Hello Tilt, Ben,
Yes, I always feel uncomfortable when someone claims enlightenment. It is just that just the group was listed on Meetups for Brisbane, is just starting up, and I was looking for a local meditation group which might meet close by.
I tend to agree with John Bullitt from ATI:Are there any enlightened people in the world nowadays?
How can I tell who's really enlightened?
I wouldn't be a Buddhist if I didn't think enlightenment were possible. The Buddha himself observed that as long there are people practicing correctly in line with the noble eightfold path, there will continue to be enlightened beings in the world (DN 16).
Even better evidence of the reality of enlightenment lies in the "gradual" nature of the Buddha's teachings. In the suttas, the Buddha speaks again and again of the many rewards awaiting those who follow the Path, long before they reach nibbana: the happiness that comes from developing generosity; the happiness that comes from living according to principles of virtue; the happiness that comes from developing loving-kindness (metta); the happiness that comes from practicing meditation and discovering the exquisite bliss of a quiet mind; the happiness that comes from abandoning painful states of mind; and so on. These can be tasted for yourself, to varying degrees, through Dhamma practice. Once you've personally verified a few of the Buddha's teachings, it becomes ever-easier to accept the possibility that the rest of his teachings are plausible — including his extraordinary claim that enlightenment is accessible to us.
It's probably best not to spend too much time speculating on someone else's degree of enlightenment, simply because our own delusion and defilements are bound to cloud our vision and distort our assessment of others' attainments or lack thereof.
Our time is far better spent looking inwards and asking of ourselves: "Am I enlightened? Have I made an end of suffering and stress?" If the answer is negative, then we have more work to do.
Some lines of questioning regarding someone else's purity are, however, well worth pursuing — especially when deciding whether or not to accept that person as your teacher: "Does this person seem to be truly happy? Does he live by the precepts? Is her interpretation of Dhamma a valid one? Can I learn something of real value from him?" It can take a long and close association with someone before you can begin to answer these questions with any confidence (AN 4.192). But if you do find someone possessing this rare constellation of good qualities, stay with that person: he or she probably has something of lasting value to teach you.
Finally, one rule of thumb that I've found helpful: someone who goes around claiming to be enlightened (or dropping hints to that effect) probably isn't — at least not in the sense the Buddha had in mind.http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... /bfaq.html