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Old 04-19-2008, 04:16 PM   #1
Tony Sova
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Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Greetings and Sh'lama (peace),

It is a pleasure and honor to be here. Here is a quote that I would like to explore:

"The earth was born from the universe and those who flourish in that life-giving environment can directly become one with nature. They never oppose natural law," - (What is Aikido?;by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Third Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba)

It appears that Aikido philosophy is rooted in a form of non-dualism. I am a dualist and as such I see two opposing forces of nature operating within the world, those of Light and of Darkness and never twain shall the two meet. Organic Nature is in and of itself harsh, cruel, chaotic, competitive, self-serving and merciless. This is Darkness. Most Martial Arts reflect these inferior qualities and the organic consciousness of the individuals that created them. In retrospect where Organic Nature is harsh the spirit is gentle; where it is cruel the spirit is caring; where it is chaotic the spirit is harmonious; where it is competitive the spirit is co-operative; where it is self-serving the spirit is self-sacrificing; where it is merciless the spirit is compassionate. The world is largely an admixture of these two opposing forces and as a dualist I am ever seeking to separate the two so as to align myself with the Light - the primordial origin of my spirit. In this respect I am in opposition to natural law (Darkness) in favor of spiritual law (Light). The Spirit is Light and according to my understanding Aikido appears to be characteristically aligned with the principles of Light. This brings a question to mind: can I as a dualist find success in Aikido when I aspire to separate myself from rather than becoming one with a world that is malign in nature?

In the Name of the Great Life,

- Tony

"When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside of you"
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
Jonathan
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Quote:
"When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside of you"
If you really believe this, then, being God, you already know the answer to your question. ;D

Quote:
Organic Nature is in and of itself harsh, cruel, chaotic, competitive, self-serving and merciless.
But it is not only these things. It is also beautiful, complex, delicately balanced, subtle, powerful, etc.

What is "the spirit" you're writing of? You say it is "light" and describe its characteristics, but you don't say, precisely, what it is.

Quote:
This brings a question to mind: can I as a dualist find success in Aikido when I aspire to separate myself from rather than becoming one with a world that is malign in nature?
Why don't you try it out and let us know how it goes?

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:51 PM   #3
Tony Sova
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Greetings Jonathan,

Thank you for your response!

You said: "If you really believe this, then, being God, you already know the answer to your question."

Understanding the Content of O'Sensei's beliefs (I was quoting him) I would say that the quote does not imply that I am God quantitatively speaking, but, rather, more so a part of God qualitatively.

You said: "But it is not only these things. It is also beautiful, complex, delicately balanced, subtle, powerful, etc."

A clear understanding of evolutionary theory tells a different story, that nature is wasteful, inefficient, and imperfect. Hardly worthy of veneration from my perspective.

You said: "What is "the spirit" you're writing of? You say it is "light" and describe its characteristics, but you don't say, precisely, what it is."

Yes, I was deliberately trying to express my beliefs in generalizations without revealing their religious origins. I am a Gnostic, specifically a Nazorean of the Magussaean Gnosis originating within the ancient Aramaean-Chaldean mileau of the pre-Assyrian Empire. Spirit then is the immaterial aspect of humanity that is trapped in this material world and manifests itself as Consciousness. Light is but a symbol of this meta-physical concept.

You said: "Why don't you try it out and let us know how it goes?"

A good suggestion but to 'try it out' requires an investment or certain amount of 'faith' in its perspective value. It is unwise to marry someone without having gotten to know them first through the gradual cultivation of a relationship. Likewise I prefer to get to know Aikido through undertstanding its philosophy so as to determine whether it is worth taking it further.

I do not seek to engage in it for self-defense, though I am sure it has something to offer in this regard, but, rather, for its spiritual application within a physical context so as to enhance my approach to the grappling arts of which I engage in. It is O'Sensei's spiritual potency that has drawn me to its manifest expression in the form of Aikido.

Thank you for taking an interest in my post.

Sincerely,

- Tony

"When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside of you."

Last edited by Tony Sova : 04-19-2008 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:44 PM   #4
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Quote:
Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Greetings and Sh'lama (peace),

It is a pleasure and honor to be here. Here is a quote that I would like to explore:

"The earth was born from the universe and those who flourish in that life-giving environment can directly become one with nature. They never oppose natural law," - (What is Aikido?;by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Third Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba)

It appears that Aikido philosophy is rooted in a form of non-dualism. I am a dualist and as such I see two opposing forces of nature operating within the world, those of Light and of Darkness and never twain shall the two meet.[/i]
I suppose it depends on what it is you're trying to be sucessfull at. Certainly a person can find something useful in Aikido regardless of their philosophical bent. What you're talking about seems largely a matter of perspective...how you organize the world around you. And while for all I know that may affect your training, I don't know how. There are plenty of Christian Aikidoka who seem to find Aikido providing some level of success for them and they certainly often believe in the light/dark duality.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:34 PM   #5
Jonathan
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Quote:
A clear understanding of evolutionary theory tells a different story, that nature is wasteful, inefficient, and imperfect. Hardly worthy of veneration from my perspective.
As much as I'd like to discuss the significant flaws in the Evolutionary Theory with you, this doesn't seem to be the place to do so.

I wouldn't urge "veneration" of Nature, but even in spite of your objections, admiration certainly seems warranted. I can't look at a blazing sunset and say, "Yeesh! What a waste!" or watch a cheetah running and think, "He shoulda' been born with wheels, not legs!" No, instead, I find myself staring at the vast expanses of stars that fill the night sky and feeling very much in awe.

Quote:
Yes, I was deliberately trying to express my beliefs in generalizations without revealing their religious origins. I am a Gnostic, specifically a Nazorean of the Magussaean Gnosis originating within the ancient Aramaean-Chaldean mileau of the pre-Assyrian Empire.
Goodness! That's a mouthful! Sounds almost aristocratic!

Quote:
Spirit then is the immaterial aspect of humanity that is trapped in this material world and manifests itself as Consciousness. Light is but a symbol of this meta-physical concept.
Ah, I see. You mean what others refer to as the human soul. I probably could have got that without the Gnostic lineage thing.

Quote:
A good suggestion but to 'try it out' requires an investment or certain amount of 'faith' in its perspective value. It is unwise to marry someone without having gotten to know them first through the gradual cultivation of a relationship. Likewise I prefer to get to know Aikido through undertstanding its philosophy so as to determine whether it is worth taking it further.
For myself, the religious stuff that O-Sensei was into I ignore entirely as I practice Aikido. The philosophical idea of harmony and peace with people, however, is a prime factor in my training. Am I doing Aikido if I'm not a follower of Omoto-kyo, or adhere to some oriental, dualistic religion like O-Sensei? I think so, and so do most of his direct students. My point is, if you want to inform yourself about the religious ideas held by O-Sensei, practicing Aikido may not be the best way to do so. Very few Aikido instructors will make any reference to O-Sensei's religious views at all. If you want to "marry" into O-Sensei's religious beliefs, get to know those beliefs through books on the subject, not practice of Aikido.

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Thank you for taking an interest in my post.
You're welcome!

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Old 04-19-2008, 09:30 PM   #6
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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can I as a dualist find success in Aikido when I aspire to separate myself from rather than becoming one with a world that is malign in nature?
IMHO, yes. Physically practice with the spiritual intent you profess and you should be just fine. Many people find success in Aikido without religiously converting to Shinto/Omoto. Get on the mat and enjoy yourself. Welcome.

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 04-20-2008, 12:20 PM   #7
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Organic Nature is in and of itself harsh, cruel, chaotic, competitive, self-serving and merciless. This is Darkness.
Do you not see the light? "Organic Nature" is the giver of our lives as well.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:39 PM   #8
Michael Douglas
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Dang, I thought he said 'duellist', I was hoping for some swordy swordy action.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Dang, I thought he said 'duellist', I was hoping for some swordy swordy action.
funny
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:46 PM   #10
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Greetings and Sh'lama (peace),

It is a pleasure and honor to be here. Here is a quote that I would like to explore:

"The earth was born from the universe and those who flourish in that life-giving environment can directly become one with nature. They never oppose natural law," - (What is Aikido?;by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Third Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba)

It appears that Aikido philosophy is rooted in a form of non-dualism. I am a dualist and as such I see two opposing forces of nature operating within the world, those of Light and of Darkness and never twain shall the two meet. Organic Nature is in and of itself harsh, cruel, chaotic, competitive, self-serving and merciless. This is Darkness. Most Martial Arts reflect these inferior qualities and the organic consciousness of the individuals that created them. In retrospect where Organic Nature is harsh the spirit is gentle; where it is cruel the spirit is caring; where it is chaotic the spirit is harmonious; where it is competitive the spirit is co-operative; where it is self-serving the spirit is self-sacrificing; where it is merciless the spirit is compassionate. The world is largely an admixture of these two opposing forces and as a dualist I am ever seeking to separate the two so as to align myself with the Light - the primordial origin of my spirit. In this respect I am in opposition to natural law (Darkness) in favor of spiritual law (Light). The Spirit is Light and according to my understanding Aikido appears to be characteristically aligned with the principles of Light. This brings a question to mind: can I as a dualist find success in Aikido when I aspire to separate myself from rather than becoming one with a world that is malign in nature?

In the Name of the Great Life,

- Tony

"When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside of you"
One part enters, one part retreats. Normally we call it tenkan.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:26 PM   #11
HarlieG
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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A good suggestion but to 'try it out' requires an investment or certain amount of 'faith' in its perspective value. It is unwise to marry someone without having gotten to know them first through the gradual cultivation of a relationship. Likewise I prefer to get to know Aikido through undertstanding its philosophy so as to determine whether it is worth taking it further.

I do not seek to engage in it for self-defense, though I am sure it has something to offer in this regard, but, rather, for its spiritual application within a physical context so as to enhance my approach to the grappling arts of which I engage in. It is O'Sensei's spiritual potency that has drawn me to its manifest expression in the form of Aikido.
For myself, I find it hard to separate the 'spiritual' side of aikido from the physical practice. Thus if you really want to find out, you are going to have to try it.....just reading about it or typing about it on the internet isn't going to lead you anywhere.....
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:46 AM   #12
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post

Yes, I was deliberately trying to express my beliefs in generalizations without revealing their religious origins. I am a Gnostic, specifically a Nazorean of the Magussaean Gnosis originating within the ancient Aramaean-Chaldean mileau of the pre-Assyrian Empire. Spirit then is the immaterial aspect of humanity that is trapped in this material world and manifests itself as Consciousness. Light is but a symbol of this meta-physical concept.
Damn, I thought you guys disappeared after the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade...

Anyway, obviously you can practice Aikido but I don't see any possibility that you could understand the Founder's Aikido from your spiritual perspective. For the Founder, conflict is an illusion caused by a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Universe. The source of all creation was a single unified source. Manifest creation comes from the interaction of fire and water (yin / yang or in / yo). Opposites always exist as movement, part of the kokyu of the universe but they are not at war with each other and there is no opposition.

So, the conflict of which you speak, the fundamental opposition of light and dark doesn't exist in Aikido and, in fact, the art is based on reconciling these opposites. The Kannagara no Michi or Way of the Kami is about purifying ones own spirit to the point at which ones will is brought into accord with the Kami. In this state there is no conflict.

Frankly, I think your way of thinking is opposed to the spirit of Aikido as I currently understand what the Founder had in mind. I don't think it would make any difference in your practice initially but I think that in thirty or forty years of training your Aikido would necessarily become something different from what someone's practice might be who was more in line with the Founder's viewpoint (and the vast majority of Asian spiritual tradition).

George S. Ledyard
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Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:56 PM   #13
dragonteeth
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Okay I'm gonna go waayyyy out on a limb here, and hopefully won't have to practice any virtual ukemi. My knowledge of Gnostic beliefs stems more from the amateur study of early Christian history and the alternative religious texts and sects floating around at that time, and as such is very rudimentary.

That said, please allow me to quote from the 32 Fold Confession of the Order of Nazorean Essenes.

New Moon

I. If, O Great Life, we have sinned in any way against the five kinds of living beings: the two-legged, four-legged, those that fly, those in the waters, or those that crawl on their bellies -- if we should have hurt or frightened them, stolen or used their milk, eggs, or body parts in any manner, participated in the preparing, serving or eating of their flesh or oozings, or benefited directly or indirectly from their death or torture - then we now, O Great Life, pray to be forgiven.


