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Old 09-12-2005, 11:23 PM   #35
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

David Valadez wrote:
Until you can demonstrate clearly that this was Osensei's intention and not a merely a philosophical potential of the practice in general that others were able to rightly tap into, it is indeed quite a bit to say it was intended so.
As I said, if you can offer some actual historical evidence, I would be most glad to reconsider and/or to continue this part of the discussion, but if all you can offer now is that "it must have been intended so, because we have seen it done," then we must simply acknowledge that this conversation has run aground, as that premise would never hold up in any kind of forum on the history of anything - including Osensei.
Evidence is good, but your standard is overly narrow.

Explicit evidence of intent, speaking as a lawyer now, is rarely if ever admitted. Nearly every issue of intent or purpose has to be proved by circumstantial evidence. Some are not convinced that by raising one's hand, one intends to -- raise one's hand.

But let us examine what was said, since some find actions and results ambiguous evidence of intent.

Kisshomaru, 2d Doshu, reported O-Sensei to have said, on his deathbed, "Aikido is for the entire world. Train not for selfish reasons, but for all people everywhere." In common law jurisdictions, dying utterance is admissible. Hopefully, this passes evidentiary muster.

O-Sensei did not say Omoto was for the whole world, nor that Shinto or Shingon or anything other than aikido was for the whole world. He did not commission his students to teach these things through the medium of aikido, he simply commissioned them to teach aikido.

If he directed his teaching at the whole world, did he intend thereby to have Omoto taught as a necessary precondition? Is this not especially probklematic since he dod not require this of his own students in Japan? I think the case in rebuttal has to be made if this is seriously contended to be O-Sensei's objective intent.

When O-Sensei went to Hawaii to visit and teach he said this, so his son reports: He had come to "build a Silver Bridge of Understanding. . . overseas and through aikido to cultivate mutual understanding between East and West." "I want to build bridges everywhere and connect all people through harmony and love. This I believe to be the task of aikido."

A number of doka translated by John Stevens in "The Art of Peace," follow this theme of the individuation of aikido in each place it is practiced, without losing its essence.

Leaving aside the nature metaphors and psychological observations, only about twenty or so, of the one hundred fourteen doka, use mythological allusion. In this number I include those speaking of ki, God, or gods the divine, buddha and suchlike.

"Each and every master, regardless of the era or place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love." Doka 30
"The Path is exceedingly vast. From ancient times to the present day, even the greatest sages were unable to perceive and comprehend the entire truth; the explanation and teachings of masters and saints express only part of the whole. It is not possible for anyone to speak of such things in their entirety. Just head for the light and heat, learn from the gods, and through the virtue of devoted practice of the Art of Peace, become one with the Divine." Doka 113

Theological irimi, indeed. And:

"The Art of Peace that I practice has room for each of the world's eight million gods, and I cooperate with them all. The God of Peace is very great and enjoins all that is divine and enlightened in every land." Doka 103
And as to the nature of technique and its relation to the larger goals of Aikido, this:
"Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really No Path." Doka 102
"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions." Doka 112
"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life." Doka 46
"Even though our path is completely different from the warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abondon totally the old ways. Absorb venerable traditions into this Art by clothing them with fresh garmets, and build on the classic styles to create better forms." Doka 37
"Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants and trees - should be your teacher." Doka 14

Kisshomaru Doshu reported in the appendix to "Aikido" his father's words upon other occasions:
"This is not mere theory. You practice it. Then you will accept the great power of oneness with Nature."
"When anybody asks if my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say, ‘No.' My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion."

And lastly:

"I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind. This is Aikido. This is the mission of Aikido and this should be your mission."

O-Sensei was not engaged in a forensic exercise. But his own statements in context support both a decoupling of his art from its native culture and mythological structure, while intending that it simultaneously serve as a tool to link people among all cultures and for aikido, and be able communicate its understanding through the myths and religions of all people.
I could probably find more, but this is what I have on short notice.
Erick Mead
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