“Who Wants to Be Enlightened?” is a TV show shown on the American Buddhist Channel (ABC). This is a spoof of the mega hit TV show named “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”. Dhyana Corporation Meditation Cushions sponsors this show. The final episode of the show was aired recently, and it had four finalists – Amy Tarbha, Roshi Sid Arthur, Geshe Bo De’Sattva and Anna Gami.
Rules of the Game
The rules of the game were made clear from the first moment. There were 3 rounds of elimination, and each of the participants was tested on the basis of their achievement in terms of enlightenment. The finalists would be eliminated and then returned after every round to the source.
Enlightenment According to the Finalists
Anna Gami, a rights activist, said that according to her enlightenment does not mean having any self. She remarked that is the sole Theravada Buddhist present in the show and follows Lord Buddha’s original teachings. Thus, she regarded herself as the most enlightened and purest soul. She said that people who realize themselves of having no feeling of self should be proud to have attained such a state, and inform this to everyone.
Geshe Bo De’Sattva regards enlightenment as being compassionate to disciples, so much as to get intentionally too angry so that the disciples do not feel very inferior when he is before them.
Roshi Sid Arthur says that enlightenment means not having any attachment. She feels so detached as to not even feel attached to detachment.
Amy Tarbha says that for her enlightenment means having wonderful sex with no delusion of any self, and not feeling guilty about things.
How Did the Finalists Do?
After the first round, where the participants talked about how the experience was for them. This round saw the elimination of Anna Gami. The second round was about meditation, and how long each participant could meditate for. While Amy opened her eyes after just two minutes and checked her own Twitter account, Sid could last for an entire hour. Bo sat still for so long that he was proclaimed to have gone to a state of stillness and absolute calm in mediation. Bo went out too. Now, the choices were Amy and Sid.
The third and final round was about determining the ultimate winner. Both Amy and Sid were invited to give a live demonstration of their psychic power on live television.
Sid, with eyes closed and a deep focus, attained ecstasy and floated up into the air similar to a feather. He levitated over the stage and went higher and higher, until audience applause broke his concentration and psychic power and made him crash onto the stage and snap his neck, causing immediate death. The sole survivor, Ms. Amy Tarbha, is proclaimed the winner of the show. She was awarded a limited-edition, special meditation cushion made of gold. The cushion was equipped with GPS to help her navigate with no hindrances.
The purpose of the show was to poke fun at the craving to achieve enlightenment, and publicly expose frauds who claim to be enlightened souls.