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MM
05-02-2012, 02:47 PM
I figured all of us lowly "kyu level" forumites can share a conversation where everyone can participate.

My answer is an emphatic No. Modern Aikido has in its fundamental core too many negative attributes to overcome the positive ones. Because of this, enlightenment won't be reached.

Mark

SeiserL
05-02-2012, 02:52 PM
Yes agreed. No.

graham christian
05-02-2012, 02:54 PM
Mine does and many call it 'modern'.

Peace.G.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-02-2012, 03:10 PM
I figured all of us lowly "kyu level" forumites can share a conversation where everyone can participate.

My answer is an emphatic No. Modern Aikido has in its fundamental core too many negative attributes to overcome the positive ones. Because of this, enlightenment won't be reached.

Mark

Hi Mark,
thanks for doing this, I had the same thought, and still lack about three years or so to be allowed to post over there ...

So much about the agreement.

As for the rest of the points being made here and over there, I mainly have questions:

Are there any disciplines that successfully "teach enlightenment" at all? How would we know they do, and who would be able to tell? What is it anyway? What is a "negative attribute" at the "fundamental core" that somehow stands in the way of "teaching enlightenment"?

Are/were there any "enlightened" aikido teachers so far?

I do believe aikido can be a spiritual path, if it is practised that way. So can all sorts of things. However, that is in the hearts and minds of concrete people, and not in some generalised idea of a discipline and its attributes, IMHO.

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 03:34 PM
My practice in Aikido I find very enlightening.... as to the larger issue of enlightenment..... come on now, that is beyond a stretch... It is a martial art, not a religion. Anybody who does claim that modern Aikido teaches enlightenment, is typically full of ..... impacted digestive tract? Oops, someone already has.... That person could not define Zen practice (several well-defined sects within Buddhism). Then that person could not really define that person's budo as being martial and then put those two together to create..... So what was I saying about digestive impaction?

I hate it when my minds wanders, so much for reaching for enlightenment!

Marc Abrams

Gary David
05-02-2012, 03:45 PM
Mark
In my mind enlightenment means becoming a well balanced and capable individual who is sane enough to handle most if not all of the stuff that is thrown at us each day. Slips and falls are part of the routine.......happens to everyone, though some do not see that of themselves.

So does Aikido provide all of the answers....I don't think so...though it can be one of the tools. I think how much I learned from my daughter, and still do, when she was younger....and continue to learn from my wife through our relationship....meeting with you was just one of thousands of experiences that lead to growth, awareness of self. Keep practicing even if it is not the be all end all.................

in friendship

Gary.

phitruong
05-02-2012, 04:12 PM
*raising hands* how does one knows if one is enlightened? will there be purple running light glow about you, or halo over head, or facial turned serene like when you sat on the throne of heaven, or animals gather to listen to you lecture on why they tasted like chicken except for the chicken? i mean i might be enlightened without really realizing that i have reached such level through my effort of wearing the funny skirt without shaving my legs or wearing flesh color hose.

Allen Beebe
05-02-2012, 04:52 PM
Mine includes 20% MORE enlightenment free, has a great new look, and is available in a convenient travel size!

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 05:02 PM
Mine includes 20% MORE enlightenment free, has a great new look, and is available in a convenient travel size!.... And if you order before midnight tonight we will DOUBLE your enlightenment! WAIT, That's Not All..... The first 20 enlightened people can refer to their places of practice as Golden Centers of Aikido Enlightenment at no extra charge..... ;)

marc abrams

dave9nine
05-02-2012, 05:07 PM
this question is like asking "does modern aikido teach self defense." <- haha.

a myriad of interpretations and semantic understandings will no doubt send this conversation into a silly number of directions.

that being said....

for me, 'it' can't 'teach,' because it is not a person, and i reserve the concept of 'teaching' for people who consciously make effort to impart knowledge or understanding etc. to others

instead, i would say that it can be a 'tool' for people to attain certain levels of enlightenment, and only if "enlightenment" is understood as: a frame of being and knowing in the world that recognizes the illusion of ego, the cycle of karma, and the true balance of postive & negative forces in nature. in this definition, one is not either enlightened or not, but instead, we all currently have a certain level of enlightenment which we can individually work to improve. one can work towards higher and higher levels of enlightenment through practices that dissolve ego and study the positive/negative dialectic...

in this definition, then, aikido can be a tool for achieving these aims because the unique partnership of nage and uke in the forms/katas provides a great forum for a moving meditation that includes these practices.

of course, it is up to the practitioner(s), not the art...

-dave

lbb
05-02-2012, 05:33 PM
Well, first you have to define "enlightenment". While I think in popular western culture, the term has vague connotations of transcendence and somehow rising above it all, in the Buddhist traditions that I'm familiar with it means simply becoming fully aware in the present moment, whatever that is -- in other words, almost the opposite of transcendence. So, it's important to define your terms first and foremost.

By the definition I'm familiar with, aikido does not "teach enlightenment", nor does just about anything else. People can stumble upon enlightenment; lots of people have enlightenment experiences with no preparation and no seeking. Or, you can cultivate mindfulness, which is generally best accomplished in a straightforward manner, by practicing one or more disciplines that aim directly at that goal. Aikido is not one of these disciplines, nor are most aikido sensei qualified to teach these disciplines as a side subject, so I would say that aikido does not "teach enlightenment".

phitruong
05-02-2012, 05:46 PM
.... And if you order before midnight tonight we will DOUBLE your enlightenment! WAIT, That's Not All..... The first 20 enlightened people can refer to their places of practice as Golden Centers of Aikido Enlightenment at no extra charge..... ;)

marc abrams

is it $9.99? i don't want to pay $10 for it. free shipping? what about side-effects? will there be any adverse side-effects like losing hair (not a problem here), memory (not a problem here either)?

MM
05-02-2012, 08:20 PM
I realize serious subjects, at times, require a bit of humor. But I'm asking to keep it to a minimum.

If you wish to "define" enlightenment, please sit this conversation out because if you don't understand it such that you need to define it, I personally don't think you know it at all. I've seen too many "debates" from people who try to "define" the terms only to find they were completely ignorant of the subject matter. Lest anyone takes offense, I have been one of those people.

Make no word play. We are talking Modern Aikido's structure in its myriad forms as a way to reach enlightenment. As a way towards reaching that goal. People espouse the spiritual side of it all the time, yet what really is there? Will it get one to the intended goal?

My PC died. I'm on an iPhone. I'll post more once I get a PC back.

Abasan
05-02-2012, 08:39 PM
Modern aikido won't 'give' you anything. Neither would have the classical aikido, whatever that is. Otherwise one would think the world would be filled with countless enlighten beings by now.

Enlightenment is.

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 08:50 PM
is it $9.99? i don't want to pay $10 for it. free shipping? what about side-effects? will there be any adverse side-effects like losing hair (not a problem here), memory (not a problem here either)?

Phi:

What is the sound of twice, half as much as $9.99 jingling in your pocket? When that answer has emerged, you will have received enlightenment through shipping without concern for the cost or benefit of such profound thinking! Side effects include partying with the "enlightened Seagal" while patrolling the red-light district in New Orleans. Adverse side-effects include weight gains like Mr. Seagal and memory, who needs memory when you are in the moment!

Marc Abrams

Shadowfax
05-02-2012, 09:01 PM
I do not think that aikido teaches enlightenment but is a tool through which it may be attained.

gregstec
05-02-2012, 09:17 PM
Enlightenment is such a subjective thing that only an individual can answer that question and only to themselves - all other conversation is total speculation...

Greg

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 09:24 PM
I realize serious subjects, at times, require a bit of humor. But I'm asking to keep it to a minimum.

If you wish to "define" enlightenment, please sit this conversation out because if you don't understand it such that you need to define it, I personally don't think you know it at all. I've seen too many "debates" from people who try to "define" the terms only to find they were completely ignorant of the subject matter. Lest anyone takes offense, I have been one of those people.

Make no word play. We are talking Modern Aikido's structure in its myriad forms as a way to reach enlightenment. As a way towards reaching that goal. People espouse the spiritual side of it all the time, yet what really is there? Will it get one to the intended goal?

My PC died. I'm on an iPhone. I'll post more once I get a PC back.

Mark:

I look at this question as a rhetorical question. Many of us recognize that O'Sensei perceived his Aikido as a manifestation of his deep, spiritual nature. I do not know if we can even quality his place in his life as one of being enlightened. Post-hoc reasoning is always 20:20, so it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

It seems that much of modern Aikido hides behind words and beliefs that do not pan out when reality needs to speak louder than words. Heck, most religions talk about enlightenment and deliver far less..... Who in their right mind would believe that that their Aikido practice leads to enlightenment?

I like it that Aikido can allow us to explore resolving real conflicts in the moment, as opposed to being preached about doing this through spiritual beliefs. I like how our practice can help us to face the gaps between our believes and what we do. Those benefits of our practice is a far cry from reaching the heights of enlightenment.

Maybe I'm such a simple person. It is hard enough for me to try and become as good as my teacher, to pass on that legacy. It is hard enough to show appreciation to my teacher for how Aikido under his guidance and teaching, has changed me for the better. If somebody has the "luxury" to be able to consider enlightenment in the same sentence as his/her Aikido, then I simply consider the bar for enlightenment and Aikido for that person to be so low that I would not even recommend that my dog train with that person.

Mark, are you trying to flesh out posers, or is there some deeper reason behind this question?

Marc Abrams

NekVTAikido
05-02-2012, 11:15 PM
My experience, and my reflections on it:

In my life, there have been two things which, when first I heard about them, I immediately felt a sense of certainty that they were...well, a part of me. Those two things are Vajrayana Buddhism, as transmitted via Tibetan tradition, and Aikido. In retrospect, I could question that sense of certainty - maybe it was just timing, maybe just a young man's fancy, etc...but in any case I have engaged in both with some persistence and intensity for more than 20 years.

Enlightenment is an experience that is completely beyond conceptual understanding. Anything you can say about it is incomplete, and therefore somewhat 'wrong'. But it is still worthwhile to talk about it, so long as we're careful not to get to attached to the concepts and discussion. Moreover, In a very real way, Enlightenment is omnipresent and instantly available if we simply wake up to it. However, being able to [reside in the experience and dance within the phenomenal world without believing in the dualistic appearance of phenomena], is a very different proposition than having a momentary flash of recognition of the omnipresent ground state. Therefore, there are very few beings who manifest as Buddhas in a way that is recognizable to most of us.

There is no way to "teach" enlightenment. A being recognizes it, or does not. But there are many things a human being can do that increase the likelihood of making a critical discovery, of having an Aha! moment. Engaging in religious rituals can be a powerful method, if one comes to the rituals with correct understanding and correct intention. Engaging in non-religious mindfulness training methods seems to be even more effective; as these methods offer somewhat fewer opportunities to get caught in the trap of being a "true believer".

Taking the classic analogy, let us say that the experience of Enlightenment is the experience of suddenly seeing the moon shining brightly in sky. If Buddhism (or any other discipline) is a finger pointing at the moon, then the study of Buddhism is like studying the anatomy of the hand. Counting the bones, understanding the ligaments and skin, or seeing the spinning chakra in palm - all that is well and good, but at some point, some lucky and perceptive students of the religion look to see where the finger is pointing. Others get stuck on the hand - possibly even to the point where they would go to war with other people whose teachers used a stick to point at the moon, instead of a finger.

So, I don't question whether Aikido teaches enlightenment. To me, that's asking whether it's a stick or a finger. Instead, I ask myself - does Aikido provide a path that supports my awakening at this moment? Does it increase or decrease my emotional confusion? Does it increase or decrease the ossification of my dualistic conceptual framework that obscures my direct perception of ...this very instant of experience?

My honest answer varies from day to day, from moment to moment. And that variance has nothing to do with Aikido; it is entirely due to my own state of mind, my motivation in the moment, and the way I choose to utilize my attention.

That said, when I do answer the question honestly, I find that Aikido is less profound as tool or path to enlightenment than some other things. Chi Gung, Yoga, my meditation practices, the Work of Byron Katie, these tend to be stronger medicine, with fewer side effects - but Aikido is much more fun, so I spend more time and energy on it.

In any case, the path of expanding my experience of enlightenment is a zigzag. Every medicine has side-effects, for which there is another, more subtle remedy is required. Every technique overshoots the mark, and some counterbalance is needed. But right now, I feel my Aikido practice does much more good than harm as I refine my balance and stability, as I release attachments and hangups that hinder my ability to live in the brilliance of Vividly Clear Present Wakefulness Suffused with Joy.

LinTal
05-02-2012, 11:40 PM
A flag itself does not bring peace. Those who commit themselves to learning about and following an ethical code do, triggered by the experience of seeing it.

Just as the flag, I see aikido as providing an avenue that can promote 'enlightenment' for those interested in seeking to learn about it through their experiences. If not, aikido is a collection of pins and locks that can be used or not.

JJF
05-03-2012, 05:58 AM
Warning: humorous attempt is included in the following content:

is it $9.99? i don't want to pay $10 for it. free shipping? what about side-effects? will there be any adverse side-effects like losing hair (not a problem here), memory (not a problem here either)?

Hi Phi. A word of advice. I ordered this delivery. First of all it was four weeks too late in delivery. Batteries was not included (as promised) and it was the wrong color. I kept it though since sending it back would probably not do anything apart from another 4 to 6 weeks of waiting - and after all maroon is not so bad a color.

Now two weeks later the enlightenment seems to be wearing off. It's kind of blurry on the edges and a hughe blind spot has appeared in the middle so I say it's ten bucks down the drain. Never go for low price enlightenment. It won't come to you as fast as you hope, and it will deteriorate once you get used to it.

Yesterday I placed an order at AikiligtenmentAreUs.com. It's their luxury edition based on LED (less power consumption) and nanotechnology (will stick to any subject) so I hope this makes me feel happy and devine within a week or so. I'll be back with a review once it gets her.

Anyway.. jokes aside. I second the view that enlightenment is not something that your Aikido sensei should teach. It might appear to you through your training but I don't think it's the goal of our practice.

I also think enlightenment (like such frases as 'aikido proficiency') is not a finite measure. It's not a 'thing to be won' or a grade to be passed. To me it's a load of small realizations about myself, my body and my relation to other people which all together hopefully pushes me in the direction of becomming a better person. Maybe some get a revelation of some sort... Good for them... But aiming for that would probably not be the best reason to take up aikido or any other activity for that matter..

Now go train

Jørgen Jakob

Kevin Leavitt
05-03-2012, 07:15 AM
No. enlightment can be experienced and realized, but I don't think it can be transmitted or taught. Certainly you can align your habits, experiences and exposures to different things that will lead more toward that than maybe other practices...but taught....no.

MM
05-03-2012, 07:59 AM
I swear I have never seen so many people stuck so badly that they can't see the finger, hand, tree, forest, mountain, or moon even if they all were dancing a lively jig. *sigh*

Look to the voices of experience and read my first post. Do you get the correlation for the thread title? Look to my other post. Do you understand word play? As a means, as a way (do dao), as a path, as a tool since sooo many think in those terms although it is the wrong way, etc for aikido students to attain, reach, experience, understand, hula hoop in enlightenment. Quit focusing on word play.

I hate typing on an iPhone. :)

HL1978
05-03-2012, 08:07 AM
*raising hands* how does one knows if one is enlightened? will there be purple running light glow about you, or halo over head, or facial turned serene like when you sat on the throne of heaven, or animals gather to listen to you lecture on why they tasted like chicken except for the chicken? i mean i might be enlightened without really realizing that i have reached such level through my effort of wearing the funny skirt without shaving my legs or wearing flesh color hose.

I think when you start hearing the music from "The Last Dragon" in the background and your body begins to glow you can be certain.... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqZro8oNovU)

Marc Abrams
05-03-2012, 09:14 AM
I swear I have never seen so many people stuck so badly that they can't see the finger, hand, tree, forest, mountain, or moon even if they all were dancing a lively jig. *sigh*

Look to the voices of experience and read my first post. Do you get the correlation for the thread title? Look to my other post. Do you understand word play? As a means, as a way (do dao), as a path, as a tool since sooo many think in those terms although it is the wrong way, etc for aikido students to attain, reach, experience, understand, hula hoop in enlightenment. Quit focusing on word play.

I hate typing on an iPhone. :)

Mark

I think that people do see what you are pointing out. Those that don't see, simply set the bar too low and think that they are on a vista, speaking from great heights. The rest of us get back to work and when we have free time, we play with the words of your posts.... ;)

Marc Abrams

ps- try Siri She actually listens to what I say (as opposed to most women- JUST KIDDING FOLKS).

lbb
05-03-2012, 09:20 AM
If you wish to "define" enlightenment, please sit this conversation out because if you don't understand it such that you need to define it, I personally don't think you know it at all. I've seen too many "debates" from people who try to "define" the terms only to find they were completely ignorant of the subject matter. Lest anyone takes offense, I have been one of those people.

What's wrong with seeking to define the terms of a discussion, especially when it's blatantly obvious that people are using differing and contradictory definitions? I personally think you're wrong, that "enlightenment" can't be usefully defined. The thing is, a useful definition doesn't mean complete enumeration. It doesn't mean you're writing down a recipe or a formula. It doesn't mean that you're encompassing the thing itself. I can, for example, usefully define "from zero to infinity" for all kinds of practical purposes (I'll give you a specific case if you want one; it has to do with parallel processing), but that's not to say that I've therefore somehow encompassed the experience of all numbers from one to infinity. Definition isn't the same thing as constraint; please don't take it as such.

NagaBaba
05-03-2012, 10:38 AM
My experience, and my reflections on it:

In my life, there have been two things which, when first I heard about them, I immediately felt a sense of certainty that they were...well, a part of me. Those two things are Vajrayana Buddhism, as transmitted via Tibetan tradition, and Aikido. In retrospect, I could question that sense of certainty - maybe it was just timing, maybe just a young man's fancy, etc...but in any case I have engaged in both with some persistence and intensity for more than 20 years.

Enlightenment is an experience that is completely beyond conceptual understanding. Anything you can say about it is incomplete, and therefore somewhat 'wrong'. But it is still worthwhile to talk about it, so long as we're careful not to get to attached to the concepts and discussion. Moreover, In a very real way, Enlightenment is omnipresent and instantly available if we simply wake up to it. However, being able to [reside in the experience and dance within the phenomenal world without believing in the dualistic appearance of phenomena], is a very different proposition than having a momentary flash of recognition of the omnipresent ground state. Therefore, there are very few beings who manifest as Buddhas in a way that is recognizable to most of us.

There is no way to "teach" enlightenment. A being recognizes it, or does not. But there are many things a human being can do that increase the likelihood of making a critical discovery, of having an Aha! moment. Engaging in religious rituals can be a powerful method, if one comes to the rituals with correct understanding and correct intention. Engaging in non-religious mindfulness training methods seems to be even more effective; as these methods offer somewhat fewer opportunities to get caught in the trap of being a "true believer".

Taking the classic analogy, let us say that the experience of Enlightenment is the experience of suddenly seeing the moon shining brightly in sky. If Buddhism (or any other discipline) is a finger pointing at the moon, then the study of Buddhism is like studying the anatomy of the hand. Counting the bones, understanding the ligaments and skin, or seeing the spinning chakra in palm - all that is well and good, but at some point, some lucky and perceptive students of the religion look to see where the finger is pointing. Others get stuck on the hand - possibly even to the point where they would go to war with other people whose teachers used a stick to point at the moon, instead of a finger.

So, I don't question whether Aikido teaches enlightenment. To me, that's asking whether it's a stick or a finger. Instead, I ask myself - does Aikido provide a path that supports my awakening at this moment? Does it increase or decrease my emotional confusion? Does it increase or decrease the ossification of my dualistic conceptual framework that obscures my direct perception of ...this very instant of experience?

My honest answer varies from day to day, from moment to moment. And that variance has nothing to do with Aikido; it is entirely due to my own state of mind, my motivation in the moment, and the way I choose to utilize my attention.

That said, when I do answer the question honestly, I find that Aikido is less profound as tool or path to enlightenment than some other things. Chi Gung, Yoga, my meditation practices, the Work of Byron Katie, these tend to be stronger medicine, with fewer side effects - but Aikido is much more fun, so I spend more time and energy on it.

In any case, the path of expanding my experience of enlightenment is a zigzag. Every medicine has side-effects, for which there is another, more subtle remedy is required. Every technique overshoots the mark, and some counterbalance is needed. But right now, I feel my Aikido practice does much more good than harm as I refine my balance and stability, as I release attachments and hangups that hinder my ability to live in the brilliance of Vividly Clear Present Wakefulness Suffused with Joy.

Very good post, Gordon!

dave9nine
05-03-2012, 10:46 AM
Very good post, Gordon!

seconded. thanks Gordon.

dps
05-03-2012, 10:58 AM
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.

Lao Tzu

dps

graham christian
05-03-2012, 11:14 AM
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.

Lao Tzu

dps

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you want to look at it, Knowing self comes first.

Peace.G.

James Sawers
05-03-2012, 03:36 PM
A good joke is the best reply to this question....

In Good Practice....

Jim

www.nothing-works.com

:circle:

Kevin Leavitt
05-03-2012, 05:38 PM
Does anyone here actually know anyone they considered enlightened that did it through Aikido?

Mario Tobias
05-04-2012, 04:24 PM
The genius of o'sensei was that he "enlightened" us in bringing out what we already possess that we didn't know we inherently have (ie martial arts). You bring "it" out through practicing the art but only through long, dedicated and rigorous practice. I think you get "enlightened" when you start knowing what "it" is that we already possess that at first we didn't know we already have.

jackie adams
05-04-2012, 06:44 PM
Does anyone here actually know anyone they considered enlightened that did it through Aikido?

Hello to all of the Aikido community here.

Kevin Leavitt a hello to you and a good question. May I responded.

Do you mean in a religious sense. A person who subscribed to the spiritual pillar of Aikido walking the path the Founder cut for Aikido coming to the same spiritual knowledge or insight as he. Yes, many people in Aikido become enlightened because of Aikido. You don' t have to be some Aikidophile zen meditating esthetic searching for the ultimate Aikido satori. The extreme isn't necessary, a huge myth that has been an unrealistic stereotype for years. Understanding and having the knowledge to any degree that non-violence and compassion for others will make the world a better place is enlightenment. People are enlightened who get the value of conflict resolution, the value of deescalation, realizing aggression and violence aren't really an effective way to solve problems. Live by the sword, die by the sword isn't the way of life everyone wants to subscribe too. Upon the understanding a peaceful life has more benefits internally and externally in a person's life than a violent life, I would consider that enlightenment. Many people in Aikido arrive to that knowledge and insight.

I hope everyone is in good health and good training.

Chris Parkerson
05-04-2012, 06:58 PM
Would doing rondori without thought of past, future or specific technique equal enlightenment?
Being fully aware in each nanosecond of time? Moon over the water?

jackie adams
05-06-2012, 12:09 AM
Hello Chris Pakerson and greetings. I hope this finds you well.

The Founder was not fond of competition as I understand. For the Founder if I understand his legacy correctly was a means of violence. Competition was mock violence with a winner and a loser resembling actual combat. Randori isn't a contest as I see it. It isn't framed as a combat of winners and losers. I see randori as a exercise, an alternative means to a competition, it is sparing, a free-style practice. There is no victory or loser in declared randori. All involved is helping to polish each other's skills. That is the way it works for me.

Some people see no difference between randori and a contest. The external observation when looking at both things there is equal violence. Internally the mind sets are not the same. Randori effects the individual's perspective and psyche differently than a contest where two people try and beat the other with all they got. Those in close contact sports tend to be very aggressive, like football linemen, boxer's, hockey players and others. I don't know anyone who walks away from randori and feeling victorious, yelling "(I) or (we) kicked asses all over the place, YEAH!" Most people come out enlightened.

It is always greatly appreciated to be able be here and express thoughts for others to share.

sakumeikan
05-06-2012, 05:03 AM
is it $9.99? i don't want to pay $10 for it. free shipping? what about side-effects? will there be any adverse side-effects like losing hair (not a problem here), memory (not a problem here either)?

Dear Phi,
Included in the $9.99 is a Rastafarian hat , suitable for all sizes, male , female , with hair and bald as a coot. For an extra $300 it can be signed by you know who.All profits from the sales goes to Bank de Suisse, c/o Golden Center of Aikido [Inc].
Please not no returns accepted . Cheers, Joe.

MM
05-06-2012, 09:04 PM
I haven't forgotten this thread. Been busy with other things.

Quick post ...

When IP/aiki (just a reference to a historical event. Please don't drag it into this thread. It deserves it's own) reared its head, quite a few people stated that aikido was also spiritual and that must be taken into account.

If you read the Voices of Experience thread, some believe aikido can be a path to enlightenment. In this thread, some confused the title (which was only a play on words from the other thread) with "teaching" enlightenment. Some didn't equate the two at all. Some don't know anything about the path to enlightenment even with years of training in aikido.

It is your own art that teaches it has a spiritual component. Just where do you think that ends? Goes toward?

I personally think Modern Aikido is not only a hindrance to a spiritual path, but takes one off that path altogether.

LinTal
05-06-2012, 09:44 PM
Hindrance? Not at all, in my experience. Please explain what you mean?

Chris Li
05-06-2012, 10:55 PM
Hindrance? Not at all, in my experience. Please explain what you mean?

I don't if it's what Mark means - but there are a lot of high jinks (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-05-06/masters-of-the-universe-the-aikikai-and-the-shihan-certification) associated with Aikido and organizations. :D

Best,

Chris

Janet Rosen
05-07-2012, 12:48 AM
Is enlightenment by definition the end goal of a spiritual practice, Mark? I think that's a broad assumption. I don't even know what enlightenment means except I suspect it is achieved, not learned...but isn't it specific to certain religions, not others? So how can all spiritual practices have enlightenment as a goal?
I ask these not to be a smartass but because I do consider aikido my spiritual training, and I'm an atheist, and the concept of enlightenment just doesn't resonate with me.

lbb
05-07-2012, 07:55 AM
Heya Janet,

What I keep seeing in this thread is that people have different ideas of what "enlightenment" is, or may be. In my Christian upbringing, I never heard the word "enlightenment" used, but I'm guessing that if a Christian were asked to define it with relevance to his/her spiritual tradition, it would be something about knowing (the nature of?) Jesus Christ. That's very different from a Buddhist definition, and different yet again from the various popular culture notions of "enlightenment". Ipso facto, enlightenment is not the goal of every spiritual practice or tradition; they'll tell you so themselves, as long as you let them use their own terminology and not force them to use yours. And if you do force them to use your word, they'll simply use it to mean whatever they want, which has nothing to do with the goal of your spiritual practice.

I think also, just as there's no singular goal of spiritual practice, there's no singular spiritual path. Thus, discussion of whether aikido leads you further on "the spiritual path" or takes you further away from it, is to my mind kind of like arguing about whether "the road" takes you toward Topeka or farther away from it. Which road are we talking about?

gregstec
05-07-2012, 08:54 AM
IMO, I think there is a better chance of coming up with an agreed upon definition of aiki than one for enlightenment. :)

greg

Keith Larman
05-07-2012, 10:26 AM
I kinda stayed away from this, but I suppose I do have something to say.

With all due respect I think the question is a bit of a straw man argument.

As the discussion goes, the argument is made that some claim Aikido, for them, has a spiritual aspect that is something other than just the martial effectiveness, historic lineage, IS, cool outfits, or whatever is used to in essence define what Aikido is all about. So it's not *just* one thing or another, but for some it also includes something people say is "spiritual".

But then you talk about "can you achieve enlightenment". That's quite a jump from someone saying there are spiritual components to their practice to asking about enlightenment. It seems to me that spiritual aspects to practice could cover a wide range of things of varying "weights" for that matter. And many of those "spiritual" aspects of practice for some have absolutely nothing to do with enlightenment in any sense of the word that I can think of.

Honestly I think many practice with some idea of personal improvement which many would consider "spiritual" improvement. Making one's self a better person for instance. Finding a peaceful resolution to a conflict. Trying to apply those lessons in daily life not necessarily involving physical confrontation. Learning self-control under stress. Learning to let stress go. Heck, for many just the act of practicing long term is itself "training" of a spiritual nature. A long term goal with devotion, focus, and continued focus on that goal over the period of years (decades for some of us).

And yes, one can approach playing chess or flower arranging with a spiritual mind. Consider chado, ikebana, or any variety of other Japanese "arts" that involve a similar mindset. As such Aikido for many includes that aspect as well. The "goal" isn't enlightenment for most. It is the process itself.

Anyway, I'll add to this that I'm not looking for enlightenment in my practice. I just want to be able to do cool stuff, train more, and learn more. I *like* aikido. I find it challenging (which means it can challenge me for a long time which is itself kind of a spiritual growth thing, neh?). But I'm pretty down to earth in my practice. I'm not a fluffy aiki bunny by any stretch.

But I don't think this sort of argument works or is very well thought out to be perfectly honest. Logically jumping from "we have a spiritual component which is important to our practice" to "can you attain enlightement" or even "look at all the bad things that have happened" really are logical straw men.

Religions have their scandals, crusades, and loons. It doesn't mean the religion in question (please just fill in whatever blank you wish) is itself inherently bad, evil, wrong, or whatever. I think there is little doubt that things like religions and even arts like aikido by their very nature tend to attract the "true believer" types. And those tend to be the ones who pervert things in to the vision they want to see. It gives them a home, gives them a structure, but I wouldn't judge anything other than those people themselves.

Enough rambling...

jackie adams
05-07-2012, 10:40 AM
Everyone hello and humble greetings on this fine day.

Enlightenment is one of those words as Greg Steckel points out that is open to a broad interpretation. If I may offer a few cents. The definition of enlightenment in terms of Aikido can be very broad and obscure for those who bring in loosely associated similarities to the Founder's experience creating a myriad of definitions. It is possible to come to define enlightenment via Aikido, the Founder clearly stated it.

Let's began with saying Aikido isn't religion. To some it maybe observed as a religion, but acutely it is a budo. There are others who treat it as a personal spiritual path of development. Spiritual to them is more than the simile of personal growth and development. Aikido becomes substitute for conventional religion. But again, it is a budo. The Founder did have spiritual beliefs instead of a conventional religion like that of mono-theism.

The Founder and his belief system a mix of budo and Omoto-kyu is more of a movement then a conventional religion. In comparison, there is more similarities with the Judo Shinshu Budhism than any of the mono-theistic religions. Spiritual beliefs and laws that much of the world has been influenced by and practices. Much of what the Founder propagated wasn't salvation, but social reform. The Founder's enlightenment was the importance in the preservation of peace, the ending of people hating each other to the extent of wanting to kill others, the elements that create war. That was enlightenment for him.

Going by the Founder's definition of enlightenment is a realization of social and personal reform. The Founder grew up under the last glimmering light of the glory of the Samurai. Times were killing and war was the only way of life, it was glorified and romanticized. Peace and preservation of life wasn't highly valued, spilling of blood, death and war was, in the times of the Samurai. The Founder's enlightenment wasn't spiritual as it was social reform. An enlightenment is more along the lines of an Age of Enlightenment Japanese style. A personal transition of the way to live and see the world leading to social reform.

The definition of enlightenment is less obscure than what it is made out to be. It is a realization that peace is more important than war. Love (not the best choice of word imo, better is compassion) over violence. A similar message Christ and others taught. A message that has gone unheeded in many parts of the world who insist war; senseless slaughter of people is the way. The realization of peace over war/violence especially and initially for Japan. The Founder clearly defined enlightenment for Aikido.

In Peace.

Footnote: If I am not mistaken the word "dojo" as well as the physical place has its contextual root in Jodo Shinshu. The dojo is a spiritual place but is is defined and observed by that of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Yet, many dojos traditionally incorporate Shinto elements such as the kamidana/god shelf the mantle of the dojo. The dojo has a dual spiritual elements and meaning in practice. Aikido Kamadanas are not generally the typical Shinto Kamadanas you see in budo dojo's, but the Judo Shinsu context remains. The dojo is a spiritual place.

lbb
05-07-2012, 11:20 AM
The definition of enlightenment is less obscure than what it is made out to be. It is a realization that peace is more important than war. Love (not the best choice of word imo, better is compassion) over violence.

Whose definition?

Chris Li
05-07-2012, 11:38 AM
Everyone hello and humble greetings on this fine day.

Enlightenment is one of those words as Greg Steckel points out that is open to a broad interpretation. If I may offer a few cents. The definition of enlightenment in terms of Aikido can be very broad and obscure for those who bring in loosely associated similarities to the Founder's experience creating a myriad of definitions. It is possible to come to define enlightenment via Aikido, the Founder clearly stated it.

Let's began with saying Aikido isn't religion. To some it maybe observed as a religion, but acutely it is a budo. There are others who treat it as a personal spiritual path of development. Spiritual to them is more than the simile of personal growth and development. Aikido becomes substitute for conventional religion. But again, it is a budo. The Founder did have spiritual beliefs instead of a conventional religion like that of mono-theism.

The Founder and his belief system a mix of budo and Omoto-kyu is more of a movement then a conventional religion. In comparison, there is more similarities with the Judo Shinshu Budhism than any of the mono-theistic religions. Spiritual beliefs and laws that much of the world has been influenced by and practices. Much of what the Founder propagated wasn't salvation, but social reform. The Founder's enlightenment was the importance in the preservation of peace, the ending of people hating each other to the extent of wanting to kill others, the elements that create war. That was enlightenment for him.

Going by the Founder's definition of enlightenment is a realization of social and personal reform. The Founder grew up under the last glimmering light of the glory of the Samurai. Times were killing and war was the only way of life, it was glorified and romanticized. Peace and preservation of life wasn't highly valued, spilling of blood, death and war was, in the times of the Samurai. The Founder's enlightenment wasn't spiritual as it was social reform. An enlightenment is more along the lines of an Age of Enlightenment Japanese style. A personal transition of the way to live and see the world leading to social reform.

The definition of enlightenment is less obscure than what it is made out to be. It is a realization that peace is more important than war. Love (not the best choice of word imo, better is compassion) over violence. A similar message Christ and others taught. A message that has gone unheeded in many parts of the world who insist war; senseless slaughter of people is the way. The realization of peace over war/violence especially and initially for Japan. The Founder clearly defined enlightenment for Aikido.

In Peace.

Footnote: If I am not mistaken the word "dojo" as well as the physical place has its contextual root in Jodo Shinshu. The dojo is a spiritual place but is is defined and observed by that of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Yet, many dojos traditionally incorporate Shinto elements such as the kamidana/god shelf the mantle of the dojo. The dojo has a dual spiritual elements and meaning in practice. Aikido Kamadanas are not generally the typical Shinto Kamadanas you see in budo dojo's, but the Judo Shinsu context remains. The dojo is a spiritual place.

By the time the Ueshiba was born the Samurai era had already been over for 20 years. Takeda is the one who really crossed over.

If you take a look at "Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-03-11/aiki-budo-is-the-way-of-human-development)" you'll see that Ueshiba was hardly the originator of the concept of Budo as social and personal reform.

The word "dojo" does have its roots in Buddhism, but not specifically Jodo Shinshu.

FWIW, Ueshiba was educated in a Shingon temple, which is quite different from Jodo Shinshu. He continued to use Shingon terminology and concepts when he spoke, even into his later years.

I'm not sure what your point is with Kamidana, but it's very common in Japanese households to have both Buddhist and Shinto accoutrements.

Dissecting the Founder's enlightenment is very tricky, even in Japanese, and technical instruction is woven throughout everything. I think that it's very difficult to try and dissect it based upon the current uncertain translations, and without a background in the context of what he was speaking about.

Best,

Chris

MM
05-07-2012, 11:53 AM
By the time the Ueshiba was born the Samurai era had already been over for 20 years. Takeda is the one who really crossed over.

If you take a look at "Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-03-11/aiki-budo-is-the-way-of-human-development)" you'll see that Ueshiba was hardly the originator of the concept of Budo as social and personal reform.

The word "dojo" does have its roots in Buddhism, but not specifically Jodo Shinshu.

FWIW, Ueshiba was educated in a Shingon temple, which is quite different from Jodo Shinshu. He continued to use Shingon terminology and concepts when he spoke, even into his later years.

I'm not sure what your point is with Kamidana, but it's very common in Japanese households to have both Buddhist and Shinto accoutrements.

Dissecting the Founder's enlightenment is very tricky, even in Japanese, and technical instruction is woven throughout everything. I think that it's very difficult to try and dissect it based upon the current uncertain translations, and without a background in the context of what he was speaking about.

Best,

Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for that reply. What the founder did and what Modern Aikido did are different in regards to the "spiritual". Please try to keep the topic to Modern Aikido. If you wish to discuss Morihei Ueshiba and his skills/abilities/spirituality, you can create a thread in the Non-Aikido Forum where it belongs.

Mark

jackie adams
05-07-2012, 01:02 PM
By the time the Ueshiba was born the Samurai era had already been over for 20 years. Takeda is the one who really crossed over.

If you take a look at "Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-03-11/aiki-budo-is-the-way-of-human-development)" you'll see that Ueshiba was hardly the originator of the concept of Budo as social and personal reform.

The word "dojo" does have its roots in Buddhism, but not specifically Jodo Shinshu.

FWIW, Ueshiba was educated in a Shingon temple, which is quite different from Jodo Shinshu. He continued to use Shingon terminology and concepts when he spoke, even into his later years.

I'm not sure what your point is with Kamidana, but it's very common in Japanese households to have both Buddhist and Shinto accoutrements.

Dissecting the Founder's enlightenment is very tricky, even in Japanese, and technical instruction is woven throughout everything. I think that it's very difficult to try and dissect it based upon the current uncertain translations, and without a background in the context of what he was speaking about.

Best,

Chris

Hello Mr. Chris Li. Thank you for a kindly response.

Your points are well defined. Yes, the trickiness you speak about is something I see too. The footnote about the dojo and Jodo Shinshu signifies the complexity. In deed, it is tricky because of something that can be explain in an adequate metaphor of an onion having many layers. There is no question this is a complexed issue within the world of the Japanese.

A solution like any problem is to get to the root. What was brought up was the difficultly in getting a definition. It is very clear though the Founder's accounts of his enlightenment his message is peace and love (I prefer the word compassion). He is against war and violence of it / the slaughtering of people. Avoiding more complexity to the issue helps see the root of his message. It is easy to attribute or attach current-issues like abortion, or anger as violence to the Founder's message. Getting at the root of his message makes the issue less tricky. We are lucky his message was clear and relatable. It wasn't a message either that was uniquely his. That helps tremendously in understanding his view of enlightenment. It really is simple, stop being violent as the Japanese where in their past (wars) and be peaceful (stop killing and harming people).

There is more on my blog here (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/jackie-adamss-blog-21839/the-founder-was-nuts-4509/).



Thank you everyone and I hope your day is a peaceful one.

jackie adams
05-07-2012, 01:31 PM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for that reply. What the founder did and what Modern Aikido did are different in regards to the "spiritual". Please try to keep the topic to Modern Aikido. If you wish to discuss Morihei Ueshiba and his skills/abilities/spirituality, you can create a thread in the Non-Aikido Forum where it belongs.

Mark

Hello everyone and thank you.

Mr. Mark Murray, not to be rude or cause controversy, but isn't Aikido a modern art, a gendai and not a koryu? I interpreted the word Modern in the tile and in your post in that way. I apologize for that mistake, as for me there is no such thing as ancient Aikido. I am confused by the usage of the word modern then as kindly pointed out. Truly am I unaware of the another usages or meanings in your post. Please for give me again, but can you explain your subject in more detail so that I will not offend or get side tracked.

Your guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Chris Li
05-07-2012, 01:35 PM
There is more on my blog here (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/jackie-adamss-blog-21839/the-founder-was-nuts-4509/).

Thank you everyone and I hope your day is a peaceful one.

See my response on your blog.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
05-07-2012, 01:50 PM
See my response on your blog.

Best,

Chris

Mr. Chris Li, thank you for your response. I have furthered the conversation on my blog you posted a response.

I wish everyone good training and a peaceful day.

Keith Larman
05-07-2012, 06:01 PM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for that reply. What the founder did and what Modern Aikido did are different in regards to the "spiritual". Please try to keep the topic to Modern Aikido. If you wish to discuss Morihei Ueshiba and his skills/abilities/spirituality, you can create a thread in the Non-Aikido Forum where it belongs.

