Hello, today’s topic is that the enlightened are not special. I believe it’s a widely held belief, a myth, that the enlightened are somehow exceptional. This belief is the reason behind the guru complex, where people worship and idolize those they consider enlightened, placing them on a pedestal as if they couldn’t attain the same state themselves. There’s a perceived gap, a significant distance between the revered enlightened individuals and the ordinary person.

In reality, the enlightened do not see themselves as special. When someone claims, “I’m enlightened” or “I’m awake,” it often triggers a negative reaction from many people. They might label it as egotistical or interpret it as a claim of superiority or specialness. However, the enlightened are not asserting superiority or specialness by stating their enlightenment. Even the Buddha, when asked, simply said, “I am awake.” It’s a straightforward statement of fact, devoid of evaluation.

What needs to be understood is that with enlightenment and the realization of non-duality, the non-dual reality, the concept of superiority or inferiority becomes irrelevant. There is no one superior, no one inferior, no basis for comparison. Many Zen sayings address this aspect. For instance, Bodhidharma was quoted as saying, “Vast emptiness, nothing holy.” Another Zen proverb states that cherry tree branches come in varying lengths, some long and some short, but this doesn’t imply superiority. Clouds also have variations in their size, but it’s not a matter of superiority or inferiority. These judgments of superiority or inferiority are products of our minds, attaching value based on personal preferences. It’s an illusion created by the mind to claim superiority or inferiority.

Those who have experienced enlightenment, whose illusions have been dispelled, see clearly that many of the illusions and ignorance they previously held have fallen away. They are free from much of the suffering they used to experience, and fear, anxiety, guilt, and sorrow have diminished significantly. However, this state of being is not a superior state per se. Those seeking enlightenment often perceive it as a superior state, especially when they are engulfed in suffering. Overcoming suffering and attaining relief may seem like a highly desirable and superior state. Yet, this valuation changes when enlightenment actually occurs.

Upon enlightenment, one realizes that while suffering has ceased, suffering was self-created up until that point, and one has simply stopped creating it. This cessation of suffering is not a measure of superiority. It doesn’t make someone a better human being or a better person. It’s essential to clearly understand that the enlightened are not special. Moreover, those who claim to be enlightened and assert their specialness are likely not enlightened at all.

Enlightenment is something that can happen to anyone. As the watcher, it could occur at any moment. Recognizing the illusion of superiority and inferiority is a vital aspect of dispelling the mental illusion of separation. If you perceive the enlightened as superior in any way, you are creating a divide and further separating yourself from what truly is. In reality, there is no difference between you and the next person. In the dream of existence, we all play our respective characters in the grand play. None are superior, none are inferior. Each character has a role to fulfill.

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