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The Dharma Battleground (DhB)

Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?

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Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Robert McLune 9/8/12 6:59 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Brian Eleven 9/8/12 7:42 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Jeff Grove 9/8/12 7:58 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Brian K. 9/8/12 8:56 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Daniel M. Ingram 9/8/12 10:04 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? N A 9/8/12 10:38 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Robert McLune 9/8/12 10:49 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Daniel M. Ingram 9/9/12 3:58 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Daniel M. Ingram 9/8/12 11:59 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Villum (redacted) 9/9/12 7:49 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Florian 9/10/12 3:20 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? This Good Self 9/10/12 3:51 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? This Good Self 9/10/12 3:58 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Change A. 9/9/12 9:49 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Robert McLune 9/9/12 11:36 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Nikolai . 9/9/12 2:55 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Andy W 9/9/12 4:04 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? N A 9/9/12 6:58 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Daniel M. Ingram 9/10/12 12:37 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Andy W 9/10/12 3:40 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 9/10/12 6:58 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Simon T. 9/10/12 12:16 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 9/10/12 7:52 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 9/12/12 9:00 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Fitter Stoke 9/11/12 9:36 AM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Kalyan G Mitra 9/15/12 6:58 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Daniel M. Ingram 9/15/12 10:05 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Robert McLune 9/16/12 4:22 PM
RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor? Kalyan MitraG 10/11/12 5:05 PM
Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 6:59 PM
This has probably been answered already, and if so feel free to simply point me to where it was already handled.

In "A Discourse on the Sallekah Sutta", Mahasi Sayadaw said (U Aye Maung translation, and emphasis mine):

"A true follower of the Buddha [...] should not want to speak of his accomplishments in the study of scriptures or in the practice of meditation. He should keep the depth of his learning or his spiritual attainments to himself. A true noble one does not reveal his spiritual insight although he wants to share it with other people. It is only the religious impostor who calls himself a noble one or an Arahant"
How does that fit with overt claims on this forum -- for example, Danial Ingram's -- that they are indeed an Arahant? Actually, it's not just Daniel who is at (apparent) odds with Mahasi Sayadaw. From the Visuddhimagga we get:

But how then, does someone with cankers destroyed declare himself thus: “I am one whose cankers are destroyed?” Why not? He declares himself when he knows that his instructions will be carried out.

Vism III.63


That could be be interpreted as saying that claiming to be an arahant (i.e. "one whose cankers are destroyed") is justified if it helps others follow instructions that could lead them too to become arahants.

Regardless, something's inconsistent here. What is it.

Daniel, if you're around, specifically -- why did you decide to claim you are an arahant? Were you aware of Mahasi Sayadaw's position? If not, would it have affected your decision had you been? The bottom line is, a claim to being an arahant doesn't seem to be verifiable in the same way that claiming to be a chess grandmaster is. So why claim it at all, if the very people who could benefit from it being true simply cannot tell that it *is* true?

thanks.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 7:42 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
From the FAQ page:

What is up with people claiming attainments?

There is a cultural factor here that making claims to attainments is okay. They are your responsibility and you can present yourself as someone who has attained to whatever if you feel comfortable and motivated to do so. You may also respectfully present your opinions on other's claims. Obviously, not everyone will be correct in their assessment, some will try to deceive others by claiming something they don't think they have attained, not everyone will always react the way the claimant wishes, and everyone may not react to claimants they way they would wish. Frank battles over one person claiming something and others trying to prove they haven't can get rapidly painful for all, including those writing and those reading the posts, and so, if things get heated, consider contacting the person you are having the conflict with in person to discuss this over the phone, by Skype, in person in those rare instances where this is possible, etc. If you would debate their claims to attainments, which is a very close and personal subject, in an internet forum but wouldn't actually talk to them as a real person in real life, then something has gotten lost and it is likely to go badly most of the time and you should refrain from doing it unless you would be willing to talk to them in meat space.


From the welcome on the home page:

In general our basic principles and attitudes favor:

pragmatism over dogmatism: what works is key, with works generally meaning the stages of insight, the stages of enlightenment, jhanas, freedom from suffering in what ways are possible, etc.
diligent practice over blind faith: this place is about doing it and understanding for yourself rather than believing someone else and not testing those beliefs out
openness regarding what the techniques may lead to and how these contrast or align with the traditional models
personal responsibility: you take responsibility for the choices you make and what you say and claim
a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments
the assumption that the various aspects of meditative development can be mastered in this life
the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path rather than rigid student-teacher relationships
and the notion that the collective wisdom of a group of strong practitioners at various stages and from various traditions and backgrounds is often better than following one guru-type.


If everything is kept secret, how can we learn from each other?

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 7:58 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
This is someones view, a judgement born from a belief

Ask yourself What is a True follower of Buddha?

There are many conditions which may lead to someone to speak of their insight without the cause being a a self centered desire to speak.

There appears to be many people who have benefited from Dan declaring himself an Arahant just read through this forum. For me it opened my eyes to the possibility of progressing and provided the impetus to practice

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 8:56 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
"I, indeed, am the Arahat in the world. The teacher with no peer, the sole Buddha, supreme, enlightened. All passions extinguished, I have gained Peace, Nibbãna." - The Buddha

Clearly...... the Buddha had no need to hide his spiritual attainment. When in doubt, just ask, what would Buddha do??

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 10:04 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Yeah, I am around.

The politics of the word is clearly extremely complicated.

There are numerous pros and cons of claiming this, which I, being the one that gets exposed to nearly all of them and have been for about 9 years now, style myself an expert in, as I get emails about this, messages about this, there have been endless posts about this, and in general it causes a lot of discussion, not all of which is good, as well as endless personal conversations both helpful and really, really unproductive.

Some examples of people claiming this:

Mahasi Sayadaw was widely regarded as an arahat, though I don't think he claimed it publicly. U Pandita used to hint all the time that he was an arahat according to Bill Hamilton. There have been others in modern times who were monks who have claimed this. U Pandita, Junior, who was the abbot of MBMC when I was there in 2003, would talk all the time in ways that clearly and unambiguously claimed arahatship without using that specific word just every other way you could imagine to claim it, and I found that personally quite inspiring, but wished he would just actually say it, as that would be less gamey, something I find annoying.

Bill Hamilton claimed arahatship before he died.

The Vimuttimagga is signed by The Arahat Upatissa.

Countless examples of the early Buddhist community using the word like we use the word doctor abound.

Cons: really, really, really gets into peoples visions of perfection, competitiveness, taboos, projection, transference, and the like to a huge degree. The flack that flies from this is endless. The number of people who I personally know who won't even read my book as that word is on the cover is large.

Pros: is opens the debate up, it gets people's attention, it inspires some to really try for it on their own, it creates a lot of investigation and conversation about what this actually means here today in this body and time, and those have been hugely interesting to be a part of.

What do you think of it? How, from a pragmatic point of view, does it affect your world, your practice, your relationship to these things or anything else?

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 10:38 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I think it's also interesting that some people have specifically said they were not arahants, despite advocating certain practices very strongly:

Buddhaghosa
Goenka

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 10:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
[...]

Cons: really, really, really gets into peoples visions of perfection, competitiveness, taboos, projection, transference, and the like to a huge degree. The flack that flies from this is endless. The number of people who I personally know who won't even read my book as that word is on the cover is large.

Pros: is opens the debate up, it gets people's attention, it inspires some to really try for it on their own, it creates a lot of investigation and conversation about what this actually means here today in this body and time, and those have been hugely interesting to be a part of.

What do you think of it? How, from a pragmatic point of view, does it affect your world, your practice, your relationship to these things or anything else?

Thanks Daniel. Very glad you dived in to comment.

For me, I'm torn. I think I totally get the pros/cons tension you describe. And I can't decide what I'd have done if I was in your place.

On the one hand, I think it's a pity you chose to identify yourself as an Arahat. The reason is that from one viewpoint it provides no benefit but a lot of drawback. There's no benefit because -- and I know you'll agree with this -- just because you say you're an Arahat doesn't make it so. And it is maximally non-beneficial to those beginning on the path; the very ones who probably could benefit from knowing that attaining Arahat is possible. It's maximally non-beneficial to them precisely because they are least equipped to decide if your claim is genuine or not. I know -- I am such a beginner. And the "lot of drawback" is that it alienates a lot of people (unfairly perhaps, but still) who it would probably be beneficial -- in terms of spreading the word -- *not* to alienate. There's one ordained Burmese guy I know and who I respect greatly. But, being bound more by tradition than we are here on DhO, he has what is probably an unavoidable knee-jerk reaction against your claim. He may well be one of those people who "won't even read" your book, because of the cover. The thing is though, even though he is traditional, he talks *exactly* like you! It's the same message. I actually think he'd love your book if he read it. But he won't, and I think that's partly your "fault". You must have known that would be part of the effect, yet you went ahead and did it anyway! :-) Incidentally, Willoughby Britton is another who admits to being turned off your stuff to begin with. Granted for her it wasn't so much the word "arahat" but rather the front cover picture. But personally I think she's a cool gal to be associated with your efforts, and I think she *is* only by luck. It was the persistence of her student who got her to look past the surface and to see the underlying genuine stuff. Willoughby is why I started to get interested in your book. She's a skeptical scientist, and when she managed to get past the cover, that was good enough for me to have a look too. But there's no way to escape the fact that the cover -- including The Claim -- was an impediment. And one final drawback. By claiming to be an arahant you are relying on that being an acceptable claim to make. To be clear -- what I'm pointing out is that you lend validity to the act of claiming, not the fact of actually being one. The problem is, there are probably many more fakes out there than genuine articles, so on a purely tactical basis, it might have been better to let your knowledge and verificable achievements speak for themselves. To borrow from the Christian tradition, there are shades of Luke 18:19 at work.

HOWEVER, AND ON THE OTHER HAND:

I think it's good you chose to identify yourself as an Arahat, if Arahat-ship really is as achievable as you say it is. In fact, it may be that it was *essential* to make the claim in order to make the point that it as achievable. Prior to reading your book, I was probably like most people, and thought that Enlightenment was some metaphysical, cosmic-level event, probably only achievable after many lifetimes (whatever that means) and, bottom line, almost certainly not something I (whatever *that* means :-) ) could aspire to. Clearly I don't know that your claim is valid. But even so, it's ballsy. And when backed up by the material in the book itself, is certainly enough to pique my curiosity.

On balance, I reckon I'd probably have erred on the side of *not* claiming. I think I'd have run the arguments through and decided that I'd have got all the benefits (of getting people practicing and moving through attainments) without having to make the Arahant claim (and paying the price in what could be some valuable support).

That said, what do I know. *I* am *not* an Arahat[1] ;-)

P.S. One more thing. Claim or no claim, and light-emitting front cover or no, I doubt you have ever made much money from your book, or this site/movement. It is therefore a labor of love, and extensive one at that. For that, I -- and I know many others -- are extremely grateful. Thank you!

[1] That assumes of course that while it may be possible to not be an Arahat but think you are, it is not possible to be an Arahat but think you're not.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 3:58 AM as a reply to Robert McLune.
All reasonable points.

I agree, it would be interesting to see what you would do and say had you gone through the same set of experiences and transformations in that same set of cultures and with that same set of conditioning...

I have made basically no money on the book.

I get somewhere around $500 every 6 months from the thing, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, take away about 33% in taxes and that leaves about $330 or so, and that has basically covered the cost of the DhO (baseline costs $600/year for server fees plus miscellaneous expenses (this year was nearly a grand)) and you get something close enough to zero loss or gain on the whole thing, actually this year will be a loss.

FYI, MCTB 2 is in the works, and probably will have a totally boring cover (anyone want to design it to make it more... uh... whatever?) and probably will not say arahat on the front, as on balance it seems that it is detrimental, and pragmatism wins the day on those fronts most of the time...

BTW: you should have seen the First Cover! Oh, my God, Buffy, like some sort of 70's graffiti explosion on drugs... and I just loved it. Oh, well...

Sometimes I think of just printing a leather-hand-bound one on vellum with gold-embossed edges and pretty purple and gold endpapers, and then at other times I want to make it look like the For Dummies books...

Perhaps I should do both.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/8/12 11:59 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
In fact, here it is! Rarely seen by mortal eyes! Only 50 copies ever made! A vintage find!

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 7:49 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hah! Oh my god, that's so... there are no words.
I'm tempted to print it out and staple it to the cover of my copy

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 9:49 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I wouldn't mind anyone claiming to be an Arahant if they don't suffer but if they do, it makes me think if it is still worthwhile to continue on the path. I know the suffering may be greatly reduced but I am interested if there is end of suffering as the Buddha claimed. I would rather hear someone claiming that than to be an Arahant.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 11:36 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
All reasonable points.

I agree, it would be interesting to see what you would do and say had you gone through the same set of experiences and transformations in that same set of cultures and with that same set of conditioning...

