View Single Post
Old 06-21-2004, 02:49 PM   #20
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 168
Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Bowing is what you make it. However, that is a cerebral choice that you make.

The physical position of a bow is nothing. On point, look at the stretches that are in the same position - even seated stretches where you bend forward to the ground. In those cases, there is no question of if there is worship going on, because the mind has clearly made up that this is only a stretch and nothing more.


When bowing to shomen and to sensei (and in greeting/leaving a training partner), it is up to the mind to determine what is going on. If you feel like you are worshiping the high wall, or OSensei or your instructor, it is because you have chosen to inject this into the physical act of bowing. If, on the other hand, you feel like you are only showing respect to those that have gone before, then you are likewise injecting *that* into the bow. Personally, I find that the latter is much more in tune with the need and call for the bow in the first place, and that is where my mind is as I approach the ritual.

Of course, belief is not a conscious, active thing. You can't choose what you believe - not and have it be sincere on a philosophical level. So, if you feel that you are worshiping in your bow, then perhaps you are. I just wanted to point out that that may be something you are bringing into the bow yourself. Maybe that helps you see things differently; maybe that helps you clarify your beliefs. However, do what is right for you.

It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
  Reply With Quote