George S. Ledyard
That is what "upaya" or "expedient means" is all about in Buddhism. I think that Ross is correct in that ones "knowledge" is a trap that keeps one from seeing what else is there to learn. All knowledge is conditional and therefore not true in any final sense.
On the other hand, teaching that way results in students who are hazy, shallow, and attached to the ineffability of the whole thing, and that just results in crappy Aikido.
Glad to see you jumping in on this thread. For the record, I've never been a student of Buddhism, so I really wouldn't know an upaya from a papaya.
In my own philosophy, I see a continuum from data to information to knowledge to experience to wisdom. Each is useful and necessary, and some may be a foundation for others. But to mistake one for the other is... well, a mistake.
I do think that the belief that we know a thing is what stops us from really experiencing. Much like the way lovers stop actually seeing each others' faces after long years. Much like the way someone who is technically proficient at ikkyo may stop experiencing it. In some cases this is "mushin," but in most cases it is just not paying attention to the reality at hand.
In my opinion, that's what makes crappy aikido.
Very much appreciate your contributions.
I know any number of people who have trained for a very long time and who have acquired a certain level of knowledge.They are successful as teachers because they have more of this knowledge than the average person training.
But the fact is that some of these folks haven't changed what they do one iota in decades. The don't go out of their way to find new perspectives, they congratulate themselves as having trained under some top teacher. They've frozen the understanding they gained from that teacher so that it is unchanging.
When you train with folks like this you will often hear, "This is what my Sensei taught me, so this is the way I do it." Of course, the fact that when they trained with this teacher every day they were Shodans might have had something to do with what they were taught at the time never enters into their minds.
These folks can be presented with the golden keys to aiki and it wouldn't matter. Some of these folks went to the Aiki Expos (although most didn't bother); they saw the incredible array of teachers there. O yes, they will say, I saw Kuroda, I saw Ushiro, I saw Angier, Vasiliev, Threadgill, Ikeda, and so on...
So then what? That's my question... You saw them and then? But there is no next step for these people. They know what they know. They are no longer interested in trying out something new, something where they might have to be a beginner again, where they might not be able to look cool, where they might spend some time feeling incompetent... So nothing changes. They've seen some of the most amazing teachers in the world and they will do nothing about it. The process of learning has stopped because these people are attached to what they know and can't let go of it long enough to not know once again.
If one is attached to what one knows, one is looking back in time rather than forward. Once that happens, one is stuck. New knowledge is growth and it makes change possible. It can only come in if room is made amongst all of the knowledge that one has already acquired. The great practitioners keep developing. The rest talk about what they learned twenty years ago.