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Old 12-11-2003, 01:39 PM   #12
Kensho Furuya
Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 341
I thought you might enjoy this essay: Sometimes The Same Is Not The Same, Different Is Not So Different:

In practice, it is easy to make conclusions by trying to lump things together because they appear to be similar and separating others because they appear different.

I was teaching a student one day, correcting his posture and hands for irimi-nage. "Both hands are extended with power projecting forward in the throw," I said and began to walk away.

"Oh," he said, "you mean like looking at the back of your hands?"

"No," I said, "like extending your power forward just as I said."

Although it might appear the same, a different name would give this a different meaning - meaning, in this case, an incorrect direction and usage of one's power. Extending one's power forward and looking at the back of one's hands - may appear the same on the outside, but it is not the same thing at all in practice.

Here is an example of two things which may appear to be totally unrelated but, in actuality, are very closely connected. Years ago, a visiting Zen priest once gave this talk which I like very much:

There was a small coastal village in Japan that prospered greatly by harvesting a delicious variety of shrimp which flourished in their little bay. The farming of this shrimp had gone on for generations of fishermen in this village and they all prospered and lived very well marketing this product.

One year, suddenly all of the shrimp had disappeared. No one knew why they had gone and the village fell into very bad times. It was really a big mystery because these shrimp had been here for so many hundreds of years.

Finally, a team of scientists from a nearby university were brought in to figure out this problem. After much research, the scientists found that the shrimp flourished on a type of plankton which only grew in these local waters. This plankton grew found nutrients and minerals which washed down into the sea from a nearby mountain.

A year previously, the village cut down all the trees on the mountain to sell the valuable wood for profit. With the trees gone, the soil lost its richness and none of this washed into the sea with the rains. Without this natural wash, the plankton did not grow and the shrimp disappeared.

No one ever imagined that trees growing on the top of a mountain had such a strong connection with tiny little shrimp at the bottom of the ocean. . . . .

Often in practice, things are strongly connected but it is not easy to see how they are connected until we advance in our training and experience. In the same way, things may look the same, but not be the same at all. The main point is to focus on practice and try to understand that everything is connected whether we can understand it easily or not.
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