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Old 05-09-2012, 07:23 AM   #69
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,184
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
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.

Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
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.
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