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Old 05-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #1
MM
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Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Yes agreed. No.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
graham christian
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Mine does and many call it 'modern'.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:34 PM   #5
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
Gary David
 
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:12 PM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

*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.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
Allen Beebe
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Mine includes 20% MORE enlightenment free, has a great new look, and is available in a convenient travel size!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
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
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #10
dave9nine
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #11
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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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Old 05-02-2012, 04:46 PM   #12
phitruong
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
.... 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)?

Last edited by phitruong : 05-02-2012 at 04:53 PM.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:20 PM   #13
MM
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:39 PM   #14
Abasan
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:50 PM   #15
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
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
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:01 PM   #16
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

I do not think that aikido teaches enlightenment but is a tool through which it may be attained.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:17 PM   #17
gregstec
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:24 PM   #18
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:15 PM   #19
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:40 PM   #20
LinTal
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:58 AM   #21
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Warning: humorous attempt is included in the following content:

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
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

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:15 AM   #22
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

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Old 05-03-2012, 06:59 AM   #23
MM
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:07 AM   #24
HL1978
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
*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....
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:14 AM   #25
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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).

Last edited by Marc Abrams : 05-03-2012 at 08:14 AM. Reason: add
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