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08-26-2004, 04:41 AM
This is a long-shot!

Does anyone know where I could get this quote from Ueshiba in the original kanji (not necessarily ueshibas own writing). I want to paint it for a friend.

"Whenever I am attacked, I have no attachment to life or death. I leave everything as it is to the spirit of the universe. Be apart from attachment to life and death and have a mind that leaves everything to that spirit, not only when you are being attacked but also in your daily lives."

M. Ueshiba

I would be very grateful for any help

08-27-2004, 10:55 PM
Ian, I think the best way to approach this is for you to trace the English translation as far back as you can to a source. If you can find the name of a book, essay or whatever that supposedly contains the quotation, it'd be much easier for someone to help you find the original. I know this can be difficult, because books about aikido will often include quotations like this without much (or any) attribution, but if you're lucky you might find you can contact the author of such a book, maybe by email, and they might be able to provide more info. Just some ideas.

I can relate to your quest... for literally years now I've been trying to find the original Japanese to a translated quotation from Yagyu Munenori, the sword master. I knew it was from his famous treatise "Heihou Kadensho", but for some reason I labored for a very long time under the mistaken impression that the quote appeared in a very rare and obscure part of this book that wasn't included in modern editions. I've even been to the National Diet Library in Tokyo (their "Library of Congress") looking for it! It's not clear to me now where this ridiculous idea came from :rolleyes:, but I've convinced myself that the modern editions contain the entire text, and last time I was in Japan I bought a cheap paperback copy. Now I just need to get around to reading it :)


08-28-2004, 12:09 PM
David - May I ask what the quote was?

09-02-2004, 01:02 AM

There is a John Stevens book "The Essence of Aikido: Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba", this has a large number of O Sensei's doka written in kanji, in romaji so that we can pronounce, and translated into English. I don't know if your quote is in there, but I am happy to take a look tomorrow (I'm teaching tonight so probably won't have time today). If it's there, I can type it up on my PC and mail it to you.



09-02-2004, 01:55 AM
Thanks Bryan - typically that is the only book of Ueshiba's I haven't got! I would greatly appreciate that. Also, thanks for the tips David - I'll see if Bryan has an luck - this type of searching is not my forte.

Peter Goldsbury
09-02-2004, 02:53 AM
A version of the quote in English appears on p.179 of "Aikido", written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, but there is no reference to any Japanese source of the quote. This version is slightly different from the one you quoted, so I suspect that you saw it in a different book. "Aikido" is a revised translation of "Aikido" and "Aikido Giho", combined into one book, but I cannot find the quote in either of these (but I must confess I have not looked very closely\see below). Nor is it among the douka in "The Essence of Aikido" and I suspect it is not a douka, but from a lecture. Some of the other aphorisms given in "Aikido" appear in other places, for example, the early volumes written by Saito Morihiro Sensei under the title "Traditional Aikido".

There are two published editions of Morihei Ueshiba's lectures: "Takemusu Aiki", edited by Hideo Takahashi, and "Aiki Shinzui", edited by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Unfortunately, there are no indices in any of these works and the Founder wrote so many memorable aphorisms, in much the same definite & assertive style, that looking for a particular one is like looking for the proverbial needle...

I think you need the help of someone who is studying the writings of Ueshiba in Japanese for a PhD thesis or something, if there are such people around.

Of course, if I come across something which looks like the Japanese original, I will let you know.

Best wishes,

09-02-2004, 02:56 AM
thanks Peter :)



09-03-2004, 01:07 AM
Hi Ian,

I did a quick flick through a number of books last night, but I didn't come across that quote anywhere. It didn't read like a doka, so the John Stevens book was an outside chance, hey ho. I'm afraid I'm no use as a text translator, my language ability is restricted to conversation.



09-03-2004, 09:29 AM
David - May I ask what the quote was?Sorry for the delay. The quote comes from a book called The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the Culture of Strategy, by Thomas Cleary - a very interesting book. From p. 76Throwing down your sword is also an art of war. If you have attained mastery of swordlessness, you will never be without a sword. The opponent's sword is your sword. This is acting at the vanguard of the moment.The part that struck me when I read it, and which I would like to be able to quote in Japanese :), is the 2nd sentence of that. Yagyu goes on: It is not a matter of insistently trying to wrest away what is being deliberately kept from your grasp. Not to grasp (the opponent's) attempt to keep hold (of the sword) is also "swordlessness." Someone who is intent on not having (his sword) taken away forgets what he's opposed to and just tries to avoid having (his sword) taken away, so he can't manage to kill anyone.

Swordlessness is not the art of taking another's sword. Its purpose is to use all tools freely. If you are even able to take away another's sword when you are unarmed, and make it your own, then what will not be useful in your hands?.