Mark Jewkes wrote:
Thanks for an interesting article.I agree with your conclusion: If you want some kind of Kensho, physical practice is not enough. But of course there are other possibilities than mentioned i your article. As O-Sensei said in one of his doka: "Do not overlook the truth that is right in front of you". In a society where Zen or Tibetan Buddhism is not available, how about investigating Christian spirituality - which according to my belief is a perfect addition to aikido...
Mine too, but there is such a wide variety of Christian beliefs that it's hard to make any sort of generalization regarding Christianity and aikido.
For that matter, it has been interesting reading about how people of Jewish or Islamic faith have approached aikido.
I'm Chrisitian, Lutheran, but I also consider myself a skeptical and open-minded person. My faith and religious concepts have been tested by life events, and by learning about other religious/philosophical concepts. So far, that has led to a more nuanced approach to my faith and how I apply my faith to my life.
I see aikido as one more challenge/opportunity to my faith and my daily life. There are aspects of aikido that fit very well with my understanding of Christianity, and there are conflicts.
One key, for me, is that I am a religious person who studies aikido. So I tend to see pretty much anything I do through the lense of my faith. On the other hand, I know of a few people who have found a religion that resonates with them through their study of aikido.
The question I have is whether a formal relationship between religion and aikido is a desireable thing? Toyoda sensei studied zen, and those who studied under him had the opportunity, but not (as I understand it, anyway) the obligation of doing the same.
I like having the opportunity to practice sitting and meditation. I like examining the ethical, social, and spiritual aspects of studying aikido.
OTOH, I'd be uncomfortable with an instructor who tied his or her own religious understanding to aikido. There was a recent thread about an instructor who practiced in a church and applied his own fundamentalist/evangelical concepts of Christianity to class. Going so far as to start and end class with a prayer.
That would make me uncomfortable.