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Old 09-13-2005, 10:35 PM   #42
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

Now we are making some progress. Thanks David
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
It is not that the points in your position are post-hoc, it is that your position makes use of notions regarding time and the passage of time (regarding human culture) that allows you to see the present in the past -- which allows you to travel from the present to the past in your method. There are these grand underlying theories to your methodology
...
This type of methodology has been under serious critique since the late 60's and has for the most part been under serious rejection since the mid-80's.
Again, a point about predicates. Human society is an organic complex system which therfore obeys mathematical rules of organic (i.e. self-maintaining) complex systems. These systems demonstrate patterns that while unique and unrepeated are mathematically similar in shape across multiple scales of observation. Clouds form identifiable but unique patterns and tend to look the same whether seen from near or far, at a variety of scales.

Patterns of human organization obey similar laws. Really. People make money on the commodities markets with these algorithms.

The history establishment may question the relatively unsupported pattern theories of the mid century, but the math has now definitely caught up. Toynbee's intuition is vindicated in many ways by present science of complex systems.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Another such theory that I did not bring up, but one should have been able to locate it just the same, is your notion that myth makes things resistant to cultural transmission and/or migration.
...-- as mythic discourses have never had a difficult time in crossing borders.
Tell that to the marriageable Hindu singles in India who cannot easily marry a Jain, Sikh or Muslim, and their parents will object in any event, despite the fact that these different cultures have existed side by side for a couple thousand years, and share as many references as they do not. (We Indo-Europeans will look for any excuse for a good argument.)

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
However, in the case of Osensei, we do not see him acting like that, we see him continually using mythic themes and mythic discourses and we also see him making room for more (across cultures) -- not less.
...
It is not that Osensei sought to demythologize anything because of some negative notion regarding the transmission potential of mythic discourse ...
"Thus, all my techniques are purification (misogi)."
Takemusu Aiki (lectures),
A simple question. If aikido technique is misogi and misogi purifies, what is discarded?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Here you wrote: "O Sensei's emphasis on the ontological significance of physical practice is this meta-rule for aikido, that strips away the accretion of particularized ideations and gets back the essential of spirit and body in one concert."

- But let us look at how Osensei himself addresses this issue of dealing with the ontological significance of things.
...
"In the early morning hours, before dawn, at 4:00 I am out of bed, and immediately perform a misogi (purification ritual)
...In summary, weak people are the result of not knowing the truth of the unity of mankind with the Heavens and the Earth. By realizing the principle of unification with the Universal (tenchi) and making it active in your daily life, human beings become capable of sending forth the "holy technique of the gods"."
O-Sensei clearly believed that personal strength came not from individual achievement but from realizing unification with Heaven and Earth. This is but a commonplace of Western amd Eastern thought for several millennia now. This is not at the level of mythology. More importantly, O-Sensei did not say that if you fail to observe Ueshiba's misogi regimen your are unworthy of his aikido. Describing one's personal observance is exemplary but not bay any menas command. Plainly, his direct students did not take it that way, why should I?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
... he did not, could not, feel it warranted to separate Aikido from any type of mythic discourse. Whether using your understanding or Bultmann's there is no demythologization going on here.
And again, I think we begin to talk past one another
Once again, wherefore misogi? What is discarded?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
You wrote: "But did O-Sensei adopt any of these more idiosyncratic elements of Omoto in the development of Aikido? I find no evidence of it."

- Here, I am beginning to wonder if you read the essay we are centering this discussion on or the article that that essay was centered on -- since what you quote by Onisaburo in this last post is nothing more than ichirei-shikan-sangen-hachiriki --
...
Of course I did.. I simply thought it would be useful to see the actual text under discussion and see how unremarkable ichirei-shikon-sangen-hachiriki, really is in context. Most of those reading this without a background in serious history of East Asian thought will be struck by the use of conventions that are novel to the Western ear, but unremarklable when compared in a ssytematic way with ordinary tropes of Western thinking.

This is opposed to the truly idiosynctratic elements of Omoto. The "God in exile" trope, the positing of Onisaburo as a savior in the Maitreya mode, as opposed to an inspired prophet (a proposition I am not arrogant enough to dismiss, even as I question the totality of the proposed revelation). Most unique is the eschatological component of Omoto. This distinguishes it in Eastern religions, even from the very schematic Pure Land (and was a cause for much the Japanaese State's concerns with Omoto, in a way similar to the Chinsese government's dim view of Fa Lung Gong). The presence of eschatology betrays its Western influences, even as the particulars bear no relation to one another whatsoever. These unique elements of Omoto find no expression in O-Sensei's thought.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
If Osensei did in fact create some sort of distinction between his Daito-ryu training and his own art (what came to be called "Aikido"), there is a very good chance that it was laid out according to those principles, tactics, strategies of Daito-ryu that Osensei felt he could more smoothly connect to theological propositions like ichirei-shikon-sangen-hachiriki.

dmv
On this I think we agree. But the circle square and triangle have physical meaning. Technique is ontologically significant even if we keep our mouth shut while teaching it. If the lesson can be taught through the mythological symbol, or by conceret action without words, it is demythologized by any definition.

That which is a precondition for creation is not ipso facto a preconditon for continuity. As a matter of fact it was not made a condition of cointuity by O-Sensei, when he could easily have done so. Why did he not?

One of the frustrating things for practitioner intersted in placing these matters in context is the paucity of sources for the material. The only reason we know about his "Takemusu aiki" lectures to Nakazono's macrobiotic movement, which also flowed from Omoto is that a kindly attendant transcribed them for her colleagues. To my knowledge they have never been conventionally published.

O-Sensei was not reputed to be a habitually careless man ( except as is tyoicla of an aged man in later years. He took no care to ensure the transmission of the unique aspects of Omoto. HIs Doka, while a marvelous insight into his thought, are conventional examples of the type (even antiquated in style at the time he wrote them), and not exceptional either in style or content.

Aikido was not made a vehicle of Omoto. His direct students barely attempted to understand it. Although O Sensei's goal shares much with that of Onisaburo, O-Sensei particularly lacks Omoto's very particular eschatology, while the ichirei-shikon-sangen-hachiriki rubric is not exceptional in its essential content as a point of theology and involves no particularized myth-making of its own.

I therefore end with my same question, which by now seems almost koan: Aikido practice is misogi; what is discarded?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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