Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Spiritual

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-17-2006, 11:53 AM   #26
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Hi David,

Without disagreeing with many of the points you made, let me point out some small difficulties.

Untangling "academic study" and "engagement" is one of the central problems of anthropology and studies in comparative religion. In cases of esoteric practices that require initiation of some kind (and some of these are found in some strands of Shinto) the difficulty becomes even greater. How can a non-practicing "scholar" interpret texts or practices without the "interpretive key" conferred in the process of initiation(s)?

That question remains an issue actively debated by academics studying such matters and I'm not proposing a definitive answer.

With regard to the social construction of concepts and its relationship to power and history, I note in passing that the foundation of that line of scholarship rests on Marxist and neo-Marxist theories of materialistic historical processes along with Freudian psychoanalytic theory, both of which, the assertions of their proponents notwithstanding, may be reasonably construed as religions rather than as "scientific" or "empirically grounded" interpretive methods.

I am quite sympathetic to the scholarly necessity of carefully circumscribing truth claims. But that is a very different matter than asserting that scholars are necessarily not practitioners, or vice versa.

FL
These are great points Fred - thanks for bringing them up.

I would suggest that an anthropologist do so in a way similar to how a (good) historian must - contextualize his/her questions and answers.

For example, I do not feel that a historian needs to practice Aikido in order to understand how it is being understood by those that do practice it and/or the battles over such understandings. At the same time, the historian might not ever be able to say what Aikido is - since he/she does not practice it - but he/she will definitely be able to say what others that do practice it feel it is. Equally, if a historian does practice Aikido, and then goes on to say what it is, he/she reduces their position to just one of many - which another, better trained historian, is sure to pick up on.

For me, the issue of being initiated becomes relative only when it is related to information access. So I see it really as an "access to sources" problem and not really a matter of subjective insight. This is where I am coming from. As historians are trained, you know, one gets very use to "access to sources" problems. I would think historians face this problem even more than anthropologists, in fact. Sometimes, a lot of times, you then have to say, "Oh well, can't study that topic yet." Anthropologists would have to say the same thing too - when they cannot gain access to information and/or when they cannot have a trustworthy informant share such information. Regardless, information access issues will never make the subjective experience more than it is - one person's view captured by a field of local history and individual experience. Of course, in some circles, in relation to the unattainability of true objectivity, such subjective works are proving to be quite popular - just not for me. For example, if I were to write a piece on what Aikido is, I would never consider that piece to be more than what I think it is - and as such I would consider it to be in part wrong (since I'm leaving all that other stuff out that is not of my experience but that is definitely a part of Aikido as a historical phenomena).

As to your other comment, in my opinion, I would have to say that everyone following Marx is a neo-Marxist to some degree - this whether they like it or not, and this whether they are doing "empirical" and/or "scientific" research or not. Today, one is either acting with or reacting to Marx in one way or another. Additionally, I do not think that the human sciences can ever get away from matters of faith (e.g. belief in one's interpretative models, etc.), certainly not more than the hard sciences can (which also share a lot "religious" elements the higher up you go in research theories). For me, the issue is accuracy, and I understand that as establishing a consistency between what one sees and what one says - in most cases, learning to say no more than one sees.

However, maybe this is now getting a bit off topic. Or, perhaps, to tie it in... I could suggest that the breakdowns made above on the types of Shinto only appear to be useful - but only for someone that is not actually studying Shinto in practice. Why? Because, such breakdowns give the impression that one could find anywhere, at least somewhere, some agent (living or dead) that functioned according to them - when in fact there would be none. The amount of overlap is so varied and so high in most cases that it is not enough to offer a caveat concerning grey areas and then go on to use them. Such categories are going to blind more than they reveal. In my opinion, one is better served by letting go of them altogether - unless one wants to study those battles over defining "Shinto" as a word. In that case, they are very relative. In my opinion, if one wants to understand "Shinto" the concept, one can do so by taking on a locally specific context (in which case one will not come upon those terms references above being used by the agents - especially if one takes on a historical case). Alternately, one can opt to study the battles taking place today and perhaps throughout history concerning how to understand "Shinto" the word - in which case one is using such divisions as a topic for investigation and not as a tool of investigation.

