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Old 07-31-2005, 09:21 PM   #17
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Re: Does Budo require a sense of shame?

Matthew Zsebik wrote:
Dear David,

What sort of dojo would be capable of supporting the endeavor of addressing it's students negative side? What would it be like in your opinion?


I was tempted to answer this in great detail, however let me try to satisfy this very good question with this shorter reply:

Such a dojo would be a dojo headed by a person that was capable of seeing their own teaching as part of the path of spiritual cultivation (vs. just teaching things to others that cultivate the spirit). Such a dojocho would temper his/her practices with enough humility that shame could never (by one of those quirks of human nature) start to act in exactly the same way as an out of control pride would. Such a dojocho would also be able to support his/her students through their darker or more revealing self-reflections via the act of non-judging (i.e. not condemning). With humility and with a will to support, not to condemn, such a dojocho would be able, by example (i.e. cultivating humility and a non-judgmental spirit), to lead his/her students through shame (as a repulsing energy) to all kinds of positive achievements - as assisted by more positive (or pushing) emotional contents. In this way, students could experience the benefits of shame (e.g. clarity) without having to experience greater moments of depression, alienation, and/or any tendency to be abused emotionally or physically.

I would suggest that there are many ways of making one's teaching part of one's own spiritual journey. Thus there are all kinds of concrete examples of how such a thing could be achieved. When I looked at the abusive dojo (plural) where I trained, this is what I saw that was missing. The teachers there did not see teaching as part of their own spiritual practice. They were simply there to teach others how to be spiritual (as if such a thing were even possible). In the end, teaching and learning became more a part of power games than about anything else. As a result, the negative or repulsing energies of our emotional selves was more often used as weapons. They were not tools for further spiritual maturity. They were the sources for further abuse - not the chance for greater clarity.

Only by seeing teaching as an integral part of one's own spiritual maturity can a teacher head a dojo where things like shame can be included - for good reason and for good use. Without such a thing, in my opinion, a teacher becomes more like a raving giant, stomping around on the insides of another's human heart. Such a teacher cannot be the calm and embracing hands that are capable of supporting or assisting us with our deeper journeys into the self.

It should be said, such teaching, and such learning, is not for everyone.

David M. Valadez
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