My (again amateur) understanding of O Sensei's ideas of being in harmony with nature is that of protecting nature, living in harmony with it rather than destroying it, and seeking to live in harmony with others around us. If one honors nature and living things the way the above confession indicates, I don't see how that is in conflict with O Sensei's teachings on harmony with nature, except that to my knowledge he did not go to that extreme. One of the 32 Commandments of the Order forbids contamination, including the contamination of the environment. Again, I see that as perfectly in line with what O Sensei taught and what others after him have also said. I do have to ask in sheer ignorance and honest curiosity, however - if nature is so evil and the natural world was created by dark forces deserving of no reverence, then why do you seem to have laws and confessions that seem to hold the earth and all of its life in such high regard?

When I think about aikido and religion (especially in regards to my own odd little Zen Christian thoughts), oddly enough a commercial comes to mind. Do you remember a few years ago when BASF was running a series of commercials to build their brand identity and awareness? They'd say things like "We don't make the snowboard, we make it faster," "we don't make the paint, we make it brighter," etc. That's how I look at aikido. Aikido does not make the religion. Aikido makes it stronger, brighter, harmonious, deeper, whether you're Shinto, Christian, Buddhist, athiest/humanist, or whatever. Take from aikido that which makes your faith stronger and your life more enlightening and fulfilling, then smile and nod at the rest of it. I think that's what most of us do anyway.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:38 PM   #14
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
My (again amateur) understanding of O Sensei's ideas of being in harmony with nature is that of protecting nature, living in harmony with it rather than destroying it, and seeking to live in harmony with others around us.
...When I think about aikido and religion...Aikido makes it stronger, brighter, harmonious, deeper, whether you're Shinto, Christian, Buddhist, athiest/humanist, or whatever. Take from aikido that which makes your faith stronger and your life more enlightening and fulfilling, then smile and nod at the rest of it. I think that's what most of us do anyway.
That's very much in line with my own (amateur) understanding as well. The only possible conflict I can see is one of perception regarding the fundemental nature of existance: whether or not it's a duality or a singularity at its most fundemental level. As an agnostic, I'm not sure that's a knowable/applicable set of information, but the practical applications of harmonizing/joining/entering seem to apply pretty readily to an enormous range of relationships. It's that aspect which I think makes Aikido so universal. Like Sensei Ledyard said, it may make a difference later on down the road, but I think the bulk of one's Aikido training would probably be pretty useful.
As a side note, I know of several Christians who practice Shinto (not unlike your own Zen Christian description I imagine) and find it profoundly complimentary. In the same way I imagine a dualist can appreciate a Natural philosophy.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:41 PM   #15
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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A clear understanding of evolutionary theory tells a different story, that nature is wasteful, inefficient, and imperfect. Hardly worthy of veneration from my perspective.
Or, the Source of Nature is profligate, abundant and given to revel in excess, and innumerable inventions --- some which might even work ...

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
... I am a Gnostic, specifically a Nazorean of the Magussaean Gnosis originating within the ancient Aramaean-Chaldean mileau of the pre-Assyrian Empire. Spirit then is the immaterial aspect of humanity that is trapped in this material world and manifests itself as Consciousness. Light is but a symbol of this meta-physical concept.
Oh Mani, we hardly knew ye ...

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Likewise I prefer to get to know Aikido through undertstanding its philosophy so as to determine whether it is worth taking it further.
NOT possible. The only way to understand the spirit of Aikido is to DO the carnal action of aikido ( .. ooh that sounds -- naughty -- (except it isn't)) Aikido is a profoundly embodied spirit -- I would say ..., incarnational, even.

Unfortunately for you, you cannot make the spiritual judgment of it unless you have the physical experience of it. Now, if you were presuppose, as all good dualists must, that all physicality is opposed to the Light, then you must reject aikido out of hand (indeed, you must reject all grappling arts or other physical self-defense as evil per se). (Where is a Bogomil when you need one ? Oh wait, they all died or converted. )

If you dismiss this spirituality in advance of experiencing it -- then you have made a judgment without the key facts. But, since the spirit of aikido can only be understood through the body, merely trying it acknowledges that something spiritual can only be understood through a physical instrumentality, which denies dualism.

Some days it is perilous to get out of bed, and ponder the theological implications of one's cup of coffee.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-21-2008 at 04:46 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:36 PM   #16
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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NOT possible. The only way to understand the spirit of Aikido is to DO...aikido...Aikido is a profoundly embodied spirit...
I would agree that doing Aikido is the best way of knowing it, but I'm not convinced the only way to achieve an understanding of it (which exists as a graduated thing) is through doing it. One can gain some understanding through contemplation of familiar concepts. For example I understood aspects of Aikido long before I learned of the proper noun. Part of the reason I began studying it was because it already made sense to me (ie-the basic philosophy fit with my preexisting perceptions). Over time that's only been reinforced as that understanding has deepened through the actual practice (though I still consider myself to be wading in the shallow end of the proverbial pool of understanding).

Quote:
But, since the spirit of aikido can only be understood through the body, merely trying it acknowledges that something spiritual can only be understood through a physical instrumentality, which denies dualism.
Insofaras experience itself is a physical thing (perception being filtered through the physical brain and senses) I'm not sure this brand of dualism takes all physicality to be bad (thus it's not necessarily a denial of learning by doing), but rather that it tends toward the bad, allowing for the idea that some virtue may be gleaned through the physical...though to be honest I'm not familiar with the original poster's school of thought. My understanding of gnosticism is that it is more of a mystical approach, which demands direct interaction with virtue in order to understand it (as opposed to revelatory practices in which someone tells you what is and is not good).

Last edited by mathewjgano : 04-21-2008 at 05:38 PM.

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Old 04-21-2008, 05:54 PM   #17
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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... As a side note, I know of several Christians who practice Shinto (not unlike your own Zen Christian description I imagine) and find it profoundly complimentary. In the same way I imagine a dualist can appreciate a Natural philosophy.
I doubt it. Shinto thought is very non-dual, even apart from Buddhist influence. The Shinto understanding of kami is that they are all attached to particular mono "things," -- save only the Shinto creator "trinity" who are deemed to be "hidden." Those are: Ame no Minakanushi no Kami, Takamimusubi no Kami, and Kamimusubi no Kami. The first is the "Lord of the Center of Heaven," and the latter two of which respectively have charge of the visible and invisible aspects of creation. Not so far off actually, from God, the Father Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Incarnate Son (through whom all things were made), and the Holy Ghost ("the Lord, the giver of life", the "divine spark"). O Sensei, several times, made this quite explicit, referring to the kotodama ("word spirit") of Creation "Su" as denoting "the Lord" and as referring to "the Logos" -- the divine "Word" of creation in Christian theology. He even made refernce to to the spirit of "aiki" being identified with the Archangel (kami?) St. Michael's appearance in the Book of Daniel.

That basic debate about deep consonance between beliefs has been going on -- in Japan -- since before Norinaga wrote Kojiki-Den. Several native authors in the Nineteenth century Nativist revival (Kokugaku) believed Japan to have an independent source of ancient revelation -- long prior to that of St. Francis Xavier, even -- that is nonetheless consistent with substantial aspects of the Christian understanding of divine truth. There is nothing in the teaching of the Church that precludes this being a reality, and several dogmatic doctrines assume it to be universally true of all human cultures, to greater or lesser extent, in any given case. .

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:25 PM   #18
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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I doubt it.
You doubt that there are folks who find Christianity and Shinto to be complimentary?

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Shinto thought is very non-dual
,
My understanding is that duality can be viewed as a relationship existing within the singularity that is existance.

