Author Topic: Enlightened layperson  (Read 7989 times)

dsiluvu

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 04:22:36 PM »
Enlightenment is a possibility for everyone, that is what Lord Buddha said, and that's why we're here! It may be common to think that enlightenment can only be for some mystical persons. Yes we here in the distant past there are these mahasiddhas who gain Enlightenment in one life time. But hardly ever now. This I think is because times are of degenerate age, we are bombarded with so much of samsara, that even if we saw an Enlightened being, we would not have noticed him/her. 

I think what Big Uncle say is true... one can become enlightened through the power of Tantra.

In one of Dorje Shugden's previous incarnation, he was Mahasiddha Biwawa who was actually kicked out from the monastery because he was considered "BAD". Sounds familiar (the Ban kicked out DS & his practitioners) But never the less Biwawa proved them wrong... here is an extract of his story taken from http://dorjeshugden.com/wp/?page_id=32

Mahasiddha Biwawa studied at Nalanda, the great Buddhist university near Bodhgaya . At night he practiced Heruka’s Tantra and Vajrayogini herself would come to partake of his tsog offerings, surrounded by dakinis. Which led his fellow monks to believe that he was having wild parties in his room. They called him Biwawa, bad man, and expelled him. As a traveling Yogi he showed his powers at various occasions in order to bring people to religion. He could stop the Ganges river, he could stop the sun in the sky. A king who hated Buddhists tried to have him drowned, buried alive and finally burned – to no avail (interesting how history has a tendency to repeat itself…this has recently been ritually done to Dorje Shugden, with the same result…). That king was so amazed that he and all his people became Mahasiddha Biwawa’s disciples.


Enlightenment is not about you being a nun or a monk. Being a nun or a monk can in fact bring you to hell even faster if you break your monk/nun vows....

Vajraprotector

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 610
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2012, 05:56:00 PM »
Just to add, a siddha is an accomplished being who wins enlightenment in one lifetime, using tantric means; that neither those means, nor the persons employing them, are limited to any one particular school or sect; and hence it also includes those who are not ordained.

However, with regards to this topic, Lama Zopa has mentioned below in Mandala magazine in 1996, which I think is quite relevant:

Extract 1:
...Nevertheless, some people will still ask why today, when lay people can study and practice Dharma and attain enlightenment, is it necessary to live an ordained life?

It’s true that some lay people can practice well, but that doesn’t mean all lay people can practice well. Most lay people find it difficult. But just because Buddha and Jesus revealed the method of ordination doesn’t mean that everyone should become monks or nuns either. Everybody can’t become Sangha because everybody doesn’t have the karma to become Sangha. To do so you need a lot of merit and no inner obstacles. If there are no obstacles in your mind, there will be no outer obstacles to your ordination.


Extract 2:
...If there were not a big advantage to being ordained, if it were not extremely important, why would Guru Shakyamuni Buddha have set that example?

According to the Mahayana teachings, Buddha’s showing that he reached enlightenment at Bodhgaya was not really when he became enlightened. In reality, he reached enlightenment an inconceivable number of eons ago.

The reason he went through the twelve deeds—including renouncing the family life, shaving his head, and becoming a monk—and taught the Four Noble Truths was to teach us how to practice Dharma. And as I said before, it is not only Buddhism that teaches its followers to live as ordained persons in monasteries and nunneries.

Carpenter

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2012, 01:55:27 AM »
Of course Lay person can also gain enlightenment, as long as someone can practice Dharma accordingly, they can gain enlightenment. There is no doubt in it.

Buddhists can be broadly categorized into two groups, namely the lay people and the monastic community. The assembly of monastic community is the Order of Monks and Nuns. The organization for those who practice Buddhism at home is the Lay People Organization. What is the difference between these two institutions?

In terms of faith, they both take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. From the perspective of attainment and enlightenment, there is not much difference. According to the Sravakayana, lay people can attain the third Supramundane Fruitions i.e. the Non-Returner, whereas the Sangha can attain the fourth Fruition i.e. the Holy One. The difference is only one stage.

On the other hand, according to the Mahayana tradition, many Bodhisattvas are lay people. Among the great Bodhisattvas such as Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara and Kshitigarbha, only Kshitigarbha presents himself as a member of the Sangha. The others all present themselves as lay people. Thus do not misunderstand that lay people will not achieve profound enlightenment and think that it can only be attained by the members of the Order.

Jessie Fong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2012, 10:05:18 AM »

As explained by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_(spiritual)

The English term "enlightenment" has commonly been used to translate several Sanskrit, Pali,[3] Chinese and Japanese terms and concepts, especially bodhi, prajna, kensho, satori and buddhahood.

Bodhi is a Theravada term. It literally means "awakening" and "understanding". Someone who is awakened has gained insight into the workings of the mind which keeps us imprisoned in craving, suffering and rebirth,[1] and has also gained insight into the way that leads to nirvana, the liberation of oneself from this imprisonment.

Buddhahood is the attainment of full awakening and becoming a Buddha. According to the Tibetan Thubten Yeshe,[5] enlightenment "[means] full awakening; buddhahood. The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, attained when all limitations have been removed from the mind and one's positive potential has been completely and perfectly realized. It is a state characterized by infinite compassion, wisdom and skill."[6]
 



Each and everyone of us has within us the "Buddha-nature" potentiality to become a Buddha - that being so, anyone can achieve Buddhahood, so a layperson can gain enlightenment.

What we have pointed out here are great names who are Buddhists.  Can non-Buddhists achieve enlightenment?  Who are they?

pgdharma

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2012, 02:47:41 PM »

As explained by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_(spiritual)

The English term "enlightenment" has commonly been used to translate several Sanskrit, Pali,[3] Chinese and Japanese terms and concepts, especially bodhi, prajna, kensho, satori and buddhahood.

Bodhi is a Theravada term. It literally means "awakening" and "understanding". Someone who is awakened has gained insight into the workings of the mind which keeps us imprisoned in craving, suffering and rebirth,[1] and has also gained insight into the way that leads to nirvana, the liberation of oneself from this imprisonment.

Buddhahood is the attainment of full awakening and becoming a Buddha. According to the Tibetan Thubten Yeshe,[5] enlightenment "[means] full awakening; buddhahood. The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, attained when all limitations have been removed from the mind and one's positive potential has been completely and perfectly realized. It is a state characterized by infinite compassion, wisdom and skill."[6]
 



Each and everyone of us has within us the "Buddha-nature" potentiality to become a Buddha - that being so, anyone can achieve Buddhahood, so a layperson can gain enlightenment.

What we have pointed out here are great names who are Buddhists.  Can non-Buddhists achieve enlightenment?  Who are they?


Yes Jessie Fong, non-Buddhists/layperson can achieve enlightenment. Here's a story to share:

In China, there was a layman who was recognized by the great Buddhist masters to actually have been enlightened. 

His name was Layman Pang and it looks like his daughter,  Ling Zhao, was also enlightened.

The Great Chan Master Hsu Yun relates:

Sometimes ordinary folks get the idea that the meaning of Chan is so profound that only men and women who've been ordained in the Dharma can possibly fathom it. But that s just not so. Actually, we priests often feel that we're in way over our heads. And every now and then, while we splash about, trying to look good treading water in our nice uniforms, along comes a civilian who zips by us, swimming like an Olympic champion. Such a civilian was Layman Pang, He would have won Chan's gold medal. He's been a hero not only to centuries worth of other laymen, but also, I confess, to every priest who's ever studied his winning style.

Layman Pang lived during the latter half of the Eighth Century, a golden age for Chan. He was an educated family man- he had a wife and a son and daughter- and was well enough off financially to be able to devote his time to Buddhist studies.

He got the idea that a person needed solitude in order to meditate and ponder the Dharma, so he built himself a little one-room monastery near his family home. Every day he went there to study and practice.

His wife, son and daughter studied the Dharma, too; but they stayed in the family house, conducting their business and doing their chores, incorporating Buddhism into their daily lives.

Layman Pang had submerged himself in the sutras and one day he found that he, too, was in over his head. He hadn't learned to swim yet. On that day, he stormed out of his monastery-hut and, in abject frustration complained to his wife, "Difficult! Difficult!

Difficult! Trying to grasp so many facts is like trying to store sesame seeds in the leaves of a tree top!"

His wife retorted, "Easy! Easy! Easy! You've been studying words, but I study the grass and find the Buddha Self reflected in every drop of dew."

Now, Layman Pang's daughter, Ling Zhao, was listening to this verbal splashing, so she went swimming by. "Two old people foolishly chattering!" she called.

"Just a minute!" shouted Layman Pang. "If you're so smart, tell us your method."

Ling Zhao returned to her parents and said gently, "It's not difficult, and it's not easy. When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm tired, I sleep "

Ling Zhao had mastered Natural Chan.

Layman Pang learned a lot that day. He understood so much that he put away his books, locked his little monastery-hut, and decided to visit different Chan masters to test his understanding. He still couldn't compete against his own daughter, but he was getting pretty good.

