Author Topic: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?  (Read 5466 times)

Juan

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Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« on: October 16, 2007, 07:43:23 PM »
All the discussion raises a question...
Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 09:34:16 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »

Matthew

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Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 09:03:34 PM »
All the discussion raises a question...
Does anybody here personally know an arahant?

Juan,

A very good question. Before answering it for myself there is something that needs understanding:

One thing that is widely misunderstood is that an Arahant IS a Buddha.

By the time the historical Buddha Shakyamuni died there were several hundred Arahants or fully enlightened followers of his way: This is proof alone that if you find the right path it is not difficult to become a fully enlightened Buddha. Some of the Arahants in Buddha's Sangha joined the Sangha and attained full enlightenment within weeks and possibly even days in some cases.

Now these people enjoyed less history than us, less cultural accretions, fewer material possessions and, perhaps, less confusion, noise and crap in their environment: they perhaps therefore had a slightly easier ride than us. But not so much easier that there would be anything to stop any of us becoming a Buddha in this lifetime. And let's face it: none of us knows that we have any lifetime other than this one in which to achieve it so we may as well make a concerted effort to do so in this one.

Some who read this may ask "Well why were they not all called Buddha? Why were they called Arahants?" - The answer is very simple: Buddha was an honorific title bestowed upon Gautama Shakyamuni only in reflection of the fact that he found the path that lead the others to truth, or more importantly to living in truthfulness - which is another excellent synonym for enlightenment. The other enlightened ones in his Sangha were thus called Arahants - they were not The Buddha but they were Buddha's as we would understand the term in general.

There are many synonyms for enlightenment because it cannot be conceptualised and therefore can not ever be learned or experienced through words, but only through practical personal experience. However the words are signposts - hence the phrase "the finger pointing at the moon" ... the finger being the words and enlightenment being the moon - so the Buddha was throwing as many synonyms as he could at it in order to try and get his meaning across to the different audiences and students he taught.

Now having said all that I will answer your question.

I do not personally know a Buddha.

in the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 09:34:36 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Flipasso

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 09:51:01 PM »
I don't think I know a Buddha, as explained TIB.
But I know a few people who seem to be closer to enlightenment that others.


peace@all

Juan

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2007, 11:24:15 PM »
May all of us here reach buddhahood!!

Matthew

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2007, 11:26:15 PM »
May all of us here reach buddhahood!!

There is absolutely no reason why we will not do so if we heed the Buddha's dying words and "strive dilligently for our own salvation"

:)

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
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Juan

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 12:52:48 AM »
See you in Nibbana TIB!  ;)

mettajoey

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 01:26:12 AM »
I do not know any Arahants, much less even have guru in close vicinity.

But, I'm about to contradict myself by making the statement that I believe we are all Arahants struggling to drop the illusion of an ego that tells us otherwise.  I truly believe we are all "gods".  Really what else could we be?  I do not mean a self-serving god, but a manifestation of the ultimate reality.  It's our ignorance that prevents us from seeing it.
I also believe that the reason for more Arahants or awakened ones during the time of the Buddha is because those seeking had an example of the endless unconditional love, complete openness and being without want or need.  I was fascinated with Ram Dass' description of his guru Shri Neem Karoli Baba with similar characteristics in the movie Fierce Grace.  It's like a blueprint of intention, action and non-verbal communication that may have transformed many for just being in that type of presence.  Ram Dass with his head full of ideas, acid and skepticism dropped to his knees in front of his guru after a scant few words were exchanged.  It's all about awareness and really seeing.

Our own TIB, whether it was his quote or another spoke of lifting one's head, dropping the veil and seeing ourselves as we truly are.  I think of that quote often if I'm walking down the road with my head down avoiding contact but then remember to straighten up, look ahead and drop my own illusion.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Matthew

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 01:43:01 AM »
Our own TIB, whether it was his quote or another spoke of lifting one's head, dropping the veil and seeing ourselves as we truly are.  I think of that quote often if I'm walking down the road with my head down avoiding contact but then remember to straighten up, look ahead and drop my own illusion.

It was my quote but I can't remember it exactly :D :D :D

"open your eyes, drop the veil of illusion and see things as they really are" ??? perhaps ... someone ... anyone ... I'm getting old you know ;) I bet Paul or Anders remembers it. Guys .... heeeeelp ....

EDIT: Boy oh boy my memory is not so hot at 1.30am. It was my signature at the old site:


"Hold your head up, open your eyes, let the veil of self delusion drop and discover all that you are."

And I wrote it - not a quote from someone else and not attributed to "Unknown" as some guy on myspace seems to think!

EDIT 2 Ha Ha .. the "Guy on myspace" turns out to be reveurvitae :) I've invited him to join us here.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 08:10:10 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Stefan

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2007, 10:12:54 AM »
... and what is an arahant?
I think SilentFlute is right: we all are, beyond our masks, beyond the veils of maya that caught our attention. Only thing we can do is to try and try again to ged rid of our masks (and the masks beneath the masks). Mind you, we cannot try to become a buddha or an arahant, because we have to let it happen! If we did our meditation for the purpose of becoming enlightened, then the old craving-game would start in no time! Enlightenment is the goal, but thinking about the goal in any form will distract us from our way towards this goal.

... do I know an arahant?
I have no idea. Even if a Buddha told me "Hey, by the way, I'm fully enlightened", how could I ever be sure? I think only an arahant will be able to recognize an arahant. And that's a big problem for anybody who tries to walk the spiritual path: what are we told? who is telling us? is he/ she trustworthy? am I able to recognize a fake? There is this light of truth shining in our souls, but all our veils are dimming it. If we start to crave for the biggest of all goals, for the only real goal, then we will create the biggest of all veils, and we will easily be fooled by false prophets.
Being confronted with the arahant-enlightenment-miracle-stuff, my reaction is to try and not react to it. Go on with your meditation (or your breakfast), thank god for the nice day (again!) and ... observe. Stay equanimous. Observe again. Stay equanimous again.

... why are there so few arahants aroud performing miracles these days?
Because of sheer politeness: It would be very tricky to stay relaxed if a Buddha flew by ...

Metta!

Yours, Stefan
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 10:14:04 AM by stefan »
anicca

Ben

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Re: Does anybody here personally know an arahant?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2007, 12:26:32 PM »
Dear Stefan, all

Within many Buddhist cultures its generally considered ill-mannered to ask a monastic or lay-person what their attainment is.  It is strictly forbidden in the Vinaya of the Theravada to reveal whether one has attained any of the fruition states and I am certain it is the same for the Mahayana and Vajrayana.  And until the early 20th Century in Burma, a person claiming to be Sotapanna was liable to have a hand cut off, in a bid to discourage charlatans from attracting devotees and the subsequent wealth and influence that could achieve.

But back to the question posed by the original poster: Have I met an arahant?
I don't know!

Kind regards

Ben