It is generally accepted that any truly Enlightened individual would be opposed to violence of any sort, such as is demonstrated in the Bible with the teaching that one should ‘Turn the other cheek’ to an attacker, offering them to hit you again on the other side...
I would like to have a look at this idea though, to see whether this would always be the case – if all truly spiritual people would (or indeed should) be pacifists, as is often suggested.
Personally, I was often in trouble at school as a youngster for fighting, and at 16 years old was in the local rugby team, seriously into weight-training, had trained (briefly) in a few martial arts and had even tried boxing; I read books on fighting techniques and loved martial arts films.
But at 17 years old I got into the Self-Awareness and self questioning process and gave it all up; giving away all my weights and my books and stopping playing rugby, as I no longer wished to hurt anyone – or get hurt either for that matter.
Then, about two years ago, and due to very high-blood pressure, I was advised to go back to exercising (which I did, in the form of weight-training); and this led to my looking at the subject of Self-Defence again. Since then, I have attended several classes of Aikido at two different schools, and even tried a bit of Tai-Boxing. Hence, I wanted to look at whether or not Enlightened people should be party to such practices.
This led me first to remember the Samurai warriors, who were proud and fearless and, so it is said, were devoted to the pursuit of Enlightenment. Likewise, the stories of the Ninja describe Enlightened assassins with almost mythical powers.
More common examples of a connection between Enlightenment and fighting include the Shaolin Monks and similar groups, who use their physical training in martial-arts as a tool to progress their path to Enlightenment; often performing amazing feats of endurance and flexibility as they demonstrate their lethal fighting skills.
I am then reminded of the story in the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna wants to give up fighting as he does not want to be party to anyone getting killed. But Krishna explained to him strongly that as a Warrior, and a King and leader of his people, it was his job and obligation to do what he had to do and lead his people into battle; and as long as he did so whilst in the correct frame of mind, there was nothing wrong with doing what had to be done.
So, looking at the above we now have the whole spectrum of possibilities, ranging from: being totally opposed to violence in any form, no matter what the situation; accepting it as part of your role as a human being, if that’s what you do, but nothing more; learning a bit of self-defence in preparation for a potentially dangerous situation; making the training an integral part of your spiritual path; or devoting one’s life to being the deadliest assassin that ever lived (let's say).
Amazingly, all the above apparent contradictions have one common thread. The one aspect that is constant throughout is the directive that one should remain conscious and self-aware, or act in devotion to the Being within (or however it is phrased in that teaching).
To me, the last point is the bottom line and is the most vital point in everything; and is the one I repeat in all my talks and teachings. ‘Do what you do, but practise being conscious and aware
while you do it’. The action is not the point, regardless of what it may be, or what people may think about it. While there are always consequences to anything we do, the deepest of all consequences
is the truth within, and that determines the reality without anyway. You can only really be true to that.
Stick with it, and just do what you do and be conscious or aware while you do it. :o)