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Old 09-15-2005, 10:57 AM   #48
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Omoto-kyo Theology... Relevant?

I tried to continue to avoid the word battle between the didactic quasi-historians, as I really didn't agree with the facts supporting either postulation. However, I did enjoy reading all the jargon (we love jargon) and I truly learned a thing or two about the subject matter each was quoting. I think from a philosophic level I could reach similar conclusions as each David and Erick have regarding their own process, but the facts dictate that neither process was the one of the Founder. If I had to pick one, I would lean towards Erick's view, but that is mostly because he correctly identifies the very large hole in David's argument, something that I have pointed to in so many arguments by many other, even more well known historians, that being that just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

However, when I read Ted's last post, and particularly the tone he may have inadvertently used, I had to chime back in.

Ted Ehara wrote:
While I've been following this thread with some interest, I notice a failure to mention the simple fact that O Sensei was a devout believer in Omoto-kyo. It is this position of faith that separates his perspective from most of our own.
I notice that you fail to mention any source for your astounding revelation... On what source do you base it?
Ted Ehara wrote:
The religious experience of a devout believer in any religion, be it Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Shinto, is very different than someone trying to intellectually analyze it. You can call it theology, but for the faithful religion is life itself, not some intellectual study.
True at some level. However, there are many whose devout appearance is but a sham. As for (theology) and what anyone (faithful) calls it, being convinced of something that isn't really there in most circles is defined in terms like, paranoia, schizophrenia and insanity. Remember it was the faithful that kept the world flat and at the center of the universe. They are still keeping stem-cell research at a minimum; teaching Intelligent Design (creationism with a new name) as an option; don't believe in global warming, and kill people in the name of their lord and savior... and that is just the ones in this country… Need I go on and on and on?
Ted Ehara wrote:
I think this is why most of O Sensei's direct students did not even attempt to investigate Omoto-kyo. They simply realized that there was no personal belief in Shinto or Omoto-kyo. Because of that, the personal perspective was radically shifted. They were not Morihei Ueshiba, but themselves.
While this seems like a great explanation on the surface, it simply doesn't hold any water. O-Sensei is thought to have taught Aikido to many within the Omoto circle. The postulation repeatedly made is that "we" (us non-Japanese, or even Japanese non-Omoto followers) are missing something and that the delving into Omoto mythology (sincerely or analytically) would somehow serve to unlock the key in terms of O-Sensei's aikido (or even our own) at some mythical, mystical or magical level. If this were correct, it would seem quite logical that there would be scores of high level Omoto theologists (devout or otherwise) who would be proportionally skilled in Aikido as O-Sensei. We don't see this at all. Why, because the two are not related to each other. Any attempt to create some connection between the two is still unproven at best.

I think it important to note, and something I especially acknowledge David for doing, that these discussions are discussions of theories. More importantly, that the so-called source material 99% of people are basing their arguments on are the theories and postulations of other historians. To quote them and theirs as one might quote the Bible and then drown it all in a see of historical metaphor skillfully contrived as evidence and expect the rest of us to simply swallow it hook, line and sinker, just does not go very far towards establishing a concrete argument.

What I liked most about David's posts is where he turned things around and said, it really doesn't matter if it was the training of the Founder because if you believe it to be, then you believe yourself to be on the right path. He extended that to include all others doing the same and that group as that which defines Aikido on the world stage. I would agree with his estimate that the world would see aikido in this light. However, while this is what I liked most about his posts it is also what I liked least. Simply - just because everyone believes it to be true, does not make it O-Sensei's aikido.

There is a dual nature to Aikido training, the first being seeking O-Sensei and the second being seeking the art of the Founder. There is certainly a divide between the two. Through training, one's efforts should be focused on first developing an understanding of what each is on its own followed by creating a bridge between the two. That is the first ten or twenty years. The rest of one's training (in my opinion) is creating an overlap between the two where one sources the other, feeds off the other and the process accelerates. This is O-Sensei's actual process. The clear sign post was his mantra "Masakatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi" which is the process described above. Historians have gutted this expression to mean "true victory is victory over oneself." While this too is clear on its face, it is fortune cookie clear at best. It does describe the end result, but it does nothing to indicate what to do or how to do it. This is what my exception is with David's original postulation. Where is the How and What within Omoto? More directly, where is the How and What of incorporating Omoto into Aikido? While his idea "sounds great…"just like "true victory is victory over oneself" sounds great, it just doesn't help us at all in our quest to seek O-Sensei or the Art of the Founder.


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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