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Old 05-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #11
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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".
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