Eventually he wound up at Nan Yueh Mountain where Master Shi Tou had a monastic retreat. Layman Pang went directly to the master and asked, "Where can I find a man who's unattached to material things?" Master Shi Tou slowly raised his hand and closed Pang's mouth. In that one gesture, Pang's Chan really deepened. He stayed at Nan Yueh for many months.

All the monks there watched him and became quite curious about his Natural Chan, his perfect equanimity. Even Master Shi Tou was moved to ask him what his secret was. "Everyone marvels at your methods," said Shi Tou. "Tell me. Do you have any special powers?"

Layman Pang just smiled and said, "No, no special powers. My day is filled with humble activities and I just keep my mind in harmony with my tasks. I accept what comes without desire or aversion. When encountering other people, I maintain an uncritical attitude, never admiring, never condemning. To me, red is red and not crimson or scarlet. So, what marvelous method do I use? Well, when I chop wood, I chop wood; and when I carry water, I carry water."

Master Shi Tou was understandably impressed by this response. He wanted Pang to join his Sangha. "A fellow like you shouldn't remain a layman," said Shi Tou. "Why don't you shave your head and become a monk?"

The proposition signaled the end of Pang's sojourn with Shi Tou. Clearly, he could learn no more from this master. Pang responded with a simple remark. "I'll do what I'll do," and what he did was leave.

He next showed up at the doorstep of the formidable Master Ma Zu. Again he asked the master, "Where can I find a man who's unattached to material things?" Ma Tzu frowned and replied, "I'll tell you after you've swallowed West River in one gulp "

In grasping that one remark, Pang was able to complete his enlightenment. He saw that Uncritical Mind was not enough. His mind had to become as immense as Buddha Mind; it had to encompass all Samsara and Nirvana, to expand into Infinity's Void. Such a mind could swallow the Pacific.

Layman Pang stayed with Master Ma Zu until he discovered one day that he had no more to learn from him, either. On that particular occasion, Pang approached Ma Zu and, standing over him, said, "An enlightened fellow asks you to look up:' Ma Zu deliberately looked straight down. Layman Pang sighed, "How beautifully you play the stringless lute!"

At this point, Ma Zu had confirmed that there was no difference between human beings, that they were truly one and the same individual. As Pang had looked down, Ma Zu would look down. There was no one else to look up. But then, unaccountably, Ma Zu looked straight up and broke the spell, so to speak. So Layman Pang bowed low and remained in that obeisance of finality as Ma Zu rose and began to walk away. As the Master brushed past him, the Layman whispered, "Bungled it, didn't you... trying to be clever."

Layman Pang had attained mastery and every master he encountered acknowledged this. But what is evident to a master is not always evident to an ordinary monk. One winter day, while Pang was leaving the monastery of Master Yao Shan, some young monks, who were disdainful of his status as a mere layman, accompanied him to the front door. When Pang looked outside, he saw that it was snowing. "Good snow!" he said. "The flakes do not fall elsewhere " A monk named Quan, who was as impudent as he was stupid, completely missed the wit in Pang's remark. He mocked the Layman, asking sarcastically, "Where did you expect the flakes to fall?"

Now, Pang was good naturedly complimenting the snow for not falling in the kitchen or the meditation hall, that is to say, for falling where snow was supposed to fall- in the courtyard and fields, on the trees and roads. Pang knew that he would have to walk a long distance in that bitterly cold snow, and he had accepted that fact without distress.

But Pang not only had the wisdom of a master, he had the temper, too. When he saw the sneer on the young monk's face, he struck him.

"How dare you!" said the monk "And you're an ordained monk?" asked Pang incredulously. "Why, you'd be rejected at Hell's gates!"

"Just what do you mean by that?" demanded the monk.

Pang struck him again. "I mean that though you have eyes, ears and tongue, you're absolutely blind, deaf, and dumb." Then he calmly went out into the snow as if it were just so much sunshine. He had given the monk quite a lesson.

But usually he was extremely kind and patient with those he instructed.

One day, as he listened to a man who was trying to explain the Diamond Sutra, he noticed that the fellow was struggling with the meaning of a line that dealt with the nonexistence of the ego personality "Perhaps I can help you," Pang said. "Do you understand that that which is conditional and changing is not real and that which is unconditional and immutable is real?"

"Yes," replied the commentator.

"Then is it not true that egos are conditional and changing, that no ego is the same from one minute to the next? Is it not true that with each passing minute, depending on circumstances and conditions, we acquire new information and new experiences just as we forget old information and experiences?

