I once discovered a kind of test which I could apply to the heart, to see if my aspiration to enlightenment is genuine or not. I asked myself, Imagine for a moment that you could attain enlightenment, but that no-one would ever find out. Do you still want it? (with this strict precondition)? It was amazing to see how the heart hesitated, as if there is a kilesa there - a wanting to get known as a 'great enlightened teacher' one day, or to finally get some respect from others. This examination was quite 'enlightening' in itself, so to speak, when I found pride and conceit lurking there. (And the answer is, of course, yes, I still aspire to enlightenment, yes even if no-one ever finds out; but it's interesting how even that noble aspiration can be tainted by defilements, or 'used' by the defilements as it were, to perpetuate their own existence).
I recall somewhere, in the dhammapada I think it was, where the Buddha admonishes those who want to be known as having accomplished this or that, etc, and exhorts us to rather cultivate seclusion. And so, I am trying to take this to heart, to focus on freedom for it's own sake, and not for any other byproduct that might come along with it (fame, respect etc). I think, for example, of Bhante Gunaratana, whose meditation instructions seem to flow from direct, personal experience (he speaks about insight in such a matter of fact way, one gets the impression that he has truly realized it), and yet, I've never heard him claiming anything, he just quietly goes about the business of helping others with the practice. Maybe the truly realized are like this...and having reflected on that, maybe self-proclamations of attainment need to be approached with due circumspection.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."