I came across this very nice commentary by Chogyam Trungpa. Trungpa Rinpoche, was one of the great mahasiddhas of the last century (1939-1987) that condensed the essence of many Buddhist teachings in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. The topic of solitary realizers, otherwise known as pratyekabuddhas, can be a big eye-opener to those that love to study bits and pieces from every religion.
Since we have had so many yogis, authors, and charlatans express their own particular set of views that lack compassion and responsible behavior, this particular commentary can help us differentiate who is an authentic teacher and who is not. Chogyam Trungpa writes:
“Pratyekabuddhas are referred to as either parrots or rhinoceroses. That is to say, there is no happy medium of any kind. In these two approaches, either the person is very sociable or else very individualistic. But the general tendency of pratyekabuddhas is that only a few are sociable, a lot of them seem to be antisocial people.
We could relate that with ourselves. Some people would like to just retreat and go back to their own environment. They do not want to relate at all with the energy level of the world or the society that exists around them. Pratyekabuddhayana types of people are arrogant, in the sense that they prefer not to seek a personal teacher or an individual guide.
And also such people could be said to have very little desire, so therefore they are not particularly keen on socializing. And also they are highly intelligent and intellectual in some sense they do actually discover some sense of reality or some sense of liberation. So the general assumption of such people, or their general approach to life is the sense that they have their own resources already and that they can do better without anybody’s help.
A pratyekabuddha is intelligent enough to work with his own resources but at the same time he is very arrogant. He does not want to relate with anybody above and he does not want to be under anybody’s directions. He would like to search for himself. It is kind of the selfmade person approach. So pratyekabuddhas are very individualistic. Quite possibly such a person would appreciate nature and poetry, and such a person might appreciate hardship, and industrious work. He or she probably does not like any kind of religion. He would like to search in his own way, by his own means, basically. So that is the pratyekabuddha type of person.
I’m sure you are aware that we have such people within our community. And such people are always very resourceful and very knowledgeable from the level of how to tie a shoelace efficiently up to how to survive in the wilderness. They are very intellectual and from that point of view very functional and efficient. But at the same time they do not particularly want to relate with any hierarchy or organized discipline of any sort.
Such a person might find that entering a meditation hall is somewhat revolting. ‘Freedom can be discovered from tying one’s own shoelace. We don’t need this kind of institutionalized setup’ — that would be the logic of such a person. So that type of person is arrogant in some sense. But there is nothing that you can do to put that person on the spot because such a person has less tendency to neurosis.
There is the neurosis of his own arrogance, but apart from that there is very little notion of a need for entertainment or any sense of confusion. Usually we have to talk to somebody to try to untangle our confusion or because we need some kind of companionship. But in this case, the whole thing is not based on that.”
Click here for the rest of the commentary: CTR Pratyekabuddhas
Good luck on your Quest!