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...Not so far off actually, from God, the Father Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Incarnate Son (through whom all things were made), and the Holy Ghost ("the Lord, the giver of life", the "divine spark"). O Sensei, several times, made this quite explicit, referring to the kotodama ("word spirit") of Creation "Su" as denoting "the Lord" and as referring to "the Logos" -- the divine "Word" of creation in Christian theology. He even made refernce to to the spirit of "aiki" being identified with the Archangel (kami?) St. Michael's appearance in the Book of Daniel.
How does this contend with my assertion that a dualistic paradigm like Christianity tends to be can be complimentary with a non-dualistic one like Shinto? You seem to be agreeing with me and doubting me at the same time.
Sorry if I'm missing something.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 04-21-2008, 06:51 PM   #19
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
You doubt that there are folks who find Christianity and Shinto to be complimentary? ... You seem to be agreeing with me and doubting me at the same time. How does this contend with my assertion that a dualistic paradigm like Christianity tends to be can be complimentary with a non-dualistic one like Shinto?.. Sorry if I'm missing something.
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In the same way I imagine a dualist can appreciate a Natural philosophy.
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I doubt it.
Does that help?

Christianity is not dualistic:

"For in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
Paul was quoting Epimenides, actually.

This can be seen most clearly in looking at Gnosticism, by contrast, which very much is.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-21-2008 at 06:59 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:48 AM   #20
Tony Sova
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

Greetings and Sh’lama (Peace),

Thank you all for taking the time to give me your opinions on my question I truly appreciate it.

Sensei Ledyard said: “Damn, I thought you guys disappeared after the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade...”

Ah yes, we are a determined bunch. Yet can that which is infinite ever truly disappear ?

Sensei Ledyard said: “So, the conflict of which you speak, the fundamental opposition of light and dark doesn't exist in Aikido and, in fact, the art is based on reconciling these opposites.”

This is good to know. The Nazorean perspective is that the two are irreconcilable and as such we seek to extirpate the darkness from the Light so that we may actualize our inherent divinity and attain union with God.

Sensei Ledyard said: “Frankly, I think your way of thinking is opposed to the spirit of Aikido as I currently understand what the Founder had in mind.”

Perhaps on this important point my view is in opposition to the founders yet there are other beliefs that we have in common. Many of his views are quite ‘Gnostic’ in character.
******************************************************************************

Lori Snidow said: “I do have to ask in sheer ignorance and honest curiosity, however - if nature is so evil and the natural world was created by dark forces deserving of no reverence, then why do you seem to have laws and confessions that seem to hold the earth and all of its life in such high regard?”

I’m truly impressed! Though I am affliated with O:N:E my views are not in direct accordance with theirs. To clarify – It is not organic matter that is evil, a point that I did not specify and elaborate on in my previous post, and a form of dualism that often gets confused with the academic understanding of Manichaean dualism, but, rather, it is ‘hyle’ or psychic energy that is most vulnerable to dark influence. When I speak of Nature it is in the qualitative sense meaning whose nature. Thus according to the Nazorean perspective we are here to experience this dark world in order to help us better grasp and appreciate the benevolent nature of the Living God and subsequently our own divine nature. We hold all life in high regard because that is a characteristic of benevolence- the divine quality of our Spirits.

Lori Snidow said: “Aikido does not make the religion. Aikido makes it stronger, brighter, harmonious, deeper, whether you're Shinto, Christian, Buddhist, athiest/humanist, or whatever. Take from aikido that which makes your faith stronger and your life more enlightening and fulfilling, then smile and nod at the rest of it. I think that's what most of us do anyway. ”

That is good advice, thank you. In many ways I feel that my dualistic beliefs actually enhance many of O’Sensei’s spiritual teachings.
******************************************************************************

Erick Mead said: “Or, the Source of Nature is profligate, abundant and given to revel in excess, and innumerable inventions --- some which might even work ...”

Indeed, the anatomical perfection of a carnivore works quite well for its intended purpose – killing. A mind that could conceive of such an ‘invention’ as you say must be malignant in nature.

Erick Mead said: “Oh Mani, we hardly knew ye ...”

Clever, but Chaldean Magussaeanism pre-dates Mani by several millennia.

Erick Mead said: “Unfortunately for you, you cannot make the spiritual judgment of it unless you have the physical experience of it.”

That is incorrect. If the philosophy behind it is flawed there would be no need to go any further to make a ‘spiritual’ judgment of it.

Erick Mead: “Now, if you were presuppose, as all good dualists must, that all physicality is opposed to the Light,”

Contrary to your belief it is not a pre-requisite for a dualist to believe ‘that all physicality is opposed to the Light’. Physicality (matter) in and of itself is neutral in my view.

