I wanted to relate in brief a hilarious discussion I came across the other day. The discussion was started by a man calling himself simply ‘Buddha’, who said he was enlightened but was having some trouble convincing Buddhist sanghas to accept him. Another man, a long term Buddhist, responded saying that its one of the things one shouldn’t do within a sangha, claiming some stage of enlightenment. The discussion then touched on various points such as how Gautama had talked to the five ascetics, and it slowly becomes clear that our prospective Buddha has an ego the size of Mount Meru, was being very evasive when asked about his experiences, and was not willing to follow the slow way. Predictable laughter followed.
Its funny, yes, but at the same time it is also a serious point. If we were to ever encounter a next Buddha, how would the world’s Buddhists recognise him or her, it sounds like a process that would take years?