No world, no big deal?

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Thu Oct 9 15:39:26 CDT 1997

At 11:22 AM 10/9/97 -0800, Allan Curry wrote:

>Some traditions call going through this process "ego death" and declare it
>to be the sine qua non of real spirituality. I wonder how many of the
>"jnani-come-lately" gurus around these days have truly died before their
>rebirth as self-promoting saviors. I sometimes think they are trivializing
>the whole thing by giving those "instant enlightenment" workshops in which
>they "confirm" the "realization" of participants from their paying audience
>who so much as smile or giggle.

Which teachers confer the instant enlightenment thing?  Many of the
teachers I've seen are Western, and DO say that we're all enlightened,
but we just don't realize it.  They also say that we don't need all the
years of effort, struggle, breaking 2000 Zen koans, years of chanting,
brahmachari and prostration, etc.  Just see the world the way they do,
they say.  But I haven't seen a teacher that proclaims him/herself as a

>I think the traditional systems of India do afford us some measure of
>protection from this trend in that they are not as quick as we might be to
>take everyone at their word. The tradition provides at least some means to
>assess the growing number of enlightenment claims around us. For instance,
>I think Ramana *was* acknowledged by three leaders of traditional Vedanta
>during his lifetime.

Several ways I've heard of that, ah, don't come from the scriptures.  One:
Does the person exude peace?
Does the person treat everyone more or
  less the same, or are there obvious favorites?
Are they overly interested in money?  Sex?

Also, other than looking out for obvious frauds and dangerous situations, we
might have to acknowledge that we won't always know about others'

I myself get an uneasy feeling about some teachers, like a psychic
feeling about selfishness, and ego.  It sort of reaches out and pierces my
"subtle body."  I haven't yet placed confidence in a teacher who has turned
to be a fraud or selfish or otherwise unsuitable.

>Interestingly, Poonja was not, as far as I know, acknowledged to be
>enlightened by anybody but himself and his students, to mention nothing of
>the assorted Poonja clones (one of whom openly criticizes him after having
>been annointed as his "spiritual heir" etc.). To my knowledge, Ramana
>Maharshi did not tell Poonja that Poonja was enlightened or that Poonja
>should or could enlighten others. The claim of any "lineage" whatsoever
>descending from Ramana Maharshi has no confirmation I can find on Ramana's

I've heard the same things about an RM "lineage."  At least one teacher's
organization decided to remove the word "lineage" from their promotional
after receiving some criticism.  Some of RM's devotees I've met (who do not
go to
any living teacher at all) have told me that RM was very specific about NOT
appointing anyone to teach, or to be a successor.  And I agree, haven't
ever seen
anything in any RM material anything to the contrary.

>It would be interesting to hear what list members believe would legitimate
>someone's claim to be enlightened.

Great question!

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