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dps
02-16-2008, 07:15 AM
I found this link on Aikido Journal.

http://www.aikido-world.com/reflections/reflections1.htm

David

Mark Uttech
02-16-2008, 09:47 AM
Life and death are actually deep issues thar call for at least ten years of committed training before engaging in any type of discussion.

In gassho,

mark

L. Camejo
02-16-2008, 06:42 PM
Interesting article. Imho Saotome Shihan is spot on.

It parallels an explanation I often use to help folks understand that the centred, peaceful, life-protecting, non-violent persona that is often touted as a goal of long term Aikido training (and oft associated with Ueshiba M.) is only really possible after having deeply learnt the method of being able to defeat or even kill the opponent at will. The power to take life often assists the seeker to realize how fragile it is and by extension, how precious. For those looking for something more than mere combat ability, the way to end life becomes transformed into a way to protect it. Imho Ueshiba M. walked this path of learning and self-forging as well, without it, Aikido would not be what it is.
Life and death are actually deep issues thar call for at least ten years of committed training before engaging in any type of discussion.I have to ask - why 10 years and not 20? Why not 5 years training? Why not 1? What is the measure and is time the true mark of progress or is it the experiences and learning gained during the time?

Imho death can come at any time. It has to be dealt with whether one does Aikido or not. To wait for 10 years of training before discussing it assumes that one will live that long to be able to discuss it. Imho it should be dealt with as early as possible, regardless of whether one does Budo or not, thus allowing one to develop a paradigm that makes death a force of evolution, an impetus to become better people while we are alive.

Just my thoughts. They may be worth exactly what you paid for them.;)
LC:ai::ki:

SeiserL
02-17-2008, 06:29 AM
IMHO, the acceptance that if you are born you are going to die someday, is more a statement of fact of a natural developmental transitional inevitability than some esoteric secret. And since our time is limited (precious, not urgent or frail), we owe it to ourselves (and others) to use it wisely with clarity, compassion, and wisdom.

IMHO, Budo doesn't prepare you for death, it helps you accept it.

crbateman
02-17-2008, 09:22 AM
...a natural developmental transitional inevitability...
:eek: :hypno: :D

lbb
02-18-2008, 08:16 AM
Life and death are actually deep issues thar call for at least ten years of committed training before engaging in any type of discussion.

Really? I'd say I got some qualifications in a hurry the day my best friend drowned in front of me. I think I did some hard study in the week that my mom slowly died of a stroke, and some graduate-level work in the months that my dad slowly died of cancer. It wasn't any ten years, but I'd stack what I know up against what anyone with "at least ten years of committed training" can spout off about.

mathewjgano
02-18-2008, 11:22 AM
IMHO, Budo doesn't prepare you for death, it helps you accept it.

It's probbaly just a difference in semantics, but to me accepting it seems part of preparing for it.
I liked the article quite a bit. In a nutshell it described a lot of the reasons I decided to study a martial art in the first place. I come from a long military tradition and the idea of addressing the negative in order to appreciate and fulfill the positive has been pretty deeply engrained in me.
With regard to life and death issues and when they might be best addressed, my thinking is along the lines of Mary's. I also think that because the topic exists distinctly from Budo/martial arts/whatever, training has little to do with its understanding. I think life and death issues are best understood as one encounters them. The ideas alone can produce some deep insight, but experience of some kind or another really drives it home I think and that can happen at every age. I'm inclined to think these are life-long topics which can never be mastered, but which can always be understood in new ways...all of which point to the question of how one might best enjoy their life or add to the world in a positive way (which is another form of personal happiness in my opinion).
Interestingly enough, the consideration of bringing a new life into this world has also created a strong sense of death in me. I don't mean that to have a negative connotation, just that the profound natures of life and death illustrate one another pretty well I think. I think of how my dad is gone and when my wife and I will start a family and there are so many associative thoughts and insights which come along with that it's hard to pin them down.
In a sense, I think I agree with Mark. Life and death are issues which strike so deeply into the human experience that they often defy explanation so sometimes one has to simply stop thinking about them in order to arrive at a more complete understanding of them...whatever that may be.
Sincerely,
Matthew

Lyle Bogin
02-19-2008, 10:01 PM
The discussion of life and death requires no training.

Chris Parkerson
02-20-2008, 04:00 AM
Get rid of the fear of death and living becomes a real blast.

phitruong
02-20-2008, 09:12 AM
The discussion of life and death requires no training.

it would help the conversation ("good conversation" - Last Samurai) if one has walked through death at least once.

Nick P.
02-20-2008, 12:34 PM
it would help the conversation ("good conversation" - Last Samurai) if one has walked through death at least once.

...except if it was really death, they wouldn't be in any condition to discuss it, would they? ;)

phitruong
02-20-2008, 12:44 PM
...except if it was really death, they wouldn't be in any condition to discuss it, would they? ;)

make good conversation, the dead. they listen real good and never object to anything.

however, "there's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead." (princess bride). we are talking about mostly dead, not all dead. :D

Erick Mead
02-20-2008, 01:51 PM
however, "there's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead." (princess bride). we are talking about mostly dead, not all dead. :D And as everyone knows, true budo is "to blave" ... ;)

Kevin Leavitt
02-20-2008, 07:27 PM
I think it is possibly to be "dead" in many different ways. Physical death is but one way.

Chris Parkerson
02-20-2008, 07:43 PM
go you Phi
I know you know whereof you speak.
cudos

Nick P.
02-20-2008, 08:58 PM
make good conversation, the dead. they listen real good and never object to anything.

however, "there's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead." (princess bride). we are talking about mostly dead, not all dead. :D

I dunno, I think death is like being pregnant; either you are, or your not. I choose to break things into binary groups, or more grey-scale groups. Good for example has a spectrum to it. Dying has a spectrum. Death, not so much.

Chris Parkerson
02-20-2008, 10:52 PM
I propose we look at death existentially for a moment...

Is it better to be free or safe? Is it better to avoid looking at the multitude of fears that shackle us or is it better to face those imposters and allow ourselves just to be who we are without concern over the "blowback" you might get at work or around friends and family? Fear of loss is directly tied to fear of death.

mathewjgano
02-21-2008, 01:17 AM
I dunno, I think death is like being pregnant; either you are, or your not. I choose to break things into binary groups, or more grey-scale groups. Good for example has a spectrum to it. Dying has a spectrum. Death, not so much.

Couldn't you also break dying into the "is or is not" duality? I mean, you either are or you're not, right? When it comes to existing or not, there will always be a duality rather than a spectrum, but we can apply a concept like death to different contexts in which a gradient does exist. It depends on whether or not we're talking about death as a quality or as a state of being.
As a person who was pretty depressed for a lengthy period of time, I would say I was mostly dead at times. In a very real sense I was a dead man walking: mostly dead, though my heart still beat and my synapses fired.
I dunno...from where I sit now it seems reasonable, but then again I barely passed my logic classes so who knows...
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
02-21-2008, 01:34 AM
Fear of loss is directly tied to fear of death.

I'd have to agree with this idea. Loss or death essentially refer to kinds of change. Accepting (and giving in to the idea) that the great constant (change) is inevitable, we can begin to overcome the fear which frees us up to roll with the punches, so to speak.
Speaking about fear of loss, in my own experiences when I've given in to the fact that I have no control over some things, it was very liberating. The loss/change itself ceases to be a distraction; which frees up some of the mental faculties to focus on more useful things, like adding to the change meaningfully...making the proverbial lemonaid.

Kevin Leavitt
02-21-2008, 04:43 AM
Semantics for sure. but, I think you can be spiritually dead, for instance, and recover from it.

It is also possible I think to be almost dead, or on the path....

Actually we are all on the path physically, some more than others right.

Those that abuse their physical self certainly seem to be "more dead" than those that take care of themselves.

However, I suppose when you get down to it, either you are or you are not dead since Dead is a point in time in which "something" ceases.

then again, define death!

Most religions believe that you never really die, only go from one state to the next...transformation.

Most of our suffering comes from want and the perception of duality.

We suffer because we don't want to be dead. Yet spiritual and religious text in many cases tell us that death is Okay, because we transform to the next state.

So what is it that we are afraid of?

Interesting paradox!

lbb
02-21-2008, 06:15 AM
I'm not afraid of death. I'm resigned to it, not happy about it. My preparation has come from watching people die. I probably picked up something here and there from budo, but without the experience of being there, I don't think it would amount to much.

Nick P.
02-21-2008, 06:27 AM
So what is it that we are afraid of?

Interesting paradox!

Someone far more intelligent than I stated, and I am paraphrasing, that the only fear worse than dying is the fear or not having lead a full life (or something like that).

I believe that that is where the essence of budo lies; living life to the fullest, every moment, as death is an integral part of that life. Find the beauty in every moment, and appreciate it for what it is, not what surrounds or defines it.

Odd that has to come out while sitting in front of a PC....and a bunch of my colleagues on this path (you guys) are sitting in front of your PCs reading this. Hah!

SeiserL
02-21-2008, 06:52 AM
I think you can be spiritually dead, for instance, and recover from it.

So what is it that we are afraid of? Interesting paradox!
IMHO, we can't be spiritually dead, we can only forget that we are always spiritually alive by listening to the learned ego identity or social chatter in our head instead of what we truly know.

What are we afraid of? Our negative fantasies projected on what we don't know.

And yes, I too belief that there are many many ways to die, and have died many of those ways along the journey. Parts of it needs to stay dead. Physical death may just be a welcomed relief when it comes.

Nick P.
02-21-2008, 07:22 AM
Physical death may just be a welcomed relief when it comes.

Whenever I attend a funeral or hear of somoeone I know passing, I always come away with two constant thoughts

1 - Celebrate the life they had, not the life they could have had. They probably want you to party and remember them that way.

2 - They are now in a perfect place, so no need to worry about them. Live.

Perhaps I am optimistic or jaded in that way, but that is how I choose to view it. Of course there is grief and pain, but not just grief and pain.

Chris Parkerson
02-21-2008, 08:05 AM
The Tao of Surfing

Matthew Gianno wrote

.....given in to the fact that I have no control over some things, it was very liberating. The loss/change itself ceases to be a distraction; which frees up some of the mental faculties to focus on more useful things, like adding to the change meaningfully...making the proverbial lemonaid.

I learned that from surfing in So. Cal. It was the natural way to become a Taoist for me. If you fought the wave, you paid the price.

Kevin wrote

Those that abuse their physical self certainly seem to be "more dead" than those that take care of themselves.

Some forms of abuse make you feel more alive. We used to think it wussey to use wetsuits during the winter. Two hours of letting the waves purify you with a natural Misogi. I was hooked for ten years. Luckily I stayed in school.

I do wonder if those who prefer BDSM of the Christian Flagesists for that matter, are not totally within their niche and loving it. I may try hanging myself by hooks some day. I bet the Chi really flows.

Kevin wrote

Most of our suffering comes from want and the perception of duality. We suffer because we don't want to be dead. Yet spiritual and religious text in many cases tell us that death is Okay, because we transform to the next state. So what is it that we are afraid of? Interesting paradox!

I resonate with Nick Pittson when he said, “the fear worse than dying is the fear or not having lead a full life…… living life to the fullest, every moment, as death is an integral part of that life. Find the beauty in every moment, and appreciate it for what it is, not what surrounds or defines it".

The ultimate Taoist surfer for me was Jesus of Nazareth and his hardest words are his most precious. Matthew 6:

25 … Take no bthought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ….
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 … aConsider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, ashall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little bfaith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? …..

Lynn Seiser wrote:
What are we afraid of? Our negative fantasies projected on what we don't know.

The best surfing session I remember were when I emptied my mind and let the wave write upon it…. “The Silent Flute”.

Blake Holtzen
02-21-2008, 09:39 AM
The Tao of Surfing

Matthew Gianno wrote

I learned that from surfing in So. Cal. It was the natural way to become a Taoist for me. If you fought the wave, you paid the price.

Kevin wrote

Some forms of abuse make you feel more alive. We used to think it wussey to use wetsuits during the winter. Two hours of letting the waves purify you with a natural Misogi. I was hooked for ten years. Luckily I stayed in school.

I do wonder if those who prefer BDSM of the Christian Flagesists for that matter, are not totally within their niche and loving it. I may try hanging myself by hooks some day. I bet the Chi really flows.

Kevin wrote

I resonate with Nick Pittson when he said, "the fear worse than dying is the fear or not having lead a full life…… living life to the fullest, every moment, as death is an integral part of that life. Find the beauty in every moment, and appreciate it for what it is, not what surrounds or defines it".

The ultimate Taoist surfer for me was Jesus of Nazareth and his hardest words are his most precious. Matthew 6:

25 … Take no bthought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ….
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 … aConsider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, ashall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little bfaith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? …..

Lynn Seiser wrote:

The best surfing session I remember were when I emptied my mind and let the wave write upon it…. "The Silent Flute".

Ah, here is the crux of the matter, methinks.

Budo may prepare you for death by affirming the negative (we all die) but religion (or better yet, spirituality) allows you to fully accept and welcome the experience by affirming the positive (this body is not all we are).

Just my 2 cents, I suppose.

-Blake

mathewjgano
02-21-2008, 10:06 AM
Someone far more intelligent than I stated, and I am paraphrasing, that the only fear worse than dying is the fear or not having lead a full life (or something like that).

I believe that that is where the essence of budo lies; living life to the fullest, every moment, as death is an integral part of that life. Find the beauty in every moment, and appreciate it for what it is, not what surrounds or defines it.

Odd that has to come out while sitting in front of a PC....and a bunch of my colleagues on this path (you guys) are sitting in front of your PCs reading this. Hah!

WORD! And with that in mind, I'm off to enjoy a cup of tea with my wife.
Cheers folks!
Matt