Mark

Mark:

Are you really interested in what anyone else has to say? Your last sentence reads like the comments of a somewhat bitter fellow. Yeah, Aikido evolved. All sorts of, well, weird crap (imho) was introduced by any number of folks, but a lot of that happened while Ueshiba was still alive, with his knowledge, and apart from one or two documented angry outbursts it didn't seem to phase him much. Honestly I think you're making the distinction between Morihei's aikido and what aikido became vastly too simple. If you believe the changes were bad (and I think many were in fact quite bad myself) I would argue that Morihei shared some of the blame for that. He seemed to like the fact that Aikido was growing, spreading, and gaining worldwide popularity. And quite a bit of the reason for that was that it appealed to a wide spectrum of people, many of whom were attracted to the very stuff you seem to dislike.

Me, I've been dealing with the struggle within myself about leaving Aikido to free up the time to train in another art that was more about the same stuff you're actively studying. Honestly, I get it. But I think you're making this much too black and white and I cannot see anything good to come from it.

Many do go to some styles of aikido because of a perceived spiritual aspect to the practice. To an apparent higher "calling" of parts of the philosophy. To say it's "wrong" because it's not where it started from is really not much different from saying what it started from is wrong because it's not where it went. Yeah, I've met a lot of guys (including a few folk I've "met" here) who I think are frankly deluded. But hey, no amount of discussion is going to change their minds. Anymore than it will change yours.

I mean this all as a friendly comment. After all, frankly I'm hoping to get healthy enough to get out and visit with Gary so I can get my battered body a little more time to practice stuff without kinda hiding what I'm really up to... :)

MM
05-07-2012, 08:45 PM
Mark:

Are you really interested in what anyone else has to say? Your last sentence reads like the comments of a somewhat bitter fellow. Yeah, Aikido evolved. All sorts of, well, weird crap (imho) was introduced by any number of folks, but a lot of that happened while Ueshiba was still alive, with his knowledge, and apart from one or two documented angry outbursts it didn't seem to phase him much. Honestly I think you're making the distinction between Morihei's aikido and what aikido became vastly too simple. If you believe the changes were bad (and I think many were in fact quite bad myself) I would argue that Morihei shared some of the blame for that. He seemed to like the fact that Aikido was growing, spreading, and gaining worldwide popularity. And quite a bit of the reason for that was that it appealed to a wide spectrum of people, many of whom were attracted to the very stuff you seem to dislike.

Me, I've been dealing with the struggle within myself about leaving Aikido to free up the time to train in another art that was more about the same stuff you're actively studying. Honestly, I get it. But I think you're making this much too black and white and I cannot see anything good to come from it.

Many do go to some styles of aikido because of a perceived spiritual aspect to the practice. To an apparent higher "calling" of parts of the philosophy. To say it's "wrong" because it's not where it started from is really not much different from saying what it started from is wrong because it's not where it went. Yeah, I've met a lot of guys (including a few folk I've "met" here) who I think are frankly deluded. But hey, no amount of discussion is going to change their minds. Anymore than it will change yours.

I mean this all as a friendly comment. After all, frankly I'm hoping to get healthy enough to get out and visit with Gary so I can get my battered body a little more time to practice stuff without kinda hiding what I'm really up to... :)

Hi Keith,

Well, last I knew, whenever anything cropped up about Ueshiba's aikido the way quite a few of us see it, it was boxed into the Non-Aikido forum. Uh, if that's changed ... well, no one told me. :) If you knew me a bit better, you'd be laughing (with me) about the bitter part. Don't know if I've ever been that.

Back somewhat on track ... I don't think the difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido are simple at all. I think they are profoundly different. World's apart. Martially and spiritually. Hence, my comment about keeping Ueshiba's aikido somewhere else. This thread is Modern Aikido devoted.

I don't know how often I have to say it, but, I haven't attributed anything good, bad, right, or wrong about Modern Aikido. Yes, it's vastly different than Ueshiba's. But, who wants to go around chanting the names of kami all night? :)

So, back to Modern Aikido and spirituality/enlightenment. You do realize that some from the Voices of Experience (you know, those people with at least 20 years teaching experience) think aikido as a path to enlightenment. Some think it a path to some spiritual goal. Some don't. Hence, the thread. I personally think aikido *has* the capability to be a spiritual path, possibly to enlightenment. I don't think the current Modern Aikido is on the right path for that, though. Hence the thread.

Unfortunately, not much meat but a lot of fat. Nitpicking over terms like "teach enlightenment", define "enlightenment", enlightenment vs spiritual, etc. After 10 + years of training, is everyone saying they have no clue as to the spiritual side of aikido that they can't effectively convey it? There is no such common ground to something done by millions? Has it become everything to everyone?

Chris Li
05-07-2012, 09:02 PM
So, back to Modern Aikido and spirituality/enlightenment. You do realize that some from the Voices of Experience (you know, those people with at least 20 years teaching experience) think aikido as a path to enlightenment. Some think it a path to some spiritual goal. Some don't. Hence, the thread. I personally think aikido *has* the capability to be a spiritual path, possibly to enlightenment. I don't think the current Modern Aikido is on the right path for that, though. Hence the thread.

Brings back memories - my very first post to Voices of Experience (when it first started) was on the quote from Kiichi Hogen (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-02-22/kiichi-hogen-and-the-secret-of-aikido).

Modern Aikido talks about spirituality and enlightenment a lot.

That is, many people talk about it, but there's no methodology or process by which to get there.

Other people talk about it, but assume that it will somehow develop as a natural by product of repetitive practice.

IMO, the results of these approaches haven't been encouraging, I don't think that they even significantly alter the curve.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
05-07-2012, 10:41 PM
Why not? According to my reading of Buddhism (which is where talk of enlightenment comes up, as it's not a Taoist, neo-Confucianist or Shinto concept), anything can be a path. As far as criticism of modern aikido goes, let's look at the product.
Pre-war
Shirata sensei - O-sensei's aikido - a lovely man, a beautiful man
Shioda sensei - O-sensei's aikido - too many people have told me in confidence, "he was a sh*t" - seriously I'm startled that three long term students said exactly the same thing to me in the past year in three separate conversations.
Murashige sensei - O-sensei's aikido - I've been told that he slaughtered Chinese with his sword

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason

Transition
Hikitsuchi sensei - O-sensei's aikido - I've heard too many unsavory stories from way too many women - one described how he'd manage to get ahold of her breast when doing kokyu-ho on a regular basis (her account was more explicit than this).
Saito sensei - said to be a staunch powerful advocate of hard training, but he countenanced physical violence against outside visitors to his dojo
Tohei Koichi sensei - a grandiose man, who dismissed his own teacher as addlepated, and became the leader of his own kingdom

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason

Modern
Kobayashi Yasuo sensei - a lovely man, a beautiful man
Nishio Shoji sensei - a dignified, graceful, elegant, eminently decent man
Terry Dobson sensei - saw O-sensei's vision as a way of peace for all mankind - and lived, one foot in heaven and one foot in high school

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason - and take it further, listing all the uchideshi - there is no rhyme or reason whatsoever - there are the violent, the wonderful, the sleazy, the unscrupulous, the immoral and the ordinary, all in the same cadre - no rhyme or reason

And as Ueshiba came from Daito-ryu, let's look at the product of Daito-ryu under Takeda Sokaku
1. Ueshiba - a god-intoxicated mystic, with a practical bent underneath
2. Kodo Horikawa - evidently, a quiet, unassuming, school principle
3. Yoshida Kotaro - oxymornonically, a Japanese Christian supporter of fascists (Kokuryukai)
4. Sagawa Yukiyoshi - "among the most unpleasant men I've ever met - horrible!" - a direct quote

Far as I'm concerned, Ueshiba was Jesus and Kisshomaru was Paul - I'm not sure who was the greater man (aside from the reader's religious beliefs). Jesus, on a human level, may have been "enlightened." Paul brought the first vision to the world beyond the Jews that every person mattered, no matter how poor, how mean. Without Paul, it would have just been a small sect of schismatic Jews. Paul brought the value of the individual to the world. So was Jesus (again, on the human level) greater than Paul? I'm not so sure.

Anyway, if you look at the product of the teaching of pre-war, transition, post-war and present day aikido, I don't see any pattern whatsoever in terms of spiritual development of it's practitioners. The good get better, the bad stay bad, and the middlin' are probably better off in the dojo rather than elsewhere.

Ellis Amdur

akiy
05-08-2012, 12:21 AM
Well, last I knew, whenever anything cropped up about Ueshiba's aikido the way quite a few of us see it, it was boxed into the Non-Aikido forum.
To clarify, the above is not the intent of the Non-Aikido Martial Traditions Forum. More information on the intent of that forum may be found in the following thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12078

You do realize that some from the Voices of Experience (you know, those people with at least 20 years teaching experience)
To clarify, the Voices of Experience forum is for those with over 20 years of aikido experience (not necessarily teaching) and also for those who wish to bring up questions for those folks. More information on the intent of that forum may be found in the following thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2297

Please don't hesitate to let me know or start a thread in the Announcements and Feedback forum if anyone needs any further clarifications.

Best,

-- Jun

Kevin Leavitt
05-08-2012, 03:07 AM
Hello to all of the Aikido community here.

Kevin Leavitt a hello to you and a good question. May I responded.

Do you mean in a religious sense. A person who subscribed to the spiritual pillar of Aikido walking the path the Founder cut for Aikido coming to the same spiritual knowledge or insight as he. Yes, many people in Aikido become enlightened because of Aikido. You don' t have to be some Aikidophile zen meditating esthetic searching for the ultimate Aikido satori. The extreme isn't necessary, a huge myth that has been an unrealistic stereotype for years. Understanding and having the knowledge to any degree that non-violence and compassion for others will make the world a better place is enlightenment. People are enlightened who get the value of conflict resolution, the value of deescalation, realizing aggression and violence aren't really an effective way to solve problems. Live by the sword, die by the sword isn't the way of life everyone wants to subscribe too. Upon the understanding a peaceful life has more benefits internally and externally in a person's life than a violent life, I would consider that enlightenment. Many people in Aikido arrive to that knowledge and insight.

I hope everyone is in good health and good training.

