Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?
Okay; I believe and think he's not a "priest"; but what about this...
re: 2) Osensei as priest.
Here taking 'Priest' not necessarily as teacher/etc, but as interlocutor or interceding personality, ministering to the people.
This, I think, is addressed in E. Amdur's, Hidden In Plain Sight, pp 167-8.
I don't know how much doo-doo i'd be invoking if i typed out the full relevant sections but if i had my druthers; I'd repeat the section starting "Follow Me...or Not"
This is all I dare to quote:
"He [Ueshiba] says that all that is necessary is for the Byakko Shinko Kai members to pray with Goi, and he will take responsibility for the rest. "Goi Sensei is a Great Bridge given to human beings who connects numerous worlds we need to pass through in order to reach God". So , too was Ueshiba's relationship to his own followers.
My opinion and understanding: This suggests more than the role of a common layman/MA teacher; and closer to a religious leader/teacher/priest. Is it wrong?
This seemed relevant to the thread. I guess it can be viewed as a type of 'missionary', as per Charles, but that quote above, (and truthfully, the entire section in the book) put things in a different light than I had ever read before about these things. I don't mean to be contentious by posting this. Ellis' work was new and interesting and spoke about things I have wondered (often & deeply) about.