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crbateman
01-20-2006, 10:21 PM
I am interested in learning whatever I can about the phrase "kon pa furugire". My understanding is that the literal translation is "destroy old rags", and that it is apparently some sort of figure of speech concerning putting the past behind you. Is anyone familiar with this saying? I am wondering if it is or was a mainstream and well-known saying, or if it was coined and used only by O'Sensei.

Mashu
01-22-2006, 05:09 PM
I am interested in learning whatever I can about the phrase "kon pa furugire".

Where did you get this phrase? Furugire 古切れ means old rags but I'm mystified about the "kon pa" part. Are you referring to one of the pre-war douka:


Rip away from your soul
The shabby rags it wears
Open the way to Heavens destiny
So let it shine!

Peter Goldsbury
01-22-2006, 06:00 PM
The characters for KON (今) and HA yaburu) are relatively straightforward. The next two are KO (furui) and RETSU (also read as sakiu or sakeru). So the full phrase is 今ぱ古裂.

There are many compounds with RETSU in the second position, all with the general neaning of ripping apart, explosion or chaos, but there is no compound listed in the dictionary with KO in the first place. There is another character, similar to RETSU, meaning clothes. This is 装 read so SOU SHOU, or yosu (wear or garment).

I have never heard of the phrase and asked Okumura Shigenobu Sensei to investigate. I have not received his answer yet.

crbateman
01-22-2006, 08:04 PM
Matthew, the phrase is from an O'Sensei brushing, but I do not know the date of origin. I suspect that it is not pre-war, however, because I am told that O'Sensei's interest in shodo was primarily later in his life, and this brushing is more of a practice piece.

Prof. Goldsbury, thanks for investigating further. I'll appreciate anything further you can find out.

Mashu
01-22-2006, 11:59 PM
Is this in one of your Aikido books? The pa(ha) 破 is the same one from shu ha ri I think so I reckon it's just about breaking old habits? Maybe Dr. Goldsbury knows but I remember something about that character that was about breaking or cutting down into a deeper level? I either have it in my notes or maybe in my Shirakawa Shizuka book.

nekobaka
01-23-2006, 06:12 AM
Hmmm... Are you sure you've got it right? I have a feeling "pa" doesn't exist. the kon old, now, recently, there are possibilities, but the pa part. konpa meaning a singles drinking party exists, but konpa doesn't have another meaning. furugire is the easy part, as Peter said, old clothes. the japanese spouse is just as baffled. without kanji, it's really difficult to say.

Peter Goldsbury
01-23-2006, 06:41 AM
Hmmm... Are you sure you've got it right? I have a feeling "pa" doesn't exist. the kon old, now, recently, there are possibilities, but the pa part. konpa meaning a singles drinking party exists, but konpa doesn't have another meaning. furugire is the easy part, as Peter said, old clothes. the japanese spouse is just as baffled. without kanji, it's really difficult to say.

Hello Ani,

No, you are mistaken. Clarke sent me a copy of the original and there is no question that HA, as in SHU HA RI, is correct.

I think that KON-PA is the easy part. It is simply a combination of two separate readings not found in a Japanese monolingual dictionary. The combination of FURU and RETSU is much harder to deal with. As for the kanji, I posted it in my earlier post. The only character I could not post for some reason was HA (=yaburu).

In addition the 'gire' of 'furugire' is a differrent character. It is not RETSU, which is the ON readng of 裂.

Thus, we are left with the fact of furu and RETSU, in combination.

Best wishes,

crbateman
01-23-2006, 12:56 PM
Hello all. I had a problem posting the kanji photo in this thread, but it's up on the front page, and in the Image Gallery. Thanks to all.

Mashu
01-23-2006, 06:34 PM
Thanks for putting that up. 今破古裂 .

Mashu
01-23-2006, 08:24 PM
I apologise if it's off the topic a bit but would retsu 裂 be used for the cracks or fissures in tortoise shells and bones in divination?

Peter Goldsbury
01-26-2006, 06:32 AM
Mr Bateman,

Well, none of my graduate students (including a Buddhist priest) could make head or tail of the phrase this evening, when I wrote it on the blackboard and asked them how to read it and what it meant.

You will be pleased to know that some of the best minds in the Aikikai Hombu are working on it.

Two points that have come up so far:

1. Is the calligraphy signed? That is, is it quite clear that it was written by Morihei Ueshiba? There are imitations and this is the first question that I was asked.

2. It is possible that it should be read from right to left, in which it is read as REK-KO HAK-KON.

Japanese is traditionally written vertically top to bottom and right to left, but nowadays it is also written horizontally and follows the western order of left to right. However, you can find kanji written horizontally from right to left especially on some road vehicles. A company name, written horizontally in a western way on the left side of the vehicle, will be reversed on the right side, so that the first character of the company name is nearest the front of the vehicle. Thus you get HIRO-SHIMA-DEN-TETSU on the left side and TETSU-DEN-SHIMA-HIRO on the right side. When I first encountered this practice, it was quite disconcerting. It is another, hidden joy, of learning Japanese usage.

Since the meaning has less to do with the order of characters than in an alphabet, even when read both ways, the meaning is quite clear and has nothing to do with clothes: Tear down the old; destroy the present (i.e. Forget everything you have learned and create your aikido newly every day). On a political level, Mao Tse Tung would also have approved.

Anyway, this is a report of work in progress and I will let you know of any further developments.

Best wishes,

PAG

crbateman
01-26-2006, 03:33 PM
Thank you, Professor Goldsbury. The piece is not signed, but its source is impeccable. I really appreciate your continued help in researching it.

Chris Li
01-26-2006, 05:41 PM
2. It is possible that it should be read from right to left, in which it is read as REK-KO HAK-KON.

That's it, Google brings up a number of references (mostly to a Jazz CD using the phrase in the titel). Apparently it is a Zen phrase - there is a short explanation here:

http://www.seikoji.or.jp/kako/diary/170204sinmai.html

And probably other's too with a little more searching.

Best,

Chris

Peter Goldsbury
01-26-2006, 06:04 PM
That's it, Google brings up a number of references (mostly to a Jazz CD using the phrase in the titel). Apparently it is a Zen phrase - there is a short explanation here:

http://www.seikoji.or.jp/kako/diary/170204sinmai.html

And probably other's too with a little more searching.

Best,

Chris

Thank you. I had no time to do a Google search. I see that in the reference it is read in unyomi as 'inishie saki, ima (wo) yaburu'.

Best wishes,

Peter Goldsbury
01-26-2006, 06:32 PM
The explanation in Chris Li's reference reads:

禅の言葉に「裂古"j今(いにしえをさき いまをやぶる)」という言葉があります。意--。は新旧に捉われず、--{物のを選ぶ--レをもって自由に組み合わせることにより幸せになるとのことです。

Transcribed in Roman script, it reads:

Zen no kotoba ni 'Inishie wo saki, ima wo yaburu' to iu kotoba ga arimasu. Imi wa shin-kyuu ni torawarezu, honmono wo erabu me wo motte jiyuu ni kumiawaserukoto ni yori shiawase ni narukoto desu.

I'll leave our students of Japanese in this forum to have the first shot at translating it.

nekobaka
01-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Cool! I asked the Japanese teacher at my school yesterday and she looked in her fancy dictionary to find nothing.

I really like that concept.

For those you who can't read the Japanese page it said.

"Reading books and listening to older people is important, but you should treat everyone (regardless of age or social standing) like a teacher because there is a lot to be learned from them."

Sorry I didn't translate it that carefully, that was just the gist.