Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Spiritual

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-07-2012, 12:35 PM   #51
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,072
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post

There is more on my blog here.

Thank you everyone and I hope your day is a peaceful one.
See my response on your blog.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 12:50 PM   #52
jackie adams
Location: CA
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 73
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 05:01 PM   #53
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,549
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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...

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #54
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
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?
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 08:02 PM   #55
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,072
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post

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.

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

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #56
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 814
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 05-07-2012 at 09:44 PM.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2012, 11:21 PM   #57
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,847
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
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

Quote:
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

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 02:07 AM   #58
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
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.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 06:55 AM   #59
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,777
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 07:51 AM   #60
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,549
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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?

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 09:33 AM   #61
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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!

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 09:42 AM   #62
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Keith wrote:

Quote:
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!

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 10:06 AM   #63
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,155
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
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/therava...avadabasic.htm

dps

Last edited by dps : 05-08-2012 at 10:08 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 11:48 AM   #64
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,108
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2012, 11:33 PM   #65
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 12:18 AM   #66
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 12:26 AM   #67
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,155
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Outside of that, I have really tried to "let go" of all the other crap.!
True enlightment.
dps
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 06:59 AM   #68
JohnDavis
 
JohnDavis's Avatar
Dojo: None...None near me and I can't afford dues anyway.
Location: Bristol, VA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 32
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.

Happy Shugyo,

John B. Davis
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 07:23 AM   #69
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,777
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 08:53 AM   #70
oisin bourke
 
oisin bourke's Avatar
Dojo: Muden Juku, Ireland
Location: Kilkenny
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 312
Ireland
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #71
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,108
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 12:44 PM   #72
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,777
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #73
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,108
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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.
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.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #74
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,108
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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.
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.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2012, 06:26 AM   #75
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,778
United_States
Offline
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

whoa! you folks are still here? not enlighten yet? what a bunch of slow learner!

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

Last edited by phitruong : 05-10-2012 at 06:35 AM.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Yoshinkai - Beyond the "Hard Style" Label Susan Dalton Columns 8 11-16-2011 06:53 AM
What exactly is an independent dojo? David Yap General 64 11-14-2011 02:05 PM
When is Aikido a Non-Aikido martial art? Allen Beebe General 51 11-13-2011 12:15 AM
Is two Days a week enough? EMelanson78 General 237 11-03-2010 10:57 AM
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 14 Peter Goldsbury Columns 38 07-31-2009 11:19 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:33 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate