Jump to content
BANGKOK 10 December 2018 16:36
Grover

Fully Enlightened Monks

Recommended Posts

Has anyone actually met a fully enlightened monk in Thailand? I'm asking because I would like to meet one. I believe there must be at least a handful somewhere in Thailand, living in the forests somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The conventinal wisdom among Theravada Buddhists is that those who claim enlightenment probably have not reached it.

Some people believe that some monks are enlightened but this is usually seen as a matter of opinion and not fact.....there is no test to determine if someone is enlightened....as far as I know. I have heard that some people claim enlightenment by the fact that they have attained all of the jahnas but the Buddha taught that attaining the jahnas only leads to a temporary state showing a glimpse of approximately what enlightenment is about but to actually attain enlightenment is beyond the jahnas...as far as I know.

Chownah

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone actually met a fully enlightened monk in Thailand? I'm asking because I would like to meet one. I believe there must be at least a handful somewhere in Thailand, living in the forests somewhere.

There are quite possibly arahants in the world, but if you are not one then you could never know, and it is very doubtful a real arahant would announce it, though there is no rule against this (for non-monk arahants anyway).

In a way this is kind of sad, as to know an arahant is present might be really motivational! But since this is not the case, then perhaps the fact that the Dhamma is "ehipassiko" (to be known by the "wise", directly through experience) may be of benefit?

The stuff the Buddha taught at least has the benefit of being reproducible by direct experience in this lifetime. If the jhaanas work, then so does vipassana and its fruits, or so I have heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok I understand that Arahant monks won't proclaim it, & to truely know if he is an Arahant you have to be an Arahant also... :o

But surely fully enlightened monks would radiate an aura of peacefullness & compassion & love etc, everything they say or do would be an amazing thing to witness. Surely normal people could detect this advanced spiritual development in some way on some level.

This is a long shot, but has anyone ever met such a monk? I'm asking because I want to meet one. He doesnt have to speak english. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have met quite a number of monks/Holy men in my time.... Of all of those I have met only 2 struck me as radiating a form of calmness and acceptance far above the norm.

Were they "englightened" I have no idea,but there was something very real about the aura they exuded. Interestingly both had stepped outside the box of traditional teachings and neither lived in a temple or with other Monks. Both had already spent many years being part of various sects/teachings and had "moved on".

I can only say that I remember both those encounters like it was yesterday.

Why would that be? there was nothing imparted of any special interest or importance. The encounters stand out in my memory as do their words and our communication,whereas all others do not hold that clear memory of exactly what was said or done. I can only conclude those individuals were well on the path to being.... if not already an Arahant.

Neither encounter happened in Thailand by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the time of the Buddha, it seems that you couldn't walk down the street without running into an Arahant, but it doesn't seem like there are so many around now. I've asked one monk who I respect very much about this question in the past. He linked the decline in Arahantship to the complexity of modern life, along with the deterioration of the dhamma's potency throughout time. According to the Buddha, the dhamma should heve already disappeared from the world-- it was only foretold to remain for 500 years.

Additionally, there have been some dubious claims of Arahantship/enlightenment in the past. Perhaps the most shocking example is that the Dalai Lama proclaimed Soko Asahara as a bodhisattva. You may now know Mr. Asahara better as the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, and the mastermind of the Tokyo Subway nerve gas attacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In India, I met a Buddhist nun from England who had been in a cave for 12 years. She had reached the stage the OP is talking about. HH The Dalai Lama said so to the monks who were running the retreat centre I was at. The man himself struck me as being enlightened - but I can't tell can I?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Additionally, there have been some dubious claims of Arahantship/enlightenment in the past. Perhaps the most shocking example is that the Dalai Lama proclaimed Soko Asahara as a bodhisattva. You may now know Mr. Asahara better as the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, and the mastermind of the Tokyo Subway nerve gas attacks.

I wasn't aware that the DL had made such a proclamation. Do you have a source for this idea (other than Aum Shinrikyo itself)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Additionally, there have been some dubious claims of Arahantship/enlightenment in the past. Perhaps the most shocking example is that the Dalai Lama proclaimed Soko Asahara as a bodhisattva. You may now know Mr. Asahara better as the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, and the mastermind of the Tokyo Subway nerve gas attacks.

Nonsense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I have several sources indicating such. There is no outright quote from the Dalai Lama proclaiming Asahara's bodhisattva-hood, but enough to support that at the very least he respected and praised Asahara's meditative attainments. These sources follow below.

Neeranam, as I respect you and your ideas, I was a little hurt to see your 'Nonsense' reply. I would imagine you to be one who would not dismiss something without properly investigating it first. I am not a Dalai Lama basher by any stretch of the imagination-- I'm just saying he made a simple mistake. A mistake which he himself admitted to, with levity, in the 3rd quote below.

Some quotes are as follows:

The Dalai Lama is purported to have said "You can do that well, because you have the mind of a Buddha. If you do so, I shall be very pleased. It will help me with my mission”

-Kaplan, David E., and Marshall, Andrew, The Cult at the End of the World, New York 1996.

"The Dalai Lama recalled that when he

first met the secretive cult's leader Shoko Asahara he was

impressed by what appeared to he Asahara's seriousness and

spirituality."

