View Single Post
Old 07-27-2005, 03:00 PM   #8
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Relating Aikido and Christianity

As to Jesus and Gautama Buddha I will respond somewhat tangentially.

If one were to describe Aikido philosophically (and most budo, for that matter), it could accurately be called part of the branch of philosophical thinking known as phenomenology. It is quite different from the more common and familiar variations on Cartesianism, which are largely about what and how we believe things to be true "I think, therefore ... " etc.

The power of the phenomenological approach is that is not about thinking, but about acting. In this Aikido, Buddhism, and Christianity ( and many others) can meet on solidly common ground.

Aikido is emphatically not about what we think, or believe, it is about what we DO. The body in action and in moving relationship to another human being teaches the mind and the spirit truths that are difficult to perceive in other less concrete ways.

Buddhism is an avowedly practical system whose fundamental purpose is to relieve the causes of suffering for sentient beings.

Christianity is concerned with orienting the soul in right relation with God (as are its sister faiths among the Jews and Muslims), which is PRACTICED by love toward one's neighbor, and more importantly, for purposes of our discussion, toward one's enemy.
G.K. Chesterton once quipped that we are told to love our neighbor and our enemy "probably because they are the same person."

Aiki principles properly understood encounter no conflict because there is no conflict in the actions that are consistent with all these good principles.

The T'ang Chinese emperor in approving of the Syriac Christian Church establishment in China in the seventh and eighth centuries published an edict carved on a stone tablet in what is now Xian, China. His statement could be more broadly applied in addressing questions of this kind. He said,

"Right principles have no invariable name, holy men have no invariable station; instruction is established in accordance with the locality, with the object of benefiting the people at large. ...
Having examined the principles of this religion, we find them to be purely excellent and natural; investigating its originating source, we find it has taken its rise from the establishment of important truths; its ritual is free from perplexing expressions, its principles will survive when the framework is forgot; it is beneficial to all creatures; it is advantageous to mankind."

G.R. Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote