Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland

Sunday’s Service – August 4 at 10:30am

Eternity in an Hour: The Long and Short of Enlightenment and Related Ideas
This message is inspired by contrasting views on enlightenment in Buddhism that highlight a more general contrast in religion, education and society.  The historical Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment through an extended meditation during which he realized the truths of existence.  In the community that emerged from his teachings, enlightenment was viewed as taking considerable time and effort, over multiple lifetimes.  Later, Shin Buddhism took a different view of enlightenment, that it could be attained in an instant, that we were already enlightened, we just needed a moment to recognize it.  We can see a similar contrast in timescale in Christianity, looking at whether salvation is earned through a lifetime of faith and living Christian values, or an instantaneous recognition of Christ as savior.   The contrast between fast critical moments and long, effortful journeys is seen more generally: in the popular conception of scientists we have both the image of the eureka moment of breakthrough and the lifetime of arduous, committed labor.  In education, we have the “Ah Ha moment” and deliberate practice.   What role does each type of experience play in our own journeys through life?  What aspects of each are true and what are likely fictitious?  How can we use the recognition of these two types of experiences to better live fulfilling meaningful lives?  These sorts of questions will be addressed, explored, and final ultimate answers will likely not be obtained.  Chris Nakamura, speaker.

Chris Nakamura has been a UU since around 2006 when he joined the Unitarian Universalist fellowship of Manhattan in Kansas.  He has been a member of UUFoM since 2017.  In 2012 he joined Saginaw Valley State University where he teaches and does research in the physics department.  He likes to think about things and to talk about them.

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