autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

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grumpyfreyr
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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:05 am

paul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 am
There is a measure called “protecting the sign”, which means conserving a favourable mental state that has arisen as a result of concentration, and involves avoiding unnecessary talk and interactions, as they have a detrimental effect.
Wow! I'd not heard of this. This helps me. Explains so much. And, wow. Okay.
paul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 am
The third last is conceit, and refers to comparisons about attainments, so that is avoided.
But until one has overcome conceit, how does not talking about it help? Surely exposing ones own conceit by talking about it would be helpful? Keeping ones conceit a secret could help to preserve it. But, maybe it should only be discussed between arya.

But if that is always the conclusion: "nobles shouldn't speak about their experiences to worldlings" then wouldn't that seem to obstruct learning?

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by paul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:27 am

In the method of Theravada learning, it is the individual’s own responsibility to compare what they hear with what has already been experienced and so build their practice. These days reading is the main teacher, with Analayo, Bikkhu Bodhi and Thanissaro being the leading authors.

“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: "weighs," "compares"). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.”—MN 95

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by rightviewftw » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:18 am

Circumstances that play a part;

1. Lay people with jhana and path attainments are a minority
2. Monks with jhana and path attainments are a minority
3. The vast majority of people is filled to the brim with delusion, greed, anger and conceit and are to that extent guaranteed not to react adequately to any such claims
4. Ariyans have nothing to prove and don't owe anybody anything
5. Ariyans knowing their own benefit are more likely to look for their superior or solitude than seeking to associate with non-Ariya
6. People without attainments tend to have preconceived notions about attainments they don't have, quite often they just deny the existence of attainments altogether
7. People have a tendency to overestimate themselves due to conceit
8. People with attainments are not hiding it but have little incentive to announce it
9. They won't generally announce it if it is going to inconvenience them
10. There is a Buddhist establishment in form of Institutions which are influenced and have influence on governments and to that extent there is invested interest, politics and hierarchy.
11. Most "Buddhists" show reverence to and follow the established norms and authority.
12. Most "Buddhists" are not learned enough to have an educated opinion on validity of interpretations let alone having knowledge of the points of controversy
13.
Anguttara Nikaya Sutta 8.51, the Buddha said the True Dhamma will last five hundred years. This means it will be pure and unadulterated during this period only.

In Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 16.13 the Buddha warned that counterfeit Dhamma will arise in the world, just like counterfeit gold, causing the True Dhamma to disappear.
14.
When the Buddha was about to enter parinibbana he instructed the monks “…. What I have taught and explained to you as Dhamma Vinaya, that will be your Teacher after I am gone. “ (Digha Nikaya Sutta 16).
15.
In Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 20.7, the Buddha also predicted that in the future the monks will not listen to, study, or master, the discourses of the Buddha. Instead they prefer to listen to, study, and master the discourses of disciples (i.e. later monks), thus causing the disappearance of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
15.
Anguttara Nikaya Sutta 4.180 the Buddha said that if any monk claims that “This is Dhamma, this is Vinaya, this is the Master’s teaching”, his words should neither be accepted nor rejected. Instead, they should be compared to the Suttas (discourses) and Vinaya of the Buddha.
16.
According to Chabbisodhana Sutta; The Buddha said that when any bhikkhu claimed to the attainment of Arahatship, his claim should not be admitted or rejected outright. His claim should be carefully scrutinized according to the text.
17.
Suppose a monk were to say: "Friends, I heard and received this from the Lord's own lips: this is the Dhamma, this is the discipline, this is the Master's teaching", then, monks, you should neither approve nor disapprove his words. Then, without approving or disapproving, his words and ex­pressions should be carefully noted and compared with the Suttas and reviewed in the light of the discipline. If they, on such comparison and review, are found not to conform to the Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be: "Assuredly this is not the word of the Buddha, it has been wrongly un­derstood by this monk", and the matter is to be rejected. But where on such comparison and review they are found to con­form to the Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be: "Assuredly this is the word of the Buddha, it has been rightly understood by this monk.
18. Given that what is designated as classical Theravada includes 5th Century commentarial works and thus material therein far exceeds the 500 years of unadulterated Dhamma it follows that people should also scrutinize the Commentarial works but most people don't do this. Therefore should anybody claim high attainment and be found to contradict Commentary this person will certainly be rejected as a "fake" on that basis even tho it may turn out to be a vain and baseless accusation.
19. When comparing Commentary to Sutta quite often even learned people fail to acknowledge reasonable doubt and are making unreasonable assertions for various reasons such as stupidity, confirmation bias or just a logical fallacy.

