They are on a slow boat to China. Hinayanists do not even believe that attainment of Nirvana is possible in a single lifetime.

My experience: I have had three what I refer to as Hinayana teachers tell me that it takes many lifetimes of purification of the klesas before a being can attain enlightenment. One person who told me this was a Thai Forest monk in a monastery in Amsterdam. Another was an AT at a Goenka retreat. Another is a fairly well-known jhana teacher in the US. Seems they meditate for a good rebirth, not knowing that enlightenment is available in this lifetime.

I'm thankful that I took the chance and went to Nepal to learn Buddhism, where they told us right off the bat that, "Enlightenment is available for you, in this lifetime, if you will commit to the path." Back then I didn't understand there are so many different versions of Buddhist teachings. So I was immersed and initiated into a Madhyamaka system, with heavy emphasis on the emptiness of all dharmas and views. I became enlightened by "realizing emptiness" as they say in the Mahayana. That is the paradigm shift I was talking about in the post above. 

Hinayana conceives the evanescent momentary things appearing as the coming into being and disappearing of the various elements (dharmas). This is a misinterpretation of pratityasamutpada, which really means (according to Candrakirti) the manifestation of entities as relative to causes and conditions. This contradicts the Hinayanist view of a temporal sequence of the arising and passing away of real entities between which there is a causal relation. The Hinayanist thinks that Nirvana is the opposite of samsara. I say from experience and studying and understanding what Nagarjuna was getting at that there is really no difference between the two.

Hinayanists consider certain defiled and conditioned dharmas to be ultimately real, and also certain undefiled and unconditioned dharmas to be ultimately real. According to the Hinayanist, Nirvana means a change of the discrete, conditioned existences and defilements into unconditioned and undefiled dharmas. That's probably why they just automatically concede that getting this done in a single lifetime is impossible. And it's also why many of them engage in one-upping each other by disclosing how many hours a day they sit in meditation. That's what the Goenka AT told me, to which I responded, "Brother don't you know that we've all been doing this for quite a long time--"since beginningless time" I believe is the catch phrase.

Madhyamika says, in contrast, that it is only ourselves we need to change because if klesas and samskrta dharmas (conditioned existences) were ultimately real, no power on heaven or earth could eliminate them.

Furthermore, the Absolute and the Emperical, the Noumena and the Phenomena, Nirvana and Samsara are not two sets of separate realities set against and opposed to each other, with one to be attained and the other to be abandoned. The more correct view is that Nirvana viewed through thought construction is samsara; and samsara viewed sub specie aeternitatis is the Absolute or Nirvana.

These higher level esoteric Buddhist teachings are very much consonant with the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. Now maybe one begins to see how it is possible to have what I called an "intellectual awakening" on these paths--where the truth of how things work is realized intellectually, but has not been incorporated as one's day-to-day subjective experience. 

Not everyone has the intellectual capability to tread the more esoteric path, which seems to be the case with whoever it was responded first to my post. Their teacups are already overflowing. They already "know" too much about everything. In this case I remain silent. 

I was hoping to find a discussion of the Dharma here, so I am thankful that you asked this question.

Peace
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 11:46 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 9:31 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I meant to say they have no chance in this lifetime. They are on a slow boat to China. Hinayanists do not even believe that attainment of Nirvana is possible in a single lifetime.

Is this comment of yours, Shivadaas, based on your personal experience with vipassana-style practices, or is it an opinion? You say you want dialog, a real conversation, right? So maybe you could ask some questions. You should consider listening to some of the experienced vipassana practitioners here on DhO before you declare they have wasted their time. I think you might then be better educated and less opinionated.

BTW - this site (DhO) is dedicated to the notion that anyone can attain awakening in this lifetime. No waiting, no rebirth required. Just practice, insight, and wisdom.


​​​​​​​
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 10:01 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 10:01 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Sir, I am merely a purveyor of eyeglass lenses. I don't force anyone to buy, or even to try them on.<br /><br />Peace
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 11:47 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 11:47 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
If you decide to converse, I'll be here, waiting.
Robert L, modified 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 5:32 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/28/23 5:32 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 2/10/19 Recent Posts
Shivadasa, I apologize. What I meant to ask was, why were you compelled to write what you wrote? Do you crave attention? Would it upset you if I told you intellectual understanding of the dharma is just intellectual understanding of the dharma? If these questions create aversion, you should stop writing. If they don't, fantastic!
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 2:38 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 2:38 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

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Chris M
If you decide to converse, I'll be here, waiting.
You could start out by sharing your thoughts and ideas about the two questions I've already asked. 
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 3:26 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 2:49 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Robert L.
Shivadasa, I apologize. What I meant to ask was, why were you compelled to write what you wrote? Do you crave attention? Would it upset you if I told you intellectual understanding of the dharma is just intellectual understanding of the dharma? If these questions create aversion, you should stop writing. If they don't, fantastic!

