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Old 02-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #14
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Book Review: Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburō, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Relig

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Don,

Well, I have read the book and I think it is better than I thought it would be, having read the Nanzan review you posted. Stalker is very good on kotodama, so much so that I am going to add another to the columns I am writing. Since William Gleason has published his new book--which I now have, a serious discussion on kotodama (based on Omoto, other Japanese sources like Yamaguchi & later scholars, Ueshiba, Stevens and Gleason) will very much be in order.

The remarks I made on chinkon kishin apply equally to kotodama, but what the Japanese have done is to separate the actual practice from kotodama gaku (the study of the phenomenon), rather like Evelyn Underhill did in her pioneering work on western mysticism.

Like Abe in his The Weaving of Mantra, Stalker has looked at the main Japanese works on her subject (virtually none of which have been translated). She discusses the contemporary cultural background, which is generally left untouched by Stevens and also by Gleason.

Best wishes,

Another work worth taking a look at is Words, Characters, and Transparency - An Introduction to the Art and Science of Kotoha by Stephen Earle. He is a long time student of Odano Sanae with whom Gleason Sensei studied. Very interesting stuff. Odano was friends with O-Sensei and I believe they had extensive discussion on the subject. Odano's take on these things was unorthodox. She was not a part of the Omotokyo or any other system, rather her ideas on the subject came from direct spiritual experience. I will say that the book is easily the most difficult thing I have ever read. It is interesting to think about what kinds of conversations the Founder might have had with Odano... pretty much incomprehensible to those who haven't had some direct personal insight I would suspect.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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