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Old 11-20-2011, 03:59 PM   #1
Eric in Denver
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Ueshiba's Golden Lights

I am currently reading a book by Yang Jwing-Ming called "Qigong. The Secret of Youth: Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Classics." Interestingly, the author at one point states:

"In still meditation training, at some point when you are able to lead the Qi upward to nourish the brain, you will suddenly feel a 'lightening' in your brain. This may be caused by the extra Qi energizing inactive brain cells. Your mind perceives this as light (golden light). When you can sense this light, your brain is highly energized. You are now able to lead this Qi to the Shen in the "Shen valley" to raise up the spirit."

This reminded me of the following quote attributed to Ueshiba:

"...I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe.

At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.
"

I must say that I found it surprising that, once again, something that seemed so unique to Ueshiba's spirituality may be common place in Qi training. Or IS training, however we want to phrase it.

I can also see how the language can get confusing. Here we have golden lights as a byproduct of moving Qi, but we also have this quote from Ueshiba in which he clearly attaches a moral awakening to the event.

So, what I am wondering, is there a way to disentangle the two to make communication about aiki/IS/Qi training versus spiritual enlightenment here on aikiweb a little less like a train wreck?
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:05 PM   #2
kewms
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
So, what I am wondering, is there a way to disentangle the two to make communication about aiki/IS/Qi training versus spiritual enlightenment here on aikiweb a little less like a train wreck?
No. At least not if you're going to discuss aiki as practiced by Ueshiba Sensei. The spectacular train wreck that is the Ueshiba's Aiki thread began to veer of the tracks with just such an attempt.

Katherine

Last edited by kewms : 11-20-2011 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
This reminded me of the following quote attributed to Ueshiba:

"...I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe.

At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.
"
What had just happened before this event?

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 11-20-2011 at 05:23 PM.

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Old 11-20-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
What had just happened before this event?
I don't know. Do you?
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:19 PM   #5
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
No. At least not if you're going to discuss aiki as practiced by Ueshiba Sensei. The spectacular train wreck that is the Ueshiba's Aiki thread began to veer of the tracks with just such an attempt.

Katherine
Okay, that is a reasonable assumption in my book. There is no particular reason to deny his claims of enlightenment that I have seen.

If we are talking about body skills that Ueshiba had, and Takeda had, and Sagawa, and perhaps others, could there be a term that would disentangle that from his enlightenment?

It seems to me that there is a claim that while his body skills were amazing, others also had these skills. Thus, in my mind, it seems possible that the body skills are not necessarily (although they could be) connected to his enlightenment.

I think about this because in the book I referenced in the first post, it argues that one can use QiGong to develop martial skills, health, or enlightenment. Or any combination of the three.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

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Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
Okay, that is a reasonable assumption in my book. There is no particular reason to deny his claims of enlightenment that I have seen.

If we are talking about body skills that Ueshiba had, and Takeda had, and Sagawa, and perhaps others, could there be a term that would disentangle that from his enlightenment?

It seems to me that there is a claim that while his body skills were amazing, others also had these skills. Thus, in my mind, it seems possible that the body skills are not necessarily (although they could be) connected to his enlightenment.

I think about this because in the book I referenced in the first post, it argues that one can use QiGong to develop martial skills, health, or enlightenment. Or any combination of the three.
I think it would be very hard to disentangle Ueshiba's aiki from his spirituality/enlightenment. Ueshiba's spirituality, his spiritual ideology, is a tricky thing. Is it possible that his body skills are not necessary to his enlightenment? Of course. Is it probable? I really don't know. Once he was on the path of aiki, literally everything changed for Ueshiba.

Remember, he said, I am aiki. He said, this is how to do that with aiki. Aiki systematically alters and changes the physical body and also the mind on a fundamental level. Once that occurs, how can you disentangle it from whatever one does?

To even begin down that road is a lot of work and research. A lot. Much more than aiki training. Not that it can't be done. In fact, I think it'd be extremely interesting and valuable.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:49 PM   #7
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think it would be very hard to disentangle Ueshiba's aiki from his spirituality/enlightenment. Ueshiba's spirituality, his spiritual ideology, is a tricky thing. Is it possible that his body skills are not necessary to his enlightenment? Of course. Is it probable? I really don't know. Once he was on the path of aiki, literally everything changed for Ueshiba.