Due to these circumstances talking about attainments is complicated.

Also the way it seems to me that the doctrine is corrupted is from the top down meaning that it is the highest attainments that become misunderstood and misrepresented first before minor and more obvious points like ie should monks use money or not.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:42 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:04 am
Well, here's a very old thread on the sotapanna issue to give you a flavour.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4857
I find Kevin's experience, attitude and all his responses entirely relatable, and see no reason whatsoever to doubt what he says. I don't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I'm naive. I tend to take people at their word, and assume that everyone else does too.

If someone says they are an arahant, I might say "thank you for sharing this with me" and then carry on with whatever I was doing. It's the same as someone saying "I stubbed my toe but it's okay now" - there's not really anything to do about it.

I find that thread quite distressing. And now I'm entertained by my distress. And now I am sad. Always so sad Freyr, always so sad.

I think that thread could have been far more helpful to all involved if not disrupted by irrelevant skepticism.

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:18 am
3. The vast majority of people is filled to the brim with delusion, greed, anger and conceit and are to that extent guaranteed not to react adequately to any such claims
For some reason, I find this hard to believe, but I recognise it must be true. Thank you for all these points. Very, very helpful. They all make sense. I have taken notes.
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:18 am
Due to these circumstances talking about attainments is complicated.
hahahahahahahahaahahaha

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:21 pm

Okay, next question:
is there an online forum or group that's just for ariya? (where they can talk about what's going on for them without anyone going ape shit about it)

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by rightviewftw » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:59 pm

grumpyfreyr wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:21 pm
Okay, next question:
is there an online forum or group that's just for ariya? (where they can talk about what's going on for them without anyone going ape shit about it)
Not that i know of.

I imagine that any such group open to the public would be infiltrated by all kinds of crazy who think they are enlightened reeing when kicked out. I think there is obviously a lot more fake enlightened people than those who are rightfully attained, what is the ratio 100:1, 1000:1 or maybe 100000:1, i don't know.

I think people who have attainments would be interested in finding others primarily to further train together to be a support for each other irl. Other than that discussing the doctrinal points would be interesting as well but this can be done on a board like this without revealing any personal information.

I am not sure why you are asking these questions but if you are looking for attained people one is imho best adviced to observe people in regards to qualities of delusion, greed and anger and approach those who seem to be the best of them privately to find out more and it might turn out that they will tell you about their supposed attainments and you might you gain confidence in their attainments. It can obviously turn out to be a mistake, so take it for what it's worth.

Luckily we still have all of the texts and if we take those to be our teacher it would be quite difficult to mislead us.

There are also Faith-Followers and Dhamma-Followers that are Ariyan, these may or may not have any distinct attainment to claim but have transcended the plane of ordinary people nevertheless
grumpyfreyr wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:42 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:18 am
3. The vast majority of people is filled to the brim with delusion, greed, anger and conceit and are to that extent guaranteed not to react adequately to any such claims
For some reason, I find this hard to believe, but I recognise it must be true. Thank you for all these points. Very, very helpful. They all make sense. I have taken notes.
To the brim - in as far as the are not Ariyan is what i meant.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:46 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:59 pm
I am not sure why you are asking these questions
Reasons.
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:59 pm
Not that i know of.
Well, thanks anyway.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by suaimhneas » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 pm

Hi grumpyfreyr,
I'm relatively new around here too (just introduced myself in recent days). I'm actually a person who practices both ACIM and Buddhism (ACIM longer than Buddhism). I was actually surprised to see mention of ACIM around here (it's not a topic I would probably even have raised here myself). I find both relatively compatible and complementary in terms of practice (at the point where I'm at in my practice anyway). However, while there are similarities, there are also some differences in how they conceive of their endpoints. I'll probably bite a bit further on some of the points/questions you raise when I get a chance in the next few days.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by paul » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:44 am

suaimhneas wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 pm
I'm actually a person who practices both ACIM and Buddhism
Is ACIM an escape bridge for you from Catholicism to Buddhism?

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by suaimhneas » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:39 pm

paul wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:44 am
suaimhneas wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 pm
I'm actually a person who practices both ACIM and Buddhism
Is ACIM an escape bridge for you from Catholicism to Buddhism?
That's a reasonable question. For the most part, my answer would be no. Given I'm Irish it probably isn't exactly unsurprising that I was raised Catholic. However, I've made my accommodations with Catholicism a long time ago (prior to ACIM or Buddhism for that matter). I poked around in a lot of spiritual systems. ACIM was the one I happened to find most interesting/inspiring/meaningful/useful etc. I would, nonetheless, have had a reasonable enough knowledge of Buddhism too going back many years too (would definitely have respected it and been high on the list). I went to Buddhism a few years ago looking for better meditation techniques (a bit mercenary I know :) but it seemed like the best place to look). I also happened to discover the suttas at that time. I definitely found those inspiring/meaningful (far more than earlier more derivative Buddhist material I'd encountered). I've made a good tour through the Nikayas in the interim. I find them good spiritual food and inspiring in a similar way to ACIM, but it wasn't as if Buddhism was completely a bolt out of the blue.

Neither system is really, at its core, much about theology or all that dogmatic; certainly for Buddhism if the Sutta Nipata is anything to go by (more about experience and practice). However, they do inevitably make a few basic working assumptions about the nature of the universe. Some of those differ between the two systems. Both then are quite logical and fairly coherent in the general frameworks and practice systems they build on those foundations. However, the veracity of those basic premises isn't IMO really something testable by argumentation. They are either true or not.

I'm something of an agnostic really. I practice and see where that leads me. ACIM is IMO a nice representative (the most appealing to me out of that set) of a general basket of "perennial philosophy" type systems (those that assume some kind of oneness or creator, "eternalist" systems in Buddhist parlance). A second option/working hypothesis is that spiritual systems in general are bunkum (this would be the annihalationist option in Buddhist terms). Buddhism is a rather unique and interesting third option somewhere in the *middle* :tongue: (no creator/oneness as such, or not as the fundamental principle anyway, but still having some aspects of perennialist systems).

Bearing the second annihalationist possibility in mind, I do try to be gentle in my practice and ask myself if it is actually making this life better and happier (or at minimum not worse). With respect to the seeming divergence in endpoints between possibility one (perennialist systems/ACIM) and three (Buddhism), at this point I shrug my shoulders (beyond my pay grade right now). There's too much basic stuff to get right: improving morality, trying to become kinder and more forgiving (metta and related ACIM type practices; lots of work to do there) and improving meditation ability (techniques for stilling/quieting the mind and investigating the mind; am improving at such things but still much work to do). Perhaps at some later point the path ahead will become clearer (or not). Or, paraphrasing the Visuddhimagga, I'll find there's a path being walked but no walker to be found! ;) Maybe.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by cookiemonster » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:49 pm

grumpyfreyr wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:04 pm
There's also a question that so far I seem unwilling to let go. It goes something like this: What is the common stage of attainment (is that how to call it?) for Buddhists? Both among monastic communities, and among lay people? Nobody seems to talk about it. Like, people don't say "Hi, I'm Alison, 53, Sotapanna". Why do people not report their state? Is it considered rude? Am I just very naive and don't realise that there are people in the world who would lie about it and this would lead to problems?
This is a great question & I have a contrarian answer.

As others have pointed out, common concerns about declaring ariya status involves:
  • 1. Proving one's status to hearers;
    2. Deference of hearers to the claimant;
    3. Overestimating one's own status;
    4. Self modesty of claimants;
    5. Lying to gain influence over hearers.
All of those arguments are (or should be) ultimately irrelevant, if intentions are proper and skillful on both sides.

The ariya, in declaring his attainment, can declare his ariya status as he understands it, recognizes that he has nothing to prove nor disprove to others if he is asked, and knows that his intent is merely to honestly & straightforwardly state a statement of fact as he sees it for himself, neither concealing nor exaggerating the truth, without attachment, aversion, or delusion. Any hearer's attachment - in instinctively deferring to the claimant for example - merely reflects his own unskillfulnesses which needs to be transcended (AN 4:192, 3:40). IMO this covers point 1-4.

Regarding point 5: the main problem revolves around the declarer's unskillful attachments (e.g. to fame, power, etc.), attachments he needs to recognize & work on within himself. The hearer, again, should not irrationally pay deference without testing and observing the self-proclaimed ariya, through long personal association & personal knowledge (AN 4:192, 3:40).

Finally, it is good to remember that the Buddha and other early disciples themselves announced their attainments; and, disciples - even lowly sotapannas - are allowed to announce these attainments, if true (e.g. AN 10:92, Vinaya). That tells me that they were unashamed of the truth, knowing that those of lesser attainment learn by their example.

TL;DR: IMO an ariya should freely announce his status truthfully if asked. The questioner should test all claims for himself. Declining to share attainments under the guise of "modesty", etc. demonstrates unskillfulness & deprives questioners of a potentially skillful ariya's example.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:15 pm

This seems exactly right, though more eloquently expressed than I could put it, and in more Buddhist terms than the terms in which I think.

Thank you for sharing.

May I ask your self-identified state? (PM it to me if you feel uncomfortable sharing publicly).

My current notion is that it's like being transgender (or any other marginalised group). In many places it's not safe to be "out", and so it's a personal choice whether to out oneself. Anyone who is not transgender/gay/whatever has no business voicing an opinion about whether such people should disclose.

I find it ironic that those who have actually attained the state which is supposedly the goal of buddhism, are marginalised.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:25 pm

Greetings,
grumpyfreyr wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:15 pm
I find it ironic that those who have actually attained the state which is supposedly the goal of buddhism, are marginalised.
You'll have seen some of the attitudes expressed in the aforementioned links. It's rather unfortunate, but people are driven by whatever motivations and feelings they're driven by. To be brutally honest, I think the main reason people react poorly when someone else makes such an announcement is because they know that the person in question practices the Dhamma differently than they do, and this potential for someone who is doing something differently to have success, casts self-doubt on the efficacy of their own chosen set of views and practices. If they have been practicing fruitlessly for decades, you can probably add bitterness into the equation too.

Personally if I heard someone make such a claim, I would be reviewing their expositions of the Dhamma and their behaviour for conformity with the Buddha's teaching, but would not be bringing any further attention to their claim.

The main reason I see why people would be reserved about their progress, is that nothing useful for one's further progress comes from announcing it. All it risks doing is:

- Making that person the centre of attention
- Making that person subject to speculation (either positive or negative)
- Creating expectations upon that person

... all of which are worldly distractions (See AN 8.6: Lokavipatti Sutta for more details). Progress will be made along the path, by being able to lay down and set aside that which is worldly and involves arising, in pursuit of cessation.

I've explored this topic in depth before elsewhere in The Weight of Nobility.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by grumpyfreyr » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:10 am

More thoughts (that annoyingly arrive in the early morning when I want to be asleep):
stream entry is like dying and then finding out that there is no death. From the worldling's point of view, the sotapanna has done the exact thing that the worldling is trying to avoid while trying to not appear (to themselves and all others) to avoid. The actual goals of the worldling and the sotapanna are diametrically opposed. That is why buddha places the major division there. The worldling is simply ignorant of their true intent.
Any ariya announcing themself, draws worldlings' attention to their self-deception, about which they probably have a great deal of unconscious guilt. So they then of course project that guilt onto the perceived cause, the announcer.
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:25 pm
nothing useful for one's further progress comes from announcing it.
This is not necessarily true, at least not in the early stages. If worldlings are sufficiently willing (which, may be unlikely given what I've just said), they could be helped to understand as well. Sometimes much can be learned from a peer near one's own level that would not have been so easily learned from the more advanced student. We all have our part to play. If more worldlings became sotapanna then the original sotapanna would be in good company, their practise would be enhanced, and they could all learn from each other and move forward more quickly.
In addition, sometimes it can be greatly helpful to talk things out, and learn things that wouldn't have been learned if one had kept silent. Sometimes sharing an insight can help it mature in one's mind, make it stronger.
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:25 pm
Progress will be made along the path, by being able to lay down and set aside that which is worldly and involves arising, in pursuit of cessation.
Eventually maybe. But that's really endgame stuff. The sotapanna is still learning how to see. All they've had is a glimpse. Giving stuff up comes much later.
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:25 pm
I've explored this topic in depth before elsewhere in The Weight of Nobility.
I'm reading it now. It's fascinating, and explains a lot about my life hahahaha (not saying I'm an arahat!)
Thank you.
See, this is why I'm here. ACIM has none of this kind of information. It gives good spiritual instruction, but nothing else.

lol you even used the phrase "diametrically opposed"! That's what I just said (I know, you're talking about arahats and I was talking about ariya in general, but still)!

"Presumably if the lay-life cannot support the weight of arahantship, then previous noble attainments must also apply a certain weight to this precarious house of cards."
Damn right! aaaaaaaaaaaa so helpful! thank you! Thank you!
Fantastic!
I mean yes, some of it is incomplete (your speculative questioning about what is a sekha to do etc - what is a sekha by the way?). But still. I think I won't read the responses. But I will save a link to that and share it with some people.

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Re: autistic, ACIM, stages of enlightenment

Post by Zom » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:46 am

Personally if I heard someone make such a claim, I would be reviewing their expositions of the Dhamma and their behaviour for conformity with the Buddha's teaching, but would not be bringing any further attention to their claim.
Most likely such people are submerged in delusion and subtle "spiritual" conceit (especially true for neophytes). Suttas show that true noble persons are very modest and won't speak about themselves. In rare situations (as in AN 6.16), where it is really needed, they may roar with their "lion roar" (as Buddha did sometimes), but no, they won't go on forums and say "Hello, I have achieved this and this and that - I'm now a buddhist saint" 8-)

“Friend, the Blessed One declared that you possess seven astounding and amazing qualities. What seven? ‘Bhikkhus, Hatthaka of Āḷavī is endowed with faith. He is virtuous and has a sense of moral shame and moral dread. He is learned, generous, and wise.’ The Blessed One declared that you possess these seven astounding and amazing qualities.”

“I hope, Bhante, that no white-robed layman was present?”

“No, friend. No white-robed layman was present.”

“That’s good, Bhante.”

Then that bhikkhu, having received almsfood at the residence of Hatthaka of Āḷavī, rose from his seat and departed. After his meal, on returning from his alms round, he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported to him all that had happened.

The Blessed One said: “Good, good, bhikkhu! That clansman has few desires, since he does not want his inner wholesome qualities to be known by others. Therefore, bhikkhu, you should remember Hatthaka of Āḷavī as one who possesses this eighth astounding and amazing quality, that is, (8) fewness of desires.”


:reading:

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