December 31, 2012

The Modern Distortion of Fake Spirituality and Forgiveness

If you've ever attended any Tibetan Buddhist talks it's likely you've heard the spiel on the "three bowls." The bowls represent problems with the mind that make it incapable of holding deeper knowledge. One bowl is turned over and closed, another is cracked and leaks, one is poisoned, one already filled. The point is, our mind is a bowl-like container, but it can't hold pure knowledge because it's defective.

It is a modern man problem in particular, our "bowl" is cracked and leaking, full to the brim of quasi-spiritual toxins and leaving little room for learning anything new. What we do learn is ruined by the poisonous belief systems.

The ability to absorb deep spiritual teachings can only occur after an eliminating the fake spirituality or morality.

Here's a fine example of this fake spirituality, in an essay by Theodore Dalrymple: Sentimentalizing Serial Murder. It's a brief commentary on two people's reactions to murder: one self-centered in quasi-spirituality and the other, braving the healing by way of straight talk.

It is the goal in the Lotus to teach the profound esoteric teachings of Buddha, Christ and Tao. But that can't learned by a mind full of insipid fluff.

You can read the essay here at the City Journal. Here is one interesting statement, which I expect real spiritual aspirants to be able to discuss. What elements are incomplete in this teaching from a Buddhist?:
Here is a lesson she learned from a Buddhist teacher: “To be grateful for whatever life brings, especially to those who cause you pain or humiliate you.” In short, the abduction, rape, torture, murder, dismemberment, and burial of Lucy Partington was a sovereign opportunity for Marian Partington’s personal growth, so that she could learn to be compassionate toward herself (and therefore, as a side effect, toward others).
What is the rest of the teaching? What is the "Buddhist teacher" (or the student) missing here?


December 20, 2012

Chapter 28: How Bodhisattvas Build Great Goodness Without Noticing –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

 “Subhuti! Say that a person of integrity fills universes with the seven precious treasures, as numerous as the particles of sand in the Ganges River, offered in support of all enlightened buddhas. Say instead they saw the inconceivable nature of all phenomena, thereby attaining bodhisattvahood. The field of goodness would be so much, outrageously and incalculably greater this way!

    “However, Subhuti, to be more precise: those bodhisattvas, by what they do, won’t really be building vast fields of goodness! 

    Subhuti replied, “But, World-Honored One, I was under the impression that bodhisattvas earned vast fields of goodness?”

    The Buddha responded in saying, “Without a doubt, humongous amounts of goodness would be created. But bodhisattvas wouldn’t bother to notice! And so, when you hear of the 'bodhisattva’s refusal of gifts,' it’s referring to this kind of indifference.”  

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

Chapter 27: Clearing Isn't the Enlightenment; Bodhisattvas Aren't Nihilistic –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “But then, Subhuti! What about when bodhisattvas speak of the ‘exhaustion of phenomenal characteristics’? They may seem to be implying that buddhas attain liberation by dematerializing their characteristics. A void created by the dissolution of thirty-two buddha characteristics is not itself a source of unexcelled perfect enlightenment!

    “Folks on their way to bodhisattvahood teach of the ‘exhaustion of phenomenal characteristics,’ but that doesn’t mean they think that the lack of characteristics is itself important. People on their way to becoming bodhisattvas don’t cling to ideas of clearing or voidness as meaningful in and of themselves.

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

November 23, 2012

Chapter 26: How to Know the Actual Buddha –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

     “Subhuti! Do people try to confirm that I’m the Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual by examining me for thirty-two ‘buddha-characteristics’?”

     “Yes, World-Honored One, that is what they do. They think they can tell you are an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual by examining you for the thirty-two ‘buddha-characteristics.’”

     “Subhuti! If noticing that I had these qualities was all that was needed to authenticate my buddhahood, then similarly endowed beings like great wheel emperors (chakravartin[s]) would likewise be buddhas. Therefore, an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual like myself won’t be able to be identified by an examination for so-called buddha-characteristics.”

     Subhuti responded, “It seems, World-Honored One, you are saying that it’s not possible to prove you to be the Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual by examining you for so-called buddha-characteristics.”

    Then in verse the World-Honored One spake, saying:

      Some think they've heard my holy speech
      Or wondrous buddha think they see
      These folks can't fathom what I teach, 
      They haven't met the real me

          "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                On the Essence of Wisdom
                The Lotus Version (TLV) ©, by permission
                       Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                        And recorded by his disciple, Ananda  

November 2, 2012

Chapter 24: The Huge Value of Engaging Yourself In Just One Verse –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

     “Subhuti! Imagine that a philanthropist is dispensing, in the amount of quadrillions of universes full, the most highly valuable and splendid of donations, all for the achievement of the goals of the awakened ones. Compare him with any person who is seriously studying, coming to terms with and attempting to explain to others a mere four lines of this wisdom perfecting methodology (prajna paramita sutra). The second person’s actions result in the creation of an incalculably greater goodness!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

September 27, 2012

Chapters 22 & 23:  What Exactly People Get…and A Most Exceptional Way to Get It –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Did I, the Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual, receive anything upon my accomplishment of unexcelled perfect enlightenment?”

    Subhuti replied, “No, World-Honored One; you didn’t really get anything.”

    “Just so, Subhuti! There was nothing specific that I got when I attained unexcelled perfect enlightenment. And you should take this example as the proper way to discuss what one is supposed to get at their accomplishment of unexcelled perfect enlightenment!


    “Following this particular methodology one notes how this kind of nonspecifiability applies to all things and perceptions, the result of which is called 'unexcelled perfect enlightenment.'  If, Subhuti, you use this exceptional method, (letting go of ideas of specifiablity like believing in ultimately real selves, beings or eternal personalities,) you’ll awaken to unexcelled and perfect enlightenment, the consummation of all spiritual teachings.         

     "But while I’m talking about this exceptional method: Even though it is called an exceptional method, it isn’t really such. By noting its inherent unrealness though, you would be engaging this most exceptional of methods!"

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

September 5, 2012

Chapter 21: If a Buddha Can’t Explain It, Then Who Is Going to Get It? –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Subhuti! Don’t think that I, the Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual, am here to teach the meaning of the spiritual teachings! The idea that spiritual meaning can be taught is incorrect, and anyone saying that that’s what I’m doing is misrepresenting me and my efforts. Actual meanings aren’t explainable. Nonetheless, what I do is still considered to be an explaining of the spiritual meaning.”

    Subhuti then asked of the World-Honored One, “In the future, during the period of the societal collapse of spiritual integrity, will there be people who will be able to comprehend the implication of this type of teaching?”

    “Subhuti! Those future people that you call ‘people’ aren’t people, and neither are they not people!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

              A Poementary on Chapter 21 of the Diamond Teaching

Subhuti blurts out what he’s not supposed to say,

But consider the context, it may be okay
He really gets going, broad insight he shows...
Hey, not bad, Subhuti! But the Buddha, he flows

August 24, 2012

Chapter 20: Buddhas Aren't Identifiable by Their Perfectness or By Reducing –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Subhuti! What do you think: Can it be observed that I am an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual by the fact that I’ve got a buddha’s highly perfected physical form-body (rūpa-kāya)?”

    Subhuti replied, “No, World-Honored One, we can’t presume that you are a transcendent-yet-appearing individual because you have a buddha’s highly perfected physical form-body. A buddha's highly perfected physical form-body, you would say, is neither perfect nor imperfect. If this we understood, we would know what it means to say that buddhas have highly perfected form-bodies!”

    “Certainly Subhuti! But how about if someone was observed exhibiting the known associated characteristics of a buddha?”

    “The answer is still no, World-Honored One. You wouldn’t know they were a buddha by noticing that they have special buddha characteristics. You’ve taught it is not a good idea to draw conclusions about buddhahood from observations of normally associated buddha characteristics; and of those normally associated buddha characteristics—the normalities, associations and characteristics—they can’t denote what a buddha is.”

       "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                On the Essence of Wisdom
                The Lotus Version (TLV) ©, by permission
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                And recorded by his disciple, Ananda  

August 1, 2012

Chapter 19: The Excellent Effect of Overcoming Clinging to Positive Effects –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Now Subhuti! Imagine a person of integrity gave an outrageous sum in the amount that would fill a trillion universes, to support the work of the buddhas! Would that create a huge positive effect?”

    “Yes, World-Honored One! You would say that this great generosity would result in a huge positive effect.”

    “Certainly, Subhuti! But even if you seem to perceive a huge positive outcome, that effect should not be thought of as being real.

    “You see, Subhuti, if people listening to this teaching were to continue to cling to an idea of positive effects as real, then I wouldn’t be able to create such a huge positive effect by telling you all this.”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

July 26, 2012

Chapter 18: The Power That Sees All Minds –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Now, Subhuti! What do you think? Is a transcendent-yet-appearing individual able to see using ordinary human vision?”

    Subhuti replied, “Yes, World-Honored One, a transcendent-yet-appearing individual can look with his ordinary human vision.”

    “Subhuti! Does a transcendent-yet-appearing individual have the ability to use mundane psychic vision?”

    “Yes, a transcendent-yet-appearing individual has the capacity to use psychic vision.”

    “Subhuti! Does a transcendent-yet-appearing individual have the capacity of perception that arises from wisdom—the vision of wisdom?”

    “Yes, World-Honored One, a transcendent-yet-appearing individual has the vision of wisdom.”

    “Subhuti! Does a transcendent-yet-appearing individual have intuitional, all-seeing awareness—intuitional vision?”

    “Yes, World-Honored One, the transcendent-yet-appearing individual has the intuitional knowing called intuitional vision.”

    “Subhuti! Does a transcendent-yet-appearing individual, an awakened one, have transcending visionary capabilities—buddha-vision?”

    “Yes, World-Honored One, a transcendent-yet-appearing individual, an awakened one, does have buddha-vision.”

    "Remember, Subhuti, how I was talking about all those particles in the Ganges riverbed?"

    “Yes, World-Honored One; you did discuss that phenomena, calling them ‘particles.'”

    The Buddha spoke, saying “If there were as many Ganges Rivers as particles in the Ganges riverbed, with each particle in all those rivers representing another world like ours, wouldn’t that be an astronomical number of worlds?”

    “Yes, World-Honored One, there surely would be an astronomical number of worlds!”

     And as the Buddha continued he said, “Consider the vast numbers of beings that would exist in those worlds, and that I would be able to know the thoughts of every one of those beings!

    “But, what then makes it possible for me to notice the workings of an astronomical number of minds, appearing within countless universes? To know how buddhas do it, you’ll need to see that those myriad minds which are said to be perceived by a buddha are not real minds, certainly not in the way that people conceive of them. Go right ahead, try to perceive these so-called minds! Whether peering into past, present or future, you won’t find even a one!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  


July 19, 2012

Chapter 17C: How the Saviors Earn Their Title –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “When people go around with the idea that they’re going to be liberating people, you can be certain they aren’t bodhisattvas. Besides, there is no such thing as being a bodhisattva!

    “Therefore I say to you: believing as if beings are being beings, or in people that have temporary or eternal selves, is to be holding to delusional perspectives.

    “Subhuti! Should someone think, ‘I shall save the world!’—that would be dubious. The Buddha hereby informs that any saving of the world that is going to be happening is not something that is really going to be happening. It may seem, however, like the world is being saved!

    “Subhuti! If individuals were to merely establish this understanding pertaining to there being no set selves, then without a doubt they should be proclaimed and given the name bodhisattva—savior of the world!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

July 18, 2012

Chapter 17B: How the Way You Perceive Things Always Matters –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

     “People try and claim I went through a spiritual learning experience that resulted in buddhahood, and thereby they misrepresent my teaching. Here’s where they went wrong: transcendent-yet-appearing individuals never believe in processes or spontaneous peak experiences that result in an unsurpassed perfect enlightenment.

     “The things that actually make a buddha a buddha are not contained in a style of thought, nor in a sense of reality or truth versus an unreality or untruth. Along these lines, all buddhas teach that phenomena are in essence unexplainable manifestations, an arising of the inconceivable Itself, the domain of which is known only by those familiarized.

     “Subhuti! All phenomena, no matter what they are, can’t be phenomena as we conceive them. What they are, are transcendently-sourced-yet-appearing Buddha-things.

     “Now try this, Subhuti! Make up a beautiful, great, godlike character in the sky—glorious like the majestic Mount Sumeru!”

“I did it!” said Subhuti. “The beautific goddess goddess I made is really wonderful; on the other hand, there’s no one really there at all!” 

“Yes, Subhuti! In this manner, bodhisattvas perceive everything! 

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

July 1, 2012

Chapter 16: They Shall Produce Even Greater Results Than I –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “And incidentally, Subhuti! You know those fine students of integrity that we are discussing? In past times they were out of integrity. Now, while promoting this Diamond Teaching, some people are going to be turning on them. And by the way that they are able to handle themselves with these threatening people, they will be awakening to unsurpassed perfect enlightenment!

    “As I mentioned, I served for a great time under the Buddha Source of Light. But he was just one of countless buddhas under whom I practiced in discipleship! Now here I am, telling you that in the future there are going to be people who are going to be reciting, learning and propagating this teaching, causing an even greater inconceivable goodness than I did in all those lives of practice!

    “Further, you should know that merely on account of me telling you about the unfathomably vast field of goodness (and how it is going to be generated by men and women of the future by virtue of their reciting, learning, understanding and distributing this teaching), there are going to be people who are going to go unhinged!

    “O, Subhuti! This teaching isn’t something that is analyzable; and the same goes regarding the results achieved by people who understand it.

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

        A Poementary on Chapter 16 of The Diamond Teaching

          When I said what it said
          When they spit in my face
          Didn’t mind it at all
          I’ll accept the disgrace

          But to pause and consider
          The mystical answer
          Beats an eon of service
          To our own holy master?

          A million served lives,
          Lived in straight purity…
          But some, said the Son,
          Will do greater than me?

          Since believing in thoughts
          Can’t be right perception
          Bodhisattvas will serve up
          No concept perfection

June 27, 2012

Chapter 2: Subhuti Requests the Method Towards Bodhisattvahood and Enlightenment –– THE LOTUS SUTRA

    The very venerable monk named Subhuti was in attendance. Subhuti stood up and uncovered his right shoulder. Kneeling upon his right knee and joining his palms together he implored, “How amazing, World-Honored One, this meta-genius method by which You train bodhisattvas—confiding in them information most profound! Now how should we apply this: How is it that a man or a woman of integrity can take the steps to becoming a bodhisattva and attaining perfect enlightenment? How should they be conducting themselves, and what kind of practice should they be doing? What should they be doing with their minds?”
    “Good for asking, Subhuti! You’re right—I do confide in bodhisattvas the meta-genius knowledge, sharing with them the greatest of profundities. Listen, for I now shall explain how a man or woman of integrity can come to enter into this confidential wisdom, and too the manner in which they should conduct themselves and apply their minds.”
    The venerable Subhuti responded, “This is most excellent, World-Honored One! Please tell us!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

June 22, 2012

A DogZen Simpleton's Instructions: The Actual Practice of Dzogchen

(This article, from January 2005, has been the single most read page on the Dog Zen Koans. We republish it today for your reading pleasure.)

If you want to learn the meaning of Dzogchen and get its benefits
You will have to overcome your twisting of the Dharma, spirituality and everything else.
You should understand:
It’s going to take an organized and ongoing effort,
Until the dam of artificiality breaks free.

Here goes:
When you hear about looking into your mind, no matter where it comes from,
Just go ahead and do it.

At first glance, whatever mind is, for sure you see thoughts and feelings.
You don’t know what you are doing; it's okay.
There are thoughts and feelings.

Just for now, forget about the word “mind” and just look at those thoughts and feelings that you see   When you tried to find the mind.
Focus on “what thoughts are”
Look in your mind for the answer, don’t look at me or your memory.
You must focus, look directly and observe the thinking.

This looking at thoughts and wondering what they are must continue
Until you are fully confident that thinking
Is utterly and completely unlimited in its potential seeming situations and formulations.

This process of getting used to knowing this takes a length of time to incorporate.
My suggestion is to forget about goofy meditating and just do this!

If you do what I said and keep going, at some point
An unquestionable confidence in how thoughts and emotions exist will arise,
Each thought, limited and impermanent,
And its rising knowledge will change you in a big way.
You will know that you could be thinking anything, anywhere, anytime! Wowie!
There are ultimately no governors that control what you can think or feel.

June 21, 2012

Chapter 15: Efficacy Towards Enlightenment’s Beatification of Bodies and Locations –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

     “And Subhuti! Let’s say there are men or women who engage perpetually in the ascetic act of giving away their body, in order to induce a spiritual benefit. They practice this giving of the body piously; morning, noon and night for quadrillions of eons; repeating the practice as many times as there are particles in the mud of the Ganges riverbed. Compare them to people who are prepared to listen to this teaching without their minds closing down. What would be created by these latter people’s actions would be of hugely greater benefit! And it would be again more beneficial if they recited, studied and began to comprehend, explaining this teaching and its points to others! Very special is this teaching, designed for the latter type of person, able to use this super-efficient advice! As they learn, uphold and effectively share this teaching, I the Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual shall notice (with my intuition, vision and meta-knowing) that each of them by this will create an inconceivably vast goodness. In glory, they shall wear the very raiment of buddhahood.

     “Subhuti! It should be noted that most people prefer getting information that coincides with an idea that they cherish of having an actual self, or of being someone, or that a self is alive either temporarily or eternally—which suggests that they aren't going to be making efforts to consider, nor will they comprehend this teaching. They just aren't going to be open to being helped at this time.

     “Just the same, when a sincere effort to understand or share this Perfection of Wisdom teaching does occur, that locus of dispensation shall be beatified, renowned and venerated by wisdom beings, human and ethereal.”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

June 10, 2012

Seven Facets of our World System

Inclusive within the fact of creativity being limitless, the facets of the jewel of this creation were chosen in the form of sevens. Objects seem to slump to one facet or the other, or to none at all, becoming ubiquitous.

The creator's facet-law may be perceived as a rainbow of colors, a scale of sounds, a pallette of smells or tastes and too, that catchall we call "mind". The wholes part into the sevens, the desired effect.

Much has been taught about the senses and the sevens, here now, that which is called mind shall be addressed:

The Jewel is Love and Wisdom as a unity.
Its facets are...

Love-Wisdom (again)

 Which may display as these opposites...

