Evaluating the "Success Rates" of Spiritual Teachers

- excerpt from Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing by Jed McKenna

"How long has your guru been teaching?"

"Well, uh, over thirty years."

"And how many of his students have achieved enlightenment?"

"Well, uh..."

"That you know of personally?"

"Well, uh, I never..."

"That you've heard of?"

"It's not"

"That there were rumors of?"

"I don't think..."

"What is it they're doing, Martin? The recipe for enlightenment they're promoting - what is it?"

"Uh, well, meditation and knowledge, basically."

"And in thirty years they've never held someone up and said, 'Look at this guy! He's enlightened and we got him there!' In thirty years, they don't have one? Don't you think they should have, like, an entire army of enlightened guys to show off by now?"

"Well, it's not..."

"After thirty years they should have a few dozen generations of enlightened people. Even with only a quarter of them becoming teachers, they should have flooded the world by now, mathematically speaking, don't you think? I'm not asking all this as a teacher myself, mind you. I'm just asking as a consumer, or a consumer's advocate. Don't you think it's reasonable to ask to know a teacher's success rate? The proof is in the pudding, right? Didn't you ask them about the fruit of their teachings when you started with them?"

"Well, that's not..."

"Don't you think it's reasonable to ask? They're in the enlightenment business, aren't they? Or did I misunderstand you? Do they have something else going?"

"Nooo, but they..."

"If Consumer Reports magazine did a report on which spiritual organizations delivered as promised, don't you suppose that the first statistic listed under each organization would be success rating? Like, here are a hundred randomly selected people who started with the organization five years ago and here's where they are today. For instance, thirty-one have moved up in the organization, twenty-seven have moved on, thirty-nine are still with it but not deeply committed and three have entered abiding non-dual awareness. Okay, three percent - that's a number you can compare. But this organization of yours would have big fat goose egg, wouldn't they? And not just out of a hundred, but out of hundreds of thousands - millions, probably. Am I wrong?

- excerpt from Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing by Jed McKenna

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