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

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

Claims of such sort should not be encouraged but not sure what the course of action should be.


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

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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