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Has Anyone Since Buddha Reached Nirvana, Really?

 
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2004 08:24 pm
Don't recall ever meeting the man. He sounds like a lot of American Buddhists who try awefully hard to be anything but American, and adopt a religious zeal that is "off-putting" to a lot of folks. Basically, I don't think they are really ready to go out as priests or nuns, but they go anyway and insist that they know more than anyone less "Japanese", "Tibetan", etc. Oh well, every little bit helps and we have plenty of time.
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2004 03:07 pm
While I try to exist as a social individual(hmm... is that even possible? or a contradiction in termino?) in our current day society (I live in the Netherlands btw.), I am somewhat convinced that each individual has an almost solipsistic inner life. enlightenment may come to different people in different forms.
Perhaps some find enlightenment after years of meditating. Others may find enlightenment in the process of meditating itself. While I don't use drugs myself(there are plenty of people out there who believe all dutch people are both incredibly greedy and use drugs all the time, I met them) I do believe that there is some truth in the words mindexpanding drugs.
Maybe some people find enlightenment by gardening.

But I do feel that not all ways are good for finding enlightenment. I mean, perhaps there are twisted individuals out there who feel that by hurting people (or worse!) they find enlightenment. I cannot concur. In my point of view, people that can make a valid claim for being enlightened, should at least be serene and at peace with themselves and with others and with existing in general. Certain behavioral patterns exclude these very precepts, so they cannot be the way to enlightenment for me.

Naj.
0 Replies
 
AMIT BARAN DEWANJI
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 11:43 am
@tcis,
ONE NEED NOT FEEL THAT BUDDHA ALONE ATTAINED NIRVANA. HAD IT BEEN SO, THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ANY SCOPE FOR ANYBODY TO ATTAIN NIRVANA, AND THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENDLESS BIRTHS FOR ALL.
ONE NEED NOT FEEL ALSO THAT ONLY A BUDDHIST CAN ATTAIN NIRVANA. THE SCOPE FOR ATTAINMENT OF NIRVANA IS OPEN TO ANYONE WHO WILL PRACTICE DIVINE VIRTUES EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ACUTE ADVERSITIES, AND DESIST FROM VICES UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. SUCH A PERSON WILL ATTAIN MAITREE OR LOVE FOR AL LIVING BEINGS, EVEN FOR ENEMIES AND OPPOSITIONS, IN THE LONG RUN, AND FINALLY WILL BE BLESSED WITH NIRVANA.
ONE NEED NOT FEEL ALSO THAT ANYONE WHO HAS REACHED NIRVANA, WILL BEAT HIS/HER OWN TRUMPET. SUCH AN ENLIGHTENED ONE IS FREE FROM ALL DESIRES FOR HIMSELF, AND LIVE ONLY FOR THE WELFARE OF ALL. SO, NATURALLY SUCH A PERSON WILL BE AVERSE TO ALL KINDS OF PUBLICITY AND FAME, AND BY CHANCE MAY BE KNOWN TO A SELECTED FEW WHO ARE BLESSED WITH HIS/HER BLESSINGS.

YOU CANNOT BIND ANYONE WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA WITH YOUR LIMITED IDEAS OR KNOWLEDGE. YOU REALLY CANNOT HAVE ANY PRECONCEIVED NOTION ABOUT SUCH A PERSON. YOU CANNOT CONCLUDE ALSO THAT SUCH A PERSON WILL HAVE THE SAME EXTERNAL FEATURES AS BUDDHA HAD.

HOW WOULD YOU MEASURE SUCH A PERSON? UNLESS YOU HAVE GAINED IMMENSE EXPERIENCE IN YOUR LIFE ABOUT RELIGION, AND UNLESS YOU HAVE PROGRESSED WITH LOVE AND NON- VIOLENCE, IT IS REALLY NOT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO COMPREHEND WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA, EVEN IF YOU LIVE WITH SUCH A PERSON.
SO, THIS IS ADVISABLE TO DESIST FROM SEARCHING SUCH A PERSON. INSTEAD, ONE SHOULD MAKE ALL POSSIBLE EFFORTS TO ATTAIN NON- VIOLENCE, LOVE, HUMILITY AND SIMPLICITY. AS YOU WILL PROGRESS, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY SUCH A PERSON WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA.
A PERSON WHO IS ENGULFED IN ANGER, GREED, PASSION, EGO, INFATUATION, MALICE, SPITE AND OTHER BEASTLY PROPENSITIES, WILL NOT BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY ONE WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA.
ANY KIND OF STUDY, RESEARCH OR OTHER EXTERNAL AIDS WILL NOT HELP IDENTIFYING SUCH A PERSON WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA.
UNLESS ONE HAS REACHED A GREATER HEIGHT, HOW HE WILL BE ABLE TO MEASURE THE GREATEST HEIGHT?
IN BRIEF I HAVE TRIED TO EXPRESS WHAT I FEEL.
ANOTHER THING I CAN TELL WITH CERTAINTY THAT EVEN TODAY, IN THIS WORLD OF VIOLENCE AND SPITE, I HAVE SEEN SOMEONE WHO HAS ATTAINED NIRVANA.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 04:36 pm
Nirvana is an idea, and chasing it makes it harder to reach. Try to learn from every single experience you have, no matter what.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 09:59 pm
@Cyracuz,
Yes, in all experience there is Samsara which is ultimately Nirvana. There is nothing to reach.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 10:13 pm
@JLNobody,
Since nirvana is a state of mind, anyone can achieve it - but only for a very short period. There are just too many distractions in living to achieve "permanent" nirvana.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 10:48 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I do not see Nirvana or enlightenment as a state of mind, that is to say a variable condition in the mind of a few fortunate individuals. It is a constant or default state which we generally obscure by our efforts to be happy, secure, good, wise, etc. etc. All we have to do is let go and see what is in terms of immediate pre-reflective experience.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2012 10:52 pm
@JLNobody,
"Enlightenment" shouts "state of mind" to this observer.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 03:29 am
@JLNobody,
Perhaps it is ironic, but I've spent years chasing "enlightenment" only to find that I was growing more attached, more concerned. In the last few years I've done the opposite. Instead of forsaking attachments I've embraced them, and now I am happier than ever. I am less concerned about things in my life, while simultaneously caring more about them.
Am I enlightened? I don't know. I don't think so, and I don't care. I am happy, and this happiness is more profound than anything I've experienced before. So now I embrace and accept life with all it's ups and downs. Acceptance is to me the key to breathing free.
eurocelticyankee
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 07:11 am
@Cyracuz,
I got a train to Nirvana once... or was that Lisdoonvarna?. Razz
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pJf4llYrM8
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 10:10 am
@cicerone imposter,
I know.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 10:17 am
@Cyracuz,
Ironic, paradoxical? Yes. But please continue to be passively mindful* of your life experience. That way it will continue to mature toward an on-going effortless condition of acceptance. Amor fati.
*As I see it, choiceless awareness: a proper way to do meditation (Krishnamurti, vipassana and soto zen "methods")
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 11:01 am
@JLNobody,
Thanks JL. That sounds like good advice.
I've always achieved the best results when I forgot to think of myself as the doer, regardless of what the task is. When performing a task, awareness of anything related to my identity or sense of self seems to be distraction.
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 03:33 pm
@Cyracuz,
Agreed. I can most easily forget myself when playing the violin in a successful performance: at such times there's only the music. When it's not going so well there's only the performance.
But in the context of zen consciousness/meditation, it's all delicious. When ego arises just focus on its essentital emptiness--it flees in embarrassment, leaving you afloat in freedom. Smile
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 03:45 pm
@eurocelticyankee,
You cudda done both! LOL
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 03:56 pm
@tcis,
tcis wrote:

Do you think anyone since Buddha has reached nirvana?

Has anyone living today actually reached nirvana?

Is there a way to know if another person has reached nirvana?

There is actually a journal called ""What is Enlightenment?"
http://www.wie.org/

They devote thousands of pages to the subject. Its good stuff. Yet, it seems like when they speak of enlightened individuals, it is always some person that lived 100 or more years ago, who was said to be enlightened, etc. "This person knew that person who visited that temple and met an enlightened master."
They never directly mentioned anyone who is living, who is enlightened.

Some may say that a vegetarian who practices nonviolence is enlightened. With this definition, there might be millions of enlightened people out there.

But using a more strict definition, say: one who has reached nirvana, are there ANY out there?

Dictionary definitions:

Nirvana
1.a. Buddhism: The ineffable ultimate in which one has attained disinterested wisdom and compassion.
b. Hinduism: Emancipation from ignorance and the extinction of all attachment.
2. An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

Enlightenment
1. Buddhism & Hinduism: A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana.

There are so many charlatans out there who will take you on a "Spiritual Retreat Week" for $2000+. How is one to know who has actually achieved nirvana?

Is there actually currently anyone on earth who has reached nirvana?

Have you met someone you considered enlightened?

Example: Ram Dass says he considered his guru Neem Karoli Baba enlightened. This guru would do things like tell Dass stories about his mother, with information that no one outside the family knew. He was said to perform miracles. For this and other reasons, Dass considered him to be enlightened. BUT: This guru was far away in India. Almost on purpose, he didn't give directions on how to reach Baba. He is now deceased. Again, its innuendo and not a direct experience.

I've seen photos of gurus sitting in caves who seem to have eyes glowing. They seem to be a different breed. They might be somewhere. But these are 80 year old photos.

Are there any living people who are in nirvana? Who are they? Where are they?


I have studied buddhism for over half my life and this is a question that I have often wondered. I have met many masters and have even been bold enough to ask them if they are enlightened like shakyamuni and pretty much all of them laugh or smile and shrug it off trying to avoid being arrogant or egotistical. I tell them it doesn't help to avoid the question because then I must assume the answer. Then I get a confirmation that they aren't but they are still a work in progress.

Although I have respect for buddhism and it's foundational teachings, the ones that haven't been poluted with additional dogmas, is worth study and even implimenting into your own personal philosophy. It is definately helpful to utilize it's way of viewing our existence and reality. Even the concept of non-self is beyond anything that any other method of thought has introduced.

With all that said, I doubt there is a single living being that is fully enlightened like that described by the writings based on shakyamuni. On top of that, I think there are frauds who will claim to be enlightened while they drive around in their bmws and sport their gold rolex watches. They have millions of followers who constantly donate money to them, selling them false hopes and obscure practices that never culminate in anything other than wasted time.

I know this is getting long but I need to defend my first premise.

If enlightenment were true, then there should be hundreds of thousands of successful cases, not just one or two per generation. But why so many, why not just a few? Isn't it difficult? I say if it is difficult and requires multiple lives then what good is it? How practical is it if you have to struggle this life and many others just to obtain it? Especially if you don't even remember each life. I've been told that I practiced in a past life, but I have no memory of that and besides, if I did then I wasted 18 years prior to taking up study and even then it was more accademic for 15 years with speratic practice. How useful is that then? It's not.

If it takes a full lifetime to aquire then it is still useless because how long are you actually going to utilize it if you only have a few years left?

Many of the sutras (pure land ones) state right at their beginnings that you had to have had an affinity with the text or else you never would have even come across it let alone have the ability to read it, and even less so to understand it. I have had the priveldge to read not just one or two but dozens of them. But to be honest, you can google most of them, so does that mean everyone who googles them has an affinity with them? Doubtful.

One of my favorites is the diamond sutra which has been debated to be a fraud. I find it interesting if it is because it's full of what I consider to be foundational truths. So even if it is a false work and not actual dharma then who ever compiled it did their homework.

I would love to be wrong, but something tells me, I'm not. So to recap. I doubt there are any living buddhas or fully enlightened people in the world today.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 04:02 pm
@Krumple,
I don't view "enlightenment" in the most common interpretation of it. I think it's impossible to achieve "total enlightenment" for humans, because there are just too many physical needs and distractions.

However, I see the pursuit of enlightenment as a honorable goal. Each person needs to reach that level of enlightenment that produces self-satisfaction.

My wife is a Buddhist, and all my siblings are Christians. I admire the philosophy of Buddhism over any other religion, because they try to improve themselves, and don't attempt to "save" others.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 May, 2012 05:23 pm
@Krumple,
From my perspective, Krumple, you are a living Buddha. I agree with your attitude toward guruism. I see mostly people setting themselves up to profit from the "enlightenment industry." By the way, my practice has been going on since the early 60s and I have achieved nothing of a sensational nature. It's all so very subtle but very satisfying. It would be nice even if the major advancement (if that is the word) were to occur for me the day before I die. I'd love to die in a maximally enlightened manner.*
* I see no reason to believe in "karma" or "reincarnation". The mythology of Buddhism is best taken metaphorically. I feel that when I die I'll enjoy the absolute peace that preceded my birth. Smile
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 09:05 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I can most easily forget myself when playing the violin in a successful performance: at such times there's only the music. When it's not going so well there's only the performance.


I have that experience with my guitar. When I am successful I have no awareness of myself playing on the 6 strings of my guitar. All such distinctions are obstacles. There is only music.
There is a phrase I've heard spoken several times in old kung fu films, often said by the master to the student. "Learn it all, then forget it all." Once you have learned it you are an expert. When you've learned to forget all you've been taught and just go with it instead, then you are a master.

Quote:
When ego arises just focus on its essentital emptiness--it flees in embarrassment, leaving you afloat in freedom.


Good choice of words. I've so many times experienced the embarrassment of failing because I was too self aware. It happens most often when I'm on stage, in front of an audience.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 09:08 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I'd love to die in a maximally enlightened manner.


You can't. There would be nothing left to do the dying. Such an end would really be something. Smile

Quote:
I see no reason to believe in "karma" or "reincarnation"


I see karma as a way of life. The best description of what karma is that I've ever heard is "you will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger."
 

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