1. Will-- wrong use extremes: overforcing and underforcing
2. Love-Wisdom-- wrong use extremes: naiveté and superficial love
3. Activity-- wrong use extremes: excess movement and lack of movement
4. Art-- wrong use extremes: perfectionism and conflictedness
5. Organizationality-- wrong use extremes: clunkiness and lack of formation
6. Aspiration--wrong use extremes: emotionalism and dullness
7. Ceremoniality--wrong use extremes: (belief in) control and (belief in) out of control

But better that they are in direct, non-confused expressivity without self-deception:

1. Will--Right Intent
2. Love--Wisdom--bona fide Love and Wisdom
3. Activity--Intelligence, Wisdom, Love in Action, the Holy Spirit
4. Art-Play--playing in the of opposites without clinging
5. Organizationality--useful organization
6. Aspiration--seeking the return toward understanding
7. Ceremoniality--the practice-performance of the magic good

March 23, 2012

A Poementary on Chapter Twelve of the Diamond Sutra

Like at a stupa, a temple or a holy shrine
It’s wherever you are, if you’d take the time
To read aloud just four small lines—
If you did even more, it would be more fine

‘Cause if you went and learned the whole kit and kaboodle
And your understanding ranged to the end of that noodle
Though an ordinary person on the outside you see,
There’s a Buddha clearly living right inside of me

March 15, 2012

Chapter 12: How Holy Places and Holy Beings Are Made to Appear –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “And further, Subhuti! The significance of this teaching is such that any locations where a few lines are recited become sacred sites, same as holy shrines.

    “But then again, Subhuti! Let's say someone did recite this––applying themselves to the point of being able to understand and share the gist of meaning. Well, wherever that person happens to be situated, in every single spot, there would be an appearance of, none other than, the Buddha himself!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

A Poementary to help explain Chapter 12 of the Diamond Sutra

January 18, 2012

Song of Hui-Neng

You want to teach these foolish folks?
Proceed to exorcize their doubt
You'll need to be quite skillful blokes
And then their wisdom will come out

The place of waking, it's right here
Yet in a way fools cannot see
So please don't run away in fear
To seek a world that cannot be

The views of men as in our world
Or thoughts of truth from higher mind
To know that these, they both must go
It's then you'll leave distress behind

This is the straight-talk rousing-up
Known as the wondrous Greater Way,
That leaves confusion's endless cup
For a waking that could come today

songs and poems © sol ta triane, 2012

January 11, 2012

Chapter 9: Clarifying The Levels of Spiritual Practitioners –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Subhuti! What do you think? Would someone who entered the stream (of advanced spirituality) think, ‘I’m a stream-enterer!'"

    Subhuti said, “No, World-Honored One. And the reason why they wouldn’t think it, is that a person who has entered the stream knows that stream-enterers haven’t actually entered anything. They would know that they haven't entered a new paradigm of vision, sound, smell, taste, or feeling. They would know that they haven't actually entered anything at all. It’s what makes them stream-enterers!”

    “Subhuti! What do you think? Would those who we call 'once-more returners' have the thought that they had accomplished the level of a 'once-more returner'?”

    Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. They wouldn’t think that way, because these once-more returners, though their name implies it, don’t actually return. Being capable of this understanding, they are honored with the title of 'once-more returner.'”

    “Subhuti! Does a 'non-returner' think that they have attained the spiritual qualification of never again having to reincarnate?”

    Subhuti replied, “No, World-Honored One. Although the name implies that they don’t return, their mind remains free of believing in a someone who is returning.”

    “Subhuti! Would an arhat think something like, ‘I’ve accomplished the level of arhat!'”

    Subhuti said, “No, World-Honored One! They wouldn’t, because there is really no such thing as an arhat. If an arhat thought that they had accomplished attaining the level of an arhat, that would mean that they would be attached to an idea of a self, or to one of being a being, or of someone living a life or to an idea of some sort of an eternal personage. Most Holy and World-Honored One, you have mentioned that I, Subhuti, am the most accomplished in the meditative continuum that ends grasping on to desires. True enough. Free from desires, I entertain no thought of freedom from desires. O Great One! If I thought about how I had done something to establish a level of arhatship, or believed that I had accomplished the attainment of freedom from desires, then you would have never confirmed that I attained it!

    “Or another way of putting this, is that by living in a carefree spiritual manner in the wilderness, without holding concepts of forest-wandering yogis or their practices, that would mean I would be a 'forest-wandering yogi.'"

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda