Re: Omoto-kyo Theology
Like I said, you need the evidence to show intent not possibility. That is the differences between the two phrases I suggested you needed to distinguish from each other. In that light, we can hardly consider the requesting of ANY evidence "narrow." One either has it, or one does not. Moreover, by any standard of history, what you have provided here is not the evidence you would require to show either an intent to demythologize and/or a demythologization by Osensei. In fact, even what you quote has several tones and undertones of what are normally considered mythic themes (e.g. bridge, heaven and earth, saints, light, heat, gods, divine, eight million gods, God, religion, holy books, etc.) - AND THAT IS WITH STEVEN'S ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS.
You must understand that there is a difference - a very big difference - between Osensei demythologizing Aikido and Aikido being an art that need not be housed in any one/given cultural discourse. The latter is perfectly true - and some of what you quote lends itself to the position that Osensei would agree with you there. However, as I said above, this is different from Osensei demythologizing Aikido. It is even very different from saying that Osensei sought to create a distance from Omoto-kyo theology because he saw it as too culturally limiting for the art he wanted to spread to the whole world. For this last phrase, you would need to show where Osensei has said something to that effect: "My Aikido goes beyond Omoto-kyo." or "I have moved past Omoto-kyo." etc. What is particularly interesting, if one looks more closely at Omoto-kyo teachings at the time of Osensei, is this: Osensei is only saying things about his Aikido that Onisaburo said about Omoto-kyo. This notion of "completing all religions, being beyond all religions," etc., is standard Omoto-kyo discourse at that time. In all likelihood then, Osensei's poems are not a moving beyond but the simple act of repeating what someone (Onisaburo) said and sticking it on top of "his" own thing and then feeling justified for such an act by the system of correspondences that those folks all felt perfectly comfortable within.
Is Aikido open to all cultural interpretations and/or discourses? Yes, indeed. Did Osensei feel that one could only do this if one stopped referring to the Kojiki, kami, etc.? No way. Did Osensei feel that Omoto-kyo was too limiting a cultural discourse? I do not think we can really say at this point, but it would be highly unlikely since Omoto-kyo could hardly be called exclusive in any way, nor could it have been experienced by Osensei as exclusive.
Perhaps we are using our methodologies differently here - and so we have different understandings of the word "intent" and/or even the word "demythologize." Perhaps that is why we seem to be talking past each other. In the history of ideas and in the history of religions, these things mean very specific things. Then again, there is a very good chance that you have put all of your eggs in a basket that is made up of a backwards argument: Today, Aikido is taught all over the world; being all over the world, it must contend with different cultural discourses in order to remain meaningful; Aikido was created by Osensei; Therefore, Osensei designed Aikido to be beyond all cultural discourses; Therefore, Osensei had to first move beyond his own cultural discourse; Therefore, Osensei had to demythologize Aikido/Omoto-kyo.
I get it. However, going backwards like this never makes for good history, as one is sure to miss all of the relevant discontinuities - which I feel you have - for the sake of recognizing the present in the past.
Thanks for the reply, and for taking the time to cite those quotes.
Last edited by senshincenter : 09-13-2005 at 01:37 AM.