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#283988 - 09/07/06 01:09 PM Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment
WuXing Offline
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Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Is sudden enlightenment really sudden? Is gradual enlightenment really gradual?
The post in the karate forum about "one punch, one kill" brought up a point of contemplation for me.
The two philosophies on this subject are parallel to the two schools of Zen thought. Some say we train for a one-hit kill, that is technique which is like a lightning bolt that achieves victory in an instant. Others don't believe that is possible, they see their techniques more like a flowing river which gradually wears away the opposition by constantly applying pressure. The schools of Zen are the same. One says that enlightenment comes like a lightning bolt, with a single word or action or thought everything is blown away. The other says constant effort is required to wear away attachments and defilements little by little, revealing the pure state.

But really, in martial arts, a single hit is never really a single hit. A punch that kills is the product of the thousands or millions of punches that have been thrown before it. Can the sudden school be called sudden, when the suddenness is the product of time and effort? Can the gradual school be called gradual when a single experience can wipe away lifetimes of karmic attachments?

Maybe the point is that time is an illusion. Immediate and gradual, a single event or all the events in past, present, and future...they come down to the same place, which is the only place where enlightenment can occur.

What's the difference between hitting one enemy many times and hitting many enemies once? Who are these enemies we're fighting? What are all these defilements we're supposed to wipe away?

Completely Gone...

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#283989 - 09/07/06 01:12 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
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Thank you for the thought provoking post.

Who can say?

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#283990 - 09/07/06 02:48 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
Ed_Morris Offline
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the confusion, if any, comes from mistranslation. try these instead:

"make every punch count."

"allow every moment to count."

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#283991 - 09/07/06 02:52 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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I don't think Wuxing is confused. I think here, as in the other thread, he is pointing through question.

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#283992 - 09/07/06 02:55 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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and I'm pointing thru answer?

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#283993 - 09/07/06 02:58 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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I give up. You lads are simply too smart for me. Think it might be time to retire.

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#283994 - 09/08/06 11:46 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
ButterflyPalm Offline
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I don't think you can have "gradual" Enlightenment, like an energy-saving bulb that brightens up gradually.

You are either enlightened or you are not; if you are not, you are not; if you are, you are. And until you are, you are not.

You cannot have 'one-third enlightenment' today and work on the other two-thirds another day.

My understanding of 'OPOK' is to achieve the maximum result (a kill) with the minimum of effort or the simpliest of technique.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#283995 - 09/10/06 03:20 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: ButterflyPalm]
butterfly Offline
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Or, as far as the philosophical construct, can any of really remember that specific moment that we were conscious of our surroundings and understood it?

Through effort or none at all, like Ed said, it is in the moment and living "there" that counts-- not what came before or what will come after.

And as Butterfly Paly mentioned: It is or isn't...and that's it.

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#283996 - 09/11/06 07:13 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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Personally, I've heard different views on this...and I think it comes down to personal experience and lack of definition (of 'enlightenment').

It is gradual, it is sudden, it is both and it is nothing to pursue (as it is inherent). Suzuki said 'no enlighened people, just enlightened acts'. Does this mean that enlightenment is something beyond normal people...a complete change only attainable by Buddha/saints?

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#283997 - 09/11/06 07:53 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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the conversation seems to be heading towards several questions,
'what does it mean to be Enlightened?'

'if you met an enlightened person, how would you know unless you were enlightened yourself?'

'if you consider someone enlightened...is it really enlightenment or is it someone who fits YOUR construct of what enlightenment should be?'

'do enlightened people consciencly BE enlightened, or is it their true nature?'

"is 'enlightenment' a carrot on a stick like other religious promises that provide motivation for ideal moral living? (eg: heaven, nirvana, et al)"

maybe 'seeking' enlightenment is old-school...maybe people in the future could live moraly sound, without the need of imaginary constructs? a built-in moral compass would be a nice thing to evolve.

by NOT seeking...we find?

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#283998 - 09/11/06 08:01 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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Tend to agree. It is a term mired in a historic/social and religious/philosophical context. Puts a secular humanist in a bind...to aspire or not to aspire?

Quote:

maybe 'seeking' enlightenment is old-school...maybe people in the future could live moraly sound, without the need of imaginary constructs? a built-in moral compass would be a nice thing to evolve.




A serendipitous e-mail from a friend this morning:

"To start from the self and try to understand all things is delusion.
To let the self be awakened by all things is enlightenment. "-- Dogen



My thoughts? There is no enlightenment without spirituality.


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#283999 - 09/11/06 12:06 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Then, of course, you have to define spirituality.

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#284000 - 09/11/06 12:11 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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"puts a secular humanist into a bind" ?

only if they limit their definition to:
Quote:

There is no enlightenment without spirituality.




spirituality is just a path. Intellectuality could be just as strong of a path. Then theres the cumulative generational awareness over eons - some call it evolutionary enlightenment.

draw a line between the awareness of being afraid of the unknown to the awareness of understanding and no longer fearing - and that becomes the trend of Human enlightenment.

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#284001 - 09/11/06 12:27 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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I think the 'intellectual' path could be compared to the 'sutric' way.

But 'the path' is not 'the thing'.

Quote:

spirituality is just a path. Intellectuality could be just as strong of a path.





Recently, I've come to think of enlightenment as a 'de-volving'.

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#284002 - 09/11/06 12:51 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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If devolving is the deconstruction of the individual into star dust, then one can accept that your life is nothing but organic material and chemical processes and water.

Then, where is the individual to consider these things? We could just as well be flotsam in some cosmic, drainage ditch (not to say we aren't ) , but then the consideration is moot.

I much rather at least be aware of the stench and left frowning than be a vegetable smiling in the ditch saying it doesn't matter.

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#284003 - 09/11/06 01:35 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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The difference is awareness...not in a process that applies to humans and vegetables; a difference in nature...of sentience.

I'm no cabbagehead.

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#284004 - 09/11/06 02:42 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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A “cabbagehead” was not something I considered you at all. On the other hand, it seems that many folk seek “nothingness” as a way to enlightenment which excludes the conscious direction of the self and thereby lifts this sense of being (or lack thereof) to an aspiration.

To be nothing, is not something (pun intended) I would generally accept. I can see my lot in life, but despite its lack of mattering on a cosmic scale, I still live and love and see life as an adventure for MOI to study and “live” in. It is from “my” perspective that I have to start and then can glance surreptitiously at others-- and generally either sympathize or empathize with them…and in some cases, plain dislike. But to whatever end this little travel of “me” goes, it starts at a point of origin which can only be looked as individual.

To deconstruct further seems to be an exercise in futility to see if we are all shorn from some larger understanding, small beacons of consciousness that are unaware of our “real” interconnected form. Because in the end, it may matter little.

Either things are, or they aren’t---and sometimes those things that are not are considered to exist simply because there is no way to disprove them since we believe, not because you can disinterestedly discern them.

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#284005 - 09/11/06 03:06 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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Aren't there times when the loss of the perception of 'me' is desirable?

Quote:

To be nothing, is not something (pun intended) I would generally accept... But to whatever end this little travel of “me” goes, it starts at a point of origin which can only be looked as individual.



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#284006 - 09/11/06 03:22 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Well, I think there might be a slight twist to the term of "perception."

When in a moment of awe, looking at the sunset for instance; or when doing a martial art movement that is instinctive and which seems to come from an automatic reaction to stimulii; or when watching a good movie or reading a good book and losing the "self" in the activity at hand--these are all good.

But, it is in that ability of concetration that the brain, and thus the individual self, can produce this sensation. This is hyper-concentration, self-hypnosis, whatever you want to name it. But I don't distinguish this from the individual, nor do I overlay this sense of "lacking self" as anything outside the individual or connected with a greater cosmological awareness.

It is simply me (or you) in the moment and has no other outstanding quality. And can be appreciated just as it is, without piquing any other awareness of that fact.

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#284007 - 09/11/06 03:26 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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So...for some there really is nothing to pursue.

