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Qualities of Enlightened Behavior

To: alt.zen,talk.religion.buddhism
From: (Dharman Craig Presson)
Subject: Re: Qualities of Enlightened Behavior
Date: 14 Dec 1995 17:08:55 GMT

In article , (R. 
ZWAAGSTRA) says...
>In article  
Chris C
>hristian  writes:
>>Subject: Qualities of Enlightened Behavior
>>From: Chris Christian 
>>Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 20:25:03 MST
>>Dear Fellow Readers:
>>I am making a list, please help?
>>How do you know when someone is an enlightened being?
>>How is a being judged to be enlightened?  What is the process?
>>If all beings are enlightened from the start, do we just not realize it?

That is exactly it. Years of living with the peculiar view that
we are an isolated person that lives in a particular body, and
in fact vigorously defending this view, reduces our ability to
see the whole.

>>What behaviors are evident if we "realize" enlightenment?
>>1. Compassion
>>2. peacefulness
>>3. calm
>>4.                              What do you think?
>>Thank you for your help.
[I'm skipping over Ronald to get to Christine because her post
has not arrived at my site]


There are many enumerations of marks of an enlightened being, fruits
of practice of the Way, etc., in the Sutras. Many of them border on
the incomprehensible, others are obviously mythological, and some
are useful. The common denominator that is agreed upon by all schools
are the Six Paramitas, or Perfections:

1. Dana paramita, charity or giving. This is like the Christian caritas,
and is not just giving to the United Way when they call, but includes
opening one's heart to the demands of the moment and the needs of the
sentient beings around one. This is why it is first and fundamental.

2. Sila paramita, morality and virtue. Externally, this paramita is
identified with keeping the precepts but if we just keep precepts in 
a mechanical way, while still harboring the greed, aversion, and
delusion that give rise to immorality, this is not enlightened action.

3. Shanti paramita, patience, endurance. Samsaara is a twisty maze and
it's tempting to try to force ourselves or others on the path, but this
just kicks up more karmic dirt (Buddhist karma is still karma, I have
to keep reminding myself).

4. Virya paramita, energy, enthusiasm, courage. Following on from Shanti,
this perfection is an obvious mark of a good teacher. Zen Master Seung
Sahn, continuing to fly around the world and spread the Dharma, leaving
behind a retinue of doctors telling him to retire and take it easy, is
a dramatic example.

5. Dhyana paramita, concentration/meditatation. This of course is subtle. 
But intuitively you can sense the presence of mind,
collectedness, and imperturbability that follow from deep practice. In
the direct presence of a Master, it can be sensed immediately.
(Dhyana is the Sanskrit word that by way of Chinese "Ch'an-na" to "Ch'an"
became the familiar Japanese "Zen".)

6. Prajna paramita, the perfection of non-dual wisdom. This is both
the crown and the foundation of the Paramitas. Proverbially indescribable
in words, while in no sense hidden, etc. Since it is the subject of 
buildings full of sutras, I will violate #4 by not trying to define it
further here.

There was nothing wrong with the items on your list, but you'll find
them all covered here, in terms already familiar to many.

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