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Old 05-29-2005, 07:49 AM   #1
feck
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Straight Face Gaining Enlightenment?

Hi all,

Just some questions that have bothered me for a while, and that i hope will start a lively discussion.

What is enlightenment?
Do you beleive this can be obtained?
What use would this be?
How could this affect your Aikido technique?
How would you know whether you had gained enlightenment?
How do you know that your not already enlightened?
Are there any steps that you can follow to try and gain this state of mind?

Thanks

feck
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Old 05-29-2005, 09:34 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

IMHO, when you quit asking the questions and using "I" as your identity frame of reference, you just might be getting close to what you already have. I am not trying to be glib, I just don't know how to answer your questions. Answers will only come when you get there.

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 05-29-2005, 12:33 PM   #3
James Jones
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Hi Darren. If you are interested in the Buddhist concept of enlightenment and how to obtain it, then you may want to take a look at www.buddhanet.net , where they address many of your questions. As for the connection between the concept of enlightenment and Aikido there's not much I can tell you there. Although, I am quite interested in the matter, as I vaguely remember reading something(probably from aikiweb) about how the idea of sudden enlightenment influenced Morihei Ueshiba(although he was not a Buddhist). But perhaps it was concerning the influence of it on Japanese culture in general or the samurai. I can't quite recall. Perhaps someone can clarify.


-Jones



edited for punctuation
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Old 05-29-2005, 04:46 PM   #4
Stefan Stenudd
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Enlightenment quiz

Quote:
Darren Paul wrote:
What is enlightenment?
Do you beleive this can be obtained?
What use would this be?
How could this affect your Aikido technique?
How would you know whether you had gained enlightenment?
How do you know that your not already enlightened?
Are there any steps that you can follow to try and gain this state of mind?
That's a bunch of big questions. What enlightenment is, depends on from what tradition's perspective the term is used. I stay with a basic zen understanding of it (although zen is by no means a uniform tradition).

One could also choose to discuss it in relation to the European 18th century intellectual reform, led by such minds as Voltaire and Rousseau - but I have a feeling that is not the enlightenment in question here

Zen's term satori is usually translated enlightenment. As far as I understand, it refers to an experience that can be reached through zen practice - a moment of sudden mental clarity, when you feel that you understand all, perceive all, grasp it all.

Although quite wonderful, it is not a lasting feeling - and it's not supposed to be. It's sort of a side effect of meditation, something that bursts on you, like fireworks, and then dies away. You go on with your business. Still, your life will not be completely the same afterwards.

If we don't make too much out of it, I would say that we all have a little aikido satori, now and then - a moment when we suddenly succeed beyong our expectations, sort of become one with the aikido principles and the technique done at that moment. A big "Aha!" during training. It is sweet, but the best way to deal with it is to happily accept and enjoy it, and go on training.

Yours aikido changes, after such a moment, but the fact that you need to continue training never does. There is more - more obstacles, more complications and their solutions, more satori, more to discover in aikido.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 05-29-2005, 07:36 PM   #5
Mark Bilson
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Feck

Aikido is a tool to create the situation for enlightenment to be realised.
By the nature of the case the term 'Enlightenment' means that it can not be explained to the rational, logical mind that is looking for something in the future, the seeking mind.

Enlightenment is realised when you no longer have an identification with the mind and thought process. In Zen this is known as the 'True Self'.

The state of consciousness that is realised in Zen practice by doing ZaZen can also be realised whilst moving. What is common to both is the 'allowing of what is to be'.

To realise this state of consciousness through Aikido you must move without engaging the thought process. If you accept 'what is' and harmonise with it in the individual moment then this path will take you to Enlightenment.

This of course means that thinking of Ikkyo, Shiho or engaging in the concept of an attack and defense means that you are engaging the ego and therefore 'buying in' to the thought process.

When Kensho is realised Aikido then becomes a demonstration of a state of consciousness that is in harmony and connected to 'what is'. This state of consciousness is then experienced off the mat and you will sense and feel at one with the creation.

The problem is that the ego goes to a remembered past and an imagined and anticipated future and is never immersed in the individual moment. With no thought of the past or no projection to the future only 'NOW' is real. Reality is NOW not what you think it will be in the next moment.

The first step to realising an enlightened state of Being is to cultivate a state of Mushin. Once this is understood you will be able to create spontaneous technique without any effort and it will be graceful and free flowing.

Achieve this and you will experience Enlightenment.

Cheers
Mark Bilson
http://www.roleystoneaiki.com
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:41 PM   #6
Mark Uttech
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

I think every life has its own enlightenment. And it doesn't stop there. Maybe the one holiday that points to it is either Halloween, or Obon.
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Old 06-12-2005, 02:33 PM   #7
Tennessee Mike
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

What is enlightenment? My viewpoint of enlightenment is the answer to two great questions in philosophy. "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?". Douglas Adams put it as the "Meaning of life, the universe and everything". The practice of Bhuddism is one route, science, and philosophy are other routes humans have developed to reach the goal called enlightenment. Psychology would call it self-actualization. My faith would say that you become enlightened before you can mature spiritually.

How does that affect aikido? O Sensei said, "The 'Way' means to be one with the Will of God and practice it. If we are even slightly apart from it, it is no longer the way". From Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. For some if aikido conflicts with the Way they should not practice it, for others no impact on their beliefs and for others they might take it as a spiritual exercise.
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Old 06-12-2005, 07:03 PM   #8
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
I think every life has its own enlightenment. And it doesn't stop there. Maybe the one holiday that points to it is either Halloween, or Obon.
Valentine's Day, I think. "Love conquers all."

Jeanne
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:11 AM   #9
Red Beetle
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Mark Bilson wrote:
Feck

Aikido is a tool to create the situation for enlightenment to be realised.
By the nature of the case the term 'Enlightenment' means that it can not be explained to the rational, logical mind that is looking for something in the future, the seeking mind.

Enlightenment is realised when you no longer have an identification with the mind and thought process. In Zen this is known as the 'True Self'.

The state of consciousness that is realised in Zen practice by doing ZaZen can also be realised whilst moving. What is common to both is the 'allowing of what is to be'.

To realise this state of consciousness through Aikido you must move without engaging the thought process. If you accept 'what is' and harmonise with it in the individual moment then this path will take you to Enlightenment.

This of course means that thinking of Ikkyo, Shiho or engaging in the concept of an attack and defense means that you are engaging the ego and therefore 'buying in' to the thought process.

When Kensho is realised Aikido then becomes a demonstration of a state of consciousness that is in harmony and connected to 'what is'. This state of consciousness is then experienced off the mat and you will sense and feel at one with the creation.

The problem is that the ego goes to a remembered past and an imagined and anticipated future and is never immersed in the individual moment. With no thought of the past or no projection to the future only 'NOW' is real. Reality is NOW not what you think it will be in the next moment.

The first step to realising an enlightened state of Being is to cultivate a state of Mushin. Once this is understood you will be able to create spontaneous technique without any effort and it will be graceful and free flowing.

Achieve this and you will experience Enlightenment.

Cheers
Mark Bilson
http://www.roleystoneaiki.com



This is the reason I started the thread titled:
Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Check out some of the posts on that thread for more info.
It is located under: General

Red Beetle
www.kingsportjudo.com
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:16 AM   #10
Red Beetle
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
By the nature of the case the term 'Enlightenment' means that it can not be explained to the rational, logical mind

I claim that the above quote is absurd, and has no place in Aikido.
Aikido is a logical rational system which can be understood, and used for self-defense under the proper circumstances.

Mysticism, like the above, should be filtered out of Aikido.
When such irrational nonsense is eliminated, then serious study and development of the existing techniques of Aikido can take place. Aikido can be Reformed.