Thinking about this some more, I thought I'd try comparing it (the wisdom of claiming Arahat-ship) against such claims in other fields. Take, for example, Brian Greene, string theorist and Highly Smart Dude. He wrote:

"The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene
and not
"The Fabric of the Cosmos" by The Highly Smart Dude Brian Greene
Now regardless of what was on the book, few who know Greene's work doubt that he is indeed a Highly Smart Dude (HSD). And in fact it is kinda important for readers of the book (among them youngsters who aspire to one day be HSDs) that they know Greene is an HSD. But very few people would argue that it makes any sense to make that direct claim on the book. There are ways of getting across the important-to-know point that Greene is an HSD, but simply *stating* it isn't one of them. And it's worth noting that there is no shortage of claims *alluding* to smartness. Greene's bio will say all sorts of things about who he is, what he's achieved, and so on. But they are all proxies. They stop short of actually saying it. I think there are two reasons for that reticence:
  1. Culturally, certain claims -- e.g. of being an HSD -- are seen as unseemly, and that would tend to drive some readers away. I'm a Brit, now living in the US, and my experience is that the effect I'm talking about is far greater in the UK than in the US. But still, it exists in the US too. And if the point of a book is to get people to read it, then even valid claims are unwise if they are unseemly
  2. From an epistemological point of view, claiming that Greene is an HSD is pointless. It simply carries no *useful* information.
I think the second point is the more important. Book covers -- books in general -- are part of our whole cultural "language game". Saying "I am an arahat" doesn't actually assert that the speaker is an arahat. Rather, it asserts, to many if not most people:

<cue booming god-like voice>
"I, puny mortals, am an A-R-A-H-A-T! Bow before me or die!!!!!!"

OK, I'm overstating it for effect, but you get the point. The meaning of a statement is in the mind of the hearers, not the mind of the speaker.

This whole thing is illustrated really well in this video clip from the movie "13 Days" in which Robert McNamara tears Admiral Anderson a new one for not "getting" the language game. I've often used this to coach my engineers in how to sell to clients. I have to keep pointing out to them that just because <Proposition> is true, and just because the client needs to hear <Proposition>, doesn't mean that the right thing to do is to assert <Proposition>. The whole clip is worth watching, but McNamara nails it in the last few seconds, starting at 3:27:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYRCTHj7k8Y

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 2:55 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
When I saw the words 'arahat' posted on Daniel's website back in 2008, I was at first very skeptical of it. But I was truly lost at that stage, having been a chronic dark nighter for a long time previous. I think I sent Daniel an email asking for advice, but with me still being extremely sceptical, almost half heartedly. But I think it was a question that I had always wanted to ask, but no ATs or teachers in the goenka tradition were able or wanted to answer.

All the same, the word 'arahat' made my ears prick up all skeptically. But i'm glad they did. I got a good helpful answer from Daniel, which led me to the old DhO, which led me to shifting gears in my practice of 8 years in the goenka tradition, which led to now a number of profound and dealing a blow to compounding of suffering baseline shifting brain changes over the past 2 years.

Regardless of whether I'm behind the word and concept of 'arahat' according to Daniel and MCTB or not, it doesn't matter. What matters is it led to this and this, and this and this etc. And 'this' trumps how life was previous.

Nick

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 4:04 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
FYI, MCTB 2 is in the works, and probably will have a totally boring cover (anyone want to design it to make it more... uh... whatever?)


Clearly MCTB needs a nice cosy Western Buddhist makeover! emoticon





Alternatively, I could help you come up with something that was neither mainstream nor psychedelia. I have done various bits of design in the past and would be delighted to help out if you'd like.

Andy

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/9/12 6:58 PM as a reply to Andy W.
bahahaha

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 12:37 AM as a reply to Andy W.
Wow! That's scary! Brilliant! Creepy! Hilarious! All these at once!

You have real talent, and a sharp and cutting wit cloaked in niceness! Perfect!

Yeah, I will try to get in touch with you regarding you obvious ability to contribute a cover of merit. I am free Wed and this weekend, will let you know.

D

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 3:20 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

Actually, I thought the current cover with the radiating energy mist was pretty far out emoticon But I really like the psychedelic graffitti one!

One day, it'll be a bland light blue "Springer Series in Subjective Experiences" standard reference tome anyway...

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 3:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hehe! Glad you like them emoticon

I will PM you my email address. I've got a few neat visuals in my mind that fit with the themes of the book (e.g. noting, vibrations, fractals, space invaders).

Andy

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 3:51 AM as a reply to Florian.
Damn, I did a humorous book cover and can't upload it. emoticon

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 3:58 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Ahhh, here we go...

I have more. This is just a taster...


RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 6:58 AM as a reply to Andy W.
Haiku for Andy W:

Jane Rainbow adores
Hardcore dharma with doctor
First jnana 2day?




(Andy: extreme make-over called and wants you)
(brit guyMcLune: agree, overstating is a bit unskillful, perhaps times are turning away from conceit? Jamie Dimon technically apologized...)
(Nick guy: arrived the same way, I can say from a comfortable, slightly autonomous place: I am grateful for the Dan)
(C C C: Oy. You have a point. Maybe it is never forget one's roots? Or maybe it's more of your awesome Aussie family jewels shining forth)

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 12:16 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Before finding Daniel's book I wasn't aware that it was controversial to claim Enlightenment so my reaction was more "That's what I'm looking for!". Impostors usually don't put so much effort in providing detailled information for free. The style of writing just felt too candid to be from an impostor.

People who use Eastern religion as blanket religion don't want to see ordinary claiming Enlightenment. Attributing Enlightenment to only a few gurus is a way to deal with the fact that they aren't really working on getting there. The idea that Enlightenment is nearly impossible to attain become a comforting thought, ironically.

Talking about "no-self" might be less controversial than "Aranhanship" and get people more engaged in the description or understanding of the experience itself instead of discussing what is the proper meaning of a specific word and if someone is entitled to use it for himself.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/10/12 7:52 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Bottom line: the book and the site have tremendous relevance these days. It's up to him if he wants to keep the public attainment speak.

It is a hindrance? I agree that, on balance, it is at the moment. Measuring like this stirs kerfuffles and loses opportunities to practice and exchange good will, the conditions for good practice.. All traditions have paramitas or the like: herein are the sources of good conditions now and thus to be supported.

And the book and site have been very helpful for many people going through dark night, that which the world seems fertile in at the moment. I do support this site and Daniel's work when I raise the subject or it comes up. Maybe the chutzpah of the attainment helped get the word out. That's how it goes. Even newly ordained people sometimes need to have an obscuring excess of evangelistic good will allowed to burn off naturally and organically, so that an excellent ember results - able to light other fires, yet not gobble fuel, just glow patiently. Ooo emoticon , but true I think. Good grief, first jhana, for crying out loud - I mean, really, that one is a bit big, atheletic, effortful state. Practically showy. But it simmers down through to an incredible, stunning bliss of openness and connection.

The level of practice in lay populations I think has soared in general. And DhO is definitely part of that. I mean, jeez, I didn't know who Malunkyaputta and Bahiya were two years ago and now I am just flipping through my Majjhima Nikaya book to follow up on a point by "Adam. ." I love that I can go on retreat and see intense practice in both lay and monastic practitioners. That's sangha! If this is a dharma-ending age, then I can see how it may also be a dharma-starting age.

When I got Daniel's book I just thought, "he doesn't take himself too seriously." Inside the book I found several jokes at his own expense and also digs at others. I thought, "not a perfect person, but kind, funny one." And it certainly helped me get started, is plain language and candid.

[some edits]

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/11/12 9:36 AM as a reply to Andy W.
Andy, those are hysterical! You've got talent.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/12/12 9:00 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Talking about "no-self" might be less controversial than "Aranhanship" and get people more engaged in the description or understanding of the experience itself instead of discussing what is the proper meaning of a specific word and if someone is entitled to use it for himself.
I don't know that controversial is a problem -- nor is necessarily a good reason to restrain oneself. In a totally different area, Thich Naht Han was exiled from his country and the Buddhist Church of Vietnam because of his protest against the war. Perhaps elder monks thought he was being conceited for jeopardizing all monastics with his controversial behaviour? I don't know: I am speculating.

When I just let anyone's labels catch-and-release and I look at actions: I think a lot of excellent action/effort has come from the book, the site...and the whole process is still dynamic. Dharma effort on this site seems much more in an arising phase, than passing away at the moment.

2cents.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/15/12 6:58 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
If you look at Buddhist history, there were no Vinaya rules for first 20 years. Every one openly claimed their achievements after their teacher recognizing them to be Arahant. Most of these restrictions were imposed slowly as Vinaya matured and more rules were imposed. Early sutta's openly identified Arahant attainments. The rules were added to prevent the monks from misusing their attainments to get gifts and special treatments from lay followers, merchants, and kings. As long as the volition is good, namely inspire, help, guide, educate, motivate, remove false beliefs etc., then these claims of attainments are good for all and must be encouraged, applauded.

For me, this has been very inspirational. After reading and learning from this book, I was inspired and motivated to take this journey seriously, resolutely and I was able to reach 1st path in 6 months after reading (1 year after my first 10 day course). Thank you Daniel for writing and claiming your attainment.

I am glad to see Daniel disregard religious taboos and declare Arahantship openly. I would have done the same but may be not on the cover page of my first book. We are not monks and not bound by Vinaya rules and/or traditional restrictions. For the last 2000+ years, after the death of Gautama Buddha, because of these rules, both lay and monks stopped aspiring for enlightenment. It is blindly accepted and believed that it is not possible in this life time.

Many years ago Thai Forest monk Maha Boowa declared his Arahantship and was criticized by many. We need more monks like him.

Ajahn Chah - Bio 43 - Talking about enlightenment
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u76o7xZe ... L&index=39

Daniel,

A request for your new book: You have many details about progress from 2nd to 3rd path, and 3rd to 4th path spread out in many chapters. If you can consolidate them into one chapter, that would be very helpful. Also expand this chapter if you can. There is very little info available out there for those working towards 3rd path and onwards.

Thanks with Metta,

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/15/12 10:05 PM as a reply to Kalyan G Mitra.
Thanks for your support and thoughts. I agree with your assessment of what went wrong.

You are not alone in requesting info on the middle paths. I will write more on that in the new version.

I am glad you got something out of all of this.

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
9/16/12 4:22 PM as a reply to Kalyan G Mitra.
Kalyan G Mitra:
I am glad to see Daniel disregard religious taboos and declare Arahantship openly. I would have done the same but may be not on the cover page of my first book.

I like this discussion; it's helping me learn :-)

And I'm *definitely* conflicted on this whole thing. Just reading and pondering has pushed my balance slightly back towards the "Oh just publish and be damned" approach. In other words, if Daniel claiming arahat-hood/ship/ness is needed to open people up to think and do, then more power to him.

I think what has happened is I've realized that my "don't claim" side had two components, only one of which is valid. The *invalid* one is that "arahat" is somehow such a special attainment that we must pussy-foot about it and treat it as if it's sacred. I hadn't noticed that component, but now that I do I gladly cry foul (against me). When I stop treating it like it's holy, then part of the problem goes. I, after all, have a doctorate. There, I said it. I have a PhD. But so do jillions of others, and it's *just* a PhD, so who cares. In most fields, it is utterly irrelevant anyway. I *personally* would tend to avoid using the postnominals (I dont have them on my business card for example) because I see them as a bit of an "argument from authority". But I don't really object to anyone else using them. And I definitely *expect* to see "MD" if I go to see my medical doc.

But the still-valid objection is that while PhD is essentially something that *other people* call me, Arahat isn't. I am a PhD by decree of my university, and while that doesn't such much, it says a little. "Arahat" doesn't have that.

I wonder. Is there a "decision procedure" (from the use of which phrase you can probably guess my doctoral field :-) ) for Arahant-ship? If so, someone could say, "Hey it's not for *me* to claim Arahant-ship, but I can tell you I've done X, Y, Z, ... so you tell me what you'd call *that*?"

RE: Claiming "arahant" == Impostor?
Answer
10/11/12 5:05 PM as a reply to Robert McLune.
Interesting, very humble. Just now discovering Shinzen Yough, a really facinating yogi, teacher.

After enlightenment, what's left, what's the point? ~ Shinzen Young
Shinzen responds to the questions, "What's left after enlightenment? What's the point?" Filmed in April 2009, at Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=ptkH0uK1uXM&feature=endscreen


Enlightenment "Downsides" ~ Shinzen Young

"There's no informed consent to enlightenment". Shinzen talks about how people tend to overestimate and underestimate "enlightenment". He shares how wonderful the "experience" is, and then talks about "certain, peculiar downsides". Filmed in Nov. 2009 at Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoAbCgmhqdM&feature=related