Eric Mead said: ”But, since the spirit of aikido can only be understood through the body, merely trying it acknowledges that something spiritual can only be understood through a physical instrumentality, which denies dualism.”

You mistakenly presuppose “that something spiritual can only be understood through a physical instrumentality”. Enlightenment is not attained through the body i.e. the senses, but, more correctly through the spirit that inhabits the body. Without the spirit the physical body is useless which actually confirms dualism my friend.

Erick Mead said: “Some days it is perilous to get out of bed, and ponder the theological implications of one's cup of coffee.”

I’d switch to green tea if I were you. It’s high in anti-oxidants.

Regards,

- Tony
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:53 AM   #21
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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The Nazorean perspective is that the two are irreconcilable and as such we seek to extirpate the darkness from the Light ... Many of his views are quite ‘Gnostic' in character. ...To clarify -- It is not organic matter that is evil, ... but, rather, it is ‘hyle' or psychic energy that is most vulnerable to dark influence. When I speak of Nature it is in the qualitative sense meaning whose nature.
This discussion is worthwhile because it makes explicit an implicit dualism that underlies many problems in thinking about aikido. And that is precisely the dualism of which I speak -- good versus evil spirit-- in Christian teaching there is no independent existence of evil -- darkness is defined only by the privation of light. And so it is for Ueshiba of Aikido:

Quote:
"There is no discord in love. There is no enemy of love. A mind of discord, thinking of the existence of an enemy is no more consistent with the will of the kami."

"Good and evil beings are all one united family in the world. Aikido leaves out any attachment. Aikido does not call relative affairs good or evil. Aikido keeps all beings in constant growth and development and serves for the completion of the universe."
O Sensei's views are NOT gnostic. There is NO secret knowledge to be imparted -- you just have train honestly in the basics of the art -- and be mindful of WHAT you are DOING when you are doing it.
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O Sensei wrote:
" "In these teachings listen most to the rhythm of the strike and thrust, to train in the basics (omote), is to practice the very secrets of the art." "Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere." Progress? When you have trained and when you have the unseen things, look not for "Secret Teachings" for all is there, before your eyes.""This is not mere theory. You practice it. Then you will accept the great power of oneness with Nature."
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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Erick Mead said: "Or, the Source of Nature is profligate, abundant and given to revel in excess, and innumerable inventions --- some which might even work ..."

Indeed, the anatomical perfection of a carnivore works quite well for its intended purpose -- killing. A mind that could conceive of such an ‘invention' as you say must be malignant in nature.
No, merely that my individual understanding of death and suffering are not adequate to the task. Even Buddhism recognizes this. The problem is not malignant intent -- but creativity in the context of finitude. Were the wolf to leave the sheep unmolested, there would be sheep without limitation. They would consume their finite fodder. Then there would be no fodder, no sheep -- and no wolf.

Aikido lives in the heart of this problem -- engendering creativity in the narrowest and most significant circumstance of active attack. It is of necessity both dark and light. It is both sheep and wolf. Or if you prefer it as the Psalmist says -- "The night and the day are both alike."

Darkness has a purpose -- only in the context of light. We are unable to perceive the depth in reality without the shadows that bring it into relief. It brings things into relief -- from a perspective of limited two dimensional view we can perceive, if imperfectly, the further depth of form and reality that exists beyond our direct perception.

The shadows cast as the light moves on its subject place some things now in light -- and now in shadow. But the fault is neither in the light nor the shadow framed nor in the subject but in our limited perception. We can try to turn our backs to the source of the light, whether from disregard of it -- or in a misguided attempt to see in the same way as the source sees -- directly and therefore without shadow. But then we see only the shadow our own form casts in front of us. We cannot cast our own light.

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Erick Mead said: "Unfortunately for you, you cannot make the spiritual judgment of it unless you have the physical experience of it."

That is incorrect. If the philosophy behind it is flawed there would be no need to go any further to make a ‘spiritual' judgment of it.
Really? I give witness and simply tell you, whether you choose to believe me or not, the philosophy of Aikido does not exist in words that you may adequately comprehend unless you first have a depth of experience in the action it refers to.

Aiki is a primary quality of perception -- even though a subtle one -- it is not a derivative or abstracted aspect amenable to purely philosophical appreciation -- at least not until you have perceived it. You may as well say that one can understand the taste of absinthe, philosophically, without ever tasting it, and without having had a less complex mere anisette to contrast it with.

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Contrary to your belief it is not a pre-requisite for a dualist to believe ‘that all physicality is opposed to the Light'. Physicality (matter) in and of itself is neutral in my view.
Or they are of one substance and fundamentally good, though in need of serious repair and reconnection. On this, O Sensei and Christianity are clearly in one accord.

The understanding of Ki -- which in Aikido is a physical understanding -- I will emphasize -- there is light ki and heavy ki. In Chinese thought, one makes physical light and the other makes solid matter. And everything in between is in mixtures of them -- in-yo. In terms of physics it is wave-forms. Thus, visible or invisible, I have one thing that explains many things. You, on the other hand have two things to explain, supposedly independent of one another, good spirit and evil spirit, and actually, three things, since you maintain that matter is neutral between them.

Suffice it to say that in the physical world -- light and matter are fundamentally one in both Eastern and Western understandings, and that if the spiritual world is actually dual then it is you as an advocate of spiritual dualism that have the burden to show the reason for the disparity.

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
-- Chaldean Magussaeanism pre-dates Mani by several millennia.
Yes, but we know where the Magi went ...

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
You mistakenly presuppose "that something spiritual can only be understood through a physical instrumentality". Enlightenment is not attained through the body i.e. the senses, but, more correctly through the spirit that inhabits the body. Without the spirit the physical body is useless which actually confirms dualism my friend.
I don't presuppose. I know -- by actual experience -- that it cannot be understood any other way. And I tell you, my friend, as a matter of direct experience, that aikido is learned through the body instructing the mind, which instructs the body. There is only endless cyclic motion, there is not division. Without the form of the body to ground perception, spirituality is in vain.

I may believe my philosophy invincible, but the bokken about to strike my philosophically impregnable skull may have a different opinion on the matter. Sooner or later, everyone gets their philosophy whacked upside the head. There is more spiritual learning to be gained in that split second than in ten years of quiet sitting. The problem is getting to the point of honing perception to an edge that slices finely enough to gain from a nearly infinite benefit contained in that brief moment.

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Tony Sova wrote: View Post
Erick[/url] Mead said: "Some days it is perilous to get out of bed, and ponder the theological implications of one's cup of coffee."

I'd switch to green tea if I were you. It's high in anti-oxidants.
Swing ... and a miss --

"Coffee is number one source of antioxidants" http://www.physorg.com/news6067.html

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-22-2008 at 09:59 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:07 AM   #22
Dan Rubin
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
You doubt that there are folks who find Christianity and Shinto to be complimentary?
I've never considered them to be complimentary. ("I find your concept of the origin of the universe to be fascinating." "Why, thank you, I find your explanation to be fascinating, too.")

Now, as for them being complEmentary, well, that's open to discussion.

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Old 04-22-2008, 12:15 PM   #23
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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I've never considered them to be complimentary. ("I find your concept of the origin of the universe to be fascinating." "Why, thank you, I find your explanation to be fascinating, too.")

Now, as for them being complEmentary, well, that's open to discussion.

Heheheh...dough! Well on "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader" I'm sad to say it's the spelling problems I'd probably flunk out on.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:34 PM   #24
ChrisMoses
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

I'd say it would depend on the Aikido dojo. It sounds like you're going to be bringing a lot of baggage into the dojo about what you *think* Aikido is already. That doesn't work where I train, but we're not a public dojo so we're free to pick and choose who trains with us. I would talk to any prospective teacher about your concerns/worldview and see if what they think.

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Old 04-22-2008, 12:55 PM   #25
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Re: Can a dualist find success in Aikido?

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Does that help?
It does, thank you.

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Christianity is not dualistic...
[Gnosticism, by contrast, very much is.]
It appears I was operating within the topic of moral dualism without realizing it.
That there are supposedly two eternal sources, one of good and the other of evil, seems to imply to me a sort of de facto duality (other than moral duality), but I digress. When it comes to most things, I'm definately a lay person and you seem to have done more study on this topic than I have.
Take care,
Matt

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