Red Beetle
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:17 AM   #11
James Jones
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

I hope no one minds that i am still here.

Hello Monty,

There are some things I would like to comment about.But first of all, I know next to nothing of Aikido, and I can't really with comment with authority on whether or not enlightenment should have a place in it or not(except to say that if someone wants to incorporate this concept into their Aikido, I don't see anything wrong with it.) It seems to me that you not only have a problem with the idea of enlightenment in Aikido, but also the idea of enlightenment, period. As a Buddhist,(albeit, a rather unorthodox one) I disagree with the value judgement you have made about the idea of enlightenment.
Here are a few things I would like for you to think about.

-Have you considered that there may exist a concept of enlightenment that would fall within the domain modern science or psychology and involved only natural processes? Something with no "mystical" explanations?

-Have you ever imagined that enlightenment might not be a singular state of being or final goal, but rather, a process?

-Let's assume that enlightenment is an uttainable myth. Related to the above, do you think that a process with the intent of reaching enlightenment as a final goal, could still have its rewards?

And in closing, I would like to submit that perhaps many aikidoka are not as mystical,spiritual,philosophical, or otherwise contemplative, as you may think they are. When I posted on this board, I was surprised to find that they differed markedly from *my* preconceptions in regards to the above. And I lurked for a while too, and was surprised nonetheless. And on that note, I think I was hasty to judge some of the things they said to me, and I apologize to all of you for that.

Jones
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:53 AM   #12
Red Beetle
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

[quote]
Quote:
James Jones wrote:
I hope no one minds that i am still here.

Hello Monty,
Hello Mr. Jones

Quote:
There are some things I would like to comment about.But first of all, I know next to nothing of Aikido, and I can't really with comment with authority
If what you say is true, then you have all the authority you need. Credentials mean nothing when it comes to logical reasoning.


Quote:
It seems to me that you not only have a problem with the idea of enlightenment in Aikido, but also the idea of enlightenment, period.
I have a problem with mysticism. When people define the term 'enlightenment' to be that which is irrational, then I will react contra the misology.


Quote:
As a Buddhist,(albeit, a rather unorthodox one) I disagree with the value judgment you have made about the idea of enlightenment.
Interesting, I didn't know that Buddhists held to objective moral standards (or judgments if you wish). Careful, people will start to accuse you of being a product of Western civilization.

Quote:
-Have you considered that there may exist a concept of enlightenment that would fall within the domain modern science or psychology and involved only natural processes? Something with no "mystical" explanations?
I don't adhere to scientific method, or modern psychology. I am not an empiricist. So, I would reject any restating of 'enlightenment' along those lines.

Quote:
-Have you ever imagined that enlightenment might not be a singular state of being or final goal, but rather, a process?
Correct enlightenment is where a person comes to understand and believe true propositions.

Mystical / irrational enlightenment is meaningless, cannot be understood, nor taught, and should be disregarded.

Quote:
-Let's assume that enlightenment is an uttainable myth. Related to the above, do you think that a process with the intent of reaching enlightenment as a final goal, could still have its rewards?
Beliefs have consequences. Assuming the concepts of mysticism will produce results in a person's life.
"Those who call for nonsense," wrote C.S. Lewis, "will find that it comes."

Quote:
And in closing, I would like to submit that perhaps many aikidoka are not as mystical,spiritual,philosophical, or otherwise contemplative, as you may think they are.
I have met some that are not.


Red Beetle

www.kingsportjudo.com
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Old 06-13-2005, 02:42 AM   #13
James Jones
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

[quote=Monty Collier]
Quote:
Hello Mr. Jones



If what you say is true, then you have all the authority you need. Credentials mean nothing when it comes to logical reasoning.
I agree. I just don't think its my place to say what is or isn't appropriate for aikido as i don't understand what it is like to practice it.



Quote:
I have a problem with mysticism. When people define the term 'enlightenment' to be that which is irrational, then I will react contra the misology.
understood.

Quote:
Interesting, I didn't know that Buddhists held to objective moral standards (or judgments if you wish). Careful, people will start to accuse you of being a product of Western civilization.
I did say I was unorthodox.
But seriously, the key word in my statement, " I disagree with the value judgment you have made about the idea of enlightenment."
is "I". I was relaying my subjective opinion, and I realized that. I never claimed that it was a universal objective fact that your value judgement was incorrect. But I do certainly hold to the belief in- what some might call-objective moral standards, at least for a few things. Also, I'm not too sure Buddhism necessarily teaches against objective moral standards. Buddhism definitely teaches morals. Objective? In my perception, yes. In others' view, perhaps not.

And I will be the first to admit that I am a product of Western civilization. I don't think that's bad either.

Quote:
I don't adhere to scientific method, or modern psychology. I am not an empiricist. So, I would reject any restating of 'enlightenment' along those lines.
Would you say that you are somewhat of a pure rationalist?
To what degree do you trust the perception of your senses?



Quote:
Correct enlightenment is where a person comes to understand and believe true propositions.
I like that. I would just take out the "correct" part so it doesn't preclude other definitions of enlightenment.

Quote:
Mystical / irrational enlightenment is meaningless, cannot be understood, nor taught, and should be disregarded.
While I do not think that is necessarily true, I don't think the definitions/perspectives of enlightenment I mentioned, were mystical or irrational.



Quote:
Beliefs have consequences. Assuming the concepts of mysticism will produce results in a person's life.
"Those who call for nonsense," wrote C.S. Lewis, "will find that it comes."
I did not say the person following the process absolutely had the intention of enlightenment, I meant that if the process was created with that intention.




Jones
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Old 06-13-2005, 03:21 AM   #14
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Thumbs down Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Red Beetle - you are quite right. 100% . To most though, you are the kind of 'bug' that just won't go away.

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Old 06-13-2005, 03:27 AM   #15
Red Beetle
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

[quote=James Jones]
Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:

I agree. I just don't think its my place to say what is or isn't appropriate for aikido as i don't understand what it is like to practice it.





understood.



I did say I was unorthodox.
But seriously, the key word in my statement, " I disagree with the value judgment you have made about the idea of enlightenment."
is "I". I was relaying my subjective opinion, and I realized that. I never claimed that it was a universal objective fact that your value judgement was incorrect. But I do certainly hold to the belief in- what some might call-objective moral standards, at least for a few things. Also, I'm not too sure Buddhism necessarily teaches against objective moral standards. Buddhism definitely teaches morals. Objective? In my perception, yes. In others' view, perhaps not.

And I will be the first to admit that I am a product of Western civilization. I don't think that's bad either.



Would you say that you are somewhat of a pure rationalist?
To what degree do you trust the perception of your senses?





I like that. I would just take out the "correct" part so it doesn't preclude other definitions of enlightenment.



While I do not think that is necessarily true, I don't think the definitions/perspectives of enlightenment I mentioned, were mystical or irrational.





I did not say the person following the process absolutely had the intention of enlightenment, I meant that if the process was created with that intention.




Jones
I think what you are saying in a nice way is that there is no Truth.

Red Beetle
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:01 AM   #16
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:
I think what you are saying in a nice way is that there is no Truth.
Red Beetle
What is Truth? I mean, there is truth - if I say I ate yogurt for breakfast today, that is the truth - but what is Truth?

Berna Bleeker
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:10 AM   #17
James Jones
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:
I think what you are saying in a nice way is that there is no Truth.

Red Beetle
I absolutely believe there is Truth(with or without a capital "t"). I just think that our perceptions of what is true, are often inaccurate, incomplete, and can vary from person to person. I believe in a reality independent of my, or anyone elses perception(but not necessarily always outside of it). I think that it is difficult to be absolutely objective because it is so human to "color" things a certain way, but I do believe it is possible to be objective(or at least get pretty close) on some things, and that it is definitely worthwhile to try.


(edited for syntax)

Jones
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:23 AM   #18
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
I absolutely believe there is Truth(with or without a capital "t"). I just think that our perceptions of what is true, are often inaccurate, incomplete, and can vary from person to person
Here I'll have to disagree with you, I absolutely don't believe there are any absolute truths.

I rank truths under the same heading as morals, situational and temporally dependant and normally only govern and/or are correct within a very limited environment.

Now if instead we discuss absolute truths from a persons own subjective point of view, I do think they can exist even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them.

As for enlightenment, I stated in a previous (v. old) thread that by all that I've read about the processes involved in trying to become enlightened it seems a rather grandiose way of being incredibly selfish (old joke about why there's so few female saints springs to mind)
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:51 AM   #19
Qatana
 
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

In my experience those who Seek enlightenment are much less selfish than those who believe they already Are.

Q
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Old 06-13-2005, 02:53 PM   #20
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

but that is the paradox of enlightment. You seek it for yourself (selfishness), but what you find is that you cannot obtain it unless you let go of self (selflessness) and realize that you are a part of a bigger thing that just you.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:06 PM   #21
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Unless it just happens without trying? If "enlightenment" = flashes of insight as suggested above, then I think I can lay claim to such an experience: As a young 'un at uni, I had one of those moments where everything completely clicked, and I understood depths and breadths in a flash. It lasted a very short time, but it was breathtaking. And I can tell you, seeking enlightenment was the last thing on my mind at the end of a two-day class that dealt with the symbolism of the Chinese soul as found on a Han-dynasty burial robe. Or perhaps it was just exhaustion...? But it really was a fabulous feeling while it lasted. Things went through my head so fast I couldn't put it into words. Maybe "enlightenment" is a word someone came up with to describe that sensation of your mind suddenly processing or filing away a whole lot of stuff at once? Maybe it's really "clean-up" - making sense of a chaos of seemingly unrelated information?
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:30 PM   #22
James Jones
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Here I'll have to disagree with you, I absolutely don't believe there are any absolute truths.

I rank truths under the same heading as morals, situational and temporally dependant and normally only govern and/or are correct within a very limited environment.

Now if instead we discuss absolute truths from a persons own subjective point of view, I do think they can exist even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them.

As for enlightenment, I stated in a previous (v. old) thread that by all that I've read about the processes involved in trying to become enlightened it seems a rather grandiose way of being incredibly selfish (old joke about why there's so few female saints springs to mind)
I think that at least something must be an absolute truth, for the reason that the well known claim "There is no truth." is inherently a contradiction. As for morals, I think that one can have a well-thought, solid moral code without being able to absolutely, objectively prove that their opinion is correct. I believe having a moral code that is respectful of the rights of one's fellow humans and other living beings, is very important. I realize that it has yet to be proven there is an objective law of the universe that states anyone or anything is worth a damn. But so far as I'm concerned, I am going to live my life as if there were because it makes me happy and I believe it is still valid.

As for the enlightenment and selfishness matter:
I think all of us are selfish to some extent. And I think it can be argued to absurdity that everything any person does is selfish(eating is selfish, sleep is selfish, reading a book is selfish...etc). And compared to other things some people do-like stealing, having affairs, drugs, and pissing on the toilet seats in public restrooms- I think seeking enlightenment is rather unselfish.
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Old 06-14-2005, 01:50 AM   #23
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
but that is the paradox of enlightment. You seek it for yourself (selfishness), but what you find is that you cannot obtain it unless you let go of self (selflessness) and realize that you are a part of a bigger thing that just you.
Loved that, Kevin
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Old 06-14-2005, 04:57 AM   #24
Mark Uttech
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Re: Gaining Enlightenment?

when you are on the track, there is no end to the track. When you are off the track, is there no end to off the track?
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