Why was I compelled to write what I wrote, you ask.

Firstly, there is no "why." Things just seem to be happening. I am only able to guess why "I" did something in retrospect, and my analysis is in the nature of "Why did the system do that," as opposed to, "Why did I do that?" If that makes any sense. 

Secondly, maybe I wanted to see who would be willing to "come out" as a Hinayanist and take offense at what was written.

If I walk into a Baptist church and announce, "All you Methodists are going to hell," why should anyone pay any attention to it?

If any aversion arose as a result of the statement, those in whom the aversion arose should ask themselves why.

As far as aversion in me--I take a perverse pleasure in being excoriated.

With regard to "intellectual understanding of the dharma," I am talking about more than just mere understanding. I am talking about a kind of deep, penetrating understanding, occasioned by serious study, reflection, and meditation, that leads to what I call a paradigm shift. Paradigm shift is not full awakening. It may take years or even lifetimes of further practice to ripen the paradigm shift into full awakening.

​​​​​​​Peace
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 4:35 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 4:35 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Based on your original post and recent replies I suspect you came here to troll the local folks. I need some sign from you that you really want dialog, not argument or negative attention.
Robert L, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 5:59 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 5:59 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 2/10/19 Recent Posts
"It may take years or even lifetimes of further practice to ripen the paradigm shift into full awakening". -Shivadasa
So are you a Hinayanist? 
"My experience: I have had three what I refer to as Hinayana teachers tell me that it takes many lifetimes of purification of the klesas before a being can attain enlightenment. One person who told me this was a Thai Forest monk in a monastery in Amsterdam. Another was an AT at a Goenka retreat. Another is a fairly well-known jhana teacher in the US. Seems they meditate for a good rebirth, not knowing that enlightenment is available in this lifetime."  -Shivadasa
I'm beginning to wonder why the nun fired you from your dishwashing job! emoticon
I think that certain teachers may say that it takes thousands of lifetimes because it eliminates grasping for the attainment of enlightenment. Maybe the Hinayanists have a reason for teaching the way they do. I didn't even know what the term meant until I googled it! emoticon
Robert L, modified 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 6:08 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/29/23 6:08 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 2/10/19 Recent Posts
And during my googling, I found out that many consider Hinayanist a deragatory term. I meant no offense. I'm not trying to troll you. I thought that's what you were doing. 
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/3/23 2:54 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/3/23 2:54 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
I think I must be here to dialogue, but in the nature of a dialect. 

That nun fired me because they had a rhythm going with their two-bowled wash sink and the three-bowled rinse sink which required me to dunk the dishes into the first-second-third bowls and stay in cadence with the 2nd washer. After my third failed attempt, the nun handed me a towel and with a gentle twinkle in her eye she motioned me over to the drying table, where the dishes pile up and no particular dexterity is required. And we all kept on chuckling off and on about it until we finished. That was at Kopan.

I asked two important questions, and then I tried to convey my ideas, thoughts, experiences to get pointed in the direction of an answer. I was labeled immediately as a fool, which I knew I would be. But since none of this matters and this is all a dream world anyway I figured what the heck.

What is enlightenment?
And why bother?

​​​​​​​Peace
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 5/3/23 7:47 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/3/23 7:46 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 2123 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
1. Enlightenment is basically the development of adult maturity, through greater ability to objectify and transcend the simplistic psychological defense mechanisms and the petty narcissitic feeding of their self/identity. Each tradition is going to have it's own terminology, methods, frameworks, etc., but the end result is a a very resilent maturity in the face of the grittiness of life. Complex topic, but this is a good and concise (considering the vastness of the topic)  overview: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356357233_Ego_Development_A_Full-Spectrum_Theory_Of_Vertical_Growth_And_Meaning_Making

2. While having "no problems in life" is impossible, having better problems is definitely a possiblility. People who stagnate and settle for the suffering of mediocre problems tend to be unhappy people, but ultimately each person gets to decide for themselves why and how much to bother.
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 8:43 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 8:18 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I asked two important questions, and then I tried to convey my ideas, thoughts, experiences to get pointed in the direction of an answer. I was labeled immediately as a fool, which I knew I would be. But since none of this matters and this is all a dream world anyway I figured what the heck.

Well, that's part of the story. The part you missed is that you thought it a good idea to insult practitioners in the Hinayana tradition with an uninformed opinion. A great way to get off on the right foot here in Hinayana land.

