Below are the accounts of ten individuals who experienced Awakening in the present day modern world. By Awakening, we are talking Enlightenment as described in the historic texts and Sutras of the masters, BUT with everyday people going about their everyday business. True, two had particpated in more formal religious contexts, one being a Buddhist Monk, the other of the two being a "non-traditional Advaita Zen Master," but the rest were just "regular" people. One was a teenage boy, three were women, of which one was with child waiting for a bus one day and one was an American business woman in a hotel waiting to start her days work. However they all had one thing in common, when Attainment occured for all it was outside the Doctine.
What does any of it mean for YOU? Basically it means if the Awakening Experience can unfold for the people cited below, it can also unfold for you.
Invariably when people read the accounts below as well as DARK LUMINOSITY, describing a modern era Enlightenment experience in the Zen tradition, that is, outside the Doctrine and in the present day world, they start jumping up and down quoting all kinds of things such as " To know is not to know, Not to know is to know," and "One who knows, speaks not; one who speaks, knows not", quoting the Taoist Lao Tzu without ever citing the source (Tao Te Ching, Chapter LVI, Verse 28). If Lao Tzu was an Enlightened being himself, or even existed, is never made clear, but the same people that are so quick to use the above quotes seldom quote the all time champion of Enlightenment, the Buddha, who, according to the Sutras said flat out and in plain everyday language that he himself was indeed Enlightened. See:
THE ARIYA-PARIYESANA SUTRA, Majjhima Nikaya MN 26
Of course, there are a number of other ways to resolve such issues, however not everyone, primarily because of drawing conceptual construct inferences while being firmly implanted in the Samsaric side of any equation, are willing to do so. Most related arguments can easily be hammered out or diffused in a sufficient fashion by going to and reading wholeheartedly such sources as:
- ENLIGHTENMENT: Can You Do It?
- How to Recognize Enlightenment
- The Ten Fetters of Buddhism
- Sudden or Gradual Enlightenment
- LUANGPOR TEEAN: A Biography of an Awakened Master
- DARK LUMINOSITY: An Enlightenment Experience in the Zen Tradition
- JOHN WREN-LEWIS: A Near-Death Experience Opens the Door to a Permanent Transformation
- AZIZ KRISTOF: Non-traditional Advaita Zen Master
- METTA ZETTY: A Spontaneous Experience Into Awareness
- ANN FARADAY: An Account of Realization of Emptiness
- SUZANNE SEGAL: A Collision with the Infinite
- A CHILD OF THE CYBER-SANGHA: An Awakening Experience Through the Internet
- ALFRED PULYAN: American Zen Master Without the Zen nor the Buddhism
- EDWARD MUZIKA: Awakened Follower of Robert Adams in Direct Lineage From Sri Ramana
In a similar vein, and thus then possibly of some interest to you as well, the following is offered:
One of the things that most certainly never ceases to amaze me is how much effort in the Enlightenment business invariably ends up so self-serving by selling one's own books, workshops, audio tapes, teeshirts, and ballpoint pens ...especially when the person pushing the stuff extols so stringently hand-in-hand that "their way and their way only" is the only TRUE avenue toward Awakening. The following regarding the deeply admired Indian sage, Baba Faqir Chand, parallels:
"Thus Faqir Chand became quite outspoken about how gurus, masters, prophets, and mystics, posing as all-knowing beings, have deceived millions of followers by duping them into believing that they have omnipresence and omnipotence when in fact they have neither.
"What Enlightened sages possess, rather, is access experientially to a higher spectrum of awareness, which, in turn, reveals not final or absolute truth, but a growing awareness of how truly mysterious life really is."
And to be sure, as for myself, such a viewpoint is NOT a reflection of some holier than thou attitude either, as I fully well realize that the Right Livelihood is one of the Buddha's Eight Noble Paths. However, in that IT resides in you then it follows you must already have it. If you already have it, how then would it be possible for another individual, organization, or anybody or anything else to expect some sort of payment or compensation in exchange for something you already have, or at the very least, they have no power in giving or producing in the first place? If it is because, before the Enlightenment-experience, you feel grateful for an assist in some fashion, there would be no need, as Attainment would not have unfolded yet. If it is post Enlightenment there would be no need because it resided in you in the first place, so what would you have received?
Although I am not in total agreement with every subtle nuance by everybody on everything concerning Enlightenment and the Awakening experience of the people cited on the list above, I do go along with the view, and very much so, with something Lee Lozowick said in his interview with What is Enlightenment? Magazine that goes something like:
"I was criticizing every other teacher, like I was the only teacher on the face of the planet who was real. That's such a ridiculous posture. As time has gone on, I've become much more willing to just relax and acknowledge other people's strengths."
That is a close refelection of what most of my meager Zen droppings scattered throughout the internet is all about, and WHY my emphasis on the accomplishments of OTHERS along the path. If they can do it, YOU can as well, especially so, because if you stop to think about it a second, NONE of them had access to their OWN books or workshops PRIOR to their experience.
True Enlightenment, as experienced by the Buddha and transmitted through the patriarchs, is independent of verbal explanations, including the record of the Buddha's teachings (i.e., scriptures) and later doctrinal elaborations. (source)
IN OTHER WORDS:
A special transmission outside the scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing to the soul of man:
Seeing into one's own nature and attainment of Buddhahood
When it comes to teachers, gurus, masters, mentors and so on, there are those that insist on or only consider such things as Lineage and who and what others of credible status may think, and in many cases, justifiably so. In my case, for a hint, access the link below then scroll down to the Wanderling:
Also, by going to the Google search engine for example, and typing in "the Wanderling" along with "DMOZ Masters and Teachers" the following comes up under the Open Directory Project category:
Anonymous self-proclaimed Zen Master. Founder of Awakening 101.
While it would be an accurate statement to say that I am truly most grateful and humbled to be included and listed in such prestigious internet resources as the ones above, surrounded on the list by many extraodinarily impressive teachers and masters of the Dharma, it is not quite accurate to say that I am a "self-proclaimed Zen Master." So saying on two counts because, first, if one were to actually pursued AWAKENING 101, the following quote, which is mine, appeared on the very first page:
"Being neither teacher nor guru, and since from the first not a thing is, the most one can do is to offer a glimpse or help point the way. In the end it resides in you"
Second, by accessing the link suggested above by the directories and reading through to Page Two, you would come to the following, which includes a link to The Unmanifested SAT that investigates the so called Twelve Year Rule that some say one must meet in any quest toward Enlightenment, and that just happened to be met by the Wanderling:
"...at age 31, after an intermittent slow start followed by twelve years of serious practice, because, for the lack of anything else to call it, the bottom of eternity consciousness literally broke through, and thus therefore, the equivalent ofInka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level (ken-chu-shi), was graciously accorded me by the person from which I sought guidence; he himself, having experienced Full Realization under the grace and light of Sri Ramana Maharshi some thirty-nine years earlier, also at the age of 31." (source)
The Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is universally accepted and recognized as being fully Awakened to the Absolute, while my own Mentor, who studied under Ramana and who inturn I studied under, is well documented and known throughout literature and various writings (none of it of course counting toward my study under the venerated Japanese Zen master, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi --- without much success I might add --- followed by a long stint at doing hard time in a Zen Monastery perched precariously high up on the side of some steep Chinese mountain situated somewhere along the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, then back to the states again under the mysterious American Zen master, Alfred Pulyan).
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana ashram and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.
Third, as to being Anonymous, the following is offered from Wei Wu Wei:
"Tom, Dick, and Harry think they have written the books that they sign (or painted the pictures, composed the music, built the churches). But they exaggerate. It was a pen that did it, or some other implement. They held the pen? Yes, but the hand that held the pen was an implement too, and the brain that controlled the hand. They were intermediaries, instruments, just apparatus. Even the best apparatus does not need a personal name like Tom, Dick, or Harry."
Speaking of my mentor, along the same lines as the above, and that I am in full agreement with, I like what William Somerset Maugham wrote about him in The Razor's Edge:
"He has no desire for fame. To become anything of a public figure would be deeply distasteful to him; and so it may be that he is satisfied to lead his chosen life and be no more than just himself. He is too modest to set himself up as an example to others; but it may be he thinks that a few uncertain souls, drawn to him like moths to a candle, will be brought in time to share his own glowing belief that ultimate satisfaction can only be found in the life of the spirit, and that by himself following with selflessness and renunciation the path of perfection he will serve as well as if he wrote books or addressed multitudes."
There is NO excessive over-concern on MY part in regards to anything that others may say, write, or think about me one way or the other EXCEPT how anything offered might adversely affect a seeker along the path. Hundreds and hundreds of pages are presented through my offerings, many, many of them written by others with a wide range of views, and NO claim is made by me for any work not done by me specifically. Authors and sources, when available, are always cited. Although the main thrust of what is offered is "Zen outside the Doctrine" you will find pages and pages of viewpoints that run the gamut, allowing YOU to formulate your own decisions one way or the other regarding important Zen and Dharma related issues. See:
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.