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Old 10-04-2002, 09:40 AM   #1
Bruce Baker
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idol worship, or spiritual enlightenment?

Idol worship?

Well, that could be taken as a figure of great inspiration, as in someone you aspire to be like, or someone who says or does something that deeply affects you like or ...

The worship of cast or graven images that have a connection to a spirit, or connotations that invoke one to connect to an etherical figure or being, or the baser meaning of worshiping the image of fictional or non fictional person, place, or thing.

I don't mean to bash anyones faith in religion, but I really have to bite my tongue when we are giving ourselves over to Jesus, or Allah, or any other particular religion when it is all based on our need to have a greater supreme being who will intercede on our behalf ... which is drawn from the observations and our experiences in the real world, our living universe!

Are we missing the point of the spiritual guides who seem to have guided the great sages, teachers, spiritual deighities of the past by resorting to Idol worship, or is this merely a stage of our learning process?

In the actual growing process of my children, I have gone through the birth though teenage years as a father while trying to make myself into a better human being, and while trying to be some type of role model that will give them their own understanding of social morality. From the beginnings of Sesame Street to teenage sex and X rated movies, to where my advice for staying out of trouble was, " ... If you get into trouble and whined up in jail ... I will be there the day they let you out. Stay out of trouble."

My youngest son, 13, was telling me at my daughters college graduation that the church we were in was brainwashing people into thinking either this or that ... which in a way is true in the respect they have become lost and were looking for some type of guidance to give their life meaning and balance.

Does our pursuit of Idol worship take away our perception to make up our own minds with the generality of absolute faith?

Have we missed the point of faith by attaching too much significance to using images or idols to connect our faith to spiritual matters?

In reference to our Aikido, its spiritual connotations ... How much does the spiritual aspect of your faith help or hinder training, and why is it important to learn some,if not all, of the basic spiritual designs that drove O'Sensei to become a great teacher?

Is our immitation of those masters who have an etherical connection to spirits of the earth in raising idols or images where prayers can be said for their spirits a poor representation of their original purpose by immitating these masters, or does it really have an effect in the physical world?

Idols, spirits? Subconsious turmoil, or real problems from learning with an open mind, and becoming a better human being ...

Sorry about the length, but I got to thinking how we put stock into images, and that demonstration of worship is mistaken for idol worship by others, or at least misunderstood.

Kind of like the real reason to have absolute faith is to become a better human being while not knowing/ understanding the answers.

I guess I wanted to make the point that there is no differnce in who you are for every hour of every day, and you should be aware if you put on faces or play a character in particular situations ... such as getting into the spirit of Aikido practice. It should be the same mind whether you are practicing or at work ... or there is something definitely wrong you need to fix or pay attention to having this flaw fixed?
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:16 AM   #2
JEbuck
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I think it makes more since that we came from something rather that we just happened... Think about it what religion is the only one that has prophecy, and every last prophecy has come true, and still more to come, Christianity. You know why other so called religions don't because they would be made out to be a fraud. If you want to find out do some research. Here's a good link http://www.grantjeffrey.com/. The signature of God is a great video, goes into full detail, will blow your socks off. Jesus came as a lamb, to save us by God's grace. If you think about it, a holy pure God. There's nothing we could do good enough to make up for our inequalities. But by us accepting his grace that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have life after this one. He is the one and only way. Jesus said, "I am the truth, the way, and the light, no one comes to the father but by me." All you have to do is accept him into your life as savior, and follow him, that's all. Sounds too simple, huh. To all of you, have a good day!
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:04 PM   #3
Suru
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There's an old country song that goes, "Let's talk about NASCAR, old hollywood movie stars, let's talk about anything, anything in this world, but politics, religion and her." Because I see some truth in this song, I usually tread lightly when discussing religion.

This site is for aikido discussion, but since there is such a spiritual aspect to the art, I can see why we occasionally discuss religion.

I finished reading the Koran (Qu'ran) about 3 weeks ago. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's the Muslim Bible. Every other sentence, practically, forbids idol worship and demands the worship of one God (plus men can have 4 wives. =) )

I was talking with a friend not too long ago, an athiest, and he said the universe began with a "big bang." So, I asked him where the thing that blew up came from. He didn't know what to say. Such ultimate questions often turn one to belief in and worship of God, gods, and/or idols (Something bigger than us.)

Drew

p.s. "Once a year, a tiny bird flies to Mount Everest and pecks out a tiny piece of rock. When the mountain is thus worn down, one second of eternity will have passed." (very loosely quoted from what I remember in the book "Giving in to Get Your Way.")
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Old 10-07-2002, 09:38 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Worship, by definition, simply means to honor and pay homage. IMHO, it does not exclude thinking for yourself or spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps many have a fear of leading so choose to follow. Others, fear following, so refuse to be open to leaders.

Me thinks some do protest too much. Look to the fear and find your demon there.

Until again,

Lynn

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 10-07-2002, 11:36 AM   #5
mike lee
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mind-killers

Quote:
Look to the fear and find your demon there.
Rotten pickles and a cockroach that crawls into my mouth while I'm sleeping. And drunk drivers.
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Old 10-07-2002, 02:54 PM   #6
Bruce Baker
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I don't think so. The figures of our religion, our interests, and even our idols ... such as emblems, or actual statues, are indeed the resolution of our inner turmoil manifesting itself into a physical presence. Basically our childlike mind is satisfied with the idol worship. If it wasn't, why are there so many religious icons?

All I am saying is that there is a balance to having religious piety, and then drinking and carousing on a Friday and Saturday night. The very mind of rationalizing one religion against another without considering the end result of peace and allignment to find peace in your religion, is overlooked in the icons/idols.

The duality of those who bend their knees on sunday, and are looking for loose sex on Friday is the imbalance of personality that has a difficult time understanding balance of a happy moral life.

Maybe I am aiming this as the younger practitioners who are throwing caution to the wind, burning the candle at both ends, seeking the mystical wisdom of the people who become Icons as well as the objects we use as a type of misunderstood idol for Aikido practice, but in doing so, there is an equality of understanding that you bow not for the rules, but out of true understanding.

Whether or not you understand the need for idols, or see the turmoil that makes you have blind faith, or any faith at all, are you running a game, or are you being the real you?

I would hope, most of here are ourselves, either in what we post, or who we are in person. Good, Bad, indifferent.

But ...

What about the people who come to train, run the game of duality? Any stories?
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Old 10-07-2002, 03:54 PM   #7
drDalek
 
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Bruce, you realy do think way too much about all kinds of mostly useless stuff.

You mention "our childlike mind" finding satisfaction in images and icons. Speak for yourself there chief, I cannot stand religious art or carvings.

Personally, I am not practicing any religion, I have a few beliefs, mostly the stuff that makes the most sense from zen buddhism and taoism (one in the same realy)

But I am not a vegan, I dont have a meditation cushion, I dont chant, or stretch or have regular enemas or any of the other new-agey trappings associated with these eastern philosophies.

Yet, I am a good, moral, honest and admitantly flawed human being.

To me Aikido is still just a bit of exercise three times a week and some fun techniques which I can demonstrate to my friends. Even so, I am already gaining a deeper understanding of the philosophies I embrace from the internalisation that comes with the practice of Aikido.

Where else is "giving in to get your way" and "embracing adversity" as well demonstrated as in Aikido practice?
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Old 10-07-2002, 10:07 PM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
 
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I tend to think that much of western societies problems lay not so much in what you term "idol worship" (following the teachings of Jesus, allah, buddha etc) Which I feel most practicing these various faiths are not into blatent idol worshop...

I feel the real problem the western world faces is the worship of material objects such as houses, cars, rolex watches, etc.

I think it would be a good thing if people really followed the teaching of these great masters.

The suffering that is caused by our wanting these material things is what disrupts the discord in harmony, and causes conflict, violence, and war.

Not condoning communism as a solution, nor am I advocating capitalism, each has it's various pluses and minuses. I am condoning the "middle road" called moderation!

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Old 10-07-2002, 10:10 PM   #9
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Oh, BTW, I have a beautiful buddha sitting peacefully on my back porch. It is not there for me to worship, but to serve as a reminder of what I am apiring to become and to also remind me to practice his teaching everyday.

I think most people have crucfixes, thankas, and other religious artifacts not so much to worship, but to serve as reminders of our humanity and to what we need to aspire to become.

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Old 10-08-2002, 03:52 AM   #10
darin
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Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I tend to think that much of western societies problems lay not so much in what you term "idol worship" (following the teachings of Jesus, allah, buddha etc) Which I feel most practicing these various faiths are not into blatent idol worshop...

I feel the real problem the western world faces is the worship of material objects such as houses, cars, rolex watches, etc.

I think it would be a good thing if people really followed the teaching of these great masters.

The suffering that is caused by our wanting these material things is what disrupts the discord in harmony, and causes conflict, violence, and war.

Not condoning communism as a solution, nor am I advocating capitalism, each has it's various pluses and minuses. I am condoning the "middle road" called moderation!
Kevin,have you ever been to Asia? Asian world is just as crazy if not worse than western regarding material objects!!! Just because on TV you saw some poor guy in South East Asia plowing a rice field doesn't mean that the Asian world is not materialistic. If you study Asian history you will understand this. Religion or no relgion men will always be greedy, dishonest and selfish. Doesn't matter where they are from.

From my experiences in Asia, I think Eastern religions are not a belief or worship but rather a way of life based on ancient superstitions and customs. The point is to religiously do things without really understanding the reason for doing them. Kind of like Zen, Iaido, Shodo, tea ceremony,etc.

Japanese people have told me that Christianity seems much more practical and easier to understand. Bhuddism's goal is to achieve enlitenment. But what is enlitenment? How do you achieve that? In Christianity its already explained.

I could go on and on on but your probably bored now.
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Old 10-08-2002, 03:57 AM   #11
mike lee
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wholeness

The problem starts when we try to conveniently compartmentalize our life; i.e. church on Sunday, work on Monday, aikido on Tuesday. Of course, we need to have a schedual, but integrating lessons learned on Sunday at work on Monday (when the boss asks us to fudge the accounting stats or we make lewd comments about the new secretary) seem to readily fall by the wayside as we try to blend in with the "corporate culture."

If a person becomes too "divided" by their life, it seems that psychological consequenses start to set in -- escapism, for example (alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.).

A person needs to "get it together," take a hard look in the mirror, or in new-age terms, become whole. That is, learn to apply those phiosophical or spiritual lessons to daily life. This is how knowledge is converted to power.

In the final analysis, I guess, it's about having backbone. If it was easy, everybody could do it.

Last edited by mike lee : 10-08-2002 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:49 AM   #12
Rev_Sully
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WAHH!!!

Right up my alley...where have I been!

I got more to say...lots but I need to understand the topic of conversation beter lest this be gone to the wind with vague tangents: idol worship or spiritual enlightenment.

Now, the modern connectation of idol runs two ways. The literal old time meaning graven image and another newer one meaning adored celebrity.

I guess the subject isn't clear. Is Bruce worried about how others judge him and "idol" worshipping vis-a-vis Aikido?

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-08-2002, 10:13 AM   #13
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, if my only two choices are "idol worship" or "spiritual enlightenment", then I would have to go with the later. But, giving up the first does not necessarily assure the second. Nor, are they necesarily mutually exclusive. Many people reached "spiritual enlightenment" by following ("idol worship") of the Buddha. The problem also may be that most people simply engage in "idle worship".

Usually, IMHO, those who argue most against "idols" or following are those who want to be "idols" and have people follow them. Notice how one side of the arguement necessitates and keeps the other part alive. Its a reciprical dance of "more of the same" under the disguise of "now for something completely difference".

Thinking for myself means I can decide who to follow as an example or teacher and who not to.

I have no goal of "spiritual enlightenment", just to learn to accept what is, learn to let love in and out, and to have a good life.

And now, back to practice.

Until again,

Lynn

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 10-08-2002, 10:28 AM   #14
darin
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Quote:
Eric O&#039Sullivan (Rev_Sully) wrote:
WAHH!!!