Where's that part up-thread where someone labeled you a fool?

emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 10:27 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 10:27 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
 And here I was under impression DhO community is majority "pragmatic dharma" and not Hinayana...
I see big changes when I was not looking!

Madhyamika says, in contrast, that it is only ourselves we need to change because if klesas and samskrta dharmas (conditioned existences) were ultimately real, no power on heaven or earth could eliminate them.

For one Nibbana is beyond heaven let alone Earth
Besides ellimination of something which is there in something which has real existence doesn't mean the real existence has to be elliminated.
If we wanted to elliminate hunger from human experience we could for example elliminate all humans, solid method which would resolve issue with hunger once and for all. It makes logical sense but other than few psychopaths and rogue AI which will likely one day kill all humans no one thinks like that.

Did you consider option that it is just you who misunderstood teachings?
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 12:02 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 11:43 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
shargrol
1. Enlightenment is basically the development of adult maturity, through greater ability to objectify and transcend the simplistic psychological defense mechanisms and the petty narcissitic feeding of their self/identity. Each tradition is going to have it's own terminology, methods, frameworks, etc., but the end result is a a very resilent maturity in the face of the grittiness of life. Complex topic, but this is a good and concise (considering the vastness of the topic)  overview: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356357233_Ego_Development_A_Full-Spectrum_Theory_Of_Vertical_Growth_And_Meaning_Making
Breaking this down we have an assertion that enlightenment is the development of something ("adult maturity"). So enlightenment for you is fundamentally a process? Who (or what) is it that needs to develop something?

I don't know how to replay so that what I write is outside the quoted text box. 
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 11:46 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 11:46 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
I join the psychopaths and rogue AI who understand that the only way to eliminate human hunger is to eliminate humans. 

Or teach humans to stop identifying as such.

​​​​​​​Peace
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 12:26 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 12:26 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
I will put this out there and maybe some of you can "enlighten me" as to what you make of it.

Three different men in three completely separate contexts have informed me that "full enlightenment is the end of all suffering." Arahant-level enligthment is what we were talking about (in the Mahayana the Arahant is an inferior level of enligtenment by the way). But since everyone practicing Buddhism in the USA is shooting for Arahant-level enligtenment, let's assume that is the same as "full enligtenment." 

So full enligtenment = zero suffering. According to the Goenka AT just before he and I mutually agreed that I should probably go; according to a well-known Buddhist teacher who participates in this forum; and according to one other practicing Buddhist who claims to have attained stream entry as you say.

​​​​​​​This false teaching is hindering a lot of people from realizing the goal, IMO.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 1:17 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 1:15 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Zero suffering is a pipe dream eastern traditions like to capitalize on. Kinda like these e-mails from prince from Nigeria needing some money to make it possible to cash out millions of dollars he will gladly give you for your trouble. It is easy to say these things and/or to not be liable for spouting nonsense lead people to believe in it and keep them there perpetually.

Pragmatic dharma is (at least I hope) too pragmatic to fall for such stupid goals.
There are types of suffering caused by specific related to these types of suffering causes - if you eliminate those causes through meditation and/or other practices and not experience these specific types of dukkha then cool, good for you.

Unfortunately pragmatic as pragmatic dharma taken a lot of confusing terminology and ideas from Theravada and Dharma including ideas of enlightenment, paths etc. None of these things is helpful in any way other than being a kind of an advertisement. People are more likely embark on grand adventure to become better than everyone else they know by becoming enlightened than to merely fix some issues they themselves have - which when stated like that only makes it bluntly obvious that other people might as well have no such issues and its person who has them so fixing things doesn't make them better than other people. Therefore stupid terminology and ideas are strong in pragmatic dharma still.

That said I believe in enlightenment. Just do not think many people are ready for it. My view is therefore aligned with Theravada. You can create bigger institutions and groups around meditation for people to help each-other and work toward betterment of their lives and even toward enlightenment but to say everyone can get enlightened is ludicrous and ridiculous. It is also in the long term harmful.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 6:45 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/4/23 6:36 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 2123 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Shivadasa Om Breaking this down we have an assertion that enlightenment is the development of something ("adult maturity"). So enlightenment for you is fundamentally a process? 

Yes, of course it's developmental and a process. Lots of meditation, contemplation, and realizing all the reactive patterns and blindspots we have. Maybe some therapy too, who knows?

I mean, you could just wait around and see if it happens without developing anything or doing any processes if you want... but that rarely works.

​​​​​​​
Who (or what) is it that needs to develop something?

​​​​​​​You, of course.

