• Poonam Dutta (Satyamshakti)

How Do You Know if You Are “Not Enlightened” Already?

According to the Buddha’s definition in the Pali Canon, to be enlightened refers to “being completely free of the three root poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion.” Given this definition of enlightenment, how can you then determine whether you are enlightened already or not? If you are a more spiritual person, then you might be keenly interested to know whether your enlightenment has happened yet or not. The below checklist can help you get the answers by comparing yourself against the ten definitive signs that show you are not enlightened yet.

  1. Ego: If you think you have already enlightened, you haven’t understood the true meaning of enlightenment. The presence of ego is a sure sign that something is amiss, and you are still far from your goal of being enlightened.

  2. Bragging: In today’s social media culture, if you talk about being enlightened and your all-encompassing spiritual experience in the journey of enlightenment – knowing exactly how and when you became enlightened, then this loud talking is a definite sign of an inflated ego. Bragging, social media culture, and contemporary life are three aspects that work against spirituality and true enlightenment. So, if you brag about being enlightened, then you are nowhere near to getting enlightened yet.

  3. Superiority Complex: Everyone in this world is obsessed with success and craves to be superior in one way or another. We continually try to prove to ourselves that we are much better than others. Placing yourself directly above others, and feeling special in any way, are products of an inflated ego. So, if you think you are special (because of your enlightenment), you are not there yet. You cannot feel special and be enlightened at the same time.

  4. Walking Encyclopedia: Knowing more about enlightenment than others, doesn’t mean you are enlightened. You may have read and memorized all the traditional and modern literature, religious texts, Vedas, Sutras, Mantras, Viking Sagas, etc., and always have a ready answer. However, this knowledge can turn you into a great walking encyclopedia but not necessarily an enlightened person. So, if you think you are enlightened (because of your know-how), you are still far from enlightenment.

  5. Price-Tag: You may have spent a lot of money enrolling yourself in the most exclusive and expensive meditation programs, Buddhist retreats, and personal coaching, invested heavily in books, and have paid hard cash for your enlightenment. You may have been initiated or directed towards the right path in some other way. Now, you may rightfully expect a good return on your investment, thinking thousands of dollars’ worth of knowledge is enough to make you enlightened. But the bad news is that enlightenment does not have a price-tag. You cannot get closer to becoming enlightened with money.

  6. Exclusivity: You may think you can probably attain enlightenment by becoming a part of a cult or some exclusive community. Since we are social animals, it is quite natural for people to organize themselves into groups, such as clubs, circles, or exclusive communities. Such groups thrive on the belief that their members are exclusive and are in a better or more privileged position than non-members to achieve enlightenment. But enlightenment being an intimate experience, the exclusivity of your group doesn’t help you become enlightened. Exclusivity means the members are special, and if any group is, then there is a total lack of enlightenment in any of them, including you.

  7. Competitive Spirit: You may be competitive but not necessarily about your spiritualism (i.e., being more spiritual than others). Being competitive generally shows how far you are from the natural and enlightened state of the human mind (i.e., being collaborative). Humans evolved to be social beings and needed to collaborate to survive. The individual could not exist without collaborative groups and vice versa. But if you believe in the idea of individualism (all men for themselves) and the competitive spirit, then you have no oneness. If you have no oneness, then you are far from enlightenment. The competitive spirit shows that your ego is fully grown, blocking enlightenment out of your way completely.

  8. Frequent Use of the word ‘I’: If you talk about yourself a lot, it shows how self-centered you are and how large your ego is. And where there is ego, there cannot be any enlightenment.

  9. Self-Importance: If you take yourself too seriously and think of your own importance, you are far from enlightenment. Self-importance is just another reflection of your ego. If your ego makes you feel important or overly serious, then you are not enlightened yet.

  10. Absolute Happiness: You may be unconditionally happy and think positively about life. But being enlightened has nothing to do with being happy. It has more to do with losing your ego and illusions. When you are constantly and unconditionally happy in your life, you are actually lying to yourself. It is a state of denial: Denial of pain and agony, hunger and greed that your fellow humans go through, and denial of the fact that the world is not perfect. If you imagine yourself as a perfect reality and you live in it, then you create an illusion. You close your eyes, you think of yourself, you create your illusion of happiness and turn away. Do you call this enlightenment? No, this is self-deception. If you are always unconditionally happy, you fail to accept reality. Getting enlightened is about losing your illusions of what is untrue. So, if you are in denial of seeing the truth, then you are nowhere nearer to enlightenment.


If one or more of the above signs apply to you and you know you have not enlightened already, then it is time to get closer to it! Start with practicing selflessness and meditation. If none of the above describes you, then you would be truly exceptional. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have enlightened already or are anywhere close to it. However, it may indicate that you are on the right track!

An experienced and trained spiritual coach like Poonam Dutta can help you better understand the above definitive signs and know if you are enlightened already or not. Contact Poonam Dutta or call +91-8830824402 to have a soulful conversation today!

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