Test Your Enlightenment

Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Astus » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:44 pm

I now present ten questions in order to form a framework [to test your understanding].

[1] Do you thoroughly understand seeing [one’s] nature, as if delineating and contemplating phenomenal forms similar to someone like Mañjuśrī?

[2] In everything you do—whether encountering situations or dealing with externals, seeing phenomenal forms or listening to sounds, raising a foot or lowering a foot, opening the eyes or closing the eyes—do you illuminate the implicit truth [ zong ] and comply with Buddhism?

[3] Do you read the teachings of each age and the statements of former patriarchs and masters, listening deeply and unafraid, completely understanding the truth in all of their teachings and not doubting it?

[4] In response to different [types of] difficult questions and all manner of trivial queries, are you able to provide [answers] according to the four kinds of eloquent responses and completely resolve the doubts that others have?

[5] At all times and in all situations, does wisdom shine forth unhindered and does thought after thought pass perfectly, without encountering a single dharma that is able to cause obstruction, or being interrupted for even a single instant?

[6] In all the occasions that present themselves to you in the external realm, whether contrary or agreeable, good or bad, do you resist [the desire to] elude them [on the one hand] and are you always conscious of destroying [any attachment to] them [on the other]?

[7] Within the realm of the mind and its objects comprised of a series of one hundred dharmas, do you get to see the extremely subtle essence-nature and the original point of rising of each and every [dharma], without confusing them with the circumstances of birth and death and the organs of sense and their objects?

[8] Regarding the four types of behavior—walking, standing, sitting, and lying—do you address others respectfully and exercise restraint when replying? And when wearing clothes and eating food, performing and carrying out [tasks], do you understand the true reality of each and every grade [in rank]?

[9] When listening to claims that there are Buddhas or there are no Buddhas, there are sentient beings or there are no sentient beings, do you sometimes applaud them and sometimes refute them, sometimes agree and sometime disagree, with a firm unwavering mind?

[10] When you hear about how all the different kinds of wisdom are able to clearly fathom how nature and form complement each other, how li and shi are unhindered, how nonexistence and existence are one and the same phenomena and do not reflect the origin [of phenomena] itself, and how the thousand sages appear in the world, can you avoid doubting it?

(Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing Lu, p. 273-274, tr. A. Welter)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Simon E. » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:58 pm

Me ?
1) No
2) No
3) No
4) No
5) No
6) No
7) No
8) No
9) No
10) Yes.

:namaste:
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:57 pm

I see your wordy Yanshou and raise you just sitting.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:07 am

kirtu wrote:I see your wordy Yanshou and raise you just sitting.


They say that just sitting is practice-enlightenment and there's nothing beyond that, nothing to achieve at all. On the other hand, you sit silently till the end of your life. And if we scratch the rhetoric of just sitting a little bit we find that there's a lot more going on. So it can be that it is not Yanshou who talks too much but certain teachers say too little about what Buddhism is about. Mystifying enlightenment is of no use.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:28 am

That is a formidable and very exacting list. As a generally self-directed, long-term, secular devotee of meditation, my response is: no, I have not attained all of those capabilities. But I do, at least, recognize quite a few of them, and have some understanding, and even some experience, of what some of the points refer to - certainly more so, than a person who has done no such practice whatever.

An analogy - it is like asking classical pianists: can you read any piece put in front of you on sight, do you have skills across the range of the classical repertoire, are you able to interpret the composer sympathetically, etc. There are many fine pianists who would not be able to answer all in the affirmative, whilst still being capable exponents. So that list is like the skills one might see in a spiritual virtuoso. I imagine they are few in number (maybe less in number than classical pianists!)
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby oushi » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:47 pm

Being free from understanding, there is nothing to test. When understanding is the problem itself, how can you test enlightenment by asking questions?

An analogy - it is like asking classical pianists: can you read any piece put in front of you on sight, do you have skills across the range of the classical repertoire, are you able to interpret the composer sympathetically, etc. There are many fine pianists who would not be able to answer all in the affirmative, whilst still being capable exponents. So that list is like the skills one might see in a spiritual virtuoso. I imagine they are few in number (maybe less in number than classical pianists!)

You breath even without knowing it. I will leave answering to 10 question about it, to some virtuoso.
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Simon E. » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:53 pm

oushi wrote:Being free from understanding, there is nothing to test. When understanding is the problem itself, how can you test enlightenment by asking questions?

An analogy - it is like asking classical pianists: can you read any piece put in front of you on sight, do you have skills across the range of the classical repertoire, are you able to interpret the composer sympathetically, etc. There are many fine pianists who would not be able to answer all in the affirmative, whilst still being capable exponents. So that list is like the skills one might see in a spiritual virtuoso. I imagine they are few in number (maybe less in number than classical pianists!)

You breath even without knowing it. I will leave answering to 10 question about it, to some virtuoso.

Go on...indulge us and answer anyway. ;)
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:55 pm

Isn't it funny how people immediately become defensive and question (attack) the validity of the text rather than just admitting that they are nowhere near "qualifying" as enlightened? :thinking: Such is the glory of ego!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Simon E. » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:57 pm

:smile:
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby seeker242 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:23 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Isn't it funny how people immediately become defensive and question (attack) the validity of the text rather than just admitting that they are nowhere near "qualifying" as enlightened? :thinking: Such is the glory of ego!


It's also funny how famous zen masters burned texts and called them useless garbage, etc! :smile:
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby oushi » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Simon E. wrote:
oushi wrote:Being free from understanding, there is nothing to test. When understanding is the problem itself, how can you test enlightenment by asking questions?

An analogy - it is like asking classical pianists: can you read any piece put in front of you on sight, do you have skills across the range of the classical repertoire, are you able to interpret the composer sympathetically, etc. There are many fine pianists who would not be able to answer all in the affirmative, whilst still being capable exponents. So that list is like the skills one might see in a spiritual virtuoso. I imagine they are few in number (maybe less in number than classical pianists!)

You breath even without knowing it. I will leave answering to 10 question about it, to some virtuoso.

Go on...indulge us and answer anyway. ;)

You don't want to be alone in competition ? :D
Ok then.
[1] I've never been Manjustri to be able to make such a comparison.
[2] Have no idea, need compliance manager.
[3] One can completely miss the point while being sure he understands it completely.
[4] Many answer (especially in Zen) are aiming to bring doubt. "completely resolve the doubts that others have" all the time is some kind of idealistic fantasy.
[5] I prefer to have my thoughts interrupted by a car speeding through a junction, at all times.
[6] Pavlov successfully taught a dog to always react to a light. It didn't waste any occasion.
[7] there is no "point" of rising. If there is, please point to it.
[8] Buddha "exercise restraint"? Sound weird.
[9] If he asks about being unmoved by the talk about the Buddha, then yes. So many things has been said, that it is hard to be surprised.
[10] Why ask enlightened being whether he believes something he is embodying?

This is a test for a perfect practitioner that shouldn't doubt his master, and carry targets so high that he will never achieve them. This is religion.

How would you relate dependence of enlightenment upon those specific conditions to the teaching of the Patriarch:
"When the mortal mind appears, buddhahood disappears. When the mortal mind disappears, buddhahood appears. When the mind appears, reality disappears. When the mind disappears, reality appears. Whoever knows that nothing depends on anything has found the Way. And whoever knows that the mind depends on nothing is always at the place of enlightenment."
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Jesse » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:06 pm

Number five must be nice.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Jikan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:16 pm

jeeprs wrote:That is a formidable and very exacting list.


^^^This.

I've been reflecting on it for the last day and it seems an excellent diagnostic to me.
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby shel » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:31 pm

[11] Are you nice? :tongue:
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:17 pm

seeker242 wrote:It's also funny how famous zen masters burned texts and called them useless garbage, etc! :smile:
Yes, well, I imagine that some of the "masters" that tore up this specific text may have done so in order to cover up their own shortcomings. ;)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:49 pm

In Theravada there is a much simpler list, the 10 hindrances to enlightenment. If you want an even simpler, shorter test, ask this:

1. Do you have any ill-will or anger toward yourself or anyone?
If yes, then you're not enlightened. If no, then excellent, then ask:

2. Do you have any sense cravings or desires of any kind?
To answer no, that would mean no sexual relations, no food cravings, no picking out certain foods because they taste better, no cravings of any kind. Some might be able yes to having no ill-will, but few of us (if any) could stake claim to having absolutely no cravings or desires of any kind.
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Re: Test Your Foundation

Postby Will » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:30 pm

Do I have fewer & weaker self-centered desires than ?? years ago? Has my devotion to and aspiration for the way of Buddha increased in the last ?? years?
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Test Your Foundation

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:34 pm

Will wrote:Do I have fewer & weaker self-centered desires than ?? years ago? Has my devotion to and aspiration for the way of Buddha increased in the last ?? years?


:thumbsup: Very good, yes, it doesn't have to be an 'all-or-nothing' thing. We can see improvement in everyday life and know that we are making progress.
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby seeker242 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:17 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
seeker242 wrote:It's also funny how famous zen masters burned texts and called them useless garbage, etc! :smile:
Yes, well, I imagine that some of the "masters" that tore up this specific text may have done so in order to cover up their own shortcomings. ;)


Touche! Even funnier though would be if someone were to post on here and answer yes to every question, they would probably still be accused of being egocentric! "I got enlightenment" posts on Buddhist forums never seem to go over well. :rolling:
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Re: Test Your Enlightenment

Postby Astus » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:46 am

seeker242 wrote:Touche! Even funnier though would be if someone were to post on here and answer yes to every question, they would probably still be accused of being egocentric! "I got enlightenment" posts on Buddhist forums never seem to go over well. :rolling:


Then Subhuti asked these monks, "Elders, have you ever achieved or realized anything?"
The monks replied, "Only presumptuous persons will claim they have achieved and realized something. To a humble religious devotee, nothing is achieved or realized. How, then, would such a person think of saying to himself, 'This I have achieved; this I have realized'? If such an idea occurs to him, then it is a demon's deed."

(The Demonstration of the Inconceivable State of Buddhahood in "A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras", p. 33)

Resolute Mind asked, "Have you, sir, attained the Surangama Samadhi?"
The Indra king replied, "Could the characteristics of 'attain' and 'not attain' exist within this samadhi?"
Resolute Mind said, "No."
The Indra king said, "Good youth, you should understand that when a Bodhisattva practices this samadhi, there is nothing that is attained in any of the dharmas."
Resolute Mind said, "Since your understanding is like this, you must have already attained the Surangama Samadhi."
The king said, "Good youth, I do not perceive that the dharmas have any place of residence. He who has no residence in all the dharmas has attained the Surangama Samadhi. Good youth, to reside in this samadhi is to be completely without residence in all the dharmas. If one is without residence, then one is without grasping. If one is without grasping, one is also without preaching."

(Surangama Samadhi Sutra, p. 32. tr. McRae)

The Buddha asked Mañjuśrī, “When a Bodhisattva sits in a bodhimaṇḍa, does he attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi?”
Mañjuśrī replied, “When a Bodhisattva sits in a bodhimaṇḍa, he does not attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Why not? Because the appearance of bodhi is true suchness. Not finding a speck of dharma to capture is called anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi.
...
If there are those who say that they see bodhi and have attained it, we should know that they are the ones with exceeding arrogance.”

Sūtra of Mahā-Prajñā-Pāramitā Pronounced by Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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