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Old 06-15-2003, 11:26 PM   #1
shadow
Dojo: Aiki Kun Ren (Iwama style)
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path to enlightenment.

do you believe that the practice of aikido is a path to enlightenment/nirvana/heaven/satori/whatever you want to call it?
if not, do you believe that perhaps it is a step in the right direction and the ideals and training for harmony can be useful in the pursuit of enlightenment?
if not, why not?
where do you see your training taking you if it is not in this direction? and what is the purpose of your training if other than seeking universal harmony?

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 06-16-2003, 01:51 AM   #2
shihonage
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The purpose of my training is to gain the powers of EVIL, summon the unworldly minions from the gateways of HELL, and use them to gain dominion over the Earth.
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What ?
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Old 06-16-2003, 03:41 AM   #3
sanosuke
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I believe that Aikido is a philosophy of life, which take form as a martial art.
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Old 06-16-2003, 04:58 AM   #4
Abasan
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I believe that Aikido is a martial art.

I also believe that the path towards enlightenment can take any form.

But ultimately, enlightenment must come from within oneself.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 06-16-2003, 07:45 AM   #5
mike lee
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give it up

The concept of enlightenment is an illusion.

The great sin is to neglect the mystery of creation and life.

As I unburden myself and embrace the mystery of life, the light chases away the darkness!
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Old 06-16-2003, 02:27 PM   #6
Yo-Jimbo
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Science deals with what is measurable, quantifiable and repeatable. As a physicist and someone who loves aikido, their has never been any proof that ki is anything other than than an idea. It hasn't any units related to it as energy does (kg*m^2/s^2) and there is no recipe that someone can tell me to measure it. Just because ki is no more real than unicorns doesn't mean that it isn't useful. Just as the thought of unicorns can make little gilrs happy (and myself too at times), the thought of ki can correct posture and make the strength of limbs more efficient for activities likened to aikido.

That doesn't mean that ki couldn't be defined rigorously, but most likely many of its common usages would be then inconsistant just as there are those for energy.

Of course, I don't like it when people describe a weight in "kilograms" because it is wrong to do so. kg are the unit of mass, kg*m/s^2 is the unit of force (ie weight). Language is often fast and loose, but scientific language is geared to say what one means. I wish more people would say what they mean and mean what they say.

For what it is worth, I hope we someday genetically engineer unicorns too.

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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Old 06-16-2003, 02:49 PM   #7
tedehara
 
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Quote:
James Chye (Yo-Jimbo) wrote:
...That doesn't mean that ki couldn't be defined rigorously, but most likely many of its common usages would be then inconsistant just as there are those for energy...
What does this have to do with the original question about aikido as a path to enlightenment?

confused

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 06-16-2003, 03:35 PM   #8
John Boswell
 
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Quote:
"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
Since when? I've read many things, heard many speakers, listened to the lyrics of thousands of songs... and I have no doubt I've gained a great deal of wisdom over the years.

What is your definition of Wisdom?

As for Aikido being a path of enlightenment, if you consider "enlightenment" a gaining of ground in the world of wisdom and knowledge (of any subject) then yes, Aikido is a very incredible path toward enlightment.

Will it bring you to becoming "one with the universe"? Who knows? Go ask O'Sensei.

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Old 06-16-2003, 04:02 PM   #9
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, just train to train.

The path is of no distance to a destination (enlightenment) that you already have.

Any activity can show you what is there if you get out of your head and practice consciously.

Don't think about where its getting you, be aware of now.

ZWATZ!

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 06-16-2003, 05:57 PM   #10
PeterR
 
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Re: give it up

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
As I unburden myself and embrace the mystery of life, the light chases away the darkness!
Must keep Mike away from the Lustbader novels

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:12 PM   #11
shadow
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james i think you posted in the wrong thread, there is another called "ki in scientific thought" which is more geared to your response.

but just to add one more query to this whole energy business, i study environmental biology (primarily ecology) and i constantly encounter the term 'energy' used in many different forms in ecology or the environment.

for example there is the energy of the sun which drives growth of the primary producers, this energy is then given to consumers in the form of carbohydrates and so on, some of this energy is lost in terms of kinetics and heat, there is the energy released to the decomposers upon the death of a consumer..... it appears that energy is present in every possible form we can think of and seems to be the driving force of universal process. energy is the wind. energy is the sun. energy is the water. energy is our movement. energy is in what we eat. why not does ki as explained in aikido fit in as another form of energy, perhaps even just a form of kinetic energy? "extend your ki" can very easily just mean.... get moving!

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:18 PM   #12
shadow
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oh and ill answer my own question to.

i think aikido is a helpful in the pursuit of enlightenment in learning to be more aware of the harmony inherent in your own body, your bodies relationship to other bodies and your bodies relationship to the universe.

but as a direct path i think perhaps it was uncompleted, if enlightenment was ever intended as its purpose.

i understand that enlightenment comes from within and can take any form at any time, but there are many religions or philosophies that are directly concerned with enlightenment, such as buddhism, and attaining such a state. i was just curious as to whether you could consider aikido as something similar.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:42 PM   #13
Jean-David
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What is wisdom?

Knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action ( Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary )

An understanding of the highest principles of things that functions as a guide for living a truly exemplary human life

(The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy )

If aïkido is a path to gaining wisdom, than I don't believe anyone will ever put a foot on that path, since wisdom is impossible.

I don't believe in wisdom because I don't think that it is possible to know what is right (good), nor to live a truly exemplary human life.

I believe that the central here is probably one of the most important philosophical questions : How should I act? How should I live my life?

I believe that there are no right and wrong, no good and bad answers to these questions for the simple reason that values are not truths just as truths are not values. Good and bad are not objects of knowledge but objects of desire. It is not because something is good that you want it, on the contrary, its because you want it that it is good. Why shoud I act a certain way and not the other? because I want to act one way and not the other way... but why? Because of my education, experience, parents, philosophy class, a book, etc. How you want to live your life and the way you think others should live there lives is

not based on the truth, or on reason but on your will. Sad to say but that is what I believe to be the truth. Since the world is made up of mater, I dont see how values could fit in. Plato understood this too and that is why he had to invent another world. Personaly I dont believe in that other world (but who knows I could be wrong).

Yes, I can just here your reply : that means people can do what they want, kill, rape, genocide, etc. Yes they can and no truths have ever stoped them from doing so... What's the truth against a tank? Try to convince a racist that he is wrong to be a racist by telling him how the concept of race is not scientific... what if he replies that you're probably right but that it doesnt stop him from hating black people. There are no garanties, or justifications(proofs), only our will and our power to defend it.

But I don't need a proof, or a garanty to save a drowning child, or to fight racism or murder. I havn't turned in to a serial killer either. The only thing we have to oppose to other's will is our own.

This is not the path of wisdom, but the past of the cynic.

The truth never told me what I was supposed to do and it never will...

I do !!
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:50 PM   #14
Jean-David
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"But I don't need a proof, or a garanty to save a drowning child, or to fight racism or murder. I havn't turned in to a serial killer either. The only thing we have to oppose to other's will is our own will.

This is not the path of wisdom, but the path of the cynic."

CORRECTION
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Old 06-16-2003, 10:23 PM   #15
Charles Hill
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I think that Morihei Ueshiba never meant his art to be considered as a means to enlightenment, at least in the Buddhist meaning of the word. Generally, the Shinto influence, and more specifically, the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi and the Omoto Kyo religion, led him to strive to a state of ultimate creativity. Onisaburo taught that art is the mother of all religion and encouraged his followers to express creativity using whatever natural talents they had.

Morihei Ueshiba's natural talent was the martial arts, and that is what he used to express his understanding of creativity. His message, as I understand it, is for those of us who have an affinity for the martial arts, to use practice as a means to tap into whatever source of creativity we can find and then use that creativity to create meaningful lives.

In a roundabout way, I guess that is a kind of enlightenment, but I think it is rather more specific.

Charles
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Old 06-16-2003, 11:27 PM   #16
YEME
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ha ha ha...

i too follow the path to the dark minions of the underworld...

um, re: not finding wisdom in other people's words... i think its something to

do with what you do with the words as opposed to just blindly taking them at face value.

i don't think any one thing will lead you to enlightenment if you don't let it. so you can plod along or speed along in aikido but never really get anywhere.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
--Isaac Asimov

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Old 06-18-2003, 04:09 AM   #17
malc anderson
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i like what mike and charles have to say and would add that a true path to enlightenment must be available too every human being. so how about disabled people who may be paralise from the neck down , does this mean that because of accident or birth defect one must live an unfulfilled life? No, their are many paths to the top of mount fuji but the summit is LOVE , when a person practises their form or cata etc their concentration is focused and then the mind is stilled when this happens another world opens to us our practice becomes a mantra , so yes akido does point us in the direction of the inner world of peace but it is not the only way . be still and love silence and your heart will flood but this is very difficult to do!
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:49 AM   #18
Thor's Hammer
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Something that I find funny reflecting on all the people who have found, or claim to have found enlightenment over the years, a remarkable number of them note a disappearance into the mountains to accompany this enlightenment. Here is my present list, there are probably more.

Moses

Buddha

Lao Tsu

Jesus

Muhammad

O'Sensei

These are all the people that came to my head, but it strikes me that all 6 of them were 'enlightened' in the mountains, and all returned to preach similar ideals. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:33 AM   #19
Russ Qureshi
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As Lynn says, enlightenment is present, now. There is no "path" to the truth. Huang Po says: (I paraphrase) "Cast aside all conceptualization, then, instantly, you will be enlightened." Krishnamurti says: (paraphrasing again) "...one cannot find truth by way of a path. One needs to question everything (especially one's own motivation for "thinking" one way or another)."

Words can muddy the waters even further, eh?

I prefer to simply keep in mind Morito Suganuma Senseis' words (our dojo motto to boot!) "Here. Now. Live lively!" Vigourous, spirited aikido training helps me discard the "intellectual process" and just be present.....

Cheers,

Russ
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Old 06-18-2003, 10:28 AM   #20
George S. Ledyard
 
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Letter to the Editor

Many years ago I remember reading a letter to the editor of Black Belt Magazine in which a fellow stated,

"I am sick and tired of hearing all about the Spiritual side of martial arts training! I have trained for over twenty years in various martial arts and have derived no Spiritual benefit whatever."

Quite an acheivement I must say! It simply goes to show that, although there are many answers that present themselves over the years if you train sincerely, you won't even recognize them if you aren't already asking the questions.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-19-2003, 12:59 AM   #21
mike lee
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a good sport

Quote:
Must keep Mike away from the Lustbader novels
Sorry — but all I've been reading lately is the sports pages! (Hate the Spurs.)
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Old 06-19-2003, 03:21 AM   #22
ian
 
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Hi Bryan,

I believe the necessity for retreat in enlightened beings is because it is very easy to be swayed by the surface opinions of others and the demands of normal life when living in society. Isolation helps us investigate what is in our own heart (and I believe any ultimate truths must reflect what is within our fundamental self) - however all these people then applied what they had discovered about their own self in the real world.

Is aikido a path to enlightenment? There are many muslims, buddhists, christians, hindus etc who are very knowledgeable about their faith and practice it devoutly - however they may not be enlightened because they don't actually feel it with their 'bones'. Also, talking philosophy and acting is different. Someone has this as a quote at the end of their messages; 'don't argue about how to be a good man, just be a good man.' (Marcus Aurelius).

Aikido lead me into eastern thought, which has fundamentally changed the way I view myself and the reality. However it needn't necessarily have been like that. One thing, however, that aikido does do (and most are not aware of until it happens) is that it trains us to have a non-negative attitude to aggression and to produce a non-lethal (and often non-harmful) response to an attack.

I think enlightenment can be gained from anything (as in the various zen stories) - it just requires seeing into the very nature of reality and that requires an internal process which cannot be forced from outside.

Ian

P.S. I'd agree with Lynn and George about reality being beyond words and normal conception. However I beleive, enlightened people show similar behaviour. Whereas in christianity goodness leads to heaven/god. I believe goodness eminates from enlightenment/god/whatever you want to call it. i.e. if you are enlightened you do the correct thing because you understand the nature of reality - you don't do good things just because someone has told you they are good and that will make you more holy.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 06-23-2003, 01:15 PM   #23
Eric Sotnak
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The question of how training in martial arts can lead to enlightenment, wisdom, spiritual insights, personal transformation, or self-improvement is extraordinarily complex. Certainly there is no automatic connection between performing certain kinds of body movements and gaining such insights (hereafter, simply, "insight"). Nothing at all prevents martial arts training from being, instead, a vehicle for ego inflation or the physical or psychological domination of others. Nor does anything prevent martial arts training from being mere entertainment or exercise. Martial arts training can be a form of socializing, a way of gaining practical skills for defense (or offense), or an exploration of a subject matter than is often treated as esoteric or exotic (and therefore of interest to people who have an interest in such things simply because of the associated mystique). The reasons for which one begins training and the reasons for which one continues training may change, too -- perhaps many times.

If martial arts training is to be a vehicle for insight, conditions have to be right for insight to occur. The student must generally have devoted sufficient time and effort to training that s/he is no longer preoccupied with technical minutiae. In addition, however, the student must possess and have manifested the determination to persevere in both training and study through frustration, boredom, confusion, and physical and personal hardship. In fact, a strong case can be made that such perseverance is the very core of the sort of insight that can be gained through martial arts training. There is, of course more to it than just this. The student must have the right frame of mind, teachers who know what they are doing and where they are guiding the student, etc. The confluence of all the right circumstances may be very rare. In Zen lore, the rarity of such a confluence of conditions is sometimes signified by the image of two arrows colliding point-to-point in mid-air.

Of course, insights come in degrees. Just about anyone who persists in serious and dedicated training for a long period of time will have experiences of lesser or greater insights. Some into technical matters, some into psychological matters, some into conceptual matters. No one ever attains such perfect mastery that training becomes unnecessary. So perhaps the answer that someone else has already given suffices very well: just train.
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:04 PM   #24
DaveForis
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Re: give it up

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
The concept of enlightenment is an illusion.

The great sin is to neglect the mystery of creation and life.

As I unburden myself and embrace the mystery of life, the light chases away the darkness!
I love that.

Heeeeyyyyyy.... Isn't that a fairly significant chunk OF enlightenment?

In answer to your questions, Damien:

No. If properly taught (a very hard thing to find) it can provide a lot of the tools, but not all of them. There is much more, and you have to look to a lot of different sources to find them all. There is no one way. But on the upside, all ways lead to the one.

Yes. Obviously. As others here have pointed out, harmony, connection, etc. is key. I like connection. Or non-duality, but that takes some humbling mental gymnastics to begin to comprehend. Love is another one, but that may be even harder to actually truly comprehend (Just have to learn to live it, I guess.)

I'd like the whole enlightment thing, myself. But first my laundry has to dry so that I have clothes to wear when I go visit my grandparents for the weekend. (Bows to Mike)

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:14 AM   #25
Anders Bjonback
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I'm Buddhist, so this question has a large implication to me--that other religions or traditions are paths to the same truth.

I have noticed, though, that I have the same struggles in aikido as I do in meditation. In aikido, if I'm too relaxed and not paying attention enough, my ukemi is sloppy, and my techniques as nage are not effective at all. In meditation, if I'm too relaxed, my thoughts and emotions wisk me off into daydreams, and I have no control whatsoever. Another problem is being too tense, inflexible, or forceful in aikido and sitting meditation--in aikido, if tense or forceful, I'm not really doing aikido--I'm trying to wrestle, and in meditation, I'm supressing my thoughts and emotions and not really meditating.

Also, in listening to some recent teachings by Sogyal Rinpoche, he said that after a certain point in meditation and integrating it into one's life, when one is beyond subject/object duality and realizes his or her inherent nature, he or she is in harmony with all things. This sounds remarkably similar to what aikido practice is for, just under a different name.

Seeing aikido as a sort of moving meditation practice, and considering the rest of the above, it could be seen as a way to enlightenment. But what it really depends on is one's motivation. If one meditates for mental and physical health benifits, or for better concentration and less stress, one is not along the path to enlightenment. If one is mediating for enlightenement, then health and other benifits are seen as a natural result of practice, but not the reason for it. It's the same with aikido, I think. If one uses aikido as a skillful means to progress along the path to enlightenment, then it is a path towards it. But the action itself isn't the path, it's the motivation behind the action that makes it so. And if you use it as a path towards harmony, I guess it depends on how you define or think of harmony--in the relative (being an environmentalist, etc) or in the absolute sense (all what you do is in harmony with all things, cannot help but bring benifit to all those around you, etc).

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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