I would like to ask if someone has known an enlightened being who lost it. In other words, someone who switched from an enlightened state to the conditioned state. I have seen this happening to somebody.

Is there any Buddhist texts about this?


I don't know if this is something that is possible. Steve Taylor has done a 10 year study of enlightened (I use that word extremely liberally in the case of his study) individuals in which he documents some cases where people have lost the state in his book The Leap - The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening. However, in my opinion his 10 year study only really scratches the very surface. I say this because there are many who are fooled into thinking that they are enlightened when in fact they probably entered a jhanic state for sometime then lost it. This is the tomfoolery of awakening. Jhanic experiences can be drastically life changing and one can attach that change to a conclusion concerning their spiritual discovery only to become disappointed by the certainty of impermanence.

Additionally, from the Buddhist perspective, enlightenment occurs at Sotapanna stage when one enters the stream but one is still subjected to conditioned states in the stream. Apparently, there is a place where conditioning no longer has any influence, termed nibbana or enlightenment. Im not sure how one could fall back from the stream having realised knowledge of the four noble truths and suffering.

  • The one that I knew was definitely enlightened. Confirmed by other enlightened people but than he lost it. – Mad_Maximus Oct 22 '18 at 7:41
  • One can be very convincing when insight occurs through jhana. Sometimes jhana is intoxicating with a self constructed wiseness that is unshakable and through mere speech one can subdue the speech and thoughts of others. Perhaps the one big twist in all of this is a definition of enlightenment I heard from Adyashanti: enlightenment is to realise that there is nothing to realise; everything just is. – user14148 Oct 22 '18 at 8:34
  • So basically you are saying that this is not possible. – Mad_Maximus Oct 22 '18 at 10:33
  • I can't answer because I have no personal experience of being in nibbana. – user14148 Oct 22 '18 at 17:27

According to Buddhist teaching only becoming Sotapanna is the only way to assure Nibbana.

"The laywoman Sujata, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters has become a stream-enterer, and is safe from falling into the states of misery, assured, and bound for Enlightenment."



Of course this can happen. It's not because you experience enlightenment that you won't get hungry, or angry, or {your favorite condition goes here} after that. It also doesn't mean you can't experience it again an hour later. Life does not end at satori. In some traditions, it is even considered counterproductive to dwell on/in the experience. A good book on this is "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry" by Jack Kornfield.

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