"Yes," added the commentator.

"But what is there about us that is unconditional and unchanging? asked Pang.

"Our common Buddha Nature!" replied the commentator, suddenly smiling, suddenly understanding. "That alone is real! The rest is mere illusion!" He was so happy that he inspired Pang to write him a poem:

  Since there is neither ego nor personality
  Who is distant and who is close?
  Take my advice and quit talking about reality.
  Experience it directly, for yourself.
  The nature of the Diamond Wisdom
  Is truth in all its singular purity.
  Fictitious egos can't divide or soil it
  The expressions,
  "I hear," "I believe," "I understand,"
  Are simply expedient expressions
  Tools in the diamond-cutter's hands.
  When the work's done, he puts them down.

Layman Pang and his daughter Ling Zhao traveled around China meeting their expenses by selling bamboo articles they made. They grew old together, becoming legends of enlightenment. Their last residence was a mountain cave.

Pang knew that it was time for him to lay his burden down. He was very tired and could not go on. Inside the cave there was one particular rock that he always sat on when meditating; so he took his seat and, intending to pass away when the sun was directly overhead, he sent Ling Zhao outside to watch for the moment that noon had come. In a few minutes, however, Ling Zhao returned to the cave breathless with excitement "Oh Father," she shouted, "you must come outside and see this! There's been an eclipse of the sun!"

Well, this was an extraordinary occurrence if ever there was one. Pang could not resist having a look at it. So he rose from his meditation rock and went outside. He looked and looked but there was no eclipse. Noon had come, that was all. But where was Ling Zhao?

Pang returned to the cave and found her dead, her body sitting upright on his meditation rock. "Oh, that girl!" cried Pang. "She always was ahead of me:'

He buried her and then, a week later, he, too, entered Nirvana. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered on the waters of a nearby lake.

Source:  http://zbohy.zatma.org/Dharma/zbohy/Literature/xybook/pang1.html

Dondrup Shugden

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2015, 06:23:24 AM »
The Buddha's words and teachings are without contradictions.  Buddha showed us that in His life form as a Human being he attained enlightenment.  However the conditions that a lay person must achieve are basically
1) Renunciation 2) Bodhichitta and 3) Shunyata.

In this manner nothing changes on the outside but everything changes inside.  The practice of the Dharma is not only external (to show off) but internal.  It is the transformation of the mind that matters.  Everything else will decompose only the mind goes on for eons into rebirth in a vicious cycle. To get out of this vicious cycle of rebirth is enlightenment. 


psylotripitaka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2015, 11:17:56 PM »
I personally know some lay people that have achieved the highest Union in this life. They did so through perseverance in the union of Sutra and Highest Yoga Tantra, and faith in the power of their Lama & lineage. I'm not talking about Jetsun Milarepa or Mahasiddhas, but people who are alive right now.

The attainments of nirvana and enlightenment only seem far fetched or impossible to someone who is lazy in their Dharma training and lacks true faith in the power of their Lama and lineage. If you have faith, truly comprehend your samsaric predicament, and therefore appreciate the rare opportunity you have in the palm of your hands, you will do everything you can to arrange the inner and outer conditions for realizations to vibrate stronger and stronger in your mental continuum.

yontenjamyang

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
    • Email
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2015, 11:34:39 AM »
Certainly Enlightenment can be attained by a lay person. The difference between a monk/nun and a lay person is the vows of the Vinaya which is a code of conduct to prevent commiting negative karma and to allow condition more conducive to practice meditation and Boddhicitta. This is also a part of the practice of Renunciation.
A lay person who practice well the accumulation or merits and wisdom combined with purification and the Tantra can gain Enlightenment within one lifetimes.

MoMo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 156
Re: Enlightened layperson
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2015, 01:33:51 PM »
A very good example of lay enlightened master can be found within our very own lineage, that is non-other than Dromtoenpa himself, who are known to be a lay person , not famous for his scholarship but  with matchless devotions in serving his guru , Atisha.  His realisation was far surpassed  that of Mahayogi who spent his life studying and sitting on meditation mat . After him comes all the Kadampa lineage master, the Lamrim Lineage, Classical Lineage and Instruction Lineage and from this three was combined into one by the Great Je Tsongkhapa .
Being ordained do have the edge of a conducive condition for one to thread on the path but the Buddha’s teachings are for all and he said that all can achieve the same result if one follows his instructions and a Dromtoenpa  cases were one of the very good example. It is also because of him that we all can heard the Lamrim today.