-World Tibet Network News

Friday, April 7, 1995

"But to endorse Asahara, as he did, was, the Dalai Lama quickly says, 'a mistake. Due to ignorance! So, this proves"—and breaks into his full-throated laugh--"I am not a `Living Buddha'!'"

-Office of Tibet New York > www.tibetoffice.org/en

"...Asahara himself and even, it would seem, by the Dalai Lama, who at one point offered his encouragement to Asahara as a potential renewer of Japanese Buddhism."

- MARBURG JOURNAL OF RELIGION

Volume 3, No.1 (March 1998)

Only after the subway attacks did HH revise his position, and then not radically so: "His Holiness still called the guru a 'friend, although not necessarily a perfect one'” (Stern 36/95, p. 126)

The two met no less than five times, due to the fact that Asahara was a major financial contributor to the Dalai Lama's cause. Here is a picture of the two:

atrimond47a.jpg

Edited by tycann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh,

This is a little funny to me! I love it when the Dalai Lama makes mistakes and laughs at them! No matter what attainments he may have, this sort of honesty is sure refreshing. But to call someone a Boddhisattva, at least by the Tibetan definition, is hardly an endorsement. Anyone can take the Bodhisattva vows or say they have the wish to be one. The Tibetans draw a very sharp distinction betwen a Bodhisattva with an "apirational" wish to discover the awakend mind, vs. those who actually have (i.e. actualized = at least 1st Bodhisattva bhumi, equivalent to ariya puggala).

BTW, the nun the Dalai Lama may have been referring to may be Tenzin Palmo. She spent twelve years in a cave in the Himalayas. Her book "A Cave in the Snow" is an excellent read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point rikpa. I was talking about the very same idea with a gtoup of Mahayana guys the other day. We concluded that it was not possible to pinpoint an exact definition of the bodhisattva in Mahayana. As you pointed out, a bodhisattva may be one who has merely taken (and practiced) the bodhisattva vow, or a realized being. One could add that there is a third class of bodhisattva in Mahayana-- the archetypal bodhisattva, who is not meant to necessarily represent a historical person but rather serve as the embodiment of a characteristic (Avaloketishvara, etc.) When we discussed the enlightenment of the 2nd type mentioned above, there is a bit of confusion.

Most Mahayanists will assert the bodhisattva is 'fully enlightened,' but this may not be representative of the original ideas. As all outgrowths of Buddhism have their original base in Pali, any ambiguity in Pali terms could be purportred to extend thereto. Parinibbana, when in the form of the past participle is parinibbuta, which is seen in the Tipitaka to refer to a broad range of things-- from the enlightenment of the Arahant or Buddha, to a more common meaning of tranquility, or even to the taming of a horse. Additionally, the term 'satta' in Pali has 3 possible analogs in Mahayanist Sanskrit (due to the larger alphabet of Sanskrit)-- it can mean 'seven', 'aspiring to', or 'being.' Depending on the translation to Sanskrit, a bodhisattva can thus be one who is 'being/having bodhi', or one who is 'aspiring to bodhi'-- hence we see two interperetations existing side by side in Mahayana. Of course, I guess he could also be 'bodhi 7' but that doesn't really work, unless its like a superhero team or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tycann, I apologise - I never knew the two ever met. Please excuse my ignorance. :D

BTW, the nun the Dalai Lama may have been referring to may be Tenzin Palmo. She spent twelve years in a cave in the Himalayas. Her book "A Cave in the Snow" is an excellent read.

A little lady about 50 - I can't remember her name. I met her in 1992 and she had only just come out. I've got a photo somewhere of us all in McLeaod Ganj, Darmasala. I'll try to find it.

One of the monks told me that when the DL met her it was very special.

After I shook his hand, I couldn't stop laughing for 3 days. It was like being on drugs :o

I wonder how that works - when you meet an elevated person, they seem to spread their peace/wisdom/kniowledge and serenity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No prob dood. :o

It's cool that you've been to Macleaod Ganj. I'd love to make my way up there, but there are things to do, bills to pay... you know how it is. It would be a great stop on my dream vacation to Bhutan, but I can't go there until I have the money for the unbelievably pricy visa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok I understand that Arahant monks won't proclaim it, & to truely know if he is an Arahant you have to be an Arahant also... :o

But surely fully enlightened monks would radiate an aura of peacefullness & compassion & love etc, everything they say or do would be an amazing thing to witness. Surely normal people could detect this advanced spiritual development in some way on some level.

This is a long shot, but has anyone ever met such a monk? I'm asking because I want to meet one. He doesnt have to speak english. Thanks!

:D

This is a long shot, but has anyone ever met such a monk? I'm asking because I want to meet one. He doesnt have to speak english. Thanks!

Many years ago I knew a Buddhist nun in Vung Tau, Vietnam who the locals believed was a truely holy person. I guess they would have said she was enlightened. She seemed to have radiate a glow from within. She spoke very little english, but she was able to make her point without words. She smiled and laughed a lot. Other people felt happier just being near her. The local Vietnamese believed she could fortell the future. She was quite an amazing person to know.

Was she enlightened? I wouldn't presume to know. But I liked her.

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Sponsors
×