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#284008 - 09/11/06 03:27 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Quote:

So...for some there really is nothing to pursue.




So does that mean I am enlightened...or just don't care?

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#284009 - 09/11/06 03:30 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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I don't know...what do you think? I'm just trying to 'think' my way to integrating an archaic concept into a more modern context. Something more 'palatable' to the Rational Man.

Things are as they are...only the perception changes.

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#284010 - 09/11/06 03:36 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Quote:

Things are as they are...only the perception changes.




And that is exactly the point...and is true for either accepting a larger religious/philosophical cosmology, or disregarding it.

Things will be as they are, our appreciations of them may change, but the difference can only be measured in individual terms---and not outside one's self. And there in lies the dilema.

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#284011 - 09/11/06 03:41 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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I didn't say anything about religion or cosmology...which I think of as different from 'spiritual'. Again...begs for a definition of the word.

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#284012 - 09/11/06 03:52 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Loc: Torrance, CA
I guess it would be very hard to define religion or spirituality. But if you take spirituality to mean something exisiting outside the self or having an undefined existence beyong what we can measure in scientific terms, then I think we are at an impasse again.

Just as in that little philosophical mind game, where the tree falls over in an empty forest---when I am gone, it will not matter (sound or not), since I will take my awareness with me, despite accepting or trying to decline death's invitation.

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#284013 - 09/11/06 04:09 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
*absorbing*
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#284014 - 09/11/06 04:11 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
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Loc: Amherst, MA
Quote:

*absorbing*




...or 'unfolding'? Not a static state?

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#284015 - 09/11/06 04:17 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
here's how this secular humanist views it:

'enlightenment' in an individual is a human-made construct, and therefore flawed.

enlightenment over millions of years to a species, is true gain in knowing...it becomes part of DNA. anything else is pretending.

the small realizations, wisdom and knowledge we accumulate and pass on during our lives is like how a single grain of sand contributes to making a beach.

we are each, almost insignificant.

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#284016 - 09/12/06 07:22 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Quote:

I'm just trying to 'think' my way to integrating an archaic concept into a more modern context. Something more 'palatable' to the Rational Man.




Heaping illusions upon illusions. The "Rational Man" cannot be satiated. The rational, discriminating mind does not know that it isn't the one and only "true god". It is a part of the whole, but you cannot tell it that. While you are in its house, you obey it as though it were your father, without question. When you get older, you start to move away from it. After much experience, you realize it is just an old man grasping at anything that will support it. All children will realize someday that their father is not "god", and see the bigger world, but there's no forcing the issue. Every moment, everything is where it Is. Time is an illusion.

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#284017 - 09/12/06 07:26 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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I agree...but still leaves the thinkers in the audience stumped.

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#284018 - 09/12/06 07:40 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
Ed_Morris Offline
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I wouldn't say time, enlightenment, rationalization, logic, religion, etc are illusions...they are just tools. if in each incremental phase of using these tools brings a sentient closer to realization, then they ultimately no longer need the tools to 'see'.

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#284019 - 09/12/06 08:20 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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Loving this thread, BTW.

I've met people that were clearly enlightened, I mean just shining like lights, and yet had no clue. Perhaps seeing their 'Buddha nature'? I'm of the camp that there is a pre-process that goes on before any epiphanies occur...that people are unaware of the minute changes that lead up to major worldview changes. Inherently enlightened...but unaware...unawake. So, when an epiphany occurs, when the 'bottom of the bucket' gives way...that this becomes clear to the individual.

Up till then, the illusions/tools are part of the world we perceive. Using these tools, we build our internal world...and lose sight of the horizon.

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#284020 - 09/12/06 08:23 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
WuXing Offline
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Registered: 10/24/05
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Loc: Idaho, USA
Quote:

I agree...but still leaves the thinkers in the audience stumped.




When will they allow a tree to be a tree? The leaves rustle and they jump to chop it down. This is why they're stumped. Rustling and stillness are the same.

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#284021 - 09/12/06 08:26 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
oldman Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
Some people believe I am a tool.

