Can an Arahat recognize other Arahats? - Discussion
Can an Arahat recognize other Arahats?
In the early days of meeting Nisargadatta, one his secret ploys was to test the theory that a Jnani could recognize other Jnani's. One day Maurice secretly invited U.G. Krishnamurti (another supposed Jnani) to come and sit in the same room where Nisargadatta would be. He didn't give either men any information and there were approximately ~50 other people in the room as camouflage. U.G. and Nisargadatta had never met before, and as it turned out, Nisargadatta only entered the room for a few minutes before having to attend to some other duties, so the men had no direct conversation.
After Nisargadatta had left, the very curious Maurice went up to U. G. and said, ‘Did you see that old man who came in for a few minutes. Did you notice anything special? What did you see?’
U. G. replied, ‘I saw a man, Maurice, but the important thing is, what did you see?’
The next day Maurice went to see Maharaj and asked, ‘Did you see that man I invited yesterday?’
A brief description of what he looked like and where he was standing followed. Then Maurice asked, ‘What did you see?’
Maharaj replied, ‘I saw a man Maurice, but the important thing is, what did you see?’
It's a good story. But maybe just a story. In my own experience, I've felt a palpable transmission from some beings and seem to be increasingly sensitive as I progress, but could not say for certain where someone is.
It would be good to hear from those with higher attainments, can you perceptively grasp/predict the attainment stages of others, or even recognize them as fully liberated beings? If so, does this require physical proximity?
Read 'Face to face with Sri Ramana maharishi'.
As for your question, one does not have to be an arahant to recognize enlightened beings. The maharishi said the grace of god is necessary to recognize them as such.
However, if you like this sort of thing, you should look at Kim Katami's material, as he claims to be able to recognize people's levels of attainments even by photographs of them. See what you think.
When you look at senior Zen masters or some of the reputed arhats from Southeast Asia, you are immediately struck by their distinctive body language. There is a kind of graceful, “it just happens” quality to their movements, their gaze, and their speech.
All of the great masters that I have ever met had this same distinctive quality. It’s so distinctive that you can even spot it at a distance. Once, I was waiting in an airport when I noticed someone in one of the security lines. The person was so far away that I could not identify their race or gender, but I could detect the unfixated quality in the way that they were placing their luggage on the scanner. As I got closer, I noticed he was Asian, probably Chinese. I don’t know what got into me, but throwing caution to the wind, I initiated a conversation in Mandarin. Sure enough, it turned out that he was a senior Taoist master from mainland China.
Clearly, something has taken place on a neurophysiological level in such people. Something dramatic has occurred in the way all information flows into and the way all motor activity flows out of their central nervous system. It’s a global change. A dramatic global change such as that should have neural correlates. If we can identify those, we may be able to characterize the “unfixated self” with a mathematical model involving something like a quantifiable coefficient of fixation, analogous to physical coefficients, such as those of turbulence, viscosity, or friction.
I've talked about this extensively here so if interested see my prev posts.
Yes, it's possible to recognise attainments, if you have at least been there momentarily yourself, that is, have emulated the same state momentarily. Recognising higher attainments gets more difficult because there is less to recognise so if you have a lot of baggage yourself you can't notice anything. It gets very subtle when talking about higher stage bodhisattvas and different stages of buddhahood.
In our sangha this matter of being able to map one's own or others attainments has been a hot topicthis year. I've done about 150-200 bhumi mappings this year alone, for people ranging from spontaneously awakened, to couple of years of buddhist meditation practice, to lamas of 25 years of practice history to living mahasiddhas. For mapping we mainly use photos and videos but we also look what people tell about their living experience, if that is available. Older photos are also useful in studying this. I'm happy to say that there are a bunch of people in OH-sangha who can now apply this art by themselves quite skillfully, only after less than a year of practical study.