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Old 05-22-2006, 11:28 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 53
the meaning...

Greetings everybody!

this is my first post here as a aikido beginner. i love both the physical as well as the philosophical aspects of the art, having taken it up to address some concerns with regards to my aggressive/destructive (both mental and physical) attitude.

recently came across the book titled "Aikido in everyday life" by Terry Dobson and Victor Miller. In chapter 2 on conflict, there is a tibetan poem at the start of the chapter. it goes like this -

"In the cold nothern waste
there is a mountain
a thousand miles long
a thousand miles high

Once each thousand years
a small bird
flies north
a small bird flies north to sharpen his beak
on the cold hard stone

When the mountain
is thusly worn down
one second of eternity
shall have passed"

Would anybody be able to tell me what this means? What is the significance of the whole poem - where does one second of eternity come in, how is it related to Conflict, etc. Has anyone ever heard any thoughts expressed by the authors regarding the poem?

Any feedback would be appreciated cause me n my girl are trying to come to an understanding of the poem. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
peter martin-browning
Dojo: sei ro kan, nottingham
Location: Nottingham
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 37
United Kingdom
Re: the meaning...

Dear Kong Seng Yuan

One way of understanding this poem is in its attempt to give a sense of how long eternity is. In some spiritual and philosophical traditions, studying the meaning of eternity is said to help the student find out his significance in the universe. Against the immensity of eternity, they would say, I am nothing. It is a way of guarding against pride.
There is another way of understanding this poem. It relates to the notion that given patience and diligence, it is possible for any one of us to overcome difficulties.
In addition, such poems can be a reminder that events we see as very significant and negative can be re-framed as less significant and negative if we see them against the perspective of eternity.
However, may I say how moved and heartened I was to hear that you have taken up aikido partly in order to address some issues. To consciously address how we relate to ourselves and others is tough work, and it does you much credit that you have chosen to do it.

At your service

Peter Martin-Browning
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Old 05-24-2006, 12:13 AM   #3
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,353
Re: the meaning...

1. Eternity is forever,
The amount of time it takes the bird to wear down the mountain is almost forever,
The amount of time you spend on conflicts is insignificant in comparison, so why bother having conflicts.

2. If the bird uses that much effort to do such a simple thing as sharpen his beak, how much effort should you use to not have conflicts.

3. The bird is wasting his time and effort in accomplishing a task that could be quicker and less effort if he uses a shorter mountain that is closer.

4. A koan to stop all rational thought, in which case I can do that better by trying to figure out where I put my cup of coffee.

Last edited by dps : 05-24-2006 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Re: the meaning...

It would seem like it would take a long time to wear down a mountain (the ego), but in the span of your total evolution (eternity) its only a moment. Discipline and patience overcomes conflict, internally and externally.

Or its about a really stubborn bird and a bad watch.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-24-2006, 05:15 PM   #5
Tennessee Mike
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 20
Re: the meaning...

The poem may have no meaning to regards to conflict except to the book's authors. In another view if the creator of the poem meant it to refer to conflict I can only take a slight stab at its intention and not being a bhuddist I can only apply what little I do know.
Conflict is dissonance with the universe otherwise not in harmony. The recycle of life is the bird's flight to reduce the dissonance. The time spent the resolution of that conflict is insignificant to the universe and resolution only has meaning to the bird.

Then it could be about a bird with obsessive compulsive disorder.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:42 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 53
Re: the meaning...

appreciate the feedback, thoughts and encouragement. fellow members please feel free to contribute your further thoughts regarding the poem. doesn't neccesarily have to be anything "profound", just curious about what y'all think. thanks
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