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#284022 - 09/12/06 08:35 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: oldman]
harlan Offline
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So...another illusion to ignore?

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#284023 - 09/12/06 08:48 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
oldman Offline
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No, I'm pretty much a tool.

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#284024 - 09/12/06 08:59 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: oldman]
harlan Offline
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I'm not much of a tool user.

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#284025 - 09/12/06 09:24 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
oldman Offline
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I am a user and a tool.

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#284026 - 09/12/06 10:37 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
Ed_Morris Offline
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philosophy by itself is nice and all, but to deny some realities of our own lives doesn't make it a particularly useful philosophy to me.

an example would be trying to deny the use of mental constructs to assist in life, yet conveintly taking for granted and not addressing the constructs in which that denial is based upon.

it would be self-defeating to say: "logic is not a perfect representation of reality, so therefore, I won't use it."

whoops - but you needed it to come to that conclusion.

"tool" indeed. lol

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#284027 - 09/12/06 10:43 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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But who said that Enlightenment was useful?

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#284028 - 09/12/06 10:50 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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good point

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#284029 - 09/12/06 01:05 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
WuXing Offline
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Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Is building houses the only use for trees? Is slaughtering and eating the only use for cows? Chop chop. Stumps and dead flesh.

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#284030 - 09/12/06 01:12 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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But WuXing...even that observation is useful. (Death and destruction are the most obvious objects for contemplation.) Some will see the sense in that statement before they are sitting in a totally destroyed world. Others...well...another lifetime.

What can you do?

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#284031 - 09/12/06 01:23 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
WuXing Offline
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Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Not chopping down trees, and not eating cows does a lot more than trying to explain why to people. When they get it, they get it. This is The Point.

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#284032 - 09/12/06 01:33 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
butterfly Offline
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If truth, even partial truth where the rational mind seeks to understand the measurable reality at hand, is reflective of a larger, grander truth---it’s still doesn’t placate the “truth” one experiences in the now.

A poor Bangladeshi child that hasn’t eaten in a day is concerned with the reality of filling his belly despite all the efforts of all the philosophers in all the caves of all the mountains of the world to weave an understanding of why the “real” path may explain his condition.

So no, sometimes a tree exists because it exists, or because it grants shade, or gives beauty, or is enjoyed for its own sake. But sometimes a cow is many, many steaks and leather sandals.

-B


Edited by butterfly (09/12/06 02:10 PM)

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#284033 - 09/12/06 01:39 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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But if that was a criteria to 'getting it'...then even the ancients would not have 'gotten it'. Enlightenment isn't limited to nice people, or even vegetarians that live in straw huts.

Have to work with what is.

Quote:

Not chopping down trees, and not eating cows does a lot more than trying to explain why to people. When they get it, they get it. This is The Point.



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#284034 - 09/12/06 02:08 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
WuXing Offline
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Loc: Idaho, USA
That's not the point, it was symbolic. Maybe there isn't a point. Keep on chopping away. Eventually the right things will get chopped, and we all realize where we are.

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#284035 - 09/12/06 02:10 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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#284036 - 09/12/06 02:15 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
oldman Offline
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Nuts fall.

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#284037 - 09/12/06 02:18 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: oldman]
butterfly Offline
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You have to ask Brian Stone about that.

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#284038 - 09/12/06 02:44 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.

But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or mother."

The Dhammapada

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#284039 - 09/12/06 02:53 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Hey, I thought we were what we ate.

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#284040 - 09/12/06 03:06 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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What do you think you are eating?

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#284041 - 09/12/06 03:25 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Nothing as ethereal as the cosmic understanding of life. Baiscally, a #30 sandwhich from Togos (turkey club with the works and only a touch of mayonaise).

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#284042 - 09/12/06 03:52 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
oldman Offline
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Turkey...? you don't say.

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#284043 - 09/12/06 03:55 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: oldman]
butterfly Offline
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I have been called (and eaten) much worse, with some questions of ancestory associated with it.

Turkey? I'll take that, any day!

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#284044 - 09/12/06 05:00 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
Ed_Morris Offline
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saw a bumper sticker today:

"club sandwiches, not seals."

'club' sandwiches are with meat...so in effect, they are saying it's ok to kill a turkey or steer - but leave those cute little seals alone.

kindof follows the same line of thinking when one minute, people can say 'everything just is' ...but then carefully manage their budget and track stocks planning for retirement.

people tend to use philosophies to their conveinence...not as a true way of life. we are all hypocrites

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#284045 - 09/12/06 05:11 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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Hypocrites?

Speak for yourself! (I happen to know you should be in karate class at this moment.)

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#284046 - 09/12/06 06:54 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Hey, at least some of us are honest about our hypocrisy. That's grabbing the Yin Yang by the horns: being true to ourselves; and acknowledging that we aren't.

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#284047 - 09/12/06 07:35 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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Yes...well...delusion takes all forms. One can believe in personal integrity, of never lying to one's self, and yet be completely blind to ones failings/weak spots.

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#284048 - 09/12/06 09:32 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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I work 3 minutes away from 'the barn'.
good class tonight...we went over parts of Sanseiru. where were you?

on topic:
we all justify our own thoughts...whether we are aware of it or not. that makes us hypocrites.

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#284049 - 09/13/06 06:59 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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So if thoughts can be justified, perhaps the first thing to do is go beyond thinking?

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#284050 - 09/13/06 08:03 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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awareness and acceptance of it. (as oppossed to denial).

we use and rely on the human construct of logic everyday, it's built-in and subconscience - we have evolved (or were gifted, if people prefer) a hard-wiring for it....to deny that we do so, is taking one step away from seeing things for what they are.

cutting down trees were mentioned...not allowing yourself to see the emotion tied in with thoughts of that subject, blinds a person to see the full picture, past and present. Often, we envision an 'ideal' and compare it to our emotional view, and come up with an opinion.

If no tree cutting ever took place, there would be no farming or settlement...both of which are notions we take for granted when we eat vegetables grown on those farms.

The amount of tree forests cleared for farmland for the vegetables we eat far exceed whats been taken from the rainforests...yet we are only concerned with the changes we perceive during our lifetime....we deny the past...we accept vegetable production but are against producing lumber. emotion based perception also denies us of seeing the fact that more tree forests are planted now than in the past - also advances in technology allowing the most efficient use of wood harvesting, etc.

denial works both ways. someone who is FOR wood harvesting could be blind to replenishing sufficiently, thereby eventually using up the entire resource. entire civilizations have collapsed from such lack of foresight - particularly islanders. Easter Island's ancient inhabitors suffered that fate. Their emotional bias blinded them to see what they were doing.

what all this means, is an example (or lesson) in the advancement of awareness. gradual and widespread 'enlightenment'.

The biggest threat we have faced in the past and into the future is ourselves. our level of awareness is key, not only as individuals, but as a species.

I think 'enlightenment' can not only be looked at from an individual's inward growth pov, but also a gradual and very long-term, hard-rewiring of humans. evolve a 'third-eye' so to speak.

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#284051 - 09/13/06 09:42 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
WuXing Offline
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My words aren't conveying the correct meaning.

Here's my final Point: It's all in your Mind.

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#284052 - 09/13/06 10:34 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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Parable of the Arrow

A man approached Buddha and wanted to have all his philosophical questions answered before he would practice.

In response, the Buddha said, 'It is as if a man had been wounded by a poisoned arrow and when attended to by a physician were to say, "I will not allow you to remove this arrow until I have learned the caste, the age, the occupation, the birthplace, and the motivation of the person who wounded me." That man would die before having learned all this. In exactly the same way, anyone who would say, "I will not follow a teaching until all the truths of the world have been explained" - that person would die before knowing.'

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#284053 - 09/13/06 01:50 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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All in the mind is perhaps correct. However, we have to consider our everyday existence and wend our way through this landscape. This means our compass and guide is logic. One can imagine eating dirt and thinking it is an apple pie, but “less filling” comes to mind.

