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Old 11-19-2004, 08:10 PM   #32
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Re: Aikido and Preserving Ego


I found the Okumura Shihan interview from Aikido Today Magazine. I cut it out so I don`t know the date. Some quotes:

"O`Sensei hated Zen. If he found that a student was practicing Zen, he would get very angry with that person."

"If O`Sensei had heard people refer to Aikido as `moving Zen` he would have been very upset."

The reason, I believe, is that Zen is fundamentally not a Japanese philosophy and contradicts the native spirit faith of Shinto. Like other nature based faiths, Shinto emphasizes the new. As an example, Buddhist priests in Japan are often proud of how old their temple is. In contrast, the main Shinto Shrine in Ise is completely torn down and completely rebuilt every 20 years. This is also why, according to a professor of mine at Keio University, Japanese people use throwaway chopsticks.

Also from the interview. "When (O`Sensei) did certain exercises, he would invoke the God of purification, but he himself said that we didn`t have to do the same. His view was that we should be thinking about whatever God or Gods are sacred to us."

As for Zen, I have come to understand that there are no principles of Zen. As I understand it, Zen is a transmission from a specific teacher to a specific student. If one does not have a teacher who has received transmission directly from her teacher, then that person is not practicing Zen.

Charles Hill
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