A monk in Sri Lanka publicly says that he has achieved nirvana.If that's true we can follow the (practical) path he teaches . But how can we make sure whether that is true or not ?

  • 1
    Ask what he means by that, compare it to the scriptures, and look at his behavior.
    – user2341
    May 7, 2017 at 15:01

6 Answers 6


Mr/Mrs Lasan,

Difficult would it be for a monk, Lasan, even more difficult for a householder... and not easy possible jet not by one self a Noble one:

As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Of those in the world who are arahants or on the path to arahantship, are these among them?"

[The Buddha:] "Great king, as a layman enjoying sensual pleasures; living confined with children; using Kāsī fabrics & sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, & creams; handling gold & silver, it's hard for you to know whether these are arahants or on the path to arahantship. ... Paṭisalla Sutta: Seclusion

In addition, Lasan, in regard of the reason why you asked: Who ever teaches "this was said by the Buddha, I know.", one does good neither to take it nor to reject it, but simply prove it if it holds against Vinaya, if it stands with the Dhamma of the Blessed One. If, one should say: "This is what the Buddha taught, by way and meaning." If not: "This is not what the Buddha taught, by way and meaning. This Monk is not teaching Buddhas message."

One does not need an enlightened Person to simply hear the good Dhamma with proper attention, yet for sure it would be more secure to listen to an Arahat, but did the Buddha wanted you just to quickly believe or to investigate and look for your self to archive the own realisation?

So why would it be of great benefit knowing who's an Arahant or on the way to be? "Simply" because it is the great field of merits in this world, could be the personal interest. But if one, not really knowing, and having made his judgement upon wrong understanding of liberation, gives to a person an individual, it can be not only just low merit but also demerit, if investigated wrong and that is why the Elders always tell: Even to give to a Noble One would be of greater merit as to "simply" the Sangha, it is better to point one mind to the Savaka Sangha, before, while and after giving, those people following good and rightly the Buddha, and even dedicate it verbal as such.

The side effect is also this, that a Monk has much more responsibility and "pressure" receiving a gift for the Sangha, even if it is "only" food, which in the case of receiving a personal gift would not be such and could be "legal"-looking also easy be misused. Most monks don't like to receive gifts dedicated to the Sangha since they would not even be allowed to give a share to their family, if you understand the way it often works. Yet it is out of compassion to make it easier for certain monks, to give it personal (in cases of people who are well informed).

As for the certain case, if Lasan shares links, Name and his teachings, maybe a more clear and straight forward answer in the certain case can be given.

(Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for any commercial purpose or other wordily gains)

An maybe extended answer can be found here. Disussion an further gestions, als well a critic and rebukes are also welcome there without strings and conditional "needed" censure: [Q&A] How to know if someone has achieved nirvana?]

Addition: In regard of the question caused person, its not really that difficult even for people with much dust in the eyes...

http://www.ashramaya.org - Facebook

  • Siri Sadaham Ashramaya
  • The saviour returns
  • කවියක් තුලින් මුණි සඳ දුටුවෙමි
  • The-Saviours-Daughters
  • Siri Samanthabhadra Arhat Maha Thero
  • MahaMuni News.com
  • Practical Buddhism for Youth
  • Siri Sadaham Bodu Poth Madura

What is for sure not an Arahat, is even a stream-enter are persons:

  • making bussiness with Dhamma, selling Dhamma
  • teaching consciously via media not seeing/knowing who listens in detail
  • having disadvantaged group, opposition, woman, gender, childen as main target
  • taking about love praising life
  • having less focus on fellows and monks
  • do not really life in the Sanghas community
  • showing teeth, love and smile
  • doing gestures with the hands while talking
  • having no signs of modesty, usually over weighted and fine dressed
  • sitting and walking, lifing like kings, no signs of renounciation
  • seeking for public
  • wearing neon orange robes
  • leading show parades through settlements
  • ... in short not one proper outwardly sign of a Samana of the Buddha

Most of the mentioned thing give not only just rightous suspicion of minor to heavy offenses but actually are such.