​​​​​​​Unless you think someone else should, in which case the answer is: Them, of course.
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 8:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 6:54 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 113 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
1. Enlightenment is basically the development of adult maturity, through greater ability to objectify and transcend the simplistic psychological defense mechanisms and the petty narcissitic feeding of their self/identity. Each tradition is going to have it's own terminology, methods, frameworks, etc., but the end result is a a very resilent maturity in the face of the grittiness of life. Complex topic, but this is a good and concise (considering the vastness of the topic)  overview: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356357233_Ego_Development_A_Full-Spectrum_Theory_Of_Vertical_Growth_And_Meaning_Making

I have two leading questions:

1. To which extent does ego development necessitate, evoke or is even equivalent to some sort of spiritual development, may it be with or without a dedicated practice?

2. What is the actual connection between spiritual development and ego development?

I eventually started reading this paper and it strikes me how accurate it is.
One thing I really like is the ability to take perspective as a criterion for higher ego development.
While reading, I can recognize many people I know. What I find interesting is that we tend to be at different stages in different areas of our life. It's almost fractal in nature. Even when acting with different people we tend to be in different stages during those interactions. In particular, (some) people at higher stages seem to be able to evoke that stage of development in us when interacting with them. It reminds me of "you are already enlightened", because how else could such a glimpse happen? It's like having a glimpse into our potential. What we need to do for higher development is to work that innate potential out, basically by recognizing it often enough and so building up a sort of "pressure momentum"(?). And that could be a hint towards the connection between developing higher awareness (spirituality) and ego development. On the other hand, the interest in spirituality could also be a mere side-effect of moving into higher stages of ego development.

As you stated it, enlightenment is basically moving along these stages. The paper has a pretty clear cut distinction between conventional and post-convential stages/world-views, and it seems to me that moving along the conventional stages is possible without any spirituality/enlightenment. It looks like being spiritual in some way is key to unlock those higher, post-conventional stages, though.

Edit: maybe I should add the other obvious leading question: can you be enlightened without any obvious ego development? Probably depends a lot on one's cultural background. But I somehow feel like developing an interest in spirituality is pretty much a sign of emerging ego development.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 2:50 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 2:50 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Ego development rules are identical to rules of evolution.
In other words no rules. Evolution doesn't have any specific goal or destination.

Enlightenment is merely such ego development which its owner is really satisfied with.
No specific shape or form enlightenment has to be imho.

One could say in if we talk Dharma then Enlightenment should be precisely defined by Buddha's teachings and this is actually what I think what definition of Enlightenment is within context of Dharma.

Imho one can go directly with Buddha's "enlightenment" and see if its it or if that is too easy to get then do something else. It doesn't have to be anything anyone says it has to be or do anything specific. If owner is happy with it then that's all that imho matters.
Martin, modified 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 4:05 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/5/23 4:05 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 616 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
What is enlightenment:

Any one (selected by the person using the term) of various possible sets of mostly mental skills and adaptations involving ways of experiencing the world. 

I think your definition is a good one. I have heard some others that sound good to me too. 

and why bother?

Often, people bother because the chosen set of skills and adaptations solves a problem the person is experiencing or expects to experience. That makes sense to me. In my case, however, the end-point (full enlightenment) is not super interesting compared with the experience of advancing toward the goal. That experience, of learning how the mind works, and seeing an increasingly broad spectrum of pleasant, interesting, and helpful operating modes for the mind is sufficient reward for the bother involved.
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 9:09 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 9:07 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Some of us built a short list of the characteristics of awakened minds about a decade ago:

- the ability to see experience as it is created in real-time: to experience and know deeply (grok) the steps within dependent origination
- having pierced ignorance in this way, seeing experience as a totally level playing field, nothing is sacred, no better or worse, no hierarchy
- seeing, grokking, that the self is a complex, ever-changing chimera built by the mind
- seeing that all objects and experiences are built by the mind
- the ability thereby to see one's own bullshit as it occurs - leading to shargrol's version of awakening that is common decency/simple mental health

YMMV, but I believe this is a good start to a comprehensive list. Also, the method used to find these deep realizations is not important or material.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 12:31 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 12:31 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 2123 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
agree
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 2:44 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 2:11 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
Enlightenment is the complete cessation of all materiality and all mentality. - Mahasi Sayadow's Manual of Insight

Assuming the truth of this statement and proceeding logically:

Materiality is the material universe; mentality is that which experiences the material universe.

Let's define "that which experiences the material universe" as "Consciousness" so we don't have to keep on typing so many words.

The material universe and Consciousness arise together, dependently configured: they exist conditioned each on the other but not having caused or been caused by the other.

