Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism?

I'm pretty new here and have actually never talked to anyone but a close friend about this, and I only just read the Dhammapada.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism?

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Dani:
Reply to Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism?
I'm pretty new here and have actually never talked to anyone but a close friend about this, and I only just read the Dhammapada.


Perhaps you could explain what you mean by awakening? How did this occur for you?
What do you mean by direct familiarity with Buddhism?
~D
In response to the comments so far, here's some more background:

I was an active and political secularist and (now that I look back on it) anti-theist.  I was two years into a happy relationship with someone I loved.  Several events and realizations set me off, culminating in my college graduation, after which I found myself feeling very skeptical about my identity, about who and what I was.
 
I was sitting on my bed on a night when I was by myself, which was unusual since my girlfriend, who was normally with me at night, was out of town, really questioning how I could be defined by other people and place them in these categories, when it hit me suddenly that I had been brainwashed!  I was not who I thought I was taught to be, I was something else and I was free to define that.  This realization came with a sudden wave of bliss followed by orgasm-like waves of positive feelings (don’t worry, not done yet).
 
I realized I needed to change my path and live by this idea, so I started looking into my options and over the course of the night, put together my plan for the future.  I knew what I had to do.  I knew it would make my life much more difficult than it had been before, but that it would be worth it.  I acknowledged for the first time that I had been living in sadness and misery and if I had any chance of changing that, I would need to work for it.
 
It was early morning and I had not slept, but I had just drastically changed many aspects of my path in life.  It was at this point that I felt truly released from desire (all of it, as far as I could tell).  While I had only a passing knowledge of world religions, it was immediately clear to me that this was nirvana as described by Buddhism.
 
This happened at a time when I had very few responsibilities. I spent the next several days mostly by myself ‘doing’ nothing.  I basically sat around living this state of nirvana.  I’m not quite sure how long it lasted, because during day 2 or 3 things gradually worked back to ‘normal’ and I was left a as a changed person who still had to deal with all the consequences of the changes I had just gone through.  It was actually almost too much for me to take.  I spent the next month struggling to handle it and was so nervous about what I had to do that I had to force myself to eat.  I lost 20 lbs. that month before I settled down.
 
That was two and a half years ago.  So what changed for me since then?  The most obvious changes for me were 1) that I no longer have any strong feelings about death, whereas I had been terrified of death before, and 2) I’m happy. Even though I’ve dealt with the person I loved leaving me, increased anxiety, clinical depression, psychosis, the deception of someone I once called a friend, and regular acts of discrimination of a sort I had never experienced before, I’m actually a happy person and I can see that I had been sad for the prior decade, as least, without really knowing that life could have been any better.  I had no real context for these feeling before exploring Theravada Buddhism these past few weeks.
 
What happened more recently was that I now really acknowledge that I’ve made the big changes in my life that I had planned out back then and all that stress and pain has been lifted.  I found myself wanting to actually look into Buddhism to explore some outside views about where I am, spiritually.  I found that the descriptions of the path are highly consistent with my own path, and the experience of those who describe ‘awakening’, especially the descriptions I found on the “I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)” thread.  I have found very few other comparable descriptions that I can relate to.
 
Obviously there’s more to this that I haven’t included, but feel free to ask me questions or offer advice/support!  I’m kind of in the process of figuring out where to go from here.
Derek Cameron, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
That's a major and profound breakthrough, Elora. Congratulations. The bliss you experience after an opening like that is not what Buddhists mean by nirvana. The bliss is just freed up energy.

Some people do have these breakthroughs without any knowledge of Buddhism. Eckhart Tolle is an example.
Thanks for that, Derek.  Do you think yould you explain the distinction?
Derek Cameron, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
Sure. The Theravada Buddhist definition of nibbana (Pali) or nirvana (Sanskrit) is the end of the aasavas. The aasavas, or "outflows," are the fundamental and underlying desires in the mind, namely, the desire for sensual pleasure, the desire for becoming, and the desire for non-becoming. Nibbana is the fourth "stage," if you will. Stream-entry / sotaapatti / awakening is the first stage.
Great! We're on the same page.

This helps explain some of these distinctions.
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Noah S, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
I had my first strong A&P at an Amma retreat.  I had a good familiarity with AYP, kundalini, and the chakra system.  I had only a mushroom-culture understanding of Buddhism.  This felt a lot more like an 'awakening' experience than the actual attainment of paths ever has (although the former passed away completely and the latter has led to a nice, baseline perspective).  So, I would say, yes.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 131 Join Date: 10/26/13 Recent Posts
My initial awakening happened while I was an atheist. I had no knowledge of Buddhism or any spirituality really. Me and my wife just enteredt a mystical experience from a combination of love, NLP and smoking weed. Then I looked myself in the mirror and asked "Who am I?" and God showed up and said "You're me.".

Up until then I was on the board of the atheist organization locally. Now I am a religious nutcase. ;)
John, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
Yes.
I awoke using direct pointing, I guess this is what is called SE in Buddhism.
Though there is still suffering, I am amazed that no one has achieved the complete
end of suffering even though many clain to be awakened.
Robert, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Has anyone else here awakened without direct familiarity with Buddhism? (Answer)

Posts: 100 Join Date: 5/8/15 Recent Posts
Buddhism has to do with Awakening and Enlightenment.

Awakening and Enlightenment have nothing to do with Buddhism.

There's no such thing as Buddhist Awakening, Christian Awakening, Islamic Awakening, Shamanic Awakening etc. etc.

And yeah it can happen totally out of the blue also to someone with no inclination to any kind of spirituality.

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