In short, a Noble One even of the first person, is not a "charismatic" greed forcing actor or entertainer for mainsteam audience not even tended an able to sit straigh an restrained.

Atma would be surprised if he even teaches the Buddha Dhamma but would say not even much to investigate and spending time worth for such a self declared "Arahat".

Nearly the same can be told when looking on the Mahamevnawa - industry like pages and Dhammakaya is there never very far.

Beware and read and learn about the Tipitaka, the best avaliable teacher first. Dukkha is not a Junge book story and a nice santa claus warm up trade fairs topic.

enter image description here

You can be sure that you soon get their advertisings here on this buy-able page.

  • Thank you very much for the long , explained answer, according to me I believe his teachings are true , this is the youtube link for all his teachings, but all are in sinhala language, m.youtube.com/user/sashramaya
    – lasan
    May 6, 2017 at 13:53
  • Is it possible to give a brief scetch about it, Upasak/-ika Lasan?
    – user11235
    May 6, 2017 at 14:15
  • Lasan i suppose there are picture posts which are edited in english.They may be avilable on facebook as well. May 6, 2017 at 14:35
  • Just looked a little pictures, topic titel and prefered "cosumer" and topics, not to speak of gesture and interieur. If not just out for "welness" buddhism, Atma would say it is good if @lasan seeks out for good followers of the Buddha. Start to read the Tipitaka first and then judge your self if even simply outwardy thing fit to the Arahants. Looking around here on this Sri Lanka dominated page, your really have troubles over there... seeing all those "ascetics" and "elders"...
    – user11235
    May 6, 2017 at 21:21
  • 1
    Thank you @SamanaJohann , I guess I should learn buddhism myself than trying to find someone who has achieved nirvana . Buddhism is all about looking in to ones self . And I will seek out for good followers of buddha , problem is they never come out in to the public I guess, That's why they are hard to find .
    – lasan
    May 7, 2017 at 5:57

You'll only know other's achievement of nirvana if and only if you've achieved nirvana yourself. It is the same as real life, if you've not reached the same level as your opponent in the same field, you'll never tell if your opponent is of the same level as you.

  • But I need a teacher who has achieved nirvana to learn from him . So I guess it is impossible to find one myself?
    – lasan
    May 7, 2017 at 5:35
  • When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
    – tutu
    May 7, 2017 at 11:53
  • I think this is basically tacit knowledge
    – Ooker
    Jun 7, 2019 at 12:14

In MN 112 Chabbisodanasuttaṃ, Buddha explained about how to make sure that someone has truly achieved nibbana.

There are some Q&S that need to be asked to the person.


I am also a sri lankan and i know your topic. I am just suggesting you to follow what he preeches for sometime and then come into a conclusion by yourself. If you feel there's something in what he says you don't bother about the person just try to be free from sufferings in this human life. For me what he said really worked. But i am imparcial here.

  • Yes , I agree with his teachings too , but if someone gave up everything and went to be a monk for his teachings, and finally found out that he has not achieved nirvana ( means that he has lied ) , what should he do next?
    – lasan
    May 6, 2017 at 14:00
  • I got your point. dr friend i am telling you to just follow his teachings first. Ti follow what he says you do not need be a monk. At first you just put those teachings into your mundane life. And if you find any consolation there you again go in that path practicing what he says(but not for the sake of practicing them, but with a good comprehension). Then you will realize who is right and who is wrong. Then automatically you will begin to believe him(if you are satisfied). I was also having doubts about him. Actually i was as same as you friend. But all the doubts are now solved. May 6, 2017 at 14:29
  • I think you have listened to his preeches. Then surely You may have heard hi guiding people in the both ways that being a monk and being a normal human being(married or unmarried etc etc.). I am yet 19 years old but i have been able to over come many situations which are dealing with sadness sufferings and misery. In the past i was used to lament over thosr things. Finally i became a depression patient. Then i went meeting many many psychiatrists but no one could be able to save me.(actually i was suicidal with self harm intentions severly) then i began to listen to him. May 6, 2017 at 14:44
  • Then i could over come my bad condition. I was so satisfied of what he preeched. And i began to follow him. Now i have some intentions for joining him(yet undicided because of some other reasons). Actually if i did not listen to his preeches i am already dead(commited suicide) May 6, 2017 at 14:48
  • Thank you and Im glad you are okay now :-) yes I also believe what you think is true
    – lasan
    May 7, 2017 at 5:34

Traditional Zen Buddhism in Japan has, over the centuries, routinized the practice of determining whether one has achieved enlightenment and determined various stages in this process. The best introductory book I know about on this topic is The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau, which contains several very moving enlightenment stories. All of the cases of self-reported enlightenment that I have had some personal connection to appeared to be kundalini events, which are not the same thing, and are often accompanied by feelings of grandeur.


The path and fruition (magga phala) could be achieved by anyone, be it male or female. It could be achieved by not only the fe/male clergy but also by lay folks. There is no difference of lay and clergy for the path leading to Nibbāna. If one has selected the right system of meditation and proceeded on cultivating them the results are to be obtained with no difference for lay and clergy, male and female.

In the recent past in Sri Lanka there was news of a female who has attained Arahant Phala. I got to listen to a Dhamma talk given by this Buddhist Nun. She gave it because she was asked to by her Teacher (Noble Friend). After that she went out of limelight, & the glare of media. Arahants are self evasive. If someone says that he is an Arahant (as in the case of a ‘known’ Buddhist Monk in SL) then it is a questionable thing. He may be well versed in the Dhamma, but that does not mean that he has achieved the ultimate goal of nibbhana.

This Buddhist Nun who was forced to come out happened to be an educated person born to a Catholic family who was raised in a Christian environment who held senior positions at work and later embraced the Buddha's Teachings. Apparently, she had the ability to see past lives and this led to a desire to study the Buddhist Teachings making her give up her lay life and ordain. You could listen to the talk (in SINHALA) along with the other monks at the temple. Start the video at the 36 minute point to avoid the introductory talk by a bhikku at the temple where the talk is being delivered.

So, to your question proper – "How to know if someone has achieved nirvana?" - it is only by engaging that person to conversation, will you know whether that person’s claim is true or not. If anyone tells him that he is just a charlatan, he may get angry and defensive or he may not react in any way. Only by confronting such a person through ways provocative of greed, of hate, and of delusion could you know this. Canki Sutta-MN 95

Otherwise, living together with such a person for an extra length of time, his virtue, purity, endurance, & discernment may be known. This is another way to find out, as pointed out in Thana Sutta -AN 4.192

Or only after a monk leaves this existence can one identify that he is someone special (an Arahant ) in observing the dead body. Such an incident took place in Sri Lanka, a couple of months ago when Waharaka Abhyaratanalankara Thero passed on.

Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera turned Siri Samantha Bhadra on the other hand had said so in public (Those who have awakened don't talk of what they've awakened to). When he was asked about his claim to have realised Nirvana, and as to what stage he has attained, he replied..

”I have realised the truth. Anyone who does not accept it must come and meet me and decide.”

When he was asked “How did you realise Nibbana; was it through meditation?” His answer was, “One can never realise Nibbana through meditation.” So, to your question proper – "How to know if someone has achieved nirvana?" - it is only by engaging that person to conversation, will you know this.

  • Thank you so much , I watched the video and learned a lot .
    – lasan
    May 7, 2017 at 5:47
  • I'm trying to see how this answers the question, "How to know if someone has achieved nirvana?" I think you're saying that "It could be achieved by anyone" and that "Arahants are self evasive". Can you add any further detail, about how to "How to know if someone has achieved nirvana?"
    – ChrisW
    May 7, 2017 at 8:02
  • I will try to add a bit more to my answer @ChrisW. To tell you, I am not too comfortable in writing at length on this. So I shall provide a short answer to satisfy the OP. May 7, 2017 at 12:24

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