Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology
Thank you for writing.
No doubt -- Shingon is relevant here. That was something I have tried to say as well, in response to those that like to see Aikido as being not related to Buddhism. However, the piece is not so much dealing with the topic of where Omoto-kyo might have gotten its ideas from as much as it is with the topic of where Osensei might have gotten his ideas. So please excuse the obvious void here. If you would like to comment more on such a relationship, I would dearly love to read anything you might add to this thread in that regards. A gentlemen I met in grad school, Fabio Rambelli, turned me on quite a bit to Shingon studies -- which was his area of specialty. So I am always very interested. Several of his works are on the Net (if you google his name). You might find them very interesting too.
As I said above, most likely one will indeed find within both Aikido and Omoto-kyo the position that acts in and of themselves are spiritually potent. One is also going to find the exact opposite view as well. My personal preference for the latter view is merely my personal preference. I do not mean to assign it any greater virtue or relevance than that. Still, in preferring the latter, I do not mean to imply that acts do not carry the potential for meaning and/or for significance regardless or absent of intent. Nor does the latter view of ritual either.
What is at issue is how do we make these acts manifest the specific potency desired. If I touch someone's shoulder, I have the potential for a great many kinds of meanings -- some relative to my perspective, some relative to the other person's perspective, some relative to a bystander's perspective. You are right in relating this to Aikido. This is indeed the very way that much of Aikido throughout the world is practiced. As I said above, this view, for many reasons, seems to go hand-in-hand with popular movements. However, for this very reason, we see many folks doing many kinds of Aikido -- some that have nothing to do with the founder, some that have nothing to do with other Aikido traditions, and a whole lot of them that don't do what they say they do do.
When I look at these three things, especially the latter one, I personally am inclined to see it as problematic (meaning, as a practitioner, as someone trying to practice something, it would be problematic to not be practicing something I am saying I am practicing). Moreover, I tend to see its source in the idea that one can just do Aikido and benefit spiritually from it as if one puts a white feather to their head in order to live a long life.
For me, Aikido is no white feather and those I have come across that seek to make it one are like a person that sits still rubbing their hair with that feather, over and over again, doing nothing else, having no life, but hoping not to die. It may be a matter of the glass being half full or half empty, but I do not look at my own Aikido practice or that of the world in general and see Aikido working its talismanic power in ridding us of self-delusion and egocentricism on any kind of grand scale. For me, like any practice, Aikido has both the potential to bring me awareness and/or to delude me further; it has the potential to further cultivate my humility, my wisdom, or my capacity for love or to enslave me more to my pride, my ignorance, and/or my fears. What makes the difference is not how many times we do Ikkyo, but how many times we do Ikkyo right -- with the right intention, with the correct corresponding body/mind, with the investment of my deepest self, etc. To just do Ikkyo over and over again, to rely upon its "talismanic" potency, is to, in my opinion, practice superstition. Moreover, it is to never do Ikkyo right.
But this is just my view and shouldn't mean much to anyone but me and my students.
Kindest regards, thanks for sharing,
p.s. Again - please write more on Shingon if you can spare the time and energy. Thanks in advance.