Loreena

Is Sam Harris Enlightened ?

40 posts in this topic

He is not enlightened. he has said that he had 1 amazing mdma experience and some shifts in meditations but nothing lasting.

He is deeply involved with academics and intellect, that wont probably help.

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1 hour ago, Nahm said:

sam's exceptional intelligence and therefore deduction ability allow him to see that all other than the One is relativity.   So, he is in the flow   

He is thousands of practice hours away from being what he actually is.   

You said it well... People are too quick to form opinions about others... He is not there bragging about anything or making any extraordinary claims.. One thing proves his humbleness... There are many students of Papaji today who have started to teach and claiming that they are enlightened just because they believed in Papaji when he said 'you are enlightened'.. When Papaji said something like this to Sam Harris and asked him to teach, he was not deluded enough to believe that he was enlightened. Instead, he is humble enough to say that he is not qualified to teach.

Just because he is rational, it doesn't mean he cannot meditate...(he has been doing that for years)... In fact, it is better to be rational than believing in all kinds of nonsense.. I think people have mistaken when Osho and others said 'you cannot understand the reality with logical mind'... Yes, it is true.. but that doesn't mean that people who are rational are not on the right path... it is actually the opposite. Logic should be used when it should be used and should be put away when it needs to be put away...

 


Shanmugam 

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47 minutes ago, Shanmugam said:

You said it well... People are too quick to form opinions about others... He is not there bragging about anything or making any extraordinary claims.. One thing proves his humbleness... There are many students of Papaji today who have started to teach and claiming that they are enlightened just because they believed in Papaji when he said 'you are enlightened'.. When Papaji said something like this to Sam Harris and asked him to teach, he was not deluded enough to believe that he was enlightened. Instead, he is humble enough to say that he is not qualified to teach.

Just because he is rational, it doesn't mean he cannot meditate...(he has been doing that for years)... In fact, it is better to be rational than believing in all kinds of nonsense.. I think people have mistaken when Osho and others said 'you cannot understand the reality with logical mind'... Yes, it is true.. but that doesn't mean that people who are rational are not on the right path... it is actually the opposite. Logic should be used when it should be used and should be put away when it needs to be put away...

 

I think you need to redefine your definition of humbleness. Sam is far from being radically open minded. That's what true humbleness means. 

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Just now, Shanmugam said:

@Visionary  Why do you think he is not open minded? May be you need to redefine your definition for open-mindedness :).

 

He quite radically defends his materialistic view of reality. Although he seems to be open for any constructive discussions, he mostly just debates his opponents. Many examples on the internet. This could be projection, but he's quite known for it. 

Furthermore, just look at his crusading towards religion and religious people. Blames religion (especially Islam) for most problems in the world. Not only that, but he's also very biased towards the  United States from a political point of view. Look at his dialogue with Noam Chomsky for that matter. His thought experiments are laughable. Every question has a very obvious implication nested in it. A notion of moral superiority.

 Someone with such radical claims about a materialistic reality, the absence of God or extreme political views does not strike me as open minded let alone conscious. His whole career is a reflection of that. Now tell me.

You think he's open minded and humble because he says he's not qualified to teach? Is that all?

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2 minutes ago, Visionary said:

He quite radically defends his materialistic view of reality. Although he seems to be open for any constructive discussions, he mostly just debates his opponents. Many examples on the internet. This could be projection, but he's quite known for it. 

Furthermore, just look at his crusading towards religion and religious people. Blames religion (especially Islam) for most problems in the world. Not only that, but he's also very biased towards the  United States from a political point of view. Look at his dialogue with Noam Chomsky for that matter. His thought experiments are laughable. Every question has a very obvious implication nested in it. A notion of moral superiority.

 Someone with such radical claims about a materialistic reality, the absence of God or extreme political views does not strike me as open minded let alone conscious. His whole career is a reflection of that. Now tell me.

You think he's open minded and humble because he says he's not qualified to teach? Is that all?

I am not quite familiar with his political views.. I am not familiar with all of his articles and videos either... Have read his book 'waking up' and have watched some of the videos..

There has to be a balance between skepticism and open mindedness.. There are people who tend to lean more towards skepticism and reject everything; there are people who are way too open minded and end up believing in  everything they hear..So, it is like walking on a rope. People may go off balance at times, but just from the overview of what Sam has spoken so far, I think he is going really good in keeping this balance. (but yeah, as any human being, he may lose his balance at times).

Humbleness is totally different from open-mindedness.. I can't judge how humble he is in general. But when you take this particular example of Papaji, almost all the western people who were told that they were enlightened by Papaji started teaching.. But Sam Harris was mature enough to not to delude himself. Humility is probably not an accurate word here, but I know that for most people it is very difficult to not to get deluded when they are told that their search is over and they are qualified to teach others. 

Regarding God, he is very clear about what he criticizes.. He criticizes the belief of a personal God who is watching over us all the time, who will torture non-believers in hell for eternity and who will grant 72 virgins in heaven to people who choose to believe in him.And he is saying that this has led to a lot of violence in the world, which is true.. Just to give one example from millions available, one guy, Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed the ancient Nalanda university, burnt thousands of Buddhist scriptures and killed people just because they didn't believe in the God he believed in... 

Just recently, I read about blasphemy laws of various countries and I was really shocked. Unfortunately, people in some countries are way too far away from spiritual awakening just because of things that they are forced to believe in. 


Shanmugam 

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14 minutes ago, Shanmugam said:

I am not quite familiar with his political views.. I am not familiar with all of his articles and videos either... Have read his book 'waking up' and have watched some of the videos..

There has to be a balance between skepticism and open mindedness.. There are people who tend to lean more towards skepticism and reject everything; there are people who are way too open minded and end up believing in  everything they hear..So, it is like walking on a rope. People may go off balance at times, but just from the overview of what Sam has spoken so far, I think he is going really good in keeping this balance. (but yeah, as any human being, he may lose his balance at times).

Humbleness is totally different from open-mindedness.. I can't judge how humble he is in general. But when you take this particular example of Papaji, almost all the western people who were told that they were enlightened by Papaji started teaching.. But Sam Harris was mature enough to not to delude himself. Humility is probably not an accurate word here, but I know that for most people it is very difficult to not to get deluded when they are told that their search is over and they are qualified to teach others. 

Regarding God, he is very clear about what he criticizes.. He criticizes the belief of a personal God who is watching over us all the time, who will torture non-believers in hell for eternity and who will grant 72 virgins in heaven to people who choose to believe in him.And he is saying that this has led to a lot of violence in the world, which is true.. Just to give one example from millions available, one guy, Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed the ancient Nalanda university, burnt thousands of Buddhist scriptures and killed people just because they didn't believe in the God he believed in... 

Just recently, I read about blasphemy laws of various countries and I was really shocked. Unfortunately, people in some countries are way too far away from spiritual awakening just because of things that they are forced to believe in. 

Yes my friend. He has very valid points in his crusadings. But he misses one extremely crucial thing for an open minded person : self-reflection. That's quite paradoxical from someone who has introspected 2 years non-stop in a monestary. He forgets how we ("the West") parttake in all the terror on this earth. He claims that the millions of people that died due to collateral damage during wars were really not intended by us. That's a very naieve way of looking at warfare. Suddenly he's not a rationalist anymore?

Moral superiority is something extremely dangerous. Just as dangerous as the radical religious people. If not, even more dangerous. This claim of neutrality is just another claim for the truth. It just seems less idiotic. That's what makes it dangerous.

 

 

Edited by Visionary

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8 hours ago, Erlend K said:

Care to expand on that? Why do you think that you as a 30-something year old guy, with no monastic background and a very limited study of the Dharma, understand "Buddhism at its purest"?

I've experienced what Buddha is for myself. I AM the Buddha.

You do it for yourself, and then you'll know.

You're speaking about enlightenment as if there is a Buddhist version of it, and then Hindu version of it, etc.

That is NOT how it works.

When you FULLY grasp what Absolute Reality is, you will know who is and who isn't enlightened just by listening to them talking for a few minutes.

The kinds of things Sam Harris says, clearly indicate he hasn't experienced Absolute Reality. Nothing wrong with that per se. I'm not here to make the guy look bad. It just is what it is. 99.99999999% of people have no idea. If they do, they're probably monks or mystics or nondual teachers. Or you'll never hear about them. It is nothing that could ever make sense to the ordinary mind. Not even to a long-time meditator.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Visionary  I am not sure about these topics as I haven't read them (regarding moral superiority and views about the West).. But I remember somewhere reading that science can answer questions about morality. I have to read more about that before I can comment on it.. Do you have a link to any article of him where he talks about 'moral superiority'?


Shanmugam 

Subscribe to my Youtube channel for videos regarding spiritual path, psychology, meditation, poetry and more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwOJcU0o7xIy1L663hoxzZw?sub_confirmation=1 

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Just another person who mistakes personal perception for the universal truth, the world is filled with those who project their personal belief paradigms onto others and deem that they know the truth for all.

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15 hours ago, Erlend K said:

Care to expand on that? Why do you think that you as a 30-something year old guy, with no monastic background and a very limited study of the Dharma, understand "Buddhism at its purest"?

In your first post you talked said "EVERYTHING must be relinquished -- including rationalism -- to get to the Godhead." I think you might have got Brahmanism and Buddhism mixed up. There is no goal in Buddhism about "getting to the Godhead". The goal is simply complete acceptance of- and equanimity with- the three characteristics of impermanence, dissatisfactoriness and non-self. 

I disagree with calling the practices you advocate (Maharshi style self-inquiry and psychedelics) "Buddhism at its purest". A purer practice for a beginner would be practicing Samatha until you master the concentration Jhanas, combined with the moral practices like kindness, compassion and generosity. Then switching to vipassana to go through the insight stages/vipassana Jhanas to reach stream entry. That is the practice the Buddha actually taught.

In my original post, I made two claims about Buddhism:

1. The form of enlightenment the Buddha taught is achieved through a predictable, fairly linear, progression through well defined stages and not one sudden shift: The Buddha himself taught enlightenment as 4 stages (paths). Newer Buddhist schools have expanded this to f.i. the 5 paths of Mahayana (of which stream entry is the second path) and the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumis (of which I think stream entry is the first bhumi). For a in-depth analysis of the stages of insight check out the writings of Mahasi (perhaps the greatest Buddhist teacher of the last century).

2. Buddhism is a very rational practice that dosn't require faith in any metaphysical speculation: The Buddha was very clear about this. Don't believe anything to be true just because this or that teacher says so. Don't assume something to be true even if the Buddha himself said so. Don't take anything on blind faith, but think for yourself, and see if it matches your own experience. Unlike the Brahmanist sages, Buddha would often refuse to give his opinion on metaphysical questions because he saw these as unnecessary distractions.

Interesting.  There is no one right path to enlightenment.  I see it as simply as unhinging from beliefs at the existential level, and a way of living a more virtuous and self-less life.  I think each person can be guided by theory, but has to kick-off the theory training-wheels at a certain point and just observe within themselves how this stuff really works.  That is critical.  That's when you'll get the answer you're really looking for, not by clinging to beliefs or ideology like your life (ego) depends on it (I'm not saying you do this, it's just said generally).  Clinging too much to beliefs is at cross-purposes to enlightenment.  You gotta make your own enlightenment custom to your own life.  An enlightenment that works for you, that gives you emotional mastery, that grounds you, that leads to the happy, truthful, beautiful, abundant life that the world needs from you.  An enlightenment that enables you to live your life-purpose and contribute back to the world, so you can live a comfortable, financially-independent life, and so you can contribute back to the world in a Big way as your life-purpose becomes a reality.  Enlightenment is a side-dish, not the entire meal.  If you want to specialize in the side-dish, fine.  But you would be a specialist then.  Personal development is the bigger picture: How do we shape you up so you can go out there and do something on-purpose with your life.  Enlightenment is the tool to helping you accomplish this.  Yeah, it's the existential truth, but that truth don't take any action.  You gotta rise to the occasion, dust the ego off a little bit, and go out there and take massive action to effectuate change.  I realize my view might be unorthodox, but that doesn't matter to me.  I figured it out for myself.  I trust my own intuition after listening ad-nauseum to everybody else opine and opine about these issues.  I'm still open to feedback and try not to cling too tightly to any beliefs, including these that I have stated here.  What good are these beliefs?  How do they advance my ball to be doing my life-purpose actions in the moment?  See, that's the real issue.  I can't emphasize this point more.  We gotta keep our wandering eye-balls on the big-prize.  The big-prize is your life improving so much that it's almost sickening.  The paradox of growth?  Maybe.  Hell, do it for kicks if for nothing else.  Just easy on the belief-clinging.  That's the source of 99% of our problems in personal development.  The cowboy doesn't marry his horse.

Edited by Joseph Maynor

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On 8/9/2017 at 6:40 PM, MaxBlank said:

I have enjoyed listening to Sam Harris over the years. I have not paused to consider whether he is enlightened. I have learned not to do that.

I will say something about that now. It doesn't matter. Sam Harris is Sam Harris, and he is completely responsible for being Sam Harris, even to the point of any heighted state of being. Cutting to the chase; each has their own path to walk.

I have learned that it is a complete waste of time to ponder whether this or that monk is enlightened, or any state beyond, for that matter. The same could be said about Eckhart Tolle (whom I consider to be enlightened), or any great teacher. The knowledge of their state of awareness does nothing in and of itself. What matters is the teaching and my ability to transform it into my practice. The teaching could come from the trash man; but if it resounds with my own mind, then it is good.

Appearances (looks good, sounds good) tend to distract. The path is to greater awareness is inward. The teachings of others merely help illuminate a way. A person's status isn't important; even though at times enlightenment seems evident.

Another way to look at this is, anytime someone imparts wisdom, for that moment they are enlightened. The message can be well received, regardless of appearances.

But whose teachings would you consider more seriously, for example, on aikido:

A) A 9th dan blackbelt sensei who has been practicing aikido for 30 years;

B) Me -- who has little more than 3 months of pracitce under my belt?

The same goes for most areas of life, even enlightenment.

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17 hours ago, PetarKa said:

 

But whose teachings would you consider more seriously, for example, on aikido:

A) A 9th dan blackbelt sensei who has been practicing aikido for 30 years;

B) Me -- who has little more than 3 months of pracitce under my belt?

The same goes for most areas of life, even enlightenment.

Well, Petarka, I've come to the same place: aikido is basically for fighting. It is a form for purpose. So is street brawling. Bruce Lee talked about the "classical mess", I am not going to bother.

The Buddha taught with the "Parable of the Raft" (easily Googled). The teaching is a means to an end. It doesn't matter what form your "boat" takes.

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3 hours ago, MaxBlank said:

The teaching is a means to an end. It doesn't matter what form your "boat" takes.

I agree, but for a student of enlightenment it certainly matters who you listen to when it comes to techniques, concepts, etc. Of course non-enlightened people can have valuable insights on the topic, but it is certainly far less likely that you will hear something valuable about enlightenment from, for example, Donald Trump than from an enlightened Zen master with 40 years of experience.

Otherwise, how will you judge what is good advice and what is not?

Edited by PetarKa

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On 9.8.2017 at 11:45 PM, Leo Gura said:

It just is what it is. 99.99999999% of people have no idea

So about 1 person in the world has an idea about absolute reality, then?

(7*10^9)-((7*10^9)*0.9999999999)=0.7

Edited by Edvard

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I've listened to his podcasts and have found him to be conventionally intelligent but severely - severely - lacking in self-awareness. 

He blindly takes his metaframe (set of implicit beliefs and assumptions) for granted; there's little self-reflection as to whether it is even valid for examining certain issues.  This produces a GIGO effect: you can have the most sound logic, but if your premises are naive or foolish, it's worthless.

I don't think he's even close to non-duality.  

Edited by Haumea

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@Haumea What example would you give to show his lack of self awareness. 

 


  1. Only ONE path is true. Rest is noise
  2. God is beauty, rest is Ugly 

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What example would you give to show his lack of self awareness. 

Loreena,

His whole metaframe is default blind trust of all kinds of authority.  It's as if he lacks the imagination that it could be corrupt, let alone that it is likely corrupt.  Very naive, especially politically.

E.g. see here. (I went looking for specific examples of this after posting the previous paragraph, but I think it illustrates my general observations well.)

Edited by Haumea

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