View Single Post
Old 12-12-2006, 11:47 AM   #24
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm not sure that you understand what I said, Erick. ....
Doubt and uncertainty are healthy things, Mike. The beginnings of other things. Stay with that ...
Mike Sigman wrote:
Do you understand the cosmology, not the ribbons and garlands of Ueshiba's later life and sayings, which involves the Yin-Yang, Ki, Heaven & Earth, etc., which is at the base of all the frippery you're talking about? If you look at my remark, it has to do with cosmology and not religion.
It involves a great deal more than that. I would deny, in the first instance, that there is any meaningful distinction between them in this context. In the "Takemusu Aiki" lectures O Sensei said that "Aikido is a religion without being a religion." The attraction of Omoto to O Sensei was its exploraiton of wide and deep connections between the expressed elements of fundamental faith across the globe. His conscious mission was to give those connections a physical form founded on the selfless compassion often found in mortal combat. That is the art.

You, I gather, do not wish to practice that art. Amen. (="So be it." ~ "Tathata."~ "Thus it is")

Andre Nocquet "asked him one day if there wasn't a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, "Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn't. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my Aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian"

As far as the mythology, I understand the significance of making the sword from the dragon's own tail. I understand the relationship between the Trinitarian Omoto Shinto Creator Omikami. I get the creative face of the destructive trickster and stormy sea-god Susano-o (also part of a secondary trinity). Again I will ask -- do you surf ? If you did, you would have great experiential insight into the meaning of immense, implacable, capricious power that always evades attempts to harness it directly, and which nonetheless you can only use by being in intimate contact, and having a willingess (nay, an eagerness) to be moved, in your whole being, at once.

There are no Chinese antecedents for this teaching. Only common principles expresssed in other, often widely divergent, expressive forms.

Back to the point about boundaries, between the internal and external. Like "quiet sitting" in zazen, Aikido, connects the internal with the external. But Aikido seeks transcendance in deep connection of the active internal with the active external. Aikido becomes practice in attaining that peak of interior (dare I say, grace?) experience at the peak of the externality of experience in attack.

From Peter's "Touching the Absolute" article (from which I gleaned my earlier assessment of the Second Doshu's concerns about cultural misunderstandings prematurely impeding the overall mission of aikido:
Kisshomaru Doshu wrote:
One of our major concerns is that aikido, because of its unique qualities rooted in Japanese spirituality, tends to invite misunderstandings. This tendency increases as aikido is introduced to people of different cultures and lifestyles, not only among beginners who have unrealistic expectations, but also among advanced students who may miss its subtle principles and may misrepresent them.
As far as aikido techniques are concerned, there may be only minor problems, but the philosophical and spiritual basis of aikido presents an entirely different challenge. Real problems may arise unless we return to the original teaching of the Founder and clarify the essential meaning of aikido as fundamentally a matter of the spirit.
The bottom line for this connection with the West, for those who have not forgotten its significance, lies in the three-fold face of Creation and the contemplation of these meanings in the Doka, and in particular, 十 字 道, in its fullest expression, which ties so many other elements and formulas together into a coherent whole.
Mike Sigman wrote:
The heart of what I was saying was that the peace and harmony of/with the Universe has to do with the same idea of harmony with the laws of Nature (the Universe) that is found widely in the common cosmology of Asia.
O Sensei was doing more than mouthing mere platitudes -- he was applying PRINCIPLES -- and expressing them in a rich manner.

Apart from his above statement on "becoming a better Christian," and whether or not you think kotodama are wholly Shinto or partly Shingon mikkyo, by the recurrent references he has made between the kotodama and the function of the Divine Logos, he has opened up a global field of references and connections (musubi):
This is far wider than the prefitted room you would limit him to. Peter has provided this quote in proof of that in his article "Touching the Absolute"
O Sensei wrote:
"Kirisuto ga ‘hajme ni kotoba ariki' to itta sono kotodama ga SU de arimasu. Sore ga kotodama no hajimari de aru." (‘In the beginning was the Word', spoken by Christ is this kotodama SU. This is the origin of kotodama.)
As to Cosmology, Second Doshu said this (also quoted from Peter's article) that sort of sums it up:

Kisshomaru Doshu wrote:
At the heart of aikido as a spiritual way is ki: the world-forming energy which lies at the core of each human being, waiting to be realised and actualised.
The world forming energy - the Divine Logos - the divine spark - the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit -- the Ki of the Great Origin -- call it what you will -- in whatever system of reference you like -- the point is precisely same and the teaching is one piece of cloth -- regardless of the differing embroidery around the fringes.


Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote