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Old 12-15-2011, 09:55 AM   #1
genin
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Ghandi and O'Sensei

Has anyone ever compared these two men? I find it very interesting how similar they were. Both men grew up in the same era (within a generation of each other), lived long lives, started spiritual movements, and practiced what could be considered non-violence. Even the meaning of their names are similar-- Mahatma "Great Soul" and O'Sensei "Great Teacher." Both men were meek in appearance, even frail looking. Yet these were probably two of the most spiritually powerful men in all of human existence, aside from Christ himself.

What has drawn me to these individuals is the desire to attain that level of power. It amazes me how Ghandi was able to manipulate MILLIONS of people and break the crushing grip of the British Empire simply through inaction and starvation. Being able to control people through non-physical means is clearly far superior to any other method. Out of necessity, Ghandi used his spiritual clout to acheive political gains. However, O'Sensei developed his spirituality in the pursuit of peace and universal harmony.

I just find it really interesting how interconnected these two individuals seem to be in that regard, and I'm trying cultivate a practical application of these philosophies in my own life. Easier said than done.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:05 AM   #2
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

I didn't find them too similar.

And this

Quote:
Yet these were probably two of the most spiritually powerful men in all of human existence, aside from Christ himself.
Serious business you're going into.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:41 PM   #3
LinTal
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Okay, I think you'll want to hit me or something for saying this! but...

I've got a feeling that you only get that kind of power when you don't actually go looking for it.

Sincerity of total passion for a goal seems to attract more single-minded followers than anything else. And everyone wants the world to work the way they think is best, so perhaps influence is quite independant from goodness of spirit.

Interesting note, you know how down the bottom there's a list of related links? It just turned up this.

Last edited by LinTal : 12-15-2011 at 11:46 PM.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:53 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Oh jeez where to start...I'm not even going to riff on idealizing humans but will restrict myself to...
OSensei meek and frail in appearance?! You never saw the commonly available photo of him shirtless with a staff in his hands in his 70s.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Ooooh, cool! It makes sense that he was strong (or at least used to be in his youth) because he did so much farming and soldiering but I've never seen that photo, the closest I could find with google is this (and I'm not even sure it's him). Any idea where to find it?

The world changes when you do.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:38 AM   #6
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Tyler: "If you could fight any historical figure who would it be?"
Narrator: "I'd fight Ghandi."
Tyler: "Oooh, good answer."
Fight Club

And now for an edifying photo.
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-Doug Walker
光道館・叢雲道場
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:49 AM   #7
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Has anyone ever compared these two men?
I don't see too much similarities.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:09 PM   #8
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Both men of peace. Both men of universal love. Both following their true path. Brothers.....

Regards.G.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

It's funny, and more than a little disturbing, how history lays a veneer of simplistic saccharine over historical figures that we've decided are "good". Mohandas Gandhi was a revolutionary -- revolution, not peace, was his goal and his ambition. He was committed to using nonviolent means of achieving this goal, and he certainly wasn't against peace, but his goal was revolution.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:00 PM   #10
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Both men of peace. Both men of universal love. Both following their true path. Brothers.....

Regards.G.
Back to regular schedule.

Happy new year.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

I agree with you Mary. I think that his methods were a means to the end and not the end itself, which is an entirely different agenda or value system than is sometimes subscribed to him these days.

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Old 01-02-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's funny, and more than a little disturbing, how history lays a veneer of simplistic saccharine over historical figures that we've decided are "good". Mohandas Gandhi was a revolutionary -- revolution, not peace, was his goal and his ambition. He was committed to using nonviolent means of achieving this goal, and he certainly wasn't against peace, but his goal was revolution.
What's wrong with peaceful revolution? That is precisely what 'good' people do It fits him perfectly.

Fits O'Sensei too. Both casted off the old ways as did other great figures. The choice of word is a good choice Mary.

Better than insurrection or rebellion. Any change for the better away from the oppressive or despotic or domination orientated norm, done peacefully is revolution.

Sounds like Aikido to me.

Regards.G.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #13
graham christian
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Back to regular schedule.

Happy new year.
Yes, and happy new year to you too my brother.

G.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:02 PM   #14
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
What's wrong with peaceful revolution? That is precisely what 'good' people do It fits him perfectly.

Fits O'Sensei too. Both casted off the old ways as did other great figures. The choice of word is a good choice Mary.

Better than insurrection or rebellion. Any change for the better away from the oppressive or despotic or domination orientated norm, done peacefully is revolution.

Sounds like Aikido to me.
Yes, well, to you, anything that you consider nifty is aikido, and anything that you consider not so nifty is not aikido. Humpty Dumpty couldn't change reality, though, and Gandhi was quite thoroughly involved in insurrection and rebellion.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:00 PM   #15
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Bold added by me:
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I agree with you Mary. I think that his methods were a means to the end and not the end itself, which is an entirely different agenda or value system than is sometimes subscribed to him these days.
I haven't read up on "Mahatma" in a long time, but my understanding is that it could be described as a bit of both. Surely he didn't adopt a non-violent method purely for the sake of "winning," did he? I thought he also held the value of peaceful actions somewhat for their own sake...or, perhaps at least as much as anything can be said to be done for its own sake.
...that is to say that he had a kind of hierarchy in which peaceful efforts were considered to be more innately "good" than non-peaceful ones.

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Old 01-02-2012, 10:47 PM   #16
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's funny, and more than a little disturbing, how history lays a veneer of simplistic saccharine over historical figures that we've decided are "good". Mohandas Gandhi was a revolutionary -- revolution, not peace, was his goal and his ambition. He was committed to using nonviolent means of achieving this goal, and he certainly wasn't against peace, but his goal was revolution.
After a (very) casual refresher on MKG:
Doesn't saying that his goal was revolution and not peace over-simplify too? His revolution seems to have included peace/peaceful things as both a means and an end. It seems more correct to say his goals were non-violence, truth, and individual autonomy, more than revolution; (pacifistic) revolution was a means to this end.

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Old 01-03-2012, 06:