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Old 09-23-2010, 12:40 PM   #5
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
There is a fundamental requirement in spiritual pursuit that involves surrendering ones will. As long as there is repository of self-will that won't give up control there can't be an opening to something new. .
Who's requirement? That "line," frequently given by the "shepherd"s to their "sheep" is simply a power player by the leader. Last time I checked, my self-will allows me to open myself up to something new all of the time. Frankly speaking, I far prefer autonomy to the idea that my own "self-will" is somehow not sufficient for me to live a sane, spiritual,..... life. If YOUR will is problematic for you to that extent, I am truly sorry!

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
For example, if in the dojo we bring our own rules of conduct (whether religious injunctions, cultural and social norms, or personal preferences) we set ourselves in opposition to the prevailing standard. We impose our ways above the ones that are common to the dojo.
WOW! I am getting concerned about what your own rules of conduct must be if they are some how in opposition to prevailing standards. It has been my experience that the VAST MAJORITY of people that I have encountered in the martial arts world seem to have come to the dojos with their own rules of conduct that need little if any "tweeking" in order to work well in a dojo environment.

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Many teachers allow this and see no imposition on their authority. But I would contend it because if our dojo is a place where we train in a spiritual discipline (as O Sensei would point out) then it is of utmost importance that we come to understand that the dojo is a sacred room where subduing our ego is the main aim of our practice. Without it we will never have to confront the strongholds in our belief structure. Upholding a set of rules in a religious context that where set in place in order to facilitate ego-death and self-surrender can not be used as the very reason not to obey dojo etiquette. Can you see how it contradicts the very essence of spiritual pursuit?
When exactly was the last time that you had a conversation with O'Sensei regarding our training as a spiritual discipline? If YOUR ego needs subduing as a main aim of your practice, then I am once again concerned about you (as opposed to the Aikido community at large). Are you trying to start a religious sect called "Aikido"? Please do not assume that we need to "facilitate ego-death" and "self-surrender" in order to train sincerely. That kind of philosophical/religious/pseudo-psychological talk can be your own parameters. It is a whole other "ball of wax " asking others to assume them as part of their training.

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
That's why it has been said that the back of the ego has to be broken. So it looses its tenacity to always have the last word. Once broken, or given up, it no longer serves as a justification for following ones owns rules. Spiritual freedom implies much more than rigid adherence to form, structure and tradition. True freedom lies in understanding surrender of ones owns mind. In the end even religious injunctions must be given up if the goal is absolute surrender to God, or truth if you prefer.
True freedom exists in one's ability to be responsible for one's choice of thoughts, feeling and actions. If you would like to surrender your mind, please be my guest. However, do not try to sell to autonomous beings the nonsense that a surrendered mind is even remotely akin to freedom.

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Dojo etiquette is there to facilitate self surrender: Be on time, be clean, behave, bow. So if this rubs you the wrong way it serves its purpose. The dojo is not less sacred than the church or the mosque so we can't allow ourselves to view it that way when it comes to our attitude. In foreign lands we are strangers and guests, so it's good form to humble ourselves and learn the ways of the hosts. This is itself self-surrender; not for your self but for the other.
Talk about dojo etiquette as it related to YOUR DOJO ONLY! If you consider pro-social behaviors to facilitate "self-surrender" then it it assumes that the self is not capable of pro-social behaviors? To me, that is a bizarre assumption. This may come as a surprise to you, but a dojo IS NOT a religious institution and should not be treated as such. Being culturally sensitive and pro-social is NOT a form of self-surrender, but appropriate, autonomous actions of a person with a healthy sense of self and interpersonal skills.

Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Breaking the will of the ego will never be an acceptable practice to the ego. Self-surrender means letting go of fixed ideas, even good ones. It is my role as a teacher to point out these personal strongholds until they are all surrendered and given up. This is Aikido discipline. It is deeply spiritual.
You sound more like a cult leader than an Aikido instructor. If ANY one told me that a martial arts instructor was acting and speaking in this manner, I would tell them to not to join that dojo, or if he/she were already a student, leave ASAP! Your first post on "peace" I considered nothing more than someone "waxing poetic" about a topic with little real-life experience regarding the realities of peaceful and violent encounters. Your post is something that I find disturbing and needs to be talked about. I would be surprised to find even a good size minority of teachers who would support your views.

Marc Abrams
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