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I recently saw a Buddhism.SE profile claiming stream entry, and was asked today about my own attainments in meditation. I am disinclined to reveal these details, since it removes the focus from the teachings and practice, onto "things" (meditation attainments) "I"/"we" need to "get".

I am aware that some traditions/schools discourage revealing attainments, but not how this applies to most schools/traditions/practitioners. Should we discourage the proclamation of attainments on the site?

These attainments are not verifiable, and (as I see it) can easily turn focus over on things other than the teachings and practice of Buddhism. What are your opinions about that? What is the practice of different traditions?

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    "Have you finished your rice? Then go wash your bowl." "Achievement unlocked!" – Dan Hulme Jul 1 '14 at 9:48
  • Gamification of experience... :-) – FullPeace.org Jul 1 '14 at 10:27
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    All my Buddhism SE badges are my highest spiritual attainments. – MatthewMartin Jul 3 '14 at 1:21
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    @MatthewMartin right, isn't there an Enlightened badge? Just get that, and we win the game. – FullPeace.org Jul 3 '14 at 5:09
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    Just a devils advocacy: don't forbid statements/selfies about attainments! It helps you to discern, whose answers/advice you better should not trust... – Gottfried Helms Oct 5 '14 at 12:39
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If someone claims that he's highly realised I would treat all his opinions with a pinch of salt.

There may be a difference in asking about attainments though. I can imagine it might be ok revealing that someone completed Ngondro or attended some special retreat/ceremony. What is not ok is to claim that this made him advanced or that he experienced something specific. As one of the great masters said - doing advanced practice doesn't make one an advanced person.

  • Agree, saying "I am realized" seems a bit self-defeating :^) Even the Buddha said, "I have attained The Way for all beings!" – user2341 Mar 4 '15 at 13:48
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Claims of such sort should not be encouraged but not sure what the course of action should be.

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While claiming complete Enlightenment is definitely disallowed per Vinaya, declaring smaller attainments on one's profile is a personal choice that I feel we should not restrict in any way. Except for moderators, whose "official" position implies more stringent propriety rules. Thanks for the call, I tweaked the wording on my profile :)

  • Somehow it always gets danced around. If someone asks me a direct question, I could find a way to deflect it, or answer it, depending on the circumstance. Parading attainments is not humility though, so I have trouble saying that is fine. What amounts to parading though, could differ. I think that a simply worded statement as part of a question could come across as proclaiming an attainment. (From personal experience... Probably commonplace.) How do we really read behind the words to the intent? – user2341 Mar 4 '15 at 13:46
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Surely the issue is whether our group Q's and A's should involve claims to attainments. Given the pre-existing SE guidelines on opinion, I think the answer is that such claims don't fit this kind of forum. There are places where such things are more openly discussed: dharmaoverground.org for example.

But I don't have any problem with someone claiming whatever they want on their profile. It's none of my business. I don't see why any of us should be bothered with what someone says outside the Questions and Answers (unless it's defamatory or in some similar way a problem).

I think an important thing to bear in mind is that not everyone who is interested in Buddhism, and so may visit the site, is Buddhist.

  • the reason to post this is actually that most Buddhism.SE users are not Buddhists. So in a sense a newcomer would evaluate an answer based on claims on their profile. However, like you mention, let's not make a problem of it. – FullPeace.org Jul 3 '14 at 5:07

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