Re: Religion and Aikido
I am pleased for all those who's practice of aikido enhances their religious life.
Personally I see some fundamental differences between aikido and religion. While I agree with Tom that similarities can be drawn with some of the rituals, that doesn't make the repeated behaviours any more religious than say putting your rubbish out for collection on a set day.
The main difference I see is one of 'faith' in that to practice aikido you don't need any ( I do and I don't ), to practice a religion you do. Early on in my aikido practice my Sensei said " Don't 'believe' what I tell you, do what I show you, and decide for yourself! " Now some aikido students may have the same reverence for their Sensei as a member of a congregation has for their priest, I can't imagine a priest saying those words.
Aikido is a practice, a 'do', a 'way'. The founder was not a deity and didn't make any claims as such, he founded a system he called "the art of peace", which has spread worldwide and is practiced by many people of different 'faiths' and 'creeds'. It seems to me to be all inclusive, there are folks who do it for mainly physical reasons, some for the spiritual aspects, some for the mental development, and many do it for all three. Ultimately I see it as a way to hone oneself as a human being, and for that to happen I must practice overcoming 'my own' issues that may impede my progress. To achieve this I do not need an afterlife punishment/reward system, a doctrine, a book, or any other trappings ( apart from kit and a mat ). But hey, thats just me.
I love the idea of peace and goodwill to all men, if only it were so.
If God created all men in his own image, why did he create atheists? perhaps to give himself a challenge?