The complete cessation of all materiality is the complete cessation of the material universe, which conditions and is conditioned by the complete cessation of Consciousness.

There are infinitely many perspectives from which Consciousness may experience the material universe. One way is through experience as a human being. Another way is through experience as a cat. There are other realms (heaven and hell etc.) besides Earth for Consciousness to choose from (or be condemned to), once it is freed from (or becomes further entrapped by) the miserable tyranny of the human form.

Nibbana is the complete cessation of all of this--the complete cessation of materiality on one side of a coin and complete cessation of Consciousness on the other.

Why do it? Because it's pretty awesome. But if a lot of people became truly enlightened, the universe would shut down, IMO. But we just got done deciding that's Nibbana. 

QED.

Peace
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 3:27 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 3:27 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Enlightenment is the complete cessation of all materiality and all mentality. - Mahasi Sayadow's Manual of Insight

Goal of quotes like this is to sound cool, deeply spiritual and enlightened.
Otherwise they are completely empty.

Perhaps the only meaning of them is that the mind which is not sure of its own conclusions will try to figure out some other hidden meanings and with this prevent itself from experiencing these words as they are.

And what these words are supposed to be?
Sound cool, deeply spiritual and super duper enlightened. That's all.

Assuming the truth of this statement and proceeding logically:

Like I said...
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Shivadasa Om, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 4:33 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 4:33 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 9/19/22 Recent Posts
You are incorrect. I have experienced the literal truth of these words. But if you're willing to accuse Sayadaw of being a liar, then I will go ahead and concede that I am both a liar and a charlatan.

I am at a far higher level of enlightenment than anyone posting on this website. I am here trying to help beings, because I spoke the Bodhisattva vow back at Kopan, and in spite of diligent and almost continuous prayers to allow that to be rescinded, I am apparently being held to it.

That being said, there is no "I" doing anything here. More like a channeling. By the way, it is a shame that all mysticism had to be wrung out of this so-called modern Buddhism. The Buddhism which was preserved untouched by time for so many centuries in Tibet is analogous to the more esoteric teachings of Jesus, which lay literally buried for a few centuries in a time capsule called Nag Hammadi. 

I keep on praying to Shiva and to Jesus, saying, "They are all so stupid and so bent on clinging to their egoistic, dick-measuring tendencies. They do not have ears to hear what you're trying to convey through me."

Yet they persist. Especially Shiva.

With that, I will bid you all adieu. I am tired of talking and no one is listening anyway. 
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 6:37 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 6:34 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 4808 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
As usual, when confronted with the forthright expressions of personal experience by the members of DhO, the poseur troll retreats to seek a more compliant audience on which to impose his ego.

 When shit gets real it's time to run away.

emoticon
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Aeon , modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 8:55 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 8:55 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 213 Join Date: 1/31/23 Recent Posts
@shivadasa I was listening, but never thought you were actually trying to teach us anything.
The impression I got was that you were trying to argue or start a debate, simply for the sake of enjoying it.
Which isn't wrong or bad, plenty of people in here will engage in a rhetoric MMA fight if you offer one.

On the other hand, if you genuinely wish to teach people, in the sense of sharing learnings you value, this might be more effective:
Are you familiar with the socratic method?
Have you ever noticed how stating information tends to trigger peoples egos?
When a question is posed, do you see how it shifts attention to think through information rather than contest perspectives?

One might wonder, how do you know your enlightenment is superior to that of the people here?
Is it even possible to measure enlightenment accurately in other people?
If it was, would it not be a very large task to measure a few thousand members before your post?
Even if you did, is there a more compassionate and skillful way to offer your teachings?

Best wishes Shivadasa.
May you be rescinded of anything you wish to,
May you know why the ancient hermetics and zenmasters only taught through questions and practices,
May you know true peace, and be free of suffering
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 11:59 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/6/23 11:59 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Sayadaw a liar?
Isn't it obvious all his words sound cool and enlightened?
They are like crimson red wine on canvas of otherwise bland reality. They give hope to countless of beings, hope that less is in fact more.
Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 4:30 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 4:30 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 238 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Chill dude.

Share your knowledge with politeness and sufficient detail.

Dont give grief to others, dont take shit from no one.

Speak from direct experience, and details of techniques used to gain direct experience.

Set aside this yana and that yana, these scrolls and that canon. Such things are completely useless. Unless they are used intelligently as a device to gain .... direct experience.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 12:15 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 11:51 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 611 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
This is from a posting here a long time ago about 4th path completion by Daniel:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.
Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

​​​​​​​I used this statement many times to check the depth of my insight, and agree with everything in it, though I think I would add more.

Why bother? What do these points imply about being? How would it be if they were reality for "you" now?
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Stirling Campbell, modified 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 12:15 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/7/23 12:14 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 611 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Shivadasa Om
I am at a far higher level of enlightenment than anyone posting on this website. I am here trying to help beings, because I spoke the Bodhisattva vow back at Kopan, and in spite of diligent and almost continuous prayers to allow that to be rescinded, I am apparently being held to it.

​​​​​​​Who is holding you to your vow? Who is it you think that is enlightened? These are delusions. Examining this statement carefully would be a way to deepen whatever insight you have. 

A boddhisattva doesn't just tell everyone what they need to do or how things are, they are present with the suffering from ignorance in the world. When your understanding is correct, helping others isn't a chore it is a DRIVE. It brings JOY, not frustration, and creates KINDNESS, not haughty indignation or illusory superiority. The frustration you are feeling (and creating) belongs to a "self", caused by "you" (like all karma) which you are seemingly still generating.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 11:01 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 11:01 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
This is from a posting here a long time ago about 4th path completion by Daniel:
(...)
​​​​​​​I used this statement many times to check the depth of my insight, and agree with everything in it, though I think I would add more.

To me these points look like description of beliefs and description of specific stabilized mind state around these beliefs. Not really something to check depth of own insight because nothing here is about insight and all about beliefs and mind state.

Also I do not believe dukkha has much to do with perspective of a doer. It is as much possible to have experience of agency that lacks dukkha and have book experience of agencyless with dukkha. There are specific mechanisms in place which are responsible for these things and neither these mechanisms themselves nor solutions mind come up to workaround them are as visible as more in your face experiences like if there is agency or not.

People start practice with their brain washing, having "facts" about bad self and good no-self burned in their brains and so if they then end getting their enlightenment with experience agencylessness in forefront of it then this should be no surprise. Change agenda and conclusions would be completely opposite - even if underlying solutions (what actually makes their mind states tick) would be the same.

What seems to make Daniel's mind tick, the quality which causes him to experience 'doneness' has absolutely nothing to do with agency. It also has nothing to do with being done on path of insight. He confuses experience of mind concluding processing being done with his whole insight path. This I presume is because he never put enough effort in to actual insight and like many others equated insight with experiences and has no idea* how this experience works.

Having experience and having insight about this experience are two different things.
Then again looking at practices like mechanically 'noticing sensations' or mechanically noticing imaginary qualities (without seeming to realize this is more practice of visualization than noticing anything that isn't there - as Daniel himself said: perceived qualities of sensations are always the same as sensations themselves, something like that - which BTW is an actual insight) in sensations you would expect insight would not come from these and rather mechanical changes. Then to mitigate issue of not having much that pass as insight calling experiences as insight and using them to validate beliefs might be a solution but not one which has anything to do with insight. Too bad its default solution almost all people use thus there is large audience of people who will keep themselves in ignorance.

Hopefully this rant is exactly what you expected someone to provide in response to your post ;)

*) Do not remember single instance of even small inkling of understanding. Then again I also do not remember him ever describing experience in question taken to its natural conclusion making everything crystalize and so it seems he never really realized it fully to begin with. Same would be true for other wanna-be-arhats who even have said experience (from what I saw they are using these qualities differently but at least have them to some degree separated from otherwise mass which normally feels like sense of self or no-self). Most people who claim 4th path do not even go to that far - and because they are already 4th path and do not practice they won't ever go there XD

ps. One small issue: it should not be possible to know what someone experience not being there in their heads... Let's say enlightened people upon realizing non-duality can. There, fixed! =)

ps2. I am being harsh toward Daniel in this post. Do not take it this way. I am being harsh toward pretty much all people who think they are enlightened. Everywhere you look its the same BS. It seems reservations are only at beginning before people put enough effort in to practices - after which they become mindless zombies not wanting to even face possibility that their practice might still be useful for them but not because what other person said is as 'ultimate' as they claimed to be. Then when they get anything remotely resembling what teacher said they are even more like mindless zombies and take value of idea of 'attainment' over truth and stop any activity which might prove all this wrong. Where is self-reflections and self-criticisim I ask... where is the self-pride?
Probably in the same place as enlightenment, abandoned and forgotten...
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 11:10 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 11:10 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Shivadasa Om
I am at a far higher level of enlightenment than anyone posting on this website.
If you are as enlightened as you claim you should realize your efforts are futile.

That said I have no idea what you are trying to communicate.
Some typical BS about sense of self being root of all evil coupled with descriptions suggesting some pleasant experiences and then posts suggesting being exposed to the worst parts of Mahayana - their silly war with other Buddhist traditions. And really it seems like the only thing you have to say about both Mahayana and Hinayana along with some 'proofs' for Hinayana being the bad tradition in form of quotes which you do not seem to understand.

To be honest you do not seem as enlightened as you claim to be.
Trying to have open mind here but I just do not see it...
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Stirling Campbell, modified 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 7:55 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 7:53 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 611 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
To me these points look like description of beliefs and description of specific stabilized mind state around these beliefs. Not really something to check depth of own insight because nothing here is about insight and all about beliefs and mind state.
It's a conceptual statement, not the territory. To ME it is about the depth of non-dual insight, and just how far that can go. My experience is that it goes FURTHER than Daniel's statement, but that the territory gets increasingly difficult to qualify. 

​​​​​​​Also I do not believe dukkha has much to do with perspective of a doer. It is as much possible to have experience of agency that lacks dukkha and have book experience of agencyless with dukkha. There are specific mechanisms in place which are responsible for these things and neither these mechanisms themselves nor solutions mind come up to workaround them are as visible as more in your face experiences like if there is agency or not.
"Agency" is simply one aspect of a much more complex set qualities one could attempt to define. The idea that there are mechanisms behind these things is a delusion, IMHO. 

People start practice with their brain washing, having "facts" about bad self and good no-self burned in their brains and so if they then end getting their enlightenment with experience agencylessness in forefront of it then this should be no surprise. Change agenda and conclusions would be completely opposite - even if underlying solutions (what actually makes their mind states tick) would be the same.
That hasn't been my experience. Honestly, I'd be surprised if it was anyones. Non-dual insight would have to be a complete surprise to almost anyone, in my experience anyway, empty of any kind of agenda or conclusions.

What seems to make Daniel's mind tick, the quality which causes him to experience 'doneness' has absolutely nothing to do with agency. It also has nothing to do with being done on path of insight. He confuses experience of mind concluding processing being done with his whole insight path. This I presume is because he never put enough effort in to actual insight and like many others equated insight with experiences and has no idea* how this experience works.
I came at it from a much different beginning and practice history, but his conclusions about 4th path make sense to me. I only encountered them when I began to wonder what "finished" looked like. It was obvious to me (at least) that the characteristics that he describes were/are all entirely present already, though I didn't have names or terminology yet for most of them. 

Having experience and having insight about this experience are two different things.

Agreed.

Then again looking at practices like mechanically 'noticing sensations' or mechanically noticing imaginary qualities (without seeming to realize this is more practice of visualization than noticing anything that isn't there - as Daniel himself said: perceived qualities of sensations are always the same as sensations themselves, something like that - which BTW is an actual insight) in sensations you would expect insight would not come from these and rather mechanical changes. Then to mitigate issue of not having much that pass as insight calling experiences as insight and using them to validate beliefs might be a solution but not one which has anything to do with insight. Too bad its default solution almost all people use thus there is large audience of people who will keep themselves in ignorance.
Daniel's path experience in this case is also foreign to mine, having come from a Dzogchen practice path.

Hopefully this rant is exactly what you expected someone to provide in response to your post ;)
I was expecting something interesting, but not from you! Thanks for putting the time in to answer. 

*) Do not remember single instance of even small inkling of understanding. Then again I also do not remember him ever describing experience in question taken to its natural conclusion making everything crystalize and so it seems he never really realized it fully to begin with. Same would be true for other wanna-be-arhats who even have said experience (from what I saw they are using these qualities differently but at least have them to some degree separated from otherwise mass which normally feels like sense of self or no-self). Most people who claim 4th path do not even go to that far - and because they are already 4th path and do not practice they won't ever go there XD
How would YOU conceptualize your experience of "arhat" if that makes any sense to you?

ps2. I am being harsh toward Daniel in this post. Do not take it this way.

I don't mind. Daniel can take care of himself, if he wants to. As for the rest, I assume that the entire dharmakaya is enlightened, so no-one gets a pass here.

I am being harsh toward pretty much all people who think they are enlightened. Everywhere you look its the same BS. It seems reservations are only at beginning before people put enough effort in to practices - after which they become mindless zombies not wanting to even face possibility that their practice might still be useful for them but not because what other person said is as 'ultimate' as they claimed to be. Then when they get anything remotely resembling what teacher said they are even more like mindless zombies and take value of idea of 'attainment' over truth and stop any activity which might prove all this wrong. Where is self-reflections and self-criticisim I ask... where is the self-pride?
Probably in the same place as enlightenment, abandoned and forgotten...
As always, you remain somewhat inscrutable to me. emoticon

I don't know any enlightened zombies that stopped practicing, or stopped working on their bodhicitta via reflection and criticism, but I'm not exactly a die-cut pragmatic dharma type. I purposely have an experienced lineage teacher to point out my bullshit when necessary, which has happened and has been  greatly appreciated. Criticism is always present, but pride I find there isn't much use for. 
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 9:53 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/8/23 8:56 PM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1508 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Stirling Campbell
This is from a posting here a long time ago about 4th path completion by Daniel:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.
Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

​​​​​​​I used this statement many times to check the depth of my insight, and agree with everything in it, though I think I would add more.

Why bother? What do these points imply about being? How would it be if they were reality for "you" now?
I looked up the link for that quote from Daniel in case anyone want's to see it.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2715189#_com_liferay_message_boards_web_portlet_MBPortlet_message_2718243


I understand many people don't agree with the fetter model, so putting aside whether it is right or not, it looks like what is being described here is freedom from identity view. That is part of stream entry according to the fetter model.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_awakening#Path_and_Fruit

Path and Fruit
A "Stream-enterer" (Sotāpanna) is free from:

1. Identity view (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi), the belief that there is an unchanging self or soul in the five impermanent skandhas[4][5]
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings

A "Once-returner" (Sakadāgāmin) has greatly attenuated:

4. Sensual desire
5. Ill will

A "Non-returner" (Anāgāmi) is free from:

4. Sensual desire
5. Ill will

An Arahant is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are:

6. Attachment to the four meditative absorptions, which have form (rupa jhana)
7. Attachment to the four formless absorptions (ārupa jhana)
8. Conceit
9. Restlessness
10. Ignorance


Notice ill will is greatly attenuated in the second stage and in the third state one is free from ill will, but with identity view, one is free from it at stream entry so stream entry is not just a glimpse or partly free. Stream entry is entirely free from identity vew.

Is there some other way to understand freedom from identity view?

I would say freedom from identity view must include not necessarily feeling like you don't have a self (no watcher no agency) but actually not being attached to the self. That means not being attached to anything that could be considered me or mine such as your life, your body, your mind, your thoughts, your opinions, your career, your nationality, your ethnicity, your religion, your politics, your social status, your education, your family, your possessions, your property, your money, your house, your car, etc etc.

In my opinion, even if you felt like a watcher with agency, if you were not attached to anything that could be considered me or mine I think that would qualify as stream entry.

Because the core teaching of the Buddha is that attachments and aversions cause suffering and suffering is ended by letting go of attachments and aversions, and how to attain freedom from attachments and aversions, the core teaching of the Buddha is not "an arhat doesn't feel like a watcher with agency".

I am not claiming this interpretation is better or worse. What Daniel is saying could be better or better at something else. 

I can see the usefulness of having a system with clear, measurable and objective attainments. And I think Daniel's definitions of stream entry and arhatship fit that description. But I don't think is a good idea to use the terms stream entry and arhat under Daniel's system. It creates confusion. I saw Daniel in a video saying it's okay because he defines his terms to avoid confusion. But the confusion comes from redefining the terms in the first place. To really avoid confusion, different terms should be used. I also saw a video where Daniel explained what was said to him that led him to feel justified in saying he is an Arhat, so I don't blame him for this state of affairs there is some tradition in Asia behind it.

But if the fetter model is unattainable, or useless, why copy its terminology? If Daniel thinks the fetter model is harmful, that Buddhism is a scam, and the people who promote the fetter model should apologize (my interpretation of Daniels remarks not a direct quote) why try to emulate it by reusing it's terms at all? 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 5/9/23 9:50 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/9/23 9:48 AM

RE: What is enlightenment, and why bother?

Posts: 1044 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
How would YOU conceptualize your experience of "arhat" if that makes any sense to you?

Arhat is the "hearer". Just as this term suggests they are good at hearing.
Experience of Arhat is thus hearing lots of different, often very interesting things.
Like if I hear eg. Sayadaw Mahasi I hear his beautiful rendition of dharma but if I hear eg. Ramana Maharshi then I hear his rendition of self-realization and non-duality and it in no way conflicts with other things I heard before and rather compliments them.
And by hearing I mean realize.

Under the hood of these abilities are leet experience-crunching abilities able to distill composite experiences in to pure components - the very skill that makes Arhat. At least as per my definition of the term.

People of course go with different ideas and definitions of term Arhat.
People also go without realizing Stream Entry and dwell in identity views so I would not take them too seriously regarding buddhadharma*. I will however take anything they have to give which they developed or got from somewhere and is valuable.

*) It actually should be something more like bud-dharma. This name was supposed to have specific meaning.

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