Enlightenment Quiz ~ James Swartz

It is not widely known that there is only one Self and its nature is Consciousness or Awareness. It is generally believed that the consciousness of each being is unique. It is unique…if consciousness is defined as subjective events, thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams, desires, fantasies, etc. But subjective events…our experience…actually occur in formless impersonal Consciousness, the knowing principle. Because Consciousness/Awareness is the knowing principle it is commonly called ‘the light’ in spiritual literature. It is not the light that makes physical sight possible but it is that because of which physical light…and everything that exists…is known. It is uncreated and eternal. It pervades everything and is the innermost Self of every living being. Therefore every being is enlightened…in the light…by default. However, the proof of enlightenment lies neither in the intellectual affirmation of enlightenment nor in the claim of the experience of an enlightened state of consciousness, but in the hard and fast understanding that Awareness is one’s essential identity.

If this understanding has no effect on one’s behavior what use could it be…apart from some kind of egoic status-related feel good factor? Just as untold misery has been inflicted on the human race in the name of religion…whose ostensible purpose is to save the human race from itself…much suffering has been inflicted on the gullible at the hands of so called ‘enlightened’ beings.

Therefore a more rigorous definition of enlightenment is required. Whether or not you are ‘experiencing enlightenment’…which is hardly unique since there is only one Self and therefore the experience of everything is the experience of enlightenment or whether you intellectually claim to know that you are the Self, enlightenment is only enlightenment if it sets you free. What kind of freedom is it?

While a truly enlightened person moves among the objects and situations in the world like a normal person, he or she does not depend on objects or situations for his or her happiness. An ‘object’ is what is experienced and the Self, Awareness, is that to which experience presents itself. There are two categories of objects, gross and subtle. Gross objects include anything available to the senses,
including one’s own body. Subtle objects are all states of mind: memories, feelings, emotions, intuitions, beliefs, opinions, dreams, desires, fears, fantasies, and relationships with people…absolutely any subjective experience that stands apart from one’s Self.

If an individual is free in this way, he or she will not be inclined to use or misuse others for his or her purposes. He or she need do nothing to ‘make a difference’ or to ‘save the world,’ two of our most cherished illusions; his or her very presence as a free being will act as an inspiration that will cause others to seek true freedom. And because the sense of incompleteness and inadequacy that arises from not knowing one’s true nature is gone, he or she will not inflict suffering on others in the pursuit of his or her own happiness.

This quiz tests your Self knowledge. It cannot test your independence from objects. Self knowledge is indispensable because without it a person cannot stand free of objects. The freedom granted by Self knowledge does not have an immediate effect on one’s ability to withstand the push and pull of objects but if the knowledge is applied on a daily basis it will eventually lead to independence.

Is Self knowledge like pregnancy; one either is or isn’t pregnant? Yes and no. On one hand unless a person is one hundred percent certain about his or her nature and understands the implications of this understanding in terms of his or her relationship to objects, what use is it? On the other, even though the Self is simple non-dual Awareness and can be easily known because it is you, when the apparent reality…life…is taken into account, things are not so simple. If we take life into account…our bodies and minds and the world around us…Self knowledge becomes a multi-faceted body of knowledge. Remember, the Self is all there is so knowledge of the individual and the world is also Self knowledge. In this sense it is like any other developed body of objective knowledge…the more you know the better.

This quiz is not meant to validate or invalidate your Self knowledge although a preponderance of correct responses might suggest that you are enlightened while preponderance of incorrect answers might suggest the opposite. The purpose of the quiz is to test your ability to think from the Self’s point of view…which you will do if you are enlightened. It is possible to know that you are the Self and live free of objects and yet still be unable to articulate what you know. In this case the quiz might serve as an opportunity to refine your understanding and aid in self expression…which would be helpful were you inclined to communicate your vision to others.

A single right answer to certain questions may indicate enlightenment and a single wrong answer to other questions may indicate the opposite. Think carefully before you respond not only because there are a number of ‘trick’ questions but because the quiz was designed to test your thinking ability. The intellect is the subtlest aspect of the inner Self and what you know impacts mightily on how happily you live. Keep track of your answers and when you have completed the quiz click the ‘answers’ button at the bottom of the last page. In most cases I have explained the reasons why an answer is right or wrong. In some cases there are two or more right answers.

Although only you know whether or not you stand free from objects you can evaluate your score with reference to the following somewhat arbitrary benchmarks. Allow three points for each right answer. Above ninety you are not only fully enlightened you can consider yourself a sage, the most exalted category of the enlightened. Above eighty you can count yourself among the ordinary enlightened. From seventy to eighty consider yourself provisionally enlightened. From thirty to seventy you need a bit of work and below thirty it would probably be wise to look for another identity.

Grab a pen and piece of paper and tick your answer(s). Scroll down and click ANSWERS

The Questions

1. Which statement is most accurate?

a. Reality is non-dual
b. Reality is dualistic and/or pluralistic
c. Reality is neither non-dual or dual
d. All of the above
e. None of the above
f. Reality is how one sees things.

2. The statement ‘I am not the body’ means:

a. I am a disembodied spirit
b. I am my feelings
c. I am what I think I am
d. I am the knower of the body/mind.

3. The statement ‘I am enlightened’ means

a. I am very intelligent and know more than most people
b. I am always experiencing Awareness.
c. I am spiritually ‘awake’
d. I operate from experience and reason
e. I am always ‘in the light’ of Awareness
f. I am limitless non-dual Awareness

4. The ‘truth’ is:

a. What happens
b. How I see myself and the world
c. What never changes
d. What is

5. What statement is not true?

a. The world is an object of Awareness.
b. The world is me
c. The world is an apparent reality
d. The world is not real

6. The meaning of the statement ‘the world is me’ is:

a. The world is what is created by my thoughts.
b. Because reality is non-dual Awareness, the world is not separate
from It and because I am Awareness the world is me.
c. I experience the world in Awareness and there is no
separation between what I experience and myself
d. None of the above

7. Ego loss is:

a. The goal of spiritual life
b. A precondition for enlightenment
c. Impossible, because there is no ego in reality
d. Possible through surrender
e. Enlightenment

8. Enlightenment is:

a. Being in the now
b. A mind with no thoughts
c. The fourth state of Consciousness
d. The nature of the Self
e. The knowledge “I am limitless Awareness and not this body/mind.”

9. Nothing ever happened

a. is a clever spiritual cliche
b. means I wasn’t paying attention so I missed what happened
c. means the world doesn’t exist
d. means reality is uncreated
e. is the statement of a person in nirvikalpa Samadhi

10. The Self is

a. made of many parts
b. the forth state of consciousness
c. a void, a nothingness
d. a partless whole
e. the person indicated on my driver’s license
f. my body, feelings and emotions
g. my soul

11. The body is me but I am not the body means

a. I am beyond the body
b. The ‘I’ is sentient; the body isn’t
c. I am my personality
d. I’m schizophrenic

12. I am not the doer means

a. I have no arms and legs
b. I am lazy
c. There is nothing you can do to get enlightened
d. I am actionless Awareness
e. I am an enjoyer

13. What happens

a. is created by my thoughts
b. is a statement about who I am
c. is caused by the world in which I live
d. is the result of my past actions
e. has nothing to do with me at all

14. Surrender of my ego to the Self will not help me get enlightened

a. I am already the Self i.e. enlightened
b. If I surrender my ego who will be left to get enlightened?
c. Everything is the Self alone so there is nothing that belongs to me
that I can surrender
e. Surrender is an activity and no activity will produce limitlessness
f. Enlightenment is only possible through knowledge
g. All of the above
h. None of the above
i. B and C

15. Enlightenment is experience of the Self. True or False?

16. Enlightenment is a state of desirelessness. True or False?

17. The Self is hidden behind the mind. The mind must be removed so the Self can be revealed. True or False?

18. Why is the statement above false?

a. Because the Self is self revealing
b. Because there is no mind
c. Because the mind cannot be removed
d. Only knowledge, not action, can reveal what is already present.

19. Which statement is true?

a. Enlightenment is the experience of the Self
b. Enlightenment is knowledge of the Self
c. Enlightenment is the knowledge “I am the Self.”

20. Why is Enlightenment for the mind alone?

a. Because the mind is ignorant of its nature
b. Because the Self is already enlightened
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above

21. One’s activities are caused by one’s past karmas in the form of one’s likes and dislikes. True or False?

22. Why can you not be killed?

a. You are meant to die peacefully in your bed in old age.
b. Because you are immortal
c. Only objects can be destroyed
d. You are protected by attack dogs, body guards, an electronic
security system and body armor

23. Enlightenment can be transmitted from an enlightened person to an unenlightened person. True or false?

24. A guru can give enlightenment by destroying your ignorance.
True or false?

25. Enlightenment is the destruction of all concepts. True or False?

26. If enlightenment is the destruction of all concepts an enlightened person could not function in this world. True or False?

27. An enlightened person is free of suffering because

a. He or she is protected by God
b. He or she knows the difference between what is apparent and
what is real.
c. He or she lives a pure life
d. He or she has special healing powers
e. He or she eats vegetables, exercises and takes vitamins

28. There are no enlightened beings because

a. Mankind is too materialistic these days
b. The few there were, like Buddha and Jesus, are all dead.
c. They leave the earth because it is too low for their vibrations
d. Being is a partless whole and cannot be split into many
e. God is waiting for the right time to send them to earth so they can
save us

29. The experience of enlightenment can be made permanent

a. with enough practice
b. is impossible because enlightenment is not an experience and if it
was it could not be made permanent because no experience is permanent.
c. by the grace of the guru

30. Self inquiry

a. is a technique that produces experience of the Self
b. is a method of analysis that reveals that the doer is nothing but
consciousness, the Self.
c. is asking ‘who am I?’

31. When you see yourself as a doer you cannot escape the results of your actions because the results of actions accrue to the karmic account of the doer. True or False?

32. Why is this statement true? I am neither enlightened nor unenlightened.

a. Because you can only be one or the other.
b. Because enlightenment and ignorance are only concepts and the
Self is free of both knowledge and ignorance
c. Because only Buddha and other great beings were enlightened.
d. Because I’m only a normal person.

33. Why is the Self beyond both the individual and the Creator?

a. Because reality is non-dual. In a non-dual reality there is no creation and therefore no individual.

b. It is the consciousness because of which both the individual and the creator exist.

34. When you see yourself as the Self your karmas are nullified because your karmic account is closed with the renunciation of the doer through Self knowledge. True or False?


Call to Compassion Religious Perspectives on Animal Advocacy ~ Anthony J. Nocella, II, Lisa Kemmerer

Covering doctrine and the lived experience of the world’s religious practitioners, Call to Compassion is a collection of stirring and passionate essays on the place of animals within the philosophical, cultural, and everyday milieus of spiritual practices both ancient and modern. From Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism, through the Abrahamic traditions, to contemporary Wiccan and Native American
spirituality, Call to Compassion charts the complex ways we interact with the world around us.

Click Here To Browse Inside

Anthony J. Nocella II is a pacifist and Quaker who provides nonviolent and conflict transformation workshops to community centers, schools, universities, law enforcement, and in prisons. He works with American Friends Services Committee and the Alternatives to Violence Project. He is working on his Ph.D. in Social Science and a Masters in Education at Syracuse University. He has established three academic journals, assisted in establishing dozens of NGOs around the Americas, and has published more than two-dozen articles and co-edited Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth (AK Press 2006) with Steve Best.

Lisa Kemmerer (B.A. in international studies, Reed College; M.T.S. in comparative religions, Harvard Divinity School; Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Glasgow, Scotland) is a philosopher-activist, artist, and lover of wild places, who has hiked, biked, kayaked, backpacked, and traveled widely. She is the author of In Search of Consistency: Ethics and Animals (Brill 2006) and Religion and Animals: Rightful Relations (Oxford 2011), and (in addition to co-editing this volume) the editor of Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2011) and Primate People: Personal Stories of Advocacy and Adventure (University of Utah Press, 2011). She is currently editing three other anthologies (Women as Animal Advocates and Activists: International Insights from the Front Lines; Links of Life: Earth and Animal Liberation; and an untitled anthology on activism on behalf of bears). She has published a dozen chapters in books and encyclopedias, and has nearly thirty articles in print. Kemmerer is currently associate professor of philosophy and religions at Montana State University, Billings.

Call to Compassion by Lisa Kemmerer and Anthony Nocella

Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change ~ Pema Chödrön

We live in difficult times. Life sometimes seems like a roiling and turbulent river threatening to drown us. Why, in the face of that, shouldn’t we cling for safety to the certainty of the shore—to our comfortably familiar patterns and habits? Because, Pema Chödrön teaches, that kind of fear-based clinging leads only to even greater suffering.

In this recorded retreat, based on the program Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change held at Omega Institute, Pema Chödrön and her teaching assistant, Meg Wheatley, provide a wealth of wisdom for learning to step right into the river: to be completely, fearlessly present, even in the hardest times, the most difficult situations. It’s the secret of being fully alive. The teachings and practices they present include:

>A teaching based on a Native American prophecy for cultivating the ability to take nothing personally;
>A guided meditation for developing patience in the midst of irritation;
>Tips for accessing your innate strength and confidence—simply by altering your posture.

It’s like being there with Pema. Use the CD or DVD to do the retreat yourself at your own pace. Then you can watch or listen to it again whenever you need a refresher in natural self-confidence.
“Fully Alive,” a Retreat with Pema Chodron

In this clip from Pema Chodron’s 2011 Omega retreat, “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change,” Pema teaches us how to change the way we relate to our experience when we wake up feeling depressed.

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