Right up my alley...where have I been!

I got more to say...lots but I need to understand the topic of conversation beter lest this be gone to the wind with vague tangents: idol worship or spiritual enlightenment.

Now, the modern connectation of idol runs two ways. The literal old time meaning graven image and another newer one meaning adored celebrity.

I guess the subject isn't clear. Is Bruce worried about how others judge him and "idol" worshipping vis-a-vis Aikido?
Anybody here like Billy Idol?
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Old 10-08-2002, 11:45 AM   #15
aikigreg
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I practiaclly worship the guy

I like to think of God as a man of intent. Judging from the inside and not the outside. The man who covets, etc, etc - is just as sinful/evil/whatever as he is on the outside. Whereas I'd like to think that those of us who practice Aiki and bow to O'sensei are doing something that MIGHT seem like worship on the surface, but our intent is to grow spiritually, which is a good thing.

But then I'm weird like that.
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Old 10-08-2002, 04:29 PM   #16
Bruce Baker
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Maybe it is me? I have the time to go into areas of thought the rest of you have no time to consider that you have not because of your busy lifestyles.

Well, maybe that is my new job in life, to consider, ask questions, and see if there is anyone else out there who looks beyond the next day, the next generation, or even beyond our present needs.

At least I am concerned enough to find out if the way I live, the lessons I try to impart from my own experiences are learned correctly or incorrectly. How many times have you said something it was taken the absolutely wrong way?

Well ... I was ... just checking.

And some got the point, while some did not.

That is the way it goes, I guess.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:43 PM   #17
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Darin: Don't remember where I illuded to anything in asia??? Never been there myself, but I am sure as you state they have the same problems we have. My only point was that materialism can be a form of idol worship. Enlightment can be different things to different people, each must find his own peace and path. No religion has a corner on the market if Christanity explains it so clearly, then it would be very easy to follow, unfortunately it is a crooked and winding path. Each person must draw from their experiences in life to include their religious backgrounds (mine being Christianity and Buddhism). On a side note, just because you follow one path like buddhism, doesn't mean you have to renounce your experiences and beliefs in other things such as Christianity.

I think it makes sense that westerners growing up in a judeo-christian background to think that buddhism makes sense to them (something new and different for them to experience that would open new doors of knowledge) and that Easterners with buddhist/shinto backgrounds to think Christianity makes sense.

No one is more right than the other. Infact since basically renouncing my former christian belief structure, I have found myself in latter years learning more and more from the teachings of Jesus than I ever did when I didn't "think for myself" (as Bruce so eloquently put it in another thread!)

Mike Lee: Good post, agree whole heartidly.

Oh yea, Darin: I used to worshop the very Ground Billy Idol walked on!

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Old 10-09-2002, 01:22 PM   #18
Bruce Baker
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Now, now, Billy Idol is allright, but the words of Ray Davies of the Kinks go to some interesting places also.

I love practical faith.

It lets you have more faith because you are now thinking for yourself, the blind faith can still kick in once in a while, but now the practicallity of learning from the universe, because the universe does not learn from you, is an every enlightening moment of just how small and insigificant we really are.

Still, it does provide the clarity to truly be at peace with all the people, places, and things that should be blown off the face of the earth, but they are merely a part of the universal enviroment we call earth.

(Even is my actual spirit is peaceful, I still dream about blowing those annoyances off the face of the earth? Can't I? Please, just one little bitty atom bomb?)

Last edited by Bruce Baker : 10-09-2002 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-10-2002, 12:00 PM   #19
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With much respect and want of robust conversation I ask what is the argument/point of the thread, Bruce?

Respect versus worship as in bowing to O-Sensei/Kamiza for example? It can be considered idol worshipping depending on what POV the aikidoka is coming from. If the aikidoka is coming from an inculcated religious background, it might be hard to seperate veneration from worship.

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:35 PM   #20
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I'm also unclear on what you feel the point of the thread ought to be, Bruce.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:38 PM   #21
mike lee
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Maybe the point is that we're looking for the point.
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