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Old 08-06-2005, 01:45 PM   #68
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 189
Re: Does Budo require a sense of shame?

It's my opinion, and to some extent, my experience that shame as an outside influence i.e. a teacher points out a lack in your(my) ethic or intent in training is of less value than a teacher who models the correct ethic and intent in his/her own training.

I've trained with people who spoke of ridding the self of impurities, then behaved as a human being does, and displayed an obvious dose of that impurity, and showed no particular remorse. The message was lost because of the humanity of the teacher. Not his fault, at one level, because teachers are human beings; at another level he is responsible for that lost message by his acting in fault.

I've trained with another teacher who doesn't really lecture about personal development beyond the necessities of showing respect for others. But his actions, in the dojo and outside the dojo show that he is deeply committed to improving on himself constantly and working hard to not be in his own little world about himself only. His attitude and his teaching has been "A teacher must be very severe. With himself" He feels his job is to make doing the kind of Aikido, and the kind of internal work attractive to those who are so inclined, but not to foist his values on others. As an Aikido teacher, his main deal seems to be to make the training such a good time and such a challenging time for those who can stand it, that the dojo is just a place to come that's more attractive than it's many competitors. As a human being, he has personal faults, but he doesn't make any efforts to hide them or to pretend they don't exist. He's pretty honest with himself, and therefor can be pretty honest with others. More importantly, as he's not preaching, his message isn't lost in his faults. If anything his faults serve to make the message more accessible.

The more "serious" stuff like internalizing a severe work ethic, and a severe spiritual desire to be a better human being are, and need to be, personal expressions of personal desires. I think he sees his job in that context only to be a good mirror for those who have such intention. The work, the motivation, has to come from within. If shame is used at all, it's only used by the presentation of a model that is always striving to be better than it was just before. Basically, shame is useless if it doesn't reside within, and attempting to titillate or sensitize shame in another is just another form of mind manipulation, even if the intent is clean. Truth stands on it's own. And it always should be the thing sought after by both the teacher and the student.

My understanding is that Ueshiba Osensei wasn't much of a one to judge others by their behavior, unless they tried to bullshit themselves about who they were. He was big on sincerity, and that resonates with me.

I see the mirror as a very different tool than the prod.
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