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The Paths to Enlightenment?

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iXavior

iXavior

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What exactly is "enlightenment?" How does it work, and how can it be explained in the context of the anima process, magic, and the soul? Any theories?

Here are some various entries in-game mentioning enlightenment:


Enlightenment in Scabarite Lore



(paraphrased)
Source: Scabaras research (item) + High Priest of Scabaras dialogue

Enlightenment in Elven Lore




Source: Lady Hefin Dialogue

Enlightenment in Wushankan Lore




Source: The Path of the Monk (item).

(Picture Credit: the unofficial Runescape Wikia.)

Basically, to achieve enlightenment, one must starve themselves, meditate A LOT, have little interaction with society, and a bunch of other things. But how do all these grant you super powers and some kind of ascended form? O_O
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21-Aug-2016 08:08:58 - Last edited on 21-Aug-2016 08:15:22 by iXavior

Solanumtinkr
Jul Member 2009

Solanumtinkr

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I think it is all to try and concentrate on a connection to something else, without the distraction from outside. Ironically, we've probably already achieved half of that, and no starvation in sight. Then again, we were always an odd bird to start with. So one path to enlightenment may not fit all.

And enlightenment may have a flexible and varied definition
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21-Aug-2016 09:46:51

Aig123

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They all seemed to worship a higher power, being a god, demi-god or elemental dragon.

So I wonder what would happen to worshippers if they were Godless, or even dedicated their lives to anima constructs like Telos. As if accepting the revision as natural fate.

21-Aug-2016 11:04:45

AttilaSquare

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In general, enlightenment refers to a certain kind of knowledge. Often this knowledge is esoteric - i.e. it cannot easily be articulated in common language, because common language has embedded within it common assumptions concerning its speakers and their place within the world. Therefore, technical languages, rituals, and practices are developed to help one recognize the assumptions embedded in one's ordinary language, thinking, and living. By recognizing these assumptions, one is better able to attain the special knowledge called enlightenment.

Because the journey toward enlightenment requires attending to certain rarely articulated experiences through the help of technical language, rituals, and disciplinary practices, the results become difficult or impossible to articulate, even imperfectly, to those who have not also participated in the same journey. So from an outside perspective, enlightenment remains a mysterious concept.

Even when a tradition, some technical language, rituals, and disciplinary practices are shared, the results of the journey to enlightenment may still escape articulation in language, because language only works by drawing distinctions - distinctions which may themselves obscure the reality uncovered in enlightenment which the enlightened one attempts to articulate. So, in many cases, the enlightened will insist that though they speak of enlightenment in certain terms, the terms always fall short of reality.

21-Aug-2016 18:23:12

AttilaSquare

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Take for example the talk of isolating oneself from the world. It is likely that the enlightened Scabarite no longer believes himself to be isolated from the world or to be attempting to isolate himself from the world but rather that he is the world or has become the world or that he and the world are one in a manner he could not possibly have appreciated before (i.e. before participating in the Scabarite traditions, rituals, and disciplinary practices). Of course, this is a guess and an articulation by one from another, distinct tradition (myself).

One reason for the ascetic practices, e.g. fasting or sexual abstinence, is to bring to light our hidden assumptions and distinctions concerning pleasures, especially bodily pleasures. Because pleasure is sought in likely every culture, some form of asceticism likely shows up in every culture among those who seek esoteric knowledge (i.e. knowledge not easily afforded by or expressed in common language).

In fact, so fundamental is the body to the underlying assumptions and distinctions in common language, that two of the three traditions above speak of bodily transformation. Of course, any description of such ascended or enlightened states from an outside perspective must fail to capture what it is. Rather, these are more like metaphors and invitations to take the journey of enlightenment ourselves. But it is not hard to imagine that knowledge which transcends our assumptions concerning what is and what is possible would very likely lead us to a new manner of living and being.

So, I think these are cool questions, but I don't think they can receive easy answers. I do have answers in mind, but they would require sketching out a whole tradition and technical language - as is appropriate to esoteric phenomena. I've begun the project here, and in response to Rondstat here, and more obscurely here.

21-Aug-2016 18:25:32

Sepulchre
Feb Member 2019

Sepulchre

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It all depends on how you define "enlightened," really.

Generally speaking, in such fantasy religions, enlightenment usually means "becoming one with a higher power, in knowledge or in spirit."
That second part is what defines each of your examples. becoming one in spirit with Scabaras, Seren, and Seiryu. It's believed to be something attainable only by those specific ways or actions. It's odd that all of them, as distant from each other as they are, actually have such similar methods. Perhaps because of how the writers all view "enlightenment" as taken from Buddhism, but an in-game reason would be more interesting.
A
World Guardian
must learn to find
Balance
in themselves.
Only then can they
Control
themselves and forge their own
Fate.

22-Aug-2016 04:39:27

A Mighty
Dec Member 2018

A Mighty

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Original message details are unavailable.
So, I think these are cool questions, but I don't think they can receive easy answers. I do have answers in mind, but they would require sketching out a whole tradition and technical language - as is appropriate to esoteric phenomena


Will this be part of the next installment of Planar Theory?
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23-Aug-2016 20:36:38

AttilaSquare

AttilaSquare

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A Mighty said:
Original message details are unavailable.
So, I think these are cool questions, but I don't think they can receive easy answers. I do have answers in mind, but they would require sketching out a whole tradition and technical language - as is appropriate to esoteric phenomena


Will this be part of the next installment of Planar Theory?
Yes, though I might title it A History of Magic or even carve it up into a series of treatises which would make nice Lores and Histories and attribute them to Thormac. I also don't know when I'll get to it since I'm teaching my first class this semester - hopefully soon.

23-Aug-2016 23:09:31

A Mad Hatter
Dec
fmod Member
2005

A Mad Hatter

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Sepulchre said:
Generally speaking, in such fantasy religions, enlightenment usually means "becoming one with a higher power, in knowledge or in spirit."
That second part is what defines each of your examples. becoming one in spirit with Scabaras, Seren, and Seiryu. It's believed to be something attainable only by those specific ways or actions. It's odd that all of them, as distant from each other as they are, actually have such similar methods. Perhaps because of how the writers all view "enlightenment" as taken from Buddhism, but an in-game reason would be more interesting.


Going with a random theory here....

There's a concept in science that I can't remember the technical name for. But it deals with frequency and how synching certain actions/objects and their frequencies together can cause certain things to happen (such as marching feet synching to the same material frequency as the bridge they march on causing the bridge to collapse in on itself).

Now port that over to a fantasy setting where magical energy and all that stuff is real and has its own rules. Who's to say that 'enlightenment' doesn't come from synching your own anima or soul or whatever with...say...the world's own natural anima or another source of power? The fasting, meditation, and cutting yourself off from society stuff is bound to give someone a sort of bond to the natural world, and those who understand what's going on are bound to get something out of it.

As for the connection with the gods...Seren, Scarabas, and Seiryu all have some isolationist characteristics to a point. It may very well have nothing to do with the actual faiths they preach, but a faith that dictates similar ideals is bound to get similar results.
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24-Aug-2016 01:42:39

Ztrikr
May Gold Premier Club Member 2009

Ztrikr

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I shut myself in my room, play single player games all day, forget that I'm hungry, meditate (sleep) for extended periods of time, drink milk and eat 100% beef and chicken and forget about the rest of the world.

The only thing that has ascended is my weight.

24-Aug-2016 03:09:53

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