Remember, he said, I am aiki. He said, this is how to do that with aiki. Aiki systematically alters and changes the physical body and also the mind on a fundamental level. Once that occurs, how can you disentangle it from whatever one does?

To even begin down that road is a lot of work and research. A lot. Much more than aiki training. Not that it can't be done. In fact, I think it'd be extremely interesting and valuable.
I would prefer that we be very careful around the term "aiki." From my experience in Japan, it appears that any activity can be considered a path to enlightenment, as long as it is followed with a certain intent. That being said, no activity that lacks this intent would get you there.

Does that make any sense?
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:50 PM   #8
kewms
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

There are some who will tell you that aiki can be trained completely outside of a spiritual context, and certainly independently of Ueshiba's rather idiosyncratic milieu.

There are others who will tell you that aiki -- at least as it manifests itself in the art that Ueshiba created -- is a deeply spiritual thing, and without that spirituality one is left with only bits and pieces of the whole.

The two sides seem to come to rhetorical blows on a regular basis.

Which is not to say that the topic you raise isn't worth investigating. Just that this forum has proven itself largely incapable of doing so.

Katherine
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:53 PM   #9
kewms
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
I would prefer that we be very careful around the term "aiki." From my experience in Japan, it appears that any activity can be considered a path to enlightenment, as long as it is followed with a certain intent. That being said, no activity that lacks this intent would get you there.
That's a common view in Buddhism generally, not just in Japan. That the path to enlightenment leads through mindfulness and meditation, which can take place in the context of many many outward forms.

Katherine
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:18 PM   #10
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post

The two sides seem to come to rhetorical blows on a regular basis.

Which is not to say that the topic you raise isn't worth investigating. Just that this forum has proven itself largely incapable of doing so.

Katherine
I don't think this is necessarily true. I think there are a lot of intelligent and thoughtful people on this forum who often take a back seat when the mudslinging starts. There is a lot of potential and interest here, especially relating to this very topic.

Why else would there be over 25,000 views on a thread entitled "Ueshiba's Aiki"? We are all looking for nuggets of some type.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:43 PM   #11
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
That's a common view in Buddhism generally, not just in Japan. That the path to enlightenment leads through mindfulness and meditation, which can take place in the context of many many outward forms.

Katherine
Okay, so then to me it appears possible that the BABS (Bad A$$ Body Skills, let's stay away from "IS" and "aiki" for now) of Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Yoshida, etc., could be a path to enlightenment or not, depending on how the training was utilized.

I guess where I am going with this is that there seem to be two possible interpretations of aiki around the aikiweb forums:

1) Aiki = Bad A$$ Body Skills

or

2) Aiki = A process of enlightenment utilizing Bad A$$ Body Skills as the vehicle.

But there may be other, better ways to parse this out. Any other options anyone else can think of?
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:22 PM   #12
kewms
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
Okay, so then to me it appears possible that the BABS (Bad A$$ Body Skills, let's stay away from "IS" and "aiki" for now) of Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Yoshida, etc., could be a path to enlightenment or not, depending on how the training was utilized.
I think it's important to differentiate between cause and effect. The BABS themselves do not (necessarily) produce enlightenment. Rather, that particular training methodology may (or may not) produce both BABS and enlightenment, depending on the individual.

Even assuming the "lightning in the brain" phenomenon is common among people who do this sort of training, how it is interpreted would likely depend on their cultural background. For someone else, it might manifest as a visitation from angels (or demons), or might provoke a visit to a psychiatrist or a neurologist. Most meditation traditions emphasize the need for supervision by a competent teacher, in part because of the potential for disturbing side effects.

Katherine

Last edited by kewms : 11-20-2011 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:43 PM   #13
DH
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
Okay, so then to me it appears possible that the BABS (Bad A$$ Body Skills, let's stay away from "IS" and "aiki" for now) of Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Yoshida, etc., could be a path to enlightenment or not, depending on how the training was utilized.

I guess where I am going with this is that there seem to be two possible interpretations of aiki around the aikiweb forums:

1) Aiki = Bad A$$ Body Skills

or

2) Aiki = A process of enlightenment utilizing Bad A$$ Body Skills as the vehicle.

But there may be other, better ways to parse this out. Any other options anyone else can think of?
Weeeelllll
The type of training Mark is talking about...brain washing...begins with directing energy initiated from...self gratification. So...Ueshiba would have been er...practicing a different type of solo training
It is a very healthy but difficult training. Yet another thing that is known and documented that certain Japanese practitioners giggle and stare at as an invention of their teacher/ mage.
I would only caution that some people are reaching for straws. Ignorance is a difficult thing to undo with so much emotional investment involved.
In short. This is different than the BABS training. I recently had a lengthy conversation at a seminar with someone who trained it in India for years.
Dan
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:40 AM   #14
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Weeeelllll
The type of training Mark is talking about...brain washing...begins with directing energy initiated from...self gratification. So...Ueshiba would have been er...practicing a different type of solo training
It is a very healthy but difficult training. Yet another thing that is known and documented that certain Japanese practitioners giggle and stare at as an invention of their teacher/ mage.
I would only caution that some people are reaching for straws. Ignorance is a difficult thing to undo with so much emotional investment involved.
In short. This is different than the BABS training. I recently had a lengthy conversation at a seminar with someone who trained it in India for years.
Dan
I am sorry, I am not quite sure what you are saying here. That marrow/brain washing training is different from the body skills training?
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:02 AM   #15
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
I don't know. Do you?
Which Founder's bio are you working with?

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Old 11-21-2011, 03:38 AM   #16
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

I like BABS much better than IS

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Old 11-21-2011, 04:20 AM   #17
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
Why else would there be over 25,000 views on a thread entitled "Ueshiba's Aiki"? We are all looking for nuggets of some type.
Perhaps people just love a bit of trashy entertainment !

Enjoy the journey
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:17 AM   #18
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Which Founder's bio are you working with?
I was just looking for the quote about golden lights so I googled it. I first encountered the golden lights in the Stevens work, I am pretty sure I have come across on Aikido Journal, and the one that I grabbed was in Ueshiba's wikipedia entry and is cited as coming from Kisshomaru's book Aikido published in 1985.

Checking the wiki entry again, it is placed as happening after his bout with a naval officer in 1925 when Ueshiba walked into a garden. I think this is pretty standard for everywhere I have read the story.

I guess the hypothesis I am trying to discuss, though, is that there are different technologies, one that enhances spiritual enlightenment and discovery, and another that enhances body skills/martial capabilities. They may use some (or many) of the same tools and materials, but the end results could be very different products.
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:21 AM   #19
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Perhaps people just love a bit of trashy entertainment !
That is true as well. I hope we can keep this thread from going in the same direction.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:27 AM   #20
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
I was just looking for the quote about golden lights so I googled it. I first encountered the golden lights in the Stevens work, I am pretty sure I have come across on Aikido Journal, and the one that I grabbed was in Ueshiba's wikipedia entry and is cited as coming from Kisshomaru's book Aikido published in 1985.

Checking the wiki entry again, it is placed as happening after his bout with a naval officer in 1925 when Ueshiba walked into a garden. I think this is pretty standard for everywhere I have read the story.

I guess the hypothesis I am trying to discuss, though, is that there are different technologies, one that enhances spiritual enlightenment and discovery, and another that enhances body skills/martial capabilities. They may use some (or many) of the same tools and materials, but the end results could be very different products.
I'm still not sure of the hypothesis you're trying to discuss. Sorry, just me being confused.

In regards to Ueshiba, though ...

1. Ueshiba starts training with Takeda in 1915. We have 5 years of Ueshiba training aiki and then he moves to Ayabe where he starts training with Deguchi.

2. Now, skip to 1922 where Takeda trains Ueshiba for about 6-9 months.

3. Then, we have the *martial* incident in 1925 and Ueshiba's golden moment.

So, we have 10 years training aiki and 5 years Deguchi spiritual stuff. Anyone ever read of any single person who attained enlightenment in 5 years? On the other hand, we can trace the Japanese internal skills back to China and then to India.

Now, here's the real kicker ... what if long, long ago, those who started internal skills did so because of a martial need. As time progressed and people got better, it evolved into two sects: those who continued to do martial internal training (rare) and those who took the "golden lights" parts and followed a more spiritual path. Time passes and the internal martial artists are still rare, but the masses love the message of these "golden lights", "enlightenment", etc, and there are millions of followers all looking for nirvana.

Time passes and we now sing the songs and chant the chants but don't really understand why. We do not know that we do not know, so singing the songs and chanting the chants is enough. Just as we are taught the false dantien, we are taught the false enlightenment, but the way has been lost to all but a few. One path diverged into two so very long ago. Ueshiba attempted to merge them back.

But I'm merely musing and waxing poetically ...
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:02 AM   #21
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Eric DesMarais wrote: View Post
I guess the hypothesis I am trying to discuss, though, is that there are different technologies, one that enhances spiritual enlightenment and discovery, and another that enhances body skills/martial capabilities. They may use some (or many) of the same tools and materials, but the end results could be very different products.
So the golden light thing is a signal of enlightnement?

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Old 11-21-2011, 09:16 AM   #22
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
So the golden light thing is a signal of enlightnement?
Demetrio, thank you for your thoughtful posts. I have a lot of questions along these same lines.

I am not sure about this. According to the quote attributed to Ueshiba, it seems that this is so. But I am not sure if this is what he actually said, or if it is just his son's recollection. It would be great if someone with more information about this could help out (anybody? anybody? )

From my readings of Buddhist literature, seeing golden lights would seem to be more of a step along the way, and perhaps a distraction that one could get bogged down in. This would be in keeping with the Chinese text I first references in which the golden lights are explained as a secondary result of moving Qi to the brain, not necessarily a mystical experience, although I guess it would be spiritual if one believes Qi is spiritual. Although, the same book distinguishes between Qi as energy and Shen as spirit, so calling Qi spiritual might not really be appropriate.

I wonder how safe or helpful it would be to distinguish "spiritual" (as in Shen and/or Qi) from "mystical" (as in practices geared for reaching enlightenment.)?
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:36 AM   #23
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I'm still not sure of the hypothesis you're trying to discuss. Sorry, just me being confused.
Don't worry, I am quite sure that I am the one that is confused.

According to the couple of books I have read by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, there were traditionally two forms of training. One is called "Yi Jin Jing" and its purpose is to "change the physical body from weak to strong and from sick to healthy." The other is called "Xi Sui Jing" and its purpose is to "use the abundant Qi generated from Yi Jin Jing training to wash the marrow, to nourish the brain, and to fill up the other six vessels." He goes on to say that a "sincere" Buddhist or Daoist will use Xi Sui Jing to reach enlightenment.

So I guess, to address your confusion about my confusion, I would cautiously say that talking of Ueshiba's "aiki" might conflate training methods that could be, and historically haven been, separated out a little more clearly than the words attributed to Ueshiba have lead us to believe.

Warning! I am definitely speaking at the very edge of my knowledge base. I am very open to corrections of these ideas I have put forth.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:02 AM   #24
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

From an interview (not translated into English) with Nobuyuki Watanabe

Quote:
One time the Founder brought in a diagram of the human body and gave an explanation while holding a copy of the Kojikki in one hand. While pointing out muscle and bones on the diagram he gave a very detailed explanation, saying things like "This is Naohi (correct spirit)" and so forth. However, at the time I just wondered what it all meant. It was just once, so I can't remember the details very well.
Of course we now know that these discussions entailed explanations of well known internal training; some of which were practical ways to move the body, others colored at times with Spiritual metaphore for practical matters. I think a different Ueshiba is emerging, but one that will be as lost to todays aikido as he was to his own when he was alive.
Just as Kano said, "This is not my Judo."
Ueshiba looked at post war Aikido and said "This is not my Aikido. No one is following me"

Then we have an interview with Tamura talking about what Mochizuki said to him.
"He told me "What you guys are doing is not the real Aikido." "

Dan
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:24 AM   #25
Eric in Denver
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Re: Ueshiba's Golden Lights

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post

. . . these discussions entailed explanations of well known internal training; some of which were practical ways to move the body, others colored at times with Spiritual metaphore for practical matters

Dan
Hi Dan, thank you for the reply. I am particularly interested the statement I have quoted above. It seems that you are saying that his pursuits were not spiritual in the sense of mystical enlightenment. That they were solely related to a quest for, as you call it, "practical ways to move the body."

Are you comfortable with the dichotomy I proposed, that he may have pursued both practical body skills and enlightenment using training methods that were similar but in some cases distinguishable?
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