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#283988 - 09/07/06 01:09 PM Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment
WuXing Offline
Member

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
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
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
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
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
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
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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