If everything is illusory, then it still would not matter. We are here and the rock that hits you in the head is real enough. I think the rational mind and logic is what must be looked at as the primary tool to shine a light into the darkness of misunderstanding, otherwise we have witchcraft and magic and the Wiccans to contend with, as well as a spiritual overlay on present reality that comes from various religions and philosophies.

Can they all be right? Sure, if the answer is that it comes from the mind. However, existence can only be measured in the here and now, and regardless of what one may think or imbue this existence with, it still comes down to an ability to measure and “see” it. With that “seeing” comes the responsibility that others can do the same and come up with the same result. Look at how many people believe in ghosts or visiting aliens without “hard” documented proof and you get my point. People will see and believe whatever they want, but it will affect them and not others. Unless, of course, they act on internal visions that direct their actions outward.

So, if a person says a color is green and another says it is red? Who is correct? One can get a consensus, but perhaps this is insufficient. Or one can go to a color yard stick and assign temperature coefficients to different spectral ranges and voila you get a verifiable, repeatable test of what color is actually being presented.

Logic is a tool, but that’s why we have air conditioning, medicine, and longer better lives…instead of living in cave and wondering where our next meal is coming from and being able to think about more philosophical things….since modern convenience now allows this.

-B

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#284054 - 09/13/06 02:28 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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Perhaps only the enlightened have the ability to debate this. Otherwise, it is just words...debate, and logic and unenlightened.

Quote:

Is sudden enlightenment really sudden? Is gradual enlightenment really gradual?
The post in the karate forum about "one punch, one kill" brought up a point of contemplation for me.
The two philosophies on this subject are parallel to the two schools of Zen thought. Some say we train for a one-hit kill, that is technique which is like a lightning bolt that achieves victory in an instant. Others don't believe that is possible, they see their techniques more like a flowing river which gradually wears away the opposition by constantly applying pressure. The schools of Zen are the same. One says that enlightenment comes like a lightning bolt, with a single word or action or thought everything is blown away. The other says constant effort is required to wear away attachments and defilements little by little, revealing the pure state.

But really, in martial arts, a single hit is never really a single hit. A punch that kills is the product of the thousands or millions of punches that have been thrown before it. Can the sudden school be called sudden, when the suddenness is the product of time and effort? Can the gradual school be called gradual when a single experience can wipe away lifetimes of karmic attachments?

Maybe the point is that time is an illusion. Immediate and gradual, a single event or all the events in past, present, and future...they come down to the same place, which is the only place where enlightenment can occur.

What's the difference between hitting one enemy many times and hitting many enemies once? Who are these enemies we're fighting? What are all these defilements we're supposed to wipe away?

Completely Gone...



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#284055 - 09/13/06 02:33 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
MattJ Offline
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So Brad, I should just wait a bit more for new diet chocolate flavored Enlightenment, now with more fiber?

I love science.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#284056 - 09/13/06 03:52 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: MattJ]
butterfly Offline
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Matt,

Yep! And the other point I would make, which many do not consider, is that "science" is the malleable consideration here.

With science, the more you know and the more evidence you collect...perhaps theories and anaylsis change, but they are provable.

One the other hand, with a religious dogma involved...either things are or they aren't with no concession outside the strictures being presented (provable or not).



-B

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#284057 - 09/13/06 04:00 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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It is difficult to keep religion out of this...isn't it? Perhaps my fault...as 'spirituality' = 'religion' to some but not to me. Let's take it out of the mix.

Science depends on repeatable results. Legions of zennists have said 'sit and experience and it works'. Doesn't that make the process of enlightenment scientific?

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#284058 - 09/13/06 04:11 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
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Quote:

Science depends on repeatable results. Legions of zennists have said 'sit and experience and it works'. Doesn't that make the process of enlightenment scientific?




Only if their enlightenment can be quantified in a way to be relatable/applicable to someone (everyone?) else.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#284059 - 09/13/06 04:16 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
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Scientific studies are being done on it in various fields. Unfortunately, only about 1% of the population seems to experience absorbed, non-referential states spontaneously...and zen masters report that not all students will 'achieve' samadhi. So, the problem starts with a lack of subjects. Also, there is no agreement on whether or not there are 'levels' of realization (beyond the disagreement of gradual vs. spontaneous).

Perhaps, like becoming 'masters' in a the martial arts, enlightenment isn't possible for everyone? (WuXing...what is the Buddha's view on this?)

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#284060 - 09/13/06 06:01 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
WuXing Offline
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Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Everyone is already enlightened. Time is an illusion.
Within the illusion, everyone will realize it eventually. Everyone is everyOne. In this lifetime or another, past present or future...the process of enlightenment is just as illusory as the defilements which keep us in the dark.

The last passage in the last chapter of the Lankavatara Sutra, which is the sutra that Bodhidharma favored and passed on to the subsequent patriarchs of Ch'an, says

Quote:

But no beings are left outside by the will of the Tathágatas; some day each and every one will be influenced by the wisdom and love of the Tathágatas of Transformation to lay up a stock of merit and ascend the stages. But, if they only realized it, they are already in the Tathágata’s Nirvana for, in Noble Wisdom, all things are in Nirvana from the beginning.



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#284061 - 09/13/06 06:20 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
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Quote by Harlan -

Quote:

Perhaps, like becoming 'masters' in a the martial arts, enlightenment isn't possible for everyone?




So we are back to degrees of enlightenment?
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#284062 - 09/13/06 08:59 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
harlan Offline
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Got it. Thanks!


Quote:

Everyone is already enlightened. Time is an illusion.
Within the illusion, everyone will realize it eventually. Everyone is everyOne. In this lifetime or another, past present or future...the process of enlightenment is just as illusory as the defilements which keep us in the dark.

The last passage in the last chapter of the Lankavatara Sutra, which is the sutra that Bodhidharma favored and passed on to the subsequent patriarchs of Ch'an, says

Quote:

But no beings are left outside by the will of the Tathágatas; some day each and every one will be influenced by the wisdom and love of the Tathágatas of Transformation to lay up a stock of merit and ascend the stages. But, if they only realized it, they are already in the Tathágata’s Nirvana for, in Noble Wisdom, all things are in Nirvana from the beginning.






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#284063 - 09/13/06 09:36 PM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: WuXing]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Quote:


wisdom and love are both sudden and gradual.

sudden, by emotion and epiphany.

gradual, by understanding and awareness.

timeless, by not seeking them.

-anonymous, 7th century China.




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#284064 - 09/14/06 11:02 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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And how many people have experienced love by reading the word in the dictionary, or listening to other's explain their experiences to them? Wanting, learning about it, is not the same as experiencing it. All the scientific studies of hormones, the brain and the heart have yet to find the repository of the 'soul' or give the experience of 'love'. Yet...even without scientific 'proof' of love, with only discussions of hormones, no one denies that love exists once they experience it.

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#284065 - 09/14/06 11:45 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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discovery in the mind or in the heart is never static.

When we 'believe' to know something, the discovery stops or becomes corrupt.

but the security in that belief, outweighs the uncomfortable feeling of accepting the ever changing discovery.

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#284066 - 09/14/06 11:51 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
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The same can be said of any 'realization'. The instant one clings to anything, it becomes a 'concept', a memory, a representation.

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#284067 - 05/04/07 09:31 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
harlan Offline
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bump

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#284068 - 05/04/07 11:41 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
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Ok, I'll bite since (*hint) no one has started a May Zen thread.

Can anyone hope to go through life with a continual, rolling expansion of momentary epiphanies from day to day? And, was is wrong about casually caressing a memory of some importance, as long as it is not used as measuring the zenith for the whole of one's life?

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#284069 - 05/04/07 11:55 AM Re: Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment [Re: butterfly]
harlan Offline
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*hint* About 12 people responded to the zen poll, but very few folks respond. Don't think it will be missed.

As for continual, rolling epiphanies...no thanks! How would I ever manage to drive my car to work? Seriously, there is that last section of the zen ox herding koans...where one returns to the marketplace. Up the mountain, down the mountain, transitioning....

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