I don't disagree with your definitions and perspective. I tend to think that any experience that reduces ignorance and increases awareness to be of value or moving towards or forward. So, in that respect I agree.

However, the position I hold is that Aikido while a "positive" practice is nothing unique or special in this department. It is simply "one more thing" that we do that increases knowledge, awareness, and/or breaks down paradigms. that and YMMV. Apparently a teacher like Terry Dobson, who I only know from stories, was a remarkable individual that reached/touched many people.

I think that by Ellis' account, that if it wasn't aikido, maybe it would have been something else, or maybe he would have fallen into obscurity or when into the darkside...who knows. I am personally fascinated with the concept of karma.

Anyway, Martial arts and Budo, in general has affected my life in ways I'd never have imagined. The things I have done, and who I have become I can solely attribute to my practice of budo. I can personally pinpoint the day when I made a decision to walk into a dojo.

My education has been profound.

and I, like many, had hoped that Aikido would lead to dramatic insights and revelations. I went to U.S. Army Ranger School hoping that as a form of extreme Shugyo that I'd reach some profound point of enlightenment. It did not happen. But I do recall one day as I lay in a mud hole feeling sorry for myself watching ants crawl on the ground laughing as I realized the stupidity of the expectation that a lighting bolt of knowledge and total consciousness would come down from high! It just sucked...and sometimes life just sucks. Okay, I accepted it and oved on.

Years later though, I have found that the experiences I had are remembered and I get new perspectives on things as time passes.

All that said, I have not found any ONE practice or thing that has been a "one stop shop", and while I think I have a greater awareness of many things, I would not say I am enlightened or have I met anyone that I would considered to be enlightened. Certainly I have people I respect and consider mentors that I feel have skills, knowledge, and experiences that I can learn from. There are a few that I want to be more like them too.

But, as a practice, process, or methodology...I don't think that aikido as a whole is anything special...but, maybe there are individuals in the art that are special. I think the same thing can be found to be true in many areas from Institutions of higher learning and other practices. I think the individual teacher and person matters more than the actual practice.

lbb
05-08-2012, 07:55 AM
Kevin, your story reminds me of some of the accounts you read about people who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. The experience of covering all those miles on your own two feet has all kind of potential for profound revelations -- but you also read accounts of people who came to it with such an enormous burden of expectations, that it would be a certain way and they would go through the following transformations and have these profound revelations, and it just doesn't work out the way they think. The wiser and more reflective ones end up having a wry laugh at themselves, and many get something good out of it once they drop their expectations -- if nothing else, they get an immensely valuable life lesson on expectations, how eagerly we create them and how doggedly we cling to them.

Many people walk into the dojo with a similar burden of expectations. This experience -- this new experience, about which they have no first-hand knowledge as yet...this experience is going to be spiritually meaningful, god damn it. The hiker in me looks at that and thinks, yeah...I've looked at a peak from a distance before and thought I knew what the view from the top would be like. Sometimes people are so invested in their false certainty of what that view will be like, and what the hike to get there will be like, that they deride anyone who's actually been there and who says different. And sometimes you can take a guess at what an experience will be like, and you nail it dead on. But that's maybe the most dangerous time. The more details you paint into the picture of your imagined experience, the more emotionally invested you become in that outcome, the more rigid your view of what the experience is supposed to be, and the less you're open to what really is there.

Keith Larman
05-08-2012, 08:51 AM
And just to add to the point... We all look at things through the lenses of our experiences. Some activities can give some of us a structure, lay out a path, and give us metaphors that resonate with us in the larger realms of our experiences. I think some of the philosophical aspects introduced in Aikido by various people in various ways resonate with many who practice. That "resonance" adds significance for those people. It adds "weight" to the practice and becomes a manifestation of their perceived evolution. I think it's great when someone finds something like that which resonates in them, giving them another tool for guiding their lives with more control and intent. But as Kevin said, if not here, somewhere else.

I think Aikido evolved over time and various personalities added their own ideas to the mix. We see examples of how what they learned resonated with them and then manifested in their teachings and students who then altered them as well with their own way of taking the teachings. Given enough time branches form, groups form, and we see what we see today.

Some of this certainly carries a spiritual component for some people. No question about it. I wouldn't argue with someone who says they became "enlightened" through that process as well since that is, at least in the sense most actually use that word, a rather personal thing. If we're talking Buddhist enlightenment, well, that's quite a specific thing and not really what's going on with these people (at least IMO). So in a more commonly used sense of the word, sure, it can be a path to enlightenment. And I would disagree with those who say it's no different from anything else because Aikido does have a philosophy attached to it in many of the branches and that philosophy often has quite a bit about ethical decisions and how to "be". If those things resonate right for an individual then Aikido can become a good path *for them* in a spiritual sense. Will they achieve enlightenment? Well, depends on the person and how you define enlightenment. I think most use the word in a sense that I'd call "enlightenment lite", but that is the more common western usage I think.

To use an overused phrase, Aikido is a big tent today. We can debate until we're blue in the face what's "real" aikido. Frankly I think it is a waste of time as the question makes no sense any longer since there are so many branches now. It evolved. So the question is where in that evolution are you looking? And the answers become different depending on where you look.

But to take this full circle, wouldn't most say that Ueshiba himself felt he was enlightened in some sense of the word? Same with Tohei? Same with many of the others Ellis mentioned?

Kevin Leavitt
05-08-2012, 10:33 AM
Kevin, your story reminds me of some of the accounts you read about people who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. .

thanks Mary. Funny, my plan is to hike the trail when I finally retire in a few years. This weekend, I am going to do some hiking in the alps if I can find an avalanche safe area! Love to hike!

Kevin Leavitt
05-08-2012, 10:42 AM
Keith wrote:

But to take this full circle, wouldn't most say that Ueshiba himself felt he was enlightened in some sense of the word? Same with Tohei? Same with many of the others Ellis mentioned?

Interesting question. Not sure it could be answered, but does it present a catch 22. I mean if their ego tells them that they are "enlightened" then are they? or are they suffering from the delusion of what they see themselves as, or what they want to be seen as? How many of their "followers" WANTED to believe that they were? How much has time and distance colored the view and "myth"?

No doubt they had special talents and insights. In some ways I think most of us do...some more than others maybe? who knows?

For myself, I finally came to the conclusion that I was "okay" being flawed as a person. I am good with who I am and where I am going for the most part. Not happy necessarily about getting old, and my greatest fear is loss of relavancy in the world. That would be measured by me being in an old folks home surrounded by other old folks complaining about medications and what they had to eat that day.

Outside of that, I have really tried to "let go" of all the other crap. I try...not always successful...and some of it...really I enjoy holding on to! I enjoy being human to be honest!

So, enlightenment...gave up on it as I think the true measure of success is happiness and I am trying my best to be that!

dps
05-08-2012, 11:06 AM
Why not? According to my reading of Buddhism (which is where talk of enlightenment comes up, as it's not a Taoist, neo-Confucianist or Shinto concept), anything can be a path.

Then you have to decide from which form of Buddhism your enlightenment comes from:

Personal enlightenment;

Above all, Theravada emphasizes insight gained through critical analysis and personal experience rather than blind faith.

Theravada emphasizes individual enlightenment; the ideal is to become an arhat (sometimes arahant), which means "worthy one" in Pali. An arhat is a person who has realized enlightenment and freed himself from the cycle of birth and death.

Beneath the arhat ideal is an understanding of the doctrine of anatman -- the nature of the self -- that differs from that of the Mahayana. Very basically, Theravada considers anatman to mean that an individual's ego or personality is a fetter and delusion. Once freed of this delusion, the individual may enjoy the bliss of Nirvana.

Group Enlightenment;

Mahayana, on the other hand, considers all physical forms to be void of intrinsic self and individual autonomy to be a delusion. Therefore, according to Mahayana, "individual enlightenment" is an oxymoron. The ideal in Mahayana is to enable all beings to be enlightened together.

from http://buddhism.about.com/od/theravadabuddhism/a/theravadabasic.htm

dps

mathewjgano
05-08-2012, 12:48 PM
Some thoughts from reading your great posts (thank you for the great reading!):
I tend to think of enlightenment as a series of endless steps and suspect those who feel like they experienced some kind of enlightenment simply enjoyed the rather emotional eureka effect. It's enough to make you jump out of the bath and run through the streets naked, after all.
So I picture this Indian fellow sitting under a tree, struggling with understanding the "why's" of suffering and happiness; finding an answer and enjoying a new, transcendant (insofaras it radically changes his perception of things), point of view he attained; wanting to share this understanding and to continue refining it through contemplation. Over time the idea takes on a variety of interpretations as other apply their own forms and degrees of understanding, "et voila!" The tree gets moved to some remote location at the top of a nearly inaccessible mountain, instead of down in the low lands where it began.
A few years goes by and a new guru of sorts comes along, has his own profound eureka moments related to understanding the scheme of things and people are still putting that proverbial tree up on yonder mountain. I can't help but wonder that, if this is true, if placing it so far away causes people to reach right past it without realizing it.

hughrbeyer
05-09-2012, 12:33 AM
Interesting question. Not sure it could be answered, but does it present a catch 22. I mean if their ego tells them that they are "enlightened" then are they? or are they suffering from the delusion of what they see themselves as, or what they want to be seen as?

It's hard to separate these questions from the western Christian mindset. At least from the Zen perspective, your question makes no sense. To be enlightened is to see things as they are; there's no contradiction in seeing yourself as you are seeing things as they are. If you see what I mean.

The idea that this might be egotistical comes from a western idea of hubris and humility that simply doesn't translate.

Kevin Leavitt
05-09-2012, 01:18 AM
if they see things as they are, then they have no concern about the definition of enlightenment...IMO, it all becomes a silly conversation anyway surrounding the basic concept of attachment that is so near and dear to much of what we do.

dps
05-09-2012, 01:26 AM
Outside of that, I have really tried to "let go" of all the other crap.!

True enlightment.
dps

JohnDavis
05-09-2012, 07:59 AM
Fascinating topic with some thoughtful replies. I am a ki society student of some 20 years. We practice meditation, breathing and bell misogi, but I have no knowledge of anyone experiencing kensho. Not even Tohei Soshu who practiced Zen. It has been my experience that the goal of the internal teachings was to support the external teachings.

If you want enlightenment, get into Zen.

lbb
05-09-2012, 08:23 AM
Some thoughts from reading your great posts (thank you for the great reading!):
I tend to think of enlightenment as a series of endless steps and suspect those who feel like they experienced some kind of enlightenment simply enjoyed the rather emotional eureka effect.

Well, not all of them, surely. Enlightenment is something that can be experienced, certainly. The problem is that people tend to see it (and not just western people) as something like a merit badge or a college degree: you get it, then you've got it, and it's like a permanent achievement. Again, getting back to the Buddhist definition of enlightenment of being fully aware...well, that doesn't mean fully aware of every single atom in the cosmos! It means being fully aware of your current situation, your current reality, wherever you happen to be, whatever you happen to be doing, whatever is happening now. Plenty of people have had enlightenment experiences. The thing is, they tend to be rare and fleeting -- it's not a "you get it, then you've got it" moment. You get it, but then it passes, the moment passes, the reality moves on, and it's a whole new task to become fully aware of the new changed reality.

As for the "emotional eureka effect", I'm sure that happens quite often. I think that a lot of people mislabel aikido a "spiritual" practice because they're using the word "spiritual" as a vague term for any kind of good feeling that isn't easy to label and categorize. But at the same time, an enlightenment experience sure can feel very good, and it doesn't always happen to people who strive for it. It can happen to someone who's walking down a street, when things have just come together so that they're not distracted (distracting themselves) and not numbing out of the present reality, and wham, they're right here now and it's pretty awesome. So what you're calling an "emotional eureka effect" may very well be an enlightenment moment. But it's not, as I said, like a merit badge: having had that moment, you don't then go on and be enlightened for life or something. You keep walking down the street, and the moment is gone.

So I picture this Indian fellow sitting under a tree, struggling with understanding the "why's" of suffering and happiness; finding an answer and enjoying a new, transcendant (insofaras it radically changes his perception of things), point of view he attained

That's the picture that a lot of people have, the key word being "transcendence" -- the key word, and the central fallacy. It's not about transcendence. Rather the opposite.

oisin bourke
05-09-2012, 09:53 AM
Well, it's a fascinating topic, for sure.

FWIW, the closest I would attempt to define "enlightenment" is gaining a degree understanding into how one's mind works. We have been conditioned into operating, responding and acting in set ways for most of our lives, but through careful attention, or sometimes, crisis or just blind chance, we can occasionally gain insight into the fact that how we act or think is not "us" at all. It's a sort of conditioned reflex. I think the moment of clarity that some alcoholics experience is a kind of enlightenment on this level.

When I started Aikido, the first thing I realised was that what my "mind" could not communicate with my "body" what it wished to do., but with practice my co-ordination improved. This had a tangible effect in that this understanding of "mind" and "matter" helped me to give up smoking. I realised that the cravings I endured were passing and were only limited to part of "me" not the whole of "me". Even if Aikido had not given me anything else (and it has), this "enlightenment" has improved my life immeasureably.

It should be noted, though, that this practice is a constant refinement of one's self knowledge. One may start on a physical level of getting one's muscles to obey one's intention, but one gains an ever deepening understanding of how one's mental and emotional states affects physical expression. It is an endless process IMO. It is shugyo.

mathewjgano
05-09-2012, 01:13 PM
Again, getting back to the Buddhist definition of enlightenment of being fully aware...well, that doesn't mean fully aware of every single atom in the cosmos! It means being fully aware of your current situation, your current reality, wherever you happen to be, whatever you happen to be doing, whatever is happening now. Plenty of people have had enlightenment experiences.
Just to be clear, I'm not saying nobody has enlightenment experiences, or that solving a tough math problem is automatically enlightenment (or enlightening). I'm saying I believe what most people mean when they're talking about enlightenment is a form of understanding which carries a profound emotional componant. I would describe it as a combination of external and internal comprehension coming together in some cohesive way...something close enough to "whole." I view enlightenment as pertaining to that raison d'etre thingy...kind of the opposite of an existential dilema.

So what you're calling an "emotional eureka effect" may very well be an enlightenment moment. But it's not, as I said, like a merit badge: having had that moment, you don't then go on and be enlightened for life or something. You keep walking down the street, and the moment is gone.
Absolutely agree.

That's the picture that a lot of people have, the key word being "transcendence" -- the key word, and the central fallacy. It's not about transcendence. Rather the opposite.
Transcendence of previous states of mind though? Not transcending the reality around you; certainly I think enlightenement, whatever that might actually be, is a very grounding thing.
Thanks, Mary!
Take care,
Matt

lbb
05-09-2012, 01:44 PM
Transcendence of previous states of mind though? Not transcending the reality around you; certainly I think enlightenement, whatever that might actually be, is a very grounding thing.

But how do you transcend a previous state of mind? Unless you're using the word "transcend" to mean a state that may be (likely is) only temporary, and I don't think that's what most people think when their goal is transcendence. I think they believe (hope) that they'll transcend all that (icky mess, undesirable state, whatever) and leave it behind forever. And you don't, because, well...that's the human condition. You can break bad habits, you can get unstuck, you can come to a more complete realization, sure -- but as long as you're a human being, the possibility (even likelihood) always exists that you'll end up right back there. Or, you get past one instance of a stuck state of mind, only to have it play out in a new setting. People with serial relationship problems do this a lot; people who find themselves having the exact same problem at every job, the same unhappiness in every school, the same discontent in every dojo. It's a human thing. We may learn as we go, but we never transcend our capability of making those same mistakes.

mathewjgano
05-10-2012, 12:00 AM
But how do you transcend a previous state of mind? Unless you're using the word "transcend" to mean a state that may be (likely is) only temporary, and I don't think that's what most people think when their goal is transcendence. I think they believe (hope) that they'll transcend all that (icky mess, undesirable state, whatever) and leave it behind forever.

Well maybe I'm not using the right word...
I meant to describe realizations which fundementally (and "positively," whatever that might mean) change how we view the world around us.

I agree most people probably think of enlightenment as an endstate where all the pain goes away instead of a pathway you have to keep working at. I tend to think it's the latter, but I hold out hope that it'll land in my lap. A fella can dream.:D
I tend to view empathy as an enlightened-like activity and it's one of the most painful and frightening things I've experienced.
Not that I'm very enlightened.
I know that much about the condition of my condition. :D
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
05-10-2012, 12:00 AM
But how do you transcend a previous state of mind? Unless you're using the word "transcend" to mean a state that may be (likely is) only temporary, and I don't think that's what most people think when their goal is transcendence. I think they believe (hope) that they'll transcend all that (icky mess, undesirable state, whatever) and leave it behind forever.

Well maybe I'm not using the right word...
I meant to describe realizations which fundementally (and "positively," whatever that might mean) change how we view the world around us.

I agree most people probably think of enlightenment as an endstate where all the pain goes away instead of a pathway you have to keep working at. I tend to think it's the latter, but I hold out hope that it'll land in my lap. A fella can dream.:D
I tend to view empathy as an enlightened-like activity and it's one of the most painful and frightening things I've experienced.
Not that I'm very enlightened (although I did lose 2 lbs. today).
I know that much about the condition of my condition. :D
Take care,
Matt

phitruong
05-10-2012, 07:26 AM
whoa! you folks are still here? not enlighten yet? what a bunch of slow learner! :D

no matter how sharp the sword, it cannot cut itself. but steak knife goes a long way.

Kevin Leavitt
05-10-2012, 07:57 AM
I'm good with delusion for the most part. I recognize that most of what I do in life is simply to avoid being bored and essentially acts as a form of distraction and entertainment to keep me thinking about death dying and all the problems in the world. I'm probably better that way. Aikiweb is a big part of that too.

lbb
05-10-2012, 08:32 AM
Well maybe I'm not using the right word...
I meant to describe realizations which fundementally (and "positively," whatever that might mean) change how we view the world around us.

Well, "fundamentally change" sure sounds like it means a permanent and irreversible change...but I don't know that there's any such thing. People learn a lesson, but every lesson can be forgotten, no matter how fundamental or obvious it is. You can observe that people do this -- not always, in every individual instance, but you can't name a lesson so basic and so obvious and such a no-brainer, that you can't find an example of someone learning the lesson and then doing the same old dumb thing they did before they learned it. And you can't name a person who isn't capable of doing this. That's a human quality, it's innate in our human nature: not that we will forget every lesson, but that any lesson can be forgotten, and every human being is capable of doing this. There are no eternal realizations that we are guaranteed to never forget; ironically, one of the few eternal things is our capability to forget.

That's not a reason to despair, by the way. If anything, it's the opposite, I think. It's only by understanding that our human nature impels us to do certain dumb things, like water seeking the lowest level, that we can hope to catch these impulses, and act in other ways.

I agree most people probably think of enlightenment as an endstate where all the pain goes away instead of a pathway you have to keep working at. I tend to think it's the latter, but I hold out hope that it'll land in my lap. A fella can dream.:D

I think it does land in your lap. The potential is there in every moment, not just in special circumstances. But the conditions that make it possible can be cultivated, through various practices. Aikido is not one of these practices, I don't think. It's possible to have an enlightenment moment in the middle of aikido practice, sure, just as it is in the middle of anything -- but it's kind of like trying to fill a bucket with stones by lobbing them at the bucket from fifty feet away as it dangles from a rope, with someone yanking on the rope to make it swing about all the while. If the goal is to fill the bucket with stones, why not start first by putting the bucket down on a flat surface, standing close and dropping them in? Then, once you've got practice in the skill of doing that, you're more likely to have some success in progressively more difficult situations.

MM
05-10-2012, 11:39 AM
There are no eternal realizations that we are guaranteed to never forget;

Yes, there are. Just because you have never had those realizations does not mean they don't exist. At least have the open mindedness to understand that you don't know that you don't know.

Chris Parkerson
05-10-2012, 12:10 PM
I'm good with delusion for the most part. I recognize that most of what I do in life is simply to avoid being bored and essentially acts as a form of distraction and entertainment to keep me thinking about death dying and all the problems in the world. I'm probably better that way. Aikiweb is a big part of that too.

if there's nowhere to rest at the end
how can I get lost along the way?
~~~~~~~~~~
Ten days in this temple and my mind is reeling!….
If you come some other day and ask for me,
Better look in a fish stall, a sake shop, or a brothel……
The spirit of Zen is manifest in ways countless as the
sands of the Ganges.

Ikkyu Sojun

lbb
05-10-2012, 12:22 PM
Yes, there are. Just because you have never had those realizations does not mean they don't exist.

Really? Name one. And then, demonstrate how it's impossible to backslide from that realization.

There are too many examples of people who were sure they "had it", and then later demonstrated that they'd lost it. For all kinds of values of "it".

mathewjgano
05-11-2012, 12:50 PM
Well, "fundamentally change" sure sounds like it means a permanent and irreversible change...but I don't know that there's any such thing.
I agree. I don't view forms of enlightenment as necessarily permanent. I tend to believe the great constant is change.

I think it does land in your lap. The potential is there in every moment, not just in special circumstances. But the conditions that make it possible can be cultivated, through various practices. Aikido is not one of these practices, I don't think. It's possible to have an enlightenment moment in the middle of aikido practice, sure, just as it is in the middle of anything -- but it's kind of like trying to fill a bucket with stones by lobbing them at the bucket from fifty feet away as it dangles from a rope, with someone yanking on the rope to make it swing about all the while.
I think it can land in our laps...and that trying too hard tends to push it away, but I think in this case too, chance favors the prepared mind. As for Aikido providing enlightenment compared to other practices, I think it's hard to accurately compare "Aikido" because there are so many different forms of Aikido practice. In my opinion, meager though it may be, some of the most enlightening states of mind I've attained came at the dojo, usually at the end when we're practicing silent meditation before bowing out, but not exclusively. This isn't to say the practice makes the feeling of "enlightenment," but I tend to view any practice as being somewhat accidental to that aim, though certainly some lend more to fostering that state of mind than others...both in and of themelves as well as relative to different personalities.
Thank you for the replies, Mary!
Take care,
Matt

Edgecrusher
05-12-2012, 08:53 PM
I figured all of us lowly "kyu level" forumites can share a conversation where everyone can participate.

My answer is an emphatic No. Modern Aikido has in its fundamental core too many negative attributes to overcome the positive ones. Because of this, enlightenment won't be reached.

Mark

Enlightenment is a state of mind, we must plow through the negative to rise above and create the positive energy to allow all to bask in it. We are our own worst enemy.

OwlMatt
05-13-2012, 04:08 PM
I have only skimmed over the four pages of this thread, so I apologize in advance if I am restating something.

The title of this thread is more than just a question about modern aikido; it is also an assertion that aikido did, at one point, teach enlightenment. And I'm not sure I buy that. I think we can find enlightenment in anything. Why would aikido be any better suited to the pursuit of enlightenment than building boats, playing the piano, or long-distance running?

I think aikido is, and always has been, what we make of it.

genin
05-14-2012, 09:00 AM
Enlightened teachings can be applied to all manner of things, like piano playing. However, there is nothing in piano instruction related to enlightenment specifically. In Aikido, the founder openly spoke of enlightment and how to live a life in pursuit of it.

Alec Corper
05-15-2012, 08:01 AM
With respect to all the many people who have spoken so definitively about enlightenment, how do you know what it is if you are not enlightened? Would you know if you were? Would others? If we don't know what it is how can we discuss whether "modern" aikido leads to "it"? This is without the fact that we don't even agree as to what aikido is, or was, or is meant to be. In answer to the koan, "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" the aspirant usually needs a smack round the head, literally or metaphorically. In the Tao Te Ching it says, "those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak", with the exception, of course, of good ol' Lao Tsu himself who said that from the other side of the looking glass.

DH
05-15-2012, 08:17 AM
In the Tao Te Ching it says, "those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak."
While I agree with pretty much everything you just said....I've always disagreed with the above quote and have thanked God that many visionaries and enlightened souls thought we were worth being taught/rescued/led to a better world. :)
I shudder to think of where we would be -just removing a handful of mighty souls.
Dan

Alec Corper
05-15-2012, 08:21 AM
But Dan I said that Lao Tsu said it, thats how it got in the Tae Te Ching in the first place, so I agree. Those who are enlightened need to demonstrate it but a lot of fools keep their eyes closed no matter what, neh? ;)

DH
05-15-2012, 08:52 AM
But Dan, I said that Lao Tsu said it, thats how it got in the Tae Te Ching in the first place, so I agree.
Well...er...duh!...I got that!;)
Those who are enlightened need to demonstrate it but a lot of fools keep their eyes closed no matter what, neh? ;)
Well sure, but just think...a nation of white people were listening and galvanized by Martin Luther king. Breaking the heart of your adversaries with truth...is a powerful instrument.

While not a direct comparison, I know so many very capable guys who were drawn to Aikido to quiet their souls. It was the cooperative nature that some ridicule, that they sought in the first place. Aikido draws people for many reasons, and not everyone looks to it for fighting skills. Hence the wide range of those practicing it.
All the best
Dan

genin
05-15-2012, 11:51 AM
You have to first know what enlightment is, then you have to apply that knowledge to your life. Some people are great at this. Some not so much.

lbb
05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
With respect to all the many people who have spoken so definitively about enlightenment, how do you know what it is if you are not enlightened?

Isn't this a bit like saying "How do you know what running a four-minute mile is if you can't run it?"

Alec Corper
05-15-2012, 01:33 PM
Isn't this a bit like saying "How do you know what running a four-minute mile is if you can't run it?"

Yes, it's very similar. If you have never seen running,cannot tell the time and the books you read, if you can read, all tell you something different and irrelevant to your own experience, then you have no idea what a four minute mile is.

Alec Corper
05-15-2012, 01:38 PM
Well...er...duh!...I got that!;)

Well sure, but just think...a nation of white people were listening and galvanized by Martin Luther king. Breaking the heart of your adversaries with truth...is a powerful instrument.

While not a direct comparison, I know so many very capable guys who were drawn to Aikido to quiet their souls. It was the cooperative nature that some ridicule, that they sought in the first place. Aikido draws people for many reasons, and not everyone looks to it for fighting skills. Hence the wide range of those practicing it.
All the best
Dan

When we next get together we can philosophize over a Chardonay :eek: . I do not compare the search for peace or healing with the quest for enlightenment. i also have no problem with many different people and different motives practicing. In fact, if my hip goes, I may become one of those slow motion, geriatric practitioners myself. Come to think of it I'm not far off already;)

phitruong
05-15-2012, 02:43 PM
Yes, it's very similar. If you have never seen running,cannot tell the time and the books you read, if you can read, all tell you something different and irrelevant to your own experience, then you have no idea what a four minute mile is.

i have done a fourty minute mile before. it was quite a sprint. i went full out the whole time. the bottom of my shoes were smoking. :D

lbb
05-15-2012, 08:04 PM
Yes, it's very similar. If you have never seen running,cannot tell the time and the books you read, if you can read, all tell you something different and irrelevant to your own experience, then you have no idea what a four minute mile is.

"Much good in your 'if'". Your if is somewhat flawed, isn't it, Alec? Because we have seen running, we have run, and we can tell time, and we know what four minutes is. We don't have to experience every single experience at first hand to know anything about it.

Also, aren't you rather presuming that "enlightenment" is a permanent condition? Rather like being awarded a PhD, you get "enlightenment" and you got it and you're done? Are you quite sure that that's the case?

Alec Corper
05-16-2012, 02:07 AM
"Much good in your 'if'". Your if is somewhat flawed, isn't it, Alec? Because we have seen running, we have run, and we can tell time, and we know what four minutes is. We don't have to experience every single experience at first hand to know anything about it.

Also, aren't you rather presuming that "enlightenment" is a permanent condition? Rather like being awarded a PhD, you get "enlightenment" and you got it and you're done? Are you quite sure that that's the case?

Mary, it was an analogy. Clearly "enlightenment" is not something we see, at least not nowadays. All the enlightened people spoken of were in the past, either it doesn't happen anymore or we have lost the eyes to see it. You are correct that we don't have to experience everything to know anything about it but watching videos of swimming in the sea will not really prepare you for swimming in the ocean, does't tell you about the power of the currents, the nature of buoyancy, how strong you will need to be, etc.
Since i only have stories as criteria, yes, I presume that enlightenment is a permanent state. the stories of the Buddha do not include him "retaking his exams". Generally, in my home anyway, lights that have been switched on don't switch themselves off unless they blow.
Anyway this all just intellectual waffle isn't it?

lars beyer
05-16-2012, 04:05 PM
Like old surrealist painter Salvador Dali said: "I don´t do drugs- I AM drugs."

OwlMatt
05-16-2012, 10:16 PM
Enlightened teachings can be applied to all manner of things, like piano playing. However, there is nothing in piano instruction related to enlightenment specifically. In Aikido, the founder openly spoke of enlightment and how to live a life in pursuit of it.

Many musicians do the same thing. What's the difference?

genin
05-17-2012, 07:00 AM
Many musicians do the same thing. What's the difference?

I've known many musicians and never really heard any of them speaking of enlightenment as though it was intertwined with music. If there are any that speak of enlightenment as something highly important that transcends their music, then I would say there is little difference.

Mind~like~water
05-17-2012, 04:09 PM
Mark
In my mind enlightenment means becoming a well balanced and capable individual who is sane enough to handle most if not all of the stuff that is thrown at us each day. Slips and falls are part of the routine.......happens to everyone, though some do not see that of themselves.

So does Aikido provide all of the answers....I don't think so...though it can be one of the tools. I think how much I learned from my daughter, and still do, when she was younger....and continue to learn from my wife through our relationship....meeting with you was just one of thousands of experiences that lead to growth, awareness of self. Keep practicing even if it is not the be all end all.................

in friendship

Gary.

This being said I shall share a lesson my daughters experiance helped me see. She reciently started baby sitting. The first week she was frazzled at the end of every day. So to might a viewer of these postings. Then like a switch had flipped she seemed calm and centered. After asking what had changed she said she did. She only had to get acoustomed to the babies crying.

selah :)

Andrew Macdonald
10-16-2012, 04:34 AM
i have never met a teacher that i could learn enlightenment from, if just moving could teach enlightment then any martial activity or infact any activity could teach you enlighenment.

I would be very wary of anyone claiming to teach enlightenment, it screams cult to me,