A rather brash young man decided that he had attained enlightenment and no longer needed the guidance of his guru. He upped and left the temple and went around the region boasting of his spiritual achievements to anyone who would listen. He heard that there was a hermitage in a nearby town and decided he would make the journey and thrill the resident seekers and their master with his wisdom.
En route, he took a pathway through a forest, and as he ambled on his way, he saw in the distance an old sanyassin leaning against a tree; there appeared to be clouds of smoke issuing up from around him. As the young man got closer he saw that the old man was smoking a long-stemmed pipe. He also decided that the old man would be an ideal candidate to hear the story of his spiritual greatness.
“Good day Sir”, said the young man, “I am an enlightened soul and it is your good fortune that I happened upon you. You may throw away your scriptures and spiritual texts, there is no pathway, no individual soul, no karma, no God, there is only the nothingness of consciousness; in fact, nothing exists.”
WHACK! As quick as a flash the old man rapped the young “master” around the head with his pipe. As the young man glared at him in anger, the old sanyassin said, “if nothing exists, where did that anger come from”, and he turned and went on his way..
The subject matter of this parable is something that I have written about before. But, I like this story so much that I wanted to share it here. Of course, technically what the young man said was correct, however, he fully deserved his rap on the head for his audacious display of ego. Truly enlightened souls never make the statement, “I am enlightened”, because in consciousness, “nothing” is indeed all that exists. But, to go around actually speaking of “nothing” in a dualistic world implies also the existence of “something.” Consciousness, in its limitless state of eternal bliss, has no idea that it is referred to as consciousness, because literally, “nothing” exists. So, in summary, to speak of being enlightened in a dualistic world only highlights that the ego is still present. An enlightened soul would never say, “I am enlightened” because the enlightened soul is only aware of the state of enlightenment, there is no duality to imply that there is also the state of “un” or “non” enlightenment.