Why would you be treated any differently if you are enlightened? You will not suddenly have a glowing halo around your head. Nor will light shine from your body. Nor will people be able to feel by your mere presence how enlightened you are. It is a myth that others will recognize your enlightenment and treat you any differently.
The bigger question is why do you want to be recognized and treated differently? Such a desire would be egotistical. Only the ego wants fame and recognition. Only the ego wants to be treated specially. I define enlightenment as seeing through the “me”…realizing there is no “me”. So why would one who is enlightened care whether or not others recognize the enlightenment and treat him or her differently?
Enlightenment is the term given to the radical change in one’s view/understanding of oneself and the world. A deep realization that changes one’s identification. Also, a dropping away of the illusions and delusions of the mind that are based upon the illusory “me”. This all describes internal changes. So what is there to recognize externally?
I am sometimes asked how do I recognized an enlightened person. First of all, I don’t try to recognize enlightened people. Second of all, I can only know them by their fruits (at best). The main fruit that I would look for is whether or not the person suffers.
Even this is not easy to spot and only disproves enlightenment for those that suffer. I know of some teachers who could say all the right things and sounded really good, but when Trump was elected they lost it and their Facebook page was filled with resistance and suffering for weeks. This points to not being enlightened. As enlightenment does not come and go, it could be further said that they had never been enlightened. They just talked a good game, but their professed understanding (which were really beliefs) differed from their actual understanding.
I can spot things that will tell me someone has not realized…is not yet enlightened, but I can not identify anything that will tell me they are realized or enlightened. I can speak with them and they may have a conceptual understanding and so be able to say all the right things, but it won’t tell me whether they are enlightened or not. I can look at them and they will look like a normal person. Though appearance, speech, and action…there is nothing definitive that shows enlightenment. There are only things that point to or are flags for someone not being enlightened.
Enlightenment does not make you special. Enlightenment makes you extra ordinary. Note the space between extra and ordinary…you are very ordinary. You are not special. As Bodhidharma once said, ‘vast emptiness; nothing holy.’ There is not anyone holy or unholy…there isn’t even the duality of any-one (as if there is more than one ONE).
With enlightenment, there is also the realization and understanding that you are not superior, nor inferior, nor the same as anyone else. So why would a desire to be treated differently occur? Why would you even think you might be treated differently?