How to Know a Fake Guru When You Meet One
Every now and then someone writes me about some guru or meditation or New Age fad and then asks my opinion. I don't have time to answer stuff like that and deprive people of their naughty incomes. My teacher would always refuse comment, too. People who don't have any wisdom always get cheated even if you tell them so. Nevertheless, so that YOU don't get cheated, here's what you have to discover.
1. Having psychic abilities or superpowers does not mean someone is more spiritual than people without superpowers and psychic abilities. Ghosts and demons have superpowers, so what does having them prove about anyone's state of virtue or spirituality?
2. Being able to demonstrate superpowers and teaching the dharma does not necessarily mean one is actually teaching the REAL dharma, or that one is ethical, virtuous, etc. There are lots of dharmas that look like the real dharma, but are not the real thing. Semblance to the real thing, but being "off" where it counts, can lead you astray for many lives. In the CIA this is called disinformation - feed them enough true information so that they'll fall for the bad stuff you put in, and collect big money with outrageous claims. It's done all the time in the spiritual field. See the website for the free Surangama sutra explanation and you'll read where Buddha talked about all the sorts of false spiritual teachers that arise and try to mislead you from the true cultivation path through subtle error.
Remember, there are four dhyana before the first dhyana and they are all still in the Desire Realm and that's where a lot of these powers come from. There's the:
(1) Desire Realm samadhi, (2) Not-reached-samadhi samadhi, (3) Intermediate samadhi, and (4) the Samadhi that is similar to samadhi. Then, finally, comes the first dhyana achievement! And there are 3 other dhyana besides that, and four formless absorptions, and then the Arhat's enlightenment with remainder! None of these are enlightenment. They're all very high stage, but not enlightenment.
Tell me - which of these did Muktanada achieve, or Paramhansa Yogananda, or Han Shan or Osho or Rajneesh or Papaji or Ramakrishna or some of the famous yoga teachers this century? Be careful. Some are high stage, others are not.
While people will say anyone who attains the pre-samadhi dhyana and can demonstrate small superpowers is a master, they certainly are not, especially if they exhibit an EXCESS of desire.
First, these pre-samadhi stages are not samadhi.
Second, even with the first samadhi (dhyana), there are varying levels of achievement and the only true first dhyana is the highest stage of that achievement! So even with the lowly first dhyana, you only REALLY achieve when you're almost through it.
Third, samadhi is not enlightenment. No samadhi is enlightenment or liberation. Don't make this mistake. The majority of masters who appear in the world are only at the level of samadhi attainments.
You can take anyone and teach them breathing practices and in less than three years they'll have lots of superpowers but without samadhi. It's just a natural function of cultivating chi. However, if they should then start surrounding themselves with money, young girls, 50 Roll Royces, and claim they're enlightened, who's cheating whom?
A true master will have elevated conduct, as you see represented in Zen. The mind is pure, desires are less.
As Shakyamuni Buddha predicted, during the later ages more and more people will achieve a tiny bit of cultivation and then claim they have achieved the whole thing and will mislead people. They will not discourage deserve adoration but will claim they will take care of you and lead you to liberation. Instant "no responsibility" on your part if you just follow them.
This is one reason why I never speak about some of the really great teachings in public, because this type of individual will grab this information, claim it as their own experience (which they don't know about) and then use it to try to cheat others to amass money, power, whatever.
For instance, that's why my own teacher will never publicly discuss the stages of opening the jen-mai front chi channel. It's such a low stage, but if you openly talk about it, I guarantee that unscrupulous (or self-deceived) individuals will then grab on to these descriptions, claim the same thing happened to them and then use the information to cheat others.
Sound implausible? Don't cheat yourself! It happens all the time.
Remember in life that good people tend not to step out and defend people, clean things up, etc. etc. They tend to just want to be left alone, and not make any efforts. They see the world get destroyed by the bad guys but don't step out and do anything about it but keep silent.
Evil people, however, will go out of their way to do all sorts of things for money, power, fame, etc. that "good" or "virtuous" people wouldn't dare. Criminals, for instance, have to be smarter than average good people in order to survive. Greedy people also tend not to be lazy. So these are the ones who will seize hold of higher stage teachings to cheat others - not the good people. Think about it.
But if you're from some poor country like India and come to a rich country, like the US, and collect 500 Mercedes or Rolls Royce's and tell people you're a master, folks, you ask yourself if you're being cheated or not. Don't cut off your own wisdom life. Start using that three pound muscle inside.
As I tell you over and over again, cultivation is to make you wiser. You have to mix it with worldly wisdom if you ever want to truly succeed. Yes, there are people out there who want to consciously cheat you, or who are cheating themselves and thus cheat you if you don't see their errors and mistakes.
Start exercising your wisdom muscles.
4. Remember, no master will ever forbid students to use mantras or read holy scriptures. Reading scriptures increases one's wisdom; reciting mantras helps with personal attainment and chases away ghosts and other etheric beings (that people will small superpowers can ask to do things). If someone forbids this, you have to ask why they are forbidding time-recognized, proven means for spiritual advancement.
Guess what? Ghosts and other small beings hate that stuff, so why is it forbidden? Anyone at very low stages of cultivation starts controlling their chi and shen, and then can control these beings to do dirty deeds, if so desired. In the Tao school it's called controlling the po and hun spirits. This is what some shamans do, and since it isn't samadhi yet, why do people elevate this technique? The Russian monk Rasputin fell into this category.
Be careful! Use your wisdom.
If someone puts you on a mind control, low calorie diet, you also have to ask why? Use your wisdom once again. To succeed in cultivation, you don't want to over stimulate your body, but also you must keep it healthy.
Yes, you want spiritual salvation but no one can do it for you as you have to save yourself. So start relying on your own wisdom.
As Buddha said, Yes, everyone is fundamentally liberated (saved) because all sentient beings are of the original nature. They all share the same original nature, the same fundamental face, the same Buddha-nature or whatever you want to call the ORIGEN. Christianity did get that right.
However, you will still go round and round the cycle of reincarnation and suffer pain and everything else, even though fundamentally enlightened, if you don't cultivate to escape the process and learn how to CONTROL the process. You must learn how to escape birth and death, which means controlling birth and death. Why control? Because there's no place to go in the universe, so you have to perfect your functioning within it!
If the Buddhas could have saved you they already would have. They cannot -- they can only show you the way. Buddhism flat out says this. You have to do it yourself. You have to cultivate yourself. Then you save yourself.
Hinduism says this, Taoism does, … why do you think most schools tell you that you have to make an effort? Because it's true. It's just that some go farther than others in terms of the depth of their explanations.
That's it. Other people, no matter Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods from heaven or whatever, can only teach you meditation, various cultivation methods for achieving empty mind, the kung-fu and stages of the path, where not to go wrong, but you have to put in the effort to achieve it and save yourself. It requires work, but also wisdom to know the path and guide yourself.
If spiritual progress comes easy to you that's because of past karma. If it comes hard, that's because of past karma, too. So to create the future you want, you need to create it by your own efforts. You CANNOT escape having to work for progress and results.
No one can save you but yourself. That's why you need merit and wisdom to succeed on the spiritual path. You need Merit to come in contact with the right teachings/teacher, and Wisdom to know it and then practice.
5. To achieve samadhi does not mean enlightenment, realization or liberation. Get that right: do not confuse samadhi attainments with enlightenment!
There are four samadhi (dhyana) and four formless absorptions, and one stage of Arhat enlightenment. See the website for details -- you won't find this free information elsewhere unless you read lots of expensive books.
Most people mistakenly take an Indian guru who achieved samadhi and call him an avatar, enlightened master, awakened, liberated. Sorry, just ain't so. They are only samadhi masters. But because they're samadhi masters they're already above the human stage and usually worthwhile guides and teachers. Usually; Sometimes. Regardless, don't confuse samadhi attainments with enlightenment.
Go read To Realize Enlightenment or Working Toward Enlightenment if this is still unclear.
Go learn how to know whether it's a samadhi attainment or enlightenment. As we teach in the Stages materials, you can know this through the samadhi system, the skandhas, the 5 stages of the path, the chi-shen-emptiness transformations, and so on. There are lots of ways, lots of different angles, it's not made up, it all exists, all the religions have it but use different words to describe it (remember last week's discussion of Christian samadhi?).
Even some masters in the Zen school, who people said were enlightened, were just samadhi masters. High stage samadhi masters, but samadhi masters nonetheless. It is VERY hard to become enlightened.
I could take all the books written by Indian gurus this century and with STAGES materials, you can easily see this fact. You easily can rate Rudolf Steiner, Edgar Cayce, Gurdjieff, Swedenborg, and then run through religions like Mormonism, Scientology, etc. to see for yourself. That's what I teach the STAGES students to do.
They buy less books, aren't confused any more, and don't go running after this or go chasing after that. They know what to do, and the only thing left is practice.
The true spiritual path is meditation of some form to attain some state of emptiness, meaning freedom from discriminative thought (that's the only thing in tune with the Godhead, Tao, original nature). Along the way there are transformations of your body as your four elements harmonize, chi channels open, and your chi becomes clear. Consciousness changes along with this. As this happens, you develop superpowers, samadhi and all sorts of kungfu (gongfu). But it still isn't the Tao, it still isn't awakening.
That's where most masters are -- at this stage of intensified practice.
Want to know more? I offer an academic level, intensive course called STAGES. This is the last week I'm accepting applications. Read the Stages course page on the site if you're interested. If not, that's okay, too, as there are tons of free materials on the website. I'm only looking for the brightest of the brightest anyway.
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