Association with noble ones is a pre-condition but not a necessary pre-condition, if my memory serves me well.
A noble one is someone who has attained to one of the four fruition states, ie: a sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami or an arahant.
What about those who go off and meditate in solitude and don't associate with anyone?
Indeed! One of the occassions for realization to occur is whilst in meditation.
Are any of you associating with "noble ones"?
My teacher could be, but to be honest,I really don't know. To ask is considered rather rude.
And if anyone volunteers that he or she is an ariya, except if it is a very close friend and that person confides something to you about something they've experienced, you can bet your bottom dollar the person is either mistaken, delusional or a charletain.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725Compassionate Hands Foundation
(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief