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Hebrew Hammer
07-22-2008, 11:20 PM
I stumbled across a thread on another forum regarding something called "Kuji-in" (www.kujiin.com), the poster was flamed of course but curiousity got the best of me and I started doing a web search on this topic. After a couple of hours or reading and links, it lead to even more questions...that damn internet.

The author claims esoteric skills associated with Taoist, Taiji, Ninjitsu, Bhuddist and even Kabbalic mysticism....I'm fascinated by mysticism or mystics (O Sensei) yet very skeptical.

So with that being said, I was wondering if anyone on the forum has chosen to explore this side of martial thought, deep meditations, or awareness training? If so what kind of results have you had? Physically or mentally? Any recommended readings or teachers?

This is an earnest inquiry and I'm hoping not to get ripped to shreds by those of you who disapprove.

Thanks in advance,
Grasshopper

dalen7
07-23-2008, 02:23 AM
The author claims esoteric skills associated with Taoist, Taiji, Ninjitsu, Bhuddist and even Kabbalic mysticism....I'm fascinated by mysticism or mystics (O Sensei) yet very skeptical.

I have studied Catholic mysticism *yes you read right * ;)
As well as "authentic" Kabbalah, for around 8 years, from Orthodox rabbis. (both sephardic and chassidic sources). On top of that I have studied the various aspects of 'Kabbalah' from other sources outside of Judaism, which would be deemed less kosher by both Christians and Jews I am sure. ;)

Saying all of that to simply say this - there is a lot of bogus stuff out there. A lot of fantasy, and a lot of stuff people take as serious and are only playing mind games with themselves for some ego trip. (Not putting it in the best of words.)

But on another note, it all is in the mind. ;)

Seriously though there is something to all of this - but put simply its a path you have to find yourself. (I know this is not what most people want to hear, initially, who seek such things. But what joy is their in life if someone else does the work for you, or finds and delivers the answer to you? :) It just cant be done.

There are pointers, and always help along the path that everyone takes. As Jesus pointed out, "seek and you will find when you seek with all of your heart...not in the fears of your own dogmas" ;)

In saying this, its important, again, to realize - that indeed this is something you have to find on your own and indeed CAN find on your own. And it will be enjoyable the path.

There is a saying in mysticism, "the teacher appears when the student is ready" - but at that point, you dont need the teacher. (It will make sense in time. :)

I can try to share some pointers with you though.

All things can do one of two things.
It can serve as a vessel which most people get caught up in, and basically worship as an idol. (i.e, turning religion and materialism as something that it was not meant to be, thus they are never satisfied. This too has its purpose...it helps assist in suffering until you finally release all the false pretenses of such given props that were meant to only be pointers going beyond themselves.)

Mysticism, in its true essence can easily be linked to science, quantum physics and mechanics. (One rabbi links the kabbalah nicely to science, and its teachings like this, for me, that help to get past all the outer hocus pocus trappings that would initially seek to entangle and keep one from finding the 'truth' as it were.

I would quote Eckhart Tolle now:
Well, paraphrase:

When he was at a spiritual seminar there were so many choices that a person was confused at what would help them best. And he said, "All these are great, but I will tell you this - watch your breath for one year, and it will do more for you than all of these seminars put together." - this is true, and is really the essence of all mystical teachings.

Sounds boring, may feel boring - your mind (thinker) wont be into it at all, and will find every other distraction in the day...but be present in what you do, and you will find that there is more to life than you ever thought - death to ego is quite a beautiful thing...its then that the journey truly begins.

So out of all these practices, the most simplest and straight forward is Echkart Tolle. But he took has pointers and its easy for the mind to box and categorize what he says and/or make a religion out of it. - there is nothing new here to believe, just things to do. ;)

With this I recommend audio books, goes so much further than the text...truly.

But each path is different, and I have seen that with Eckhart it did not impact others as much as it did me.

I was an OCD (obsessive compulsive) big time.
Prozac was a joke and did not help.
My wifes unconditional love and Eckhart Tolle, brought me through. And this is pretty big I would think - not to often people truly come out from such conditions...it takes true change...or true suffering to finally want to come out and change. ;)

Hope this helps you.

Peace

dAlen

p.s. -
As Aikdio fits in this: Well, like anything, see how it fits with where your at now. Aikidio is so diverse, you make it what you want it to be. :)
For the longest time, it was a way to watch my ego/pride. ;)

mathewjgano
07-23-2008, 06:41 AM
I stumbled across a thread on another forum regarding something called "Kuji-in" (www.kujiin.com), the poster was flamed of course but curiousity got the best of me and I started doing a web search on this topic. After a couple of hours or reading and links, it lead to even more questions...that damn internet.

The author claims esoteric skills associated with Taoist, Taiji, Ninjitsu, Bhuddist and even Kabbalic mysticism....I'm fascinated by mysticism or mystics (O Sensei) yet very skeptical.

So with that being said, I was wondering if anyone on the forum has chosen to explore this side of martial thought, deep meditations, or awareness training? If so what kind of results have you had? Physically or mentally? Any recommended readings or teachers?

This is an earnest inquiry and I'm hoping not to get ripped to shreds by those of you who disapprove.

Thanks in advance,
Grasshopper

I'm not sure how my sensei would classify it, but he being a Shinto priest adds a certain mystical quality to our training for those who are so inclined. check out Tsubakishrine.com. I'll try to think about it and write more later when I have more time.

Fred Little
07-23-2008, 08:37 AM
I stumbled across a thread on another forum regarding something called "Kuji-in" (www.kujiin.com), the poster was flamed of course but curiousity got the best of me and I started doing a web search on this topic. After a couple of hours or reading and links, it lead to even more questions...that damn internet.

The author claims esoteric skills associated with Taoist, Taiji, Ninjitsu, Bhuddist and even Kabbalic mysticism....I'm fascinated by mysticism or mystics (O Sensei) yet very skeptical.


Dear Grasshopper:

Following an earlier advertising effort which led to a vigorous response, Mr. LeClerc went out and got himself some more credentials.

The exoteric Buddhist lineage claimed by Mr. LeClerc and the sect with which he claims affiliation is questionable; it has been named in a way which makes it appear to have associations with Japanese sects to which it has no substantive connection beyond the aspirational.

The esoteric Buddhist lineage claimed by Mr. LeClerc is, in a word, nonsensical.

His ordination appears to have all the validity of a martial arts grandmastership awarded by the World Soke Council.

If you are interested in pursuing esoteric Buddhist studies with a qualified instructor in the United States there are a very small number of Tendai and Shingon teachers in this country who take on students; there are a larger number of teachers of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism. The traditions are related, but the Japanese stream branched off a bit earlier in the history of tantrism and has some notable differences from the Tibetan branch.

A word to the wise: Buddhist practice has its own purposes; Buddhist teachers tend to frown on the use of Buddhist practices for ends such as those trumpeted by Mr. LeClerc.

FWIW, there is a broad consensus that the Kuji-in and related practices are basically a Taoist/Shugendo system; certainly the system uses elements found in the Buddhist tradition, but if you want to find someone to teach you "authentic" Kuji-in or Kuji-kiri practice, your best bet is one of the Shugendo sects in Japan.

That practice is also fairly widespread within Hatsumi's Bujinkan organization here in the States. The depth with which the practice is taught there is a different question entirely and I don't have enough personal experience to make a useful comment.

Best,

FL

SeiserL
07-23-2008, 08:39 AM
A life long journey of no distance.
To be a mystic, realize you already are.
Yet, there is no "you" to be anything.
An interesting discipline.

Timothy WK
07-23-2008, 08:40 AM
I stumbled across a thread on another forum regarding something called "Kuji-in" (www.kujiin.com)....

The author claims esoteric skills associated with Taoist, Taiji, Ninjitsu, Bhuddist and even Kabbalic mysticism.

Errr... personally, I see a number of red flags going up. To begin with, it's a *real* bad sign when someone starts claiming to be "enlightened" or a spiritual "master", as the website does repeatedly. Those people are just full of themselves.

The emphasis on spiritual techniques is also questionable. True mysticism is about the inward state, not outward actions. Outward techniques, while important, should only be a vehicle for obtaining the inward feeling. The fact that the website doesn't talk about the inward state/feeling *at all* is a bad sign.

The ever-present ads and/or referencing of products for sale is also very off-putting. The whole website just looks like one big commercial. Real bad for a supposedly "spiritual" website.

EDIT: Cross-posted with Fred Little, who obviously knows something about the person in question. I suspected as much, but didn't have any evidence to back up such thoughts.

MM
07-23-2008, 09:01 AM
If you are interested in pursuing esoteric Buddhist studies with a qualified instructor in the United States there are a very small number of Tendai and Shingon teachers in this country who take on students; there are a larger number of teachers of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism. The traditions are related, but the Japanese stream branched off a bit earlier in the history of tantrism and has some notable differences from the Tibetan branch.

FWIW, there is a broad consensus that the Kuji-in and related practices are basically a Taoist/Shugendo system; certainly the system uses elements found in the Buddhist tradition, but if you want to find someone to teach you "authentic" Kuji-in or Kuji-kiri practice, your best bet is one of the Shugendo sects in Japan.

Best,

FL

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the post. I don't remember reading much on this topic here at AikiWeb. It's probably here buried somewhere in the archives, though. :)

While I don't have a burning desire for esoteric Buddhist studies, I do know people who do. If you have any other public info, the post would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark

Fred Little
07-23-2008, 09:16 AM
Hi Fred,

Thanks for the post. I don't remember reading much on this topic here at AikiWeb. It's probably here buried somewhere in the archives, though. :)

While I don't have a burning desire for esoteric Buddhist studies, I do know people who do. If you have any other public info, the post would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark

Mark,

I'm easy enough to find by PM. If someone is making serious inquiries, I'm willing to be helpful within my limited knowledge; a lot of times the only answer I have is: "Beats the hell out of me!"

But I will say this about esoteric studies of any kind to anybody who is looking: If something smells funny, trust your nose.

Best,

FL

dalen7
07-23-2008, 12:50 PM
A life long journey of no distance.
To be a mystic, realize you already are.
Yet, there is no "you" to be anything.
An interesting discipline.

I love when someone can sum up things so succinctly.
You nailed it on the head. :)

Peace

dAlen

Keith Larman
07-23-2008, 01:43 PM
Well, I went to the site against my better judgement.

I remember years ago taking a date to see Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl. It was great. There was one segment where they sang a song that comes to mind *every* time I read sites like that. There was one line that stuck with me...

How sweet to be an idiot,
And dip my brain in joy,

I always thought that was a remarkably insightful line... ;)

Esoteric stuff is fine and dandy, but geez, some people seem to spend all their time doing the "all you can eat buffet of silly stuff" picking and choosing little bits and pieces from everywhere with no coherent understanding of anything...

Sorry, that site is just too silly for me. Probably a limitation of my ability to see the bigger picture, but... Nope, don't get it...

mathewjgano
07-23-2008, 04:58 PM
I was wondering if anyone on the forum has chosen to explore this side of martial thought, deep meditations, or awareness training? If so what kind of results have you had? Physically or mentally? Any recommended readings or teachers?
Thanks in advance,
Grasshopper

I have a pretty rudimentary sense of these things, but I've practiced shrine Shinto here and there over the course of 10 years. I have practiced chant-meditation (kotodama) almost daily in that time. Earlier on when i had more time I also semi-regularly practiced the form of misogi taught at Tsubaki Grand Shrine as well as a few other meditations. So while i am very much ignorant and poorly practiced compared to most who have access to this kind of thing, I do feel I can at least give a general sense of it.
Email Sensei Barrish if you're interested in a more authoritative take on it (I'd recommend it since he's a fully licensed priest and I'm just a half-assed student of his).
Ok preamble finished, here are my thoughts...
I think as usual, Lynn's remarks are beautifuly concise and spot on. The feeling you generate is everything to any mystical approach. I have heard Sensei Barrish say many times that when experiencing Shinto ceremony or meditation it is the feeling that counts most. The rituals are a kind of technology for generating the feeling. In that sense I would imagine nearly anything can be mystical in nature...and indeed I think that is the heart of Shinto thinking. Living is an expression of the spirit (however you may define it), and as such, how you live/act/feel determines the quality of the mystical interaction in your life.
As far as results are concerned, the most noticeable for me has come from misogi. I've always been a person with lots of neurological activity. If I'm not fidgeting or bouncing my leg, I'm looking at everything and thinking about everything and basically bouncing all over the place one way or another. That's not necessarily bad, but it's just shy of outright neurotic behavior and I've noticed that water misogi (in cold water) has definately helped me to calm myself. It's amazing how centering it can be. Even after years of not practicing it, I can get into some cold water and where others are having trouble controling their breathing, i usually have very little problem with it. I've even felt warm in approximately 40 degree water (in my hara, interestingly enough). I've heard other folks describe moments of clarity where answers to issues they've been having seem to present themselves. Sensei Barrish has practiced misogi daily for well over 16 years (If I remember correctly), rain or snow or sunshine. I'm pretty sure he would swear by it as being useful.
I would recommend Kami no Michi (http://www.csuchico.edu/~gwilliams/tsa/Kami_no_Michi_ToC.html) by Rev. Yamamoto Yukitaka, the 96th Guji (head priest) of Tsubaki Grand Shrine. It gives an example of the kind of thinking of a very highly ranked Shinto priest.
Again, as far as Shinto is concerned, you'd want to talk with an expert and I'm not one, but I hope that helps a little.
Take care,
Matthew

Rev.K. Barrish
07-23-2008, 07:25 PM
Hello Shinto List members…

Re: Kuji Ho …

Kuji-Ho literally translates as: The Rite of Cutting the Nine Characters..it’s meaning is to banish misfortunate energy and summon protective energy and vitalize inner strength while calling on the protective power of SarutahikonoOkami.

TOIN O MOTTE OKONAU
(pray with spiritual vibration to invoke Okami’s protection)

RIN PYO TO SHA KAI JIN RETSU ZAI ZEN
RIN PYO TO SHA KAI JIN RETSU ZAI ZEN
RIN PYO TO SHA KAI JIN RETSU ZAI ZEN
(with courage and confidence I stand before adversity and move forward with strength)

MYOU HOU JI GEN JIN PEN JIN TSU RIKI
MYOU HOU JI GEN JIN PEN JIN TSU RIKI
MYOU HOU JI GEN JIN PEN JIN TSU RIKI
( I follow Kannagara, the Natural Law of the Universe and manifest divine KI)

DOUSOU SARUTAHIKO DAI MYO JIN
DOUSOU SARUTAHIKO DAI MYO JIN
DOUSOU SARUTAHIKO DAI MYO JIN
(Sarutahiko, Great Bright Being, Guardian of the Way)

HARAE TAMAI KIYOME TAMAE ROKKONSYOJO
HARAE TAMAI KIYOME TAMAE ROKKONSYOJO
HARAE TAMAI KIYOME TAMAE ROKKONSYOJO
(sweep aside impurities and purify the six roots of my spirit)

as for the hand positions themselves, if you can make the Omairi (shrine visit) to Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America I can show you….for your personal practice you can also make a hand sword with your right hand (looks like boy scout salute) and cut diagonally 9 times (1st time from right to left, 2nd time left to right etc.) and then cut vertically through the assembled pattern with Kiai….

Best regards,
Rev Barrish
Senior Shinto Priest of
Tsubaki America Grand Shrine

Hebrew Hammer
07-23-2008, 10:05 PM
:D Well lets see...I've got quite a few replies to go through...so here goes:

Dalen, thanks for sharing your personal experiences, I too have done a few readings on Jewish Kabbalah...I would love to hear your thoughts on your interactions with my Hasidic and Rabbinical cousins...how fortunate for you. On a side note I almost spit out my coffee reading a recent Time Magazine article giving props to MADONNA :yuck: for her recent contributions to the 'New Age' Kabbalic revival...what a crock!! They even compared her to the Pope. Its Tony Robbins all over again. Sigh.

Matt Gano, thanks for the link to the Shinto sight...seems like i've come across it somewhere before. I appreciate your response as well, you mentioned that your Sensei was a Shinto priest and that added a mystical quality to your training...how so?

Fred, thanks for your feedback regarding Mr Leclerc, I do have some new avenues to explore with Shugendo and Tendai Buddhism, and I'm interested in learning more about Bujinkans' association with that system. And as a true Martial Arts Grand Master of Soke World Council, its nice to be recognized where ever I go...I should put that on my AMEX card. ;)

Lynn...you are doing well with the Haiku's...keep up the good work.

Keith...quoting Monty Python is always an excellent choice...you just reminded me that I need to pop the Holy Grail in and take in the wisdom of Sir Robin. It brings some nice perspective.

Rev Barrish, I have no idea what you just said, but I know your heart was in the right direction...thats probably why your the learned priest and I'm the eager Grasshopper. Go in peace my son.

Gentlemen I really do appreciate the thoughtful responses do my difficult questions.

eyrie
07-23-2008, 10:52 PM
On Dan Penrod's article here (http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm), first picture to the right is of Ueshiba knitting... finger knitting that is... :p The image caption reads: "Masumi Matsumura and Morihei Ueshiba performing chinkon kishin in Mongolia, 1924".

Elsewhere, I've seen photos of Ueshiba standing and doing similar finger knitting. Whether there is a link between kuji-in and Ueshiba's purported mystic powers ... I'll leave people to make up their own minds.

Suffice to say, the Tantric practice, as it pertains to Japanese martial traditions and qigong generally, is cursorily documented in a few (slightly more authentic) places... for example, here (http://www.koryu.com/bookstore/katori-shinto-ryu.html), here (http://www.budovideos.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16638) and here (http://www.amazon.com/Qigong-Empowerment-Medical-Buddhist-Cultivation/dp/1889659029).

As for the website... no comments. :D

Hebrew Hammer
07-23-2008, 11:24 PM
On Dan Penrod's article here (http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm), first picture to the right is of Ueshiba knitting... finger knitting that is... :p The image caption reads: "Masumi Matsumura and Morihei Ueshiba performing chinkon kishin in Mongolia, 1924".

Elsewhere, I've seen photos of Ueshiba standing and doing similar finger knitting. Whether there is a link between kuji-in and Ueshiba's purported mystic powers ... I'll leave people to make up their own minds.

Suffice to say, the Tantric practice, as it pertains to Japanese martial traditions and qigong generally, is cursorily documented in a few (slightly more authentic) places... for example, here (http://www.koryu.com/bookstore/katori-shinto-ryu.html), here (http://www.budovideos.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16638) and here (http://www.amazon.com/Qigong-Empowerment-Medical-Buddhist-Cultivation/dp/1889659029).

As for the website... no comments. :D

OMG Dan's article describing O Sensei's dojo practices are almost exactly like the movements I've done in the few Qigong classes I've taken...I really enjoyed them and now have some more new found respect for the art. Amazing. I may have to give it a second go. Thanks for the book suggestions to my friend. The Aikijujitsu one looks like a must have.

eyrie
07-23-2008, 11:35 PM
The Aikijujitsu one looks like a must have. If you can read Japanese ;)

Hebrew Hammer
07-23-2008, 11:58 PM
If you can read Japanese ;)

Damn it Jim! I missed that part....

mathewjgano
07-24-2008, 06:15 AM
Matt Gano...that added a mystical quality to your training...how so?


Hi Kevin,
In that I was practicing Shinto meditation. I described misogi and some of its effects.
Good luck,
Matt

George S. Ledyard
07-24-2008, 04:21 PM
His ordination appears to have all the validity of a martial arts grandmastership awarded by the World Soke Council.



But Fred, I just sent in my application... I am SO bummed!
- George

Peter Goldsbury
07-24-2008, 04:51 PM
Suffice to say, the Tantric practice, as it pertains to Japanese martial traditions and qigong generally, is cursorily documented in a few (slightly more authentic) places... for example, here (http://www.koryu.com/bookstore/katori-shinto-ryu.html), here (http://www.budovideos.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16638) and here (http://www.amazon.com/Qigong-Empowerment-Medical-Buddhist-Cultivation/dp/1889659029).

As for the website... no comments. :D

Was "slightly more authentic" a deliberate understatement? The middle reference (to 大東流秘伝大鑑, by Mr Sogawa) is to a book of very dubious historical or technical value.

Fred Little
07-24-2008, 05:11 PM
But Fred, I just sent in my application... I am SO bummed!
- George

It's ok George.

I have a better proposal for you. (http://www.spiritualhumanism.org/)

Fred Little O.C.P.

lifeafter2am
07-24-2008, 05:15 PM
It's ok George.

I have a better proposal for you. (http://www.spiritualhumanism.org/)

Fred Little O.C.P.

Less than $100, bam! I am now ordained!
:D

Aiki1
07-24-2008, 05:25 PM
The distance between
Form and Essence
can be as wide
as a thousand oceans,

as different
as a lush rain forest
and the dry desert sands.

Do not mistake
ritual and dogma
for Spirituality.

Seek that which is
imbued with Spirit.

It is there
that the Deeper Mysteries
are revealed.

- Old Saying

Mysticism is a tricky thing, as it can encompass perspectives from metaphysical diversions to true spiritual insight, depending on the source and the practitioner/teacher. Much of what is presented as mysticism isn't really, but there is real truth out there if one looks in the right places. Care is needed as well, because some of it can be.... shall we say, unhealthy without necessarily seeming to be.

MM
07-25-2008, 06:38 AM
I don't think it would be a hard stretch for people to say that Ueshiba believed in kami. But, at what point do people strain that understanding?

What I mean is that there is a very defined difference between "faith" and "belief". The former is without proof and the latter is based upon evidence. People sometimes interchange the two. In other words, restructure the sentence asked to people:

1. Did Ueshiba have faith that there were kami?

or

2. Did Ueshiba know and believe that kami were real?

The first is what most people would undoubtedly agree with. The second violates quite a bit of Christian religions. (If you want to discuss this issue, please open another thread.)

So, with all that in mind, how many actually believe that kami exist?

Did Ueshiba believe that kami exist?

And if you're a Shinto priest, do you have to believe in the existence of kami?

Peter Goldsbury
07-25-2008, 08:55 AM
Hello Mark,

For Morihei Ueshiba, I do not think that such treasured 'western' concepts of 'faith' and 'belief' enter into the question. I think you need to abandon, or at least to suspend, your 'western' empiricist ways of thinking, when reading O Sensei. Comments below (marked PAG).

I don't think it would be a hard stretch for people to say that Ueshiba believed in kami. But, at what point do people strain that understanding?
PAG. Well, I have studied O Sensei's discourses in Japanese and I know that they are a major challenge, even for native Japanese. However, I think that it is quite wrong to say that O Sensei 'believed' in kami: at certain times, he was convinced that he WAS the kami in question.

What I mean is that there is a very defined difference between "faith" and "belief". The former is without proof and the latter is based upon evidence. People sometimes interchange the two. In other words, restructure the sentence asked to people:

1. Did Ueshiba have faith that there were kami?

or

2. Did Ueshiba know and believe that kami were real?

The first is what most people would undoubtedly agree with. The second violates quite a bit of Christian religions. (If you want to discuss this issue, please open another thread.)
PAG. Are you sure the difference is so well defined? I think you need to know that you have quietly added another ingredient to your mix. This is 'knowledge'. How does this differ from 'faith' or 'belief' and how much do you think that O Sensei was aware of these three distinctions? So how could O Sensei at the same time 'know' and also 'believe' that there were kami?

For example, if you had been present, when O Sensei announced that a deity appeared and told him to do certain things, like build a dojo, and you discussed the issue, what would you have said? Here is a suggested dialogue:

O Sensei: "And Deity X appeared and commended me to do Y.":straightf
Mark Murray: "Wait a minute, O Sensei. Do you really believe in these kami? Is this knowledge, faith, or belief?"
O Sensei: "Grab my wrist...":D
Mark Murray: "Aaaarrrghhh. You misunderstood. I was asking a simple question...":uch:
O Sensei: "No. You misunderstood. I have just given you a simple answer...":D
Mark Murray: "No, no. I think you misunderstood. I have been training with Dan Harden and Minoru Akuzawa and they have really opened my eyes about what you are really doing...":straightf
O Sensei: (sighs): "Grab my wrist...";)

So, with all that in mind, how many actually believe that kami exist?
PAG. Well, you would have to ask, for example, the population of Aikiweb? You could start by asking Rev. Barrish...

Did Ueshiba believe that kami exist?
PAG. I think that this is not open to question.

And if you're a Shinto priest, do you have to believe in the existence of kami?
PAG. Well, the Catholics have sacraments, which are supposed to work irrespective of the 'faith' of the priest performing the rites (cf. some novels of Graham Greene). Again you need to ask the Rev Barrish.

Very best wishes (and I am not joking--I have added smilies to prove it).

Best wishes,

PAG

Hebrew Hammer
07-25-2008, 09:02 AM
Great Post Prof PAG,

You just made my morning...what an excellent use of Aikido!!

Thats why I love this forum...

Much Respect,
Kevin

MM
07-25-2008, 09:41 AM
Hello Mark,


Hello sensei,
I must say that you made me laugh out loud with your post. I especially loved the "dialogue". :)

I'll address the parts without smilies below.


For Morihei Ueshiba, I do not think that such treasured 'western' concepts of 'faith' and 'belief' enter into the question. I think you need to abandon, or at least to suspend, your 'western' empiricist ways of thinking, when reading O Sensei. Comments below (marked PAG).

PAG. Well, I have studied O Sensei's discourses in Japanese and I know that they are a major challenge, even for native Japanese. However, I think that it is quite wrong to say that O Sensei 'believed' in kami: at certain times, he was convinced that he WAS the kami in question.


I do believe that O Sensei was convinced he was the kami. And in that regards, one must say that O Sensei knew and believed the existence of kami. I would find it very hard to argue against that.


PAG. Are you sure the difference is so well defined? I think you need to know that you have quietly added another ingredient to your mix. This is 'knowledge'. How does this differ from 'faith' or 'belief' and how much do you think that O Sensei was aware of these three distinctions? So how could O Sensei at the same time 'know' and also 'believe' that there were kami?


Here in the U.S., I think the differences are blurred. In fact, I think there should be defined distinctions between faith, belief, and knowledge. I hesitated to add knowledge into my post because it requires a bit more than the other two. But, if you have knowledge, then really, faith and belief are no longer issues.

For example, faith can cause one to believe in an afterlife. Belief in the afterlife comes from examining evidence. But, knowledge requires firsthand experience. If you have the knowledge, you no longer need faith and you no longer require belief. Your faith has been justified and your belief proven.

Kind of a loosely based example would be the accounts of people dying while in surgery. So, faith would be from people who had no direct experience and did not know of anyone who had experience in this area. Belief would come from knowing people and gathering the reports of other people who had "died" and come back (this is all providing that the reports are nearly the same giving some quantity of evidence.) But, knowledge comes from the person who experienced the death and came back.

In that regard, you hear a lot of people say, "I believe in an afterlife" or "I know there's an afterlife", when really, they mean I have faith that there is one because they have not seen any evidence and they have not experienced it.

As for O Sensei, I would not argue that he had faith, belief, or knowledge. But, in regards to my post, I was mostly concerned with people studying mysticism and aikido. Who has faith in the kami? Who has belief in the kami? And who has knowledge? It's easy to say I have faith. It requires no proof or evidence. It's harder to say I believe because it requires some evidence. And it's very tenuous to say I have knowledge because it is an area where such knowledge cannot be easily recreated, tested, or supported.


PAG. Well, you would have to ask, for example, the population of Aikiweb? You could start by asking Rev. Barrish...


True. And I asked using "believe" rather than "faith" or "knowledge" because it requires some evidence but not direct experience.

In regards to the Rev. Barrish ... I think that I would rather have a direct conversation because I'm sure I'd have a multitude of questions that would be easier and better served in person. I am hoping that I can make it to the Shrine one day and that I would be able to visit and talk with Rev. Barrish.

Thank you again,
Mark

mathewjgano
07-26-2008, 10:27 AM
Hi Kevin,
In that I was practicing Shinto meditation. I described misogi and some of its effects.
Good luck,
Matt

Just to elaborate a bit more:
I think a lot of folks look at mystical experiences as being somewhat psychedelic. In my experience/perception, they're a way of having extreme intent...a certain passion filling every action, which for me is based in a sense of gratitude.
Hope my last message didn't seem too curt.
Take care,
Matt

Peter Goldsbury
07-26-2008, 11:06 AM
Here in the U.S., I think the differences are blurred. In fact, I think there should be defined distinctions between faith, belief, and knowledge. I hesitated to add knowledge into my post because it requires a bit more than the other two. But, if you have knowledge, then really, faith and belief are no longer issues.
Thank you again,
Mark

Hello Mark,

Absoutely, but why would the differences be blurred in the US? Some of my happiest days in the US involved (1) going to morning training in the old New England Aikikai Dojo (usually with Fred Newcomb teaching--Kanai Sensei was not a 'morning' person); (2) having breakfast in the deli opposite the dojo and learning all about the intricacies of American English, especially involving fried eggs; (3) going back to Harvard and debating at length the questions you raised with very bright people; (4) going to evening training with Kanai Sensei (who did not really worry about such issues); (5) having dinner after training in a restaurant that was very close to the dojo. The only time I discussed faith, knowledge, and belief was at (3).

I think the issues surrounding faith, knowledge and belief in aikido were pretty much the same in the US as they were in the UK, when I returned. In Japan, however, things are somewhat different, mainly because there is a huge problem of vocabulary. Thus, I am pretty sure that O Sensei would have regarded his encounters with the deities as a matter of knowledge, not faith or belief.

Best,

PAG

MM
07-26-2008, 06:43 PM
Hello Mark,

Absoutely, but why would the differences be blurred in the US?


Sometimes I wonder if it's just American nature but I don't have a solid foundation in cultural issues outside the U.S. so I don't really know.

But, there are quite a lot of examples where these things blur here in the U.S., particularly in religious matters. You will hear people say, "I know there is a God" all the time. Unfortunately, the sentence should be "I have faith that there is a God".

Regarding kami, even in this thread, I get the sense that quite a few posters don't believe in kami and that mysticism, shinto rites, chinkon kishin, etc are really about internal spiritual awakenings or inner development.


Thus, I am pretty sure that O Sensei would have regarded his encounters with the deities as a matter of knowledge, not faith or belief.

Best,

PAG

I guess the question would be, if you are studying aikido and want to delve into the spiritual side of O Sensei, do you have to believe that kami are real? Or do you have to go beyond and have knowledge that kami are real?

Thank you,
Mark

Hebrew Hammer
07-26-2008, 07:23 PM
Just to elaborate a bit more:
I think a lot of folks look at mystical experiences as being somewhat psychedelic. In my experience/perception, they're a way of having extreme intent...a certain passion filling every action, which for me is based in a sense of gratitude.
Hope my last message didn't seem too curt.
Take care,
Matt

Thanks Matt, that is more of what I was looking for...I'm sure that any 'mystical' experiences would be very subjective in nature, I don't have any set in stone preconceptions of what a mystical experience would be, only that I would like to believe that they are possible. I'm not one to accept things as they are or by how others will define them but would rather challenge them to what they could be. I like my lines blurred.

Coincidentally, I just caught a special program on the National Geographic, or the Science channel about some modern scientists who are challenging conventional 'wisdom' on what our minds are capable of....The Institute of Noetic Sciences http://www.noetic.org/. Very timely and interesting...who was the poster who said seek and a teacher will come?

The problem when you try to have a discussion about these things, is that people will be quick to refute your experience or label you as less than credible. I've always admired individuals, scientists, military leaders, mavericks, individuals like Tesla, Einstein, Col. Hackworth, among others, who challenge the system...create their own reality. Thats maybe why I find aikido so fascinating...it goes against conventional Budo/Martial thought...I don't know if I will become an Aikidoka one day but I enjoy possiblity of becoming one.

Thanks Again, I hope to one day visit your Shrine.

Fred Little
07-26-2008, 07:24 PM
I guess the question would be, if you are studying aikido and want to delve into the spiritual side of O Sensei, do you have to believe that kami are real? Or do you have to go beyond and have knowledge that kami are real?

Thank you,
Mark

Dear Mark,

Do I have to have knowledge that you are real in order to respond to your inquiry?

Is faith enough?

Is belief enough?

Or, Is it possible that I can respond to your inquiry without knowing, believing, or having any faith whatsoever in your own independent existence from your own side? And if I do that, does that mean I view you as unreal?

Interdependently yours,

Some pattern designation conventionally referred to as "Fred Little"

Aiki1
07-26-2008, 07:28 PM
I guess the question would be, if you are studying aikido and want to delve into the spiritual side of O Sensei, do you have to believe that kami are real? Or do you have to go beyond and have knowledge that kami are real?

I suppose it depends on what you would want from your delving. If you want to understand where he was coming from, it probably doesn't matter, as it remains intellectual. If you want "what he had" and wanted to pursue the same path, or similar at it's core at least, then I think you'd have to not only believe but find a way to have direct knowledge, i.e., a direct experience that they are real.... a tricky path to follow, as there are many.... empty roads that might seem to be full at the start....

SeiserL
07-27-2008, 07:19 AM
I guess the question would be, if you are studying aikido and want to delve into the spiritual side of O Sensei, do you have to believe that kami are real? Or do you have to go beyond and have knowledge that kami are real?
IMHO, if you want to delve into O'Sensei's spirituality, then yes, you need to believe what he believed and good luck in finding, understanding, and adopting that.

If you want to delve into your own spirituality, begin to see through the illusions of your own beliefs and accept that neither you or your beliefs actual exist.

mathewjgano
07-27-2008, 01:10 PM
Thanks Matt, that is more of what I was looking for...
Cool! I agree it's that subjective quality which makes topics like this so difficult. It's almost like we're given a Connect the Dots project but none of the dots are numbered and the longer you look at the paper, some dots will disappear while other suddenly appear from nowhere.

The problem when you try to have a discussion about these things, is that people will be quick to refute your experience or label you as less than credible.
I haven't run into this too much in this forum, fortunately. I understand the skepticism that's out there though. I know history well enough to know the dangers of faith; it's frightening when you think of folks like Gallileo and what they had to endure in the name of "Virtue."

Thanks Again, I hope to one day visit your Shrine.
My pleasure! I don't often feel like I have much to offer in this forum in general, so it always makes me feel good to hear I contributed something.