On another way of returning to the thread...

Mal's teacher seems to be interested in providing his students with some experience regarding alternate religious practices - to gain some insight (perhaps) into his own tradition by gaining some insight into the practice of another. Man - none of what has been said here is going to do that for you Mal. Additionally, I wonder how much Shinto is open to such an exercise and/or how much Shinto scholarship has taken on such a task. If anything, I would suggest to stop trying to find "Shinto" proper and start looking at how folks are dancing with it - maybe even trying the dance yourself. An easy way of doing this, for the sake of your exercise, might be looking at the New Religions - even Omoto-kyo - and/or perhaps tying that into your Aikido experience. There are some of Osensei's writings on this topic at Aikido Journal (do an author search). And, I've even written a piece on such things here at this forum and at the Aikido Journal Reader Blog. Perhaps from these things you can see some tie-ins - some way of fulfilling your teachers wishes for the exercise in question.

Good luck.

And thanks again Fred. Your comments are very relative - very important to consider (always!). Like you, I have no definitive answer, only what I consider the most reasonable attempt at solving such issues.

take care,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2006, 01:25 PM   #27
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 614
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Thanks for the response David.

As somebody who tends to be very critical of interpretive strategies......(I'm not even going to try to stop myself from saying this).....that are then reified into ding an sich and themselves treated as independently existent objects of analysis, I welcome your well-placed skepticism about "categories" like state shinto, ritual shinto, shrine shinto, and ancestor shinto.

As we've seen in a number of past and current threads here and elsewhere, metaphor is a tricky thing.

These "categories" in my usage are less like distinct filing cabinets than they are like the differing images that a camera would produce of the same thing, in four successive shots using different filters. I'm certainly not arguing for the actual existence of discernably seperate "strands."

But I tend to forget that notions I take for granted such as the "emptiness of all dharmas" have yet to make much headway in this part of the world, so it's more than a bit likely that a whole realm of caveats that I take as given might entirely escape any reader of the thread, had you not pressed the point.

And I do very much like the dance metaphor. I hear rumors that Shiva does too.....

Best,

FL
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2006, 02:43 PM   #28
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Hi Fred,

Man - that sure would be cool to see/read - your filter approach to the same topic! I wonder if anyone has done that yet - taken one topic and looked it from such perspectives? Know of anything like that? But, boy, how much work would that be?!!!

Thanks,
take care,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2006, 04:33 PM   #29
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 614
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Rashomon comes to mind.

Most of the examples I could give are fiction. It could be done with a short ritual practice with many caveats about the sort of inherent "speculative/projective" elements that were required to give each perspective enough meat to seem satisfying.

But as with Rashomon, the point would not be establishing any one of the perspectives. Far from it. The point of that kind of exercise is precisely creating a compelling series of perspectives that cuts the ground out from any of them as definitive. At that point, questions of "what utility for what purpose at what time and place" take the foreground.

What I find interesting about East Asian ritual systems is the way in which they have developed (which I'm using consciously as opposed to "constructed") so as to allow more, rather than less, divergence in (here comes a bugbear) subjective meaning, as opposed to the more typical construction (which I'm using consciously as opposed to "developed") of Abrahamic systems in terms of orthodoxy and heresy (and yes, I do acknowledge counter-cases in both instances...).

But then, I'm the guy who shook his head in momentary stunned wonder and admiration when Donald Rumsfeld uttered his tetralemna regarding "known knowns, unknown knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns," so what do I know?

FL
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2006, 07:54 PM   #30
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Well that has been my only exposure to this as well - fiction. Right now I'm reading a book based on the Wizard of Oz but told from the witches perspective - amazing.

I love your take on this though. Seems so doable and so worthy a project. You got to let me know if you ever take it on and/or come across something in the human sciences where someone else takes it on.

Man - I'd love to see this done. It seems like it should have been something we should all do our first year in grad school. However, deep down, I truly wonder if historical data changes as much as methodologists would like us to believe simply due to the theory we use. I imagine there is much more resistance to "facts" than any theorist is likely to say or believe while in the midst of a philosophical discussion.

Very interesting ideas Fred - thanks for sharing.

dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2006, 06:51 PM   #31
RobertBrass
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: Gardiner, NY
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

I love Aikiweb. This is all so interesting and politely discussed. We are all so lucky to have this forum. It is quite unusual from what I have seen in fifteen years on-line. Thank you everyone.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2006, 09:54 PM   #32
nekobaka
Dojo: Washinkai (Kizu)
Location: Osaka
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 123
Japan
Offline
Re: Shintoism

wow, you guys are academic, so I'll keep it short.

in the edo period the government prohibited the creation of new temples and shrines and tried to reduce the number of existing ones. that's why now you can go to and see both in the same area. at one time they may have been separate, but since no one wants to stop "worshiping" a god/Buddha that was a way to get around the reductions.

for me personally when I go to a shrine with "power" it's a great spiritual experience. this doesn't mean they all have power. the power is a result the people who go their and how intent their "respect" is. I have a friend who is a medium/Buddhist nun, and she can see and communicate with the gods. One thing she does is go to a place where they are going to build, and communicate with the local gods. By showing respect, the gods in turn give protection. this, in my opinion, is the most important part of shinto.

sorry about over use of quotation marks, japanese concepts don't translate well, and these words don't really express it best.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2006, 12:27 PM   #33
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,505
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Most of the examples I could give are fiction. ... the sort of inherent "speculative/projective" elements that were required to give each perspective enough meat to seem satisfying. ... creating a compelling series of perspectives that cuts the ground out from any of them as definitive. At that point, questions of "what utility for what purpose at what time and place" take the foreground.
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Man - I'd love to see this done. It seems like it should have been something we should all do our first year in grad school. dmv
It' s been done. Alfred North Whitehead and Bertand Russell's Principia Mathematica pretty much destroyed the validity of argument from objectification of sense objects from a purely rational, empirical standpoint, elaborating the fundamental flaw in reason laid out in the Liar's Paradox. What is left is process phenomena.
Edmund Husserl took these ideas into the psycho-philosophical study of phenomenology. No less that Karol Wotylja (John Paul the Great) while still a bishop, took Husserls' work and fully theologized it within the Western tradition.

I agree as to the fundamental importance of these thoughts. Although the work on process philosophy/ theology is still unfamiliar to many despite being nearly a hundred years on, this is not novel ground, even in the West.

A precis of Whitehead's ideas is here:
http://www.philosophyprofessor.com/p...-whitehead.php

Husserl's phenomenology here:
http://www.phenomenologycenter.org/phenom.htm

And John Paul II's personalism and its significance described, here:
http://www.nfpoutreach.org/Hogan_Theology_%20Body1.htm

the Theology of the Body, itself here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

For us here, in discussing aiki principles and budo, the relevant point is that John Paul's personalism explores the body considered as process of loving intimacy. The body can also be explored as an process of struggle against material limitation or conflict, e.g. --budo, jihad (struggle).

O-Sensei's statement that "True Budo is love," could hardly be more apt, or cautionary in its fundamental significance.
Bitter conflict and loving intimacy are often complements of one another, happy or unhappy, as the case may be. Shakespeare made an eternal reputation for himself from plowing this rich field. The tempestuous relationship between Ares and Aphrodite has never ceased. Venus has been known to be more fickle and vicious even than Mars.

The precise topic of sexual intimacy is of less relevance than John Paul's careful example of the process used in exploring it. Physical conflict involves the integrity and essence of the human "person" nearly as much as sex. Love begins with Self encountering Other and succeeds to the extent that the self encompasses both Me and Thee; Conflict orbits the same unreconciled distinction.

This approach should be as valid in Christian theological practice, Islamic exercises in ijtihad (reasoned judgments (fatwa) from Koranic statements), in exploring the meaning of Dharma-kaya. This is equally so with Shinto apotheosis, divinizing the personal and mundane, a process concept with deep connections to Christian thoughts about the implications of Incarnation.

Rich fields, indeed.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-27-2006 at 12:37 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2006, 12:53 PM   #34
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Erik,

Yes, the idea has been around for a long time, and of course, the argument has been presented and "proved" in any number of fields, etc., - totally agree. However, we were wondering if anyone from history or from anthropology (or even sociology, etc.) had taken a single topic/subject and looked at it from two or more "competing" interpretative models for the sake of showing how two different models yeild different, even contradictory, conclusions, etc. Do you happen to know of any works that fit that bill? If so, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could pass the title along.

Thanks in advance,
take care,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2006, 02:27 PM   #35
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,505
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
we were wondering if anyone from history or from anthropology (or even sociology, etc.) had taken a single topic/subject and looked at it from two or more "competing" interpretative models for the sake of showing how two different models yeild different, even contradictory, conclusions, etc. dmv
As for a single person doing so, I do not know. As for otherwise like-thinking people coming to contradictory conclusions from the same irreducible objective principles, the examples are many. A good example occurs among Libertarians.

If it is understood from the get-go, that I raise the topic in itself not for purposes of the content but the analytic comparison, consider the differing Libertarian stance(s) on abortion.

Libertarian thinking is premised on a basic moral value "Non-intitiation of force by one person over another person." A very "aiki" sort of stance to take.

Who is a person? Depending on your answer to this question -- a fetus -- is /is not -- a person The simple principle above is applied at complete odds with itself in the resulting action dictated.

If the fetus is not a person, then it is an illegitimate initiation of force to interfere in a woman's decision to abort a pregnancy.

If the fetus is a person, then the abortion itself is an illegitimate initiation of force against this person.

(I will not elaborate the side arguments on compromise line-drawing -- arbitrary or principled.)

Each of the contemplated forceful acts is thus legitimate or illegitimate, completely depending upon the question of personhood. The issue is not further reducible by objective means.
Both positions are equal in the presence/lack of social construct involved --- which also depends on one's view of "person."

Which shows that our concept of personhood is devoid of objective content. (Whitehead would have approved this example, BTW.)

The less negative way to put the statement that "persons are not objective constructs" is:: "All persons are Subjects."

That observation does not end the discussion, however, for we have yet to apprehend the incidents and source of the Subjective content that informs both views. The implications that flow from that debate are manifold.

Or to put it another way, "Who is uke? -- Who is nage?"

Is this the kind of thing you meant?

Cordially,
Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2006, 04:10 PM   #36
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Hi Erick,

Like I said, I realize this stuff goes all over the place, and all the way back to at least the formulation of the Yogacara position (as a kind of sophisticated and systematized philosophy), etc. Additionally, I realize that folks in the human sciences address these various ideas at the level of methodology, etc. It's just that in talking to Fred, I realized that I've never seen one person take on one topic via varying methods to see if actual data is in fact so open to subjective interpretation (as the field of methodology often implies). Hence, why I was asking if you heard of such a study yourself.

Thanks though for replying,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2006, 04:29 PM   #37
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,505
United_States
Offline
Re: Shintoism

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
I've never seen one person take on one topic via varying methods to see if actual data is in fact so open to subjective interpretation (as the field of methodology often implies). Hence, why I was asking if you heard of such a study yourself.
Methodology as a field -- as opposed to? ... study of "method" versus study of ... ?

I do not necessarily agree with the premise as to the utter malleability of fact, but even so, I am curious as to what form of knowledge or inquiry you posit may more readily avoid the admitted rational paradox of method.

After all, a sword is a tool -- but a rotten shovel.

What serves as your shovel ?

Cordially,
Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Long Island Asian Studies Center - Classes: Aiki Budo/Chi Gong/Tai Chi, Author of: Searching For O'Sensei



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Claping? Ta Kung General 29 08-26-2001 02:28 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:52 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate