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Thread: On attaining enlightenment

  1. #1

    On attaining enlightenment

    An interesting article from Brad:


    Makes me think... Perhaps Treeleaf should have badges showing each member's level of attainment. Just kidding... :-)



  2. #2
    Interesting piece as usual from Brad. Thank you for sharing, Kirk.

    Enlightenment, compassion, or any other kind of spiritual attainment, strikes me as like being intelligent or funny. If you have to tell people that you are rather than them working it out for themselves, it kind of defeats the object.


  3. #3
    Wow. Particularly telling is the reference, early in Brad's post, to a monastery official referring to a difficult person as a "customer."

    "To attain the enlightened way, a way not attainable."

    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  4. #4
    One could present a "Certificate of Non-Attainment".

    Actually, one would not present the Certificate, for we each have it all along and just do not know.



  5. #5
    I don't need a certificate to confirm my non-Enlightened status. I just have to ask my wife.

    Gassho Daizan

  6. #6

    Brad has a way with words:

    "I can't come up with a single good reason anyone would proclaim themselves to be enlightened or to be an arhat. Such proclamations don't impress me at all."

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  7. #7
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  8. #8
    Or is it 'there'?^^

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  9. #9
    I think this is the guy who started it all


  10. #10
    Great article! Makes me think of this bit from the Diamond Sutra:

    "Subhuti, what do you think? Can an Arhat have the thought, 'I have obtained Arhatship?'"
    Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. And why? Actually there is no Dharma called an Arhat.
    World Honored One, if an arhat had the thought, I have attained Arhatship that would be attachment to self,
    to others, to living beings, and to a life."
    Gassho, Foolish John

  11. #11
    Great article! I've come to view this state we call enlightenment like a Moon Beam. It must be recaptured everyday.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Hello Kaishin,

    Clinging and attachments can really be distracting, huh. If he thinks it's true. . . .

    Thanks for the link.

    Last edited by Myosha; 03-25-2014 at 10:56 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  13. #13
    Yeap, it is so easy to be fooled by the enlightenment game, a game out of which a few financially clever people make bucks, and, it us also so easy to fool oneself going on and on saying that it is here and now already...as long as you only do it in the realm of thoughts.

    Why don't we drop both views and drop the old self at the same time ?

    Who is ready to experience courage-joy and join Jundo and Taigu in America to practice the real thing?

    You are all invited!!! Somebody even told me that Grover and Henry will join the party...



  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    I think this is the guy who started it all

    I just finished reading Daniel Ingram's book recently, and I am not impressed with the goals of what he is presenting as "Enlightenment". Of course, to each their own.

    However, in a nutshell, he presents a very intense, hyper-focused form of meditation which results ... as one would anticipate ... in very concentrated, intense altered mind states and visions. Wonderful for those people who are seeking such things, although I wonder how much of this is a kind of self-hypnosis (e.g., if one has read in a book that one is supposed to see a "luminous red disk" appear in one's field of vision, well, one summons a luminous red disk to appear in one's vision). Further, such concentrated activity is bound to have psychedelic effects. Here are a couple of samples of what they hope and expect to attain with long, intense practice ...



    Let me emphasize that these kinds of experiences are very old and ancient, traditional goals and experiences of many forms of mediation ... including within some corners of Buddhism. I do not criticize the practice of anyone who is interested in pursuing such things and finds value in them. In Shikantaza Zazen, we may even have such experiences from time to time, although we do not consider them as a goal and move on (we consider the whole path sacred ... all the changing scenery ... much like a mountain hike in which the "goal" is not some waterfall at the end of the trail that one is trying to reach, but instead every stone and blade of grass, left turn and right turn, rain drop or even overflowing trash can encountered on the whole trek ... the "destination" in each step by step. Each and all Sacred, and a "Total Arrival" in each step when one finally learns to appreciate things as such).

    What is more, Daniel Ingram emphasizes in his book that all this effort and these experiences have not seemingly made him into a nicer or better person, nor even more "at home" in this world. In fact, often quite the opposite as these practices, like a kind of drug which presents an altered reality, cause one to wish to flee to there as opposed to deal with this tedious, mundane world in which we life here. Frankly, I would think it not much different than a kind of drug trip.

    And that is the point ... The Practice of Shikantaza, and all Zen really, is not these states, but rather to realize the sacred, wondrous, beautiful, timeless, whole, miraculous reality that -IS- simultaneously this "tedious, mundane" sometimes lovely and sometimes ugly, sometimes up and sometimes down, sometimes waterfalls and sometimes trash cans, just this moment reality in which we live. Our Practice is not to reach wild altered states (although that sometimes happens as part of the voyage), but to realize that this world in which we live is not what it has seemed simply because we have been thinking and seeing all wrong. The True Treasure has been right in hand, and in every step, all along. Here and There were never two.

    Depends what one is looking for, and what one wishes to find at the end of the Yellow Brick Road. Is it the Wizard and the "Emerald City" one seeks, or to return to Kansas and realize that such was the "Emerald City" all along, complete with all the wonder and magic? There is no place like Home.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-26-2014 at 03:29 AM.


  15. #15
    Thank you.

    Gassho, Foolish John

  16. #16
    Thanks, Jundo, as always for your very balanced perspective.

  17. #17
    Thanks for posting this Kirk Are we really surprised that someone has Americanized Enlightenment? That's what we do best in this country. It's all about marketing.

    Thanks for everyone's comments, I found them most helpful in my understanding.

    I am only at white-belt level, so I will only just add that if someone doesn't start levitating soon, I am outta here!


  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    I think this is the guy who started it all

    I don't have any opinion if this is what Brad was referring to (although Daniel certainly claims to be an arahat). However, I did read and practise with Daniel's book a number of years ago (before settling into Shikantaza). It was immensely helpful in its way, and certainly changed my relationship with the sense-bases and sense-objects (hyper-focused awareness of sensory input leads to certain insights about the nature of perception itself).

    I certainly have nothing negative to say about Daniel or the sincere community that is organized around his book. However, in the end, it was not the path for me.


    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  19. #19

    The Sickest Buddhist by Arj Barker

    I personally have not run into this attitude / stereotype, but I have heard some stories from friends after going to retreat...

    The instructor told us to do a 45 minute meditation.
    I nailed it in 10.
    I'm the illest Buddhist you've ever seen.
    All the ladies wanna meditate with me.
    I look so serene when I bust a lotus,
    But I don't have an ego so I wouldn't even notice.

    Note: NSFW, offensive, and probably should not be watched by anyone pursuing "right speech"...

    Gassho (with shades),

    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  20. #20
    Hey Sekishi,

    Sick vid. Favorite lyric:
    " I'm so effen present, I'm ahead of my time. "

    Thank you,

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  21. #21

  22. #22
    That WAS buddhaful!

  23. #23
    Awesome Sekishi! =)

    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  24. #24
    That was mind-blowing....... in a good way. Tally ho!

  25. #25
    Places to go, goals to acheive?
    Too old and tired;
    Home already, don't wanna move.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa


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