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The Dual Nature of Enlightenment

  1. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    Tolerance, Reason and Humanity were the three pillars of Western Enlightenment, a philosophical movement inspired by such thinkers as Newton and Descartes and further developed by Rousseau, Paine, Voltaire, Hume. They looked back to Greek learning (which, incidentally, had been preserved by translation from Greek into Arabic, then from Arabic to Latin - all part of the progress of military history). The Industrial Revolution and modern political systems have their origins in Western Enlightenment, also called the Age of Reason.

    Eastern Enlightenment means something completely different. Largely it is based on meditation and revelation. Community with the Godhead. Internal realisation of the infinite.

    Are these two traditions of Enlightenment compatible? Are they destined to misunderstand each other for ever, or are they simply two sides of the same coin? Are they in competition or do they both have something to offer the world?

    No need to take sides - just offer your thoughts?

    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      both.  from the way I understand things, both spiritual and humanistic is they go hand and hand.  I would think or believe that to understand things you do need reason, some rational and it requires more than just a thought but some serious "meditaiton".

      from my understanding revelations come through meditation, or in other words, you have to think long and hard with reason and a hell of a lot of tolerance to come to any "revelation" or enlightened understanding. 

      I believe that two seeming do not jive well together because I think that some people would believe that meditation is only for spiritual things, when meditation (at least for me) is a very long process of sorting in peace to understand or make sense of the question you have.

      I understand the buddhist meditation in which you are to be absent of all thoughts, but I think that some think you just sit there and don't think, which is not the case because it is a free flow of thoughts. 

      Not really sure if I am completely off the subject, but those were my thoughts.

      1. mohitmisra profile image55
        mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I would think or believe that to understand things you do need reason, some rational and it requires more than just a thought but some serious "meditaiton".
        This line is perfect and very true. smile Meditation is the key.

    2. mohitmisra profile image55
      mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      The bottom line is the same,a direct experience of God.Humans have been getting enlightened since the beginning of time in all parts of the world.I would say two sides of the same coin.smile

      1. mohitmisra profile image55
        mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Also reading philosophers or mystics from the East or West shows the commonsess of the immortality of the soul.From Plato to Jesus to the Buddha the essence is the same. smile
        I am from India the East yet I had my spiritual experience more towards the west in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during a voyage from South Africa to South America.Every place on this planet has had its holy people or mystics who talk of the same great ecstacy of union with God or the superoul or the Holy Spirit ,Great Spirit etc.Language is the only diffrence.
        You are a traveller or rather do travel  for your work Paraglider and may have the experience anywhere you are East or maybe the West smile

        1. Paraglider profile image89
          Paragliderposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          I think no-one can know exactly what anyone else has experienced. Also, some people may be culturally or personally inclined to attribute an experience to God or the Cosmos, while others might simply believe they'd had a moment of insight about something, like harmony or philosophy. I for one would not be willing to say that, say, Michael Faraday was working on a lower plane than, say, Ravi Shankar or even Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, just because one is a Scientist, one a Musician and one a Guru. (Maybe not the best 3 examples, but I think the point is valid).

          1. mohitmisra profile image55
            mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

            There are many levels of superconsciousness that is a different story-enlightenment is the same for all-the experience is identical. smile
            Also the scientist,musician and Guru can be enlightened.That becomes a personal perogative-how you want to live,which path you want to walk.I have exeperineced different dimensions or states of consciousness,I dont know how many there are some talk of 7 levels or dimensions some 14 but the dimension of God ,that experience is the same for all humans.smile

    3. SparklingJewel profile image65
      SparklingJewelposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      As I have been considering this thread more, I tried to put it into words:

      The Eastern "thought" developed what I would call the spiritual sciences, i.e. Oriental Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, the wholeness of the feminine/masculine Tao of yin/yang.

      The "Impersonal God" Energy of  prana and chakras, and chi and meridians. And how that is an important part of our being for health and wholeness.


      Western religion developed the sense of a "Personal God", for some reason denying and defining the "heathen" Eastern religions...needing a sense of personal power, I guess.

      The Western "thought" brought the development of the human/earthly mind through the sciences of the concrete world of hard facts...and lost sight of the sacredness of the "God Energy" from which every thing and everyone is created. Western thought eventually got around to developing the science of psychology because the cry of the soul in her sense of separation from God became a needful subconscious force to deal with.

      That is why there was such opposition to science from the church...they knew something wasn't right but couldn't put it into words beyond the mystery of scripture, and so they became power hungry to "defend" from the "heathen thoughts", and became "heathen" themselves.

      But Muslims did it, Christians did it, Catholics did it, everybody is doing it...saying only they are right and everyone else is wrong.

      Well, there is wholeness to be re-attained here, and its like I said in a previous post, its going to take some give and take on all sides. We are a Spiritual Being having human experiences and a human being having Spiritual experiences big_smile

    4. quicksand profile image82
      quicksandposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Irrespective of the number of sides a coin has, the coin representing religion has been argued over from the time recognizable intelligence emerged. Up to the present time no one has ever discussed the topic. Everyone starts with the "thou art wrong" attitude. This multi faceted coin has to be examined first of all. Heads, tails or ...?

      1. mohitmisra profile image55
        mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Its like the saying goes-all rivers lead to the ocean or all paths lead to God. smile

        1. quicksand profile image82
          quicksandposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          ... and all rivers and all paths have different names ...

          1. mohitmisra profile image55
            mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

            Superb smile

  2. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    Good thoughts too smile  Let's collect a few more from others and see where it leads.

  3. knolyourself profile image59
    knolyourselfposted 8 years ago

    No comparison. The 'Age of Enlightenment or Reason' was the movement from the religious 'faith' of the middle ages to use of reason as the interpretation of reality. They never heard of the eastern concept of enlightenment, which is an individual achievement of a
    particular perspective.

  4. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    I agree they are totally different and arose independently. However, new age-ism, which arguably understands neither meaning of enlightenment very well, has also hijacked the term devaluing both traditions. Or so it could be argued. The western Enlightenment was a re-evaluation of classicism, an adoption of observation, method and analysis, and also a reaction against 'revelation' in the western sense. For while there wasn't a tradition of meditation, there was certainly a tradition of mysticism within the churches. But only for the few.

    1. mohitmisra profile image55
      mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      there was certainly a tradition of mysticism within the churches.I like this line,earlier on they would live in isolation in monastries meditating -which is equal for all east or west.Meditation is meditation, smile

  5. SparklingJewel profile image65
    SparklingJewelposted 8 years ago

    Wow, where do I start?! I know that the complementary unity of Eastern and Western thought are what is needed to bring unity and ultimate enlightenment to the world of today...it is time. But each "side" is going to have to relinquish something and gain some things in the process. There is an integration taking place each moment that can bring it about. If only the human ego in its misuse of power will become humble in the face of the Universal Order of Creation. There is a rhyme and reason to the way things "Are", or rather are meant to "Be".

    Behind all the historical knowledge, scientific knowledge, mystical knowing, prophecy and good ole everyday thought processing, there is a reality for humanity to transform into. Both hemispheres of the brain have a purpose, and components of the frontal lobe that are not yet comprehended...meaning the "spiritual things of life". There is a science to the Spirit of things, and there is a Spirit behind all scientific things.

    To me the Eastern philosophies represented the whole of the Tao, yang/yin, Father/Mother Energy and the unity thereof. From somewhere, sometime,  the Western thought allowed the ego to take over and subvert that unity...but in retrospect was becoming, discovering self, developing self, and I believe with the intention, mostly subconsciously, to re-discover that unity of the whole. completing the circle, or rather the spiral of progress.

  6. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    Good discussion, everyone. I thought this topic might fly.
    I think the duality is well illustrated in the classical music of the period. It is very 'constructed' on mathematical principles of harmony and form. Highly intellectual, in fact, in terms of how much had to be studied and understood in order to write and play it. But that alone can't account for its quality. The element of pure taste which is the only difference between a great work and a 'technically proficient' work can't come from the Classical alone. It must in part come from 'inspiration'. Perhaps, for the composer, contemplation of music is the equivalent of meditation? Of 'eastern' enlightenment?

    1. mohitmisra profile image55
      mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Nicely written.I am ignorant where music is concerned but yes musicians do find there meditation or communion with God through there music.  There are stories how musicians would make rain,total connection with the cosmos. smile
      That musician s name I remember was Tansen. smile

  7. Shalini Kagal profile image81
    Shalini Kagalposted 8 years ago

    Enlightenment is essentially of the mind, wouldn't you say? While one seems to have followed the practical path to the material world, the other seems to have followed the path of escapism beyond the pale of the material.

    Western Reason is to a large extent due to the overriding might of the Romans. Eastern thinking has been influenced to some extent by Buddhism. And therein I feel, lies the difference.

    I personally feel they could be two sides of the same coin - with a little bit of give and take on both sides smile

    Here's an interesting read:

    http://www.intuition.org/txt/dawkins.htm

    1. mohitmisra profile image55
      mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Enlightenmnet is being one with the source ,the light,God.It is totally opposite from escapism.Escapism is not meditating or contemplating.One must ballance life both the spiritual and material,they are interlinked.
      To understand this better one should read  Hermann Hesse -The Glass Bead Game,one of my all time favourite books.He is just too too good. smile Totally deserved the Noble prize for this masterpiece of his.

      1. mohitmisra profile image55
        mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        He describes the confusion of man brilliantly as to wether one must walk the spiritual or material path.The spiritual man keeps asking himself if he is missing out in the material sense and the material person wonders if he is missing out on spiritual experiences and is wasting his life , smile

  8. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    Shalini - great link. I've seen it before, but I think you should Hub it.

  9. knolyourself profile image59
    knolyourselfposted 8 years ago

    "Western Reason is to a large extent due to the overriding might of the Romans." From what I have heard the catholic church banned all reason, until it was reintroduced into spain by the moors, and then spread to the Renaissance.

  10. Shalini Kagal profile image81
    Shalini Kagalposted 8 years ago

    Yes knolyourself - you're so right - however, what emerged was the same strain of Reason wasn't it? What I meant was that thanks to the Roman occupation, the old Celtic/Druid way of thought went underground - then the Church pushed Reason underground too but it couldn't quite eradicate it.

    Mohit - Escapism was a wrong choice of words - I meant it to be escape from the material/physical. And yes, Heramn Hesse makes a great read.

    Paraglider - almost you persuade me! however, it could be in danger of becoming a boring thesis left to me smile

    1. mohitmisra profile image55
      mohitmisraposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Cool Shalini,glad you like Hermann Hesse.

  11. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    SJ - that was a good post, thanks smile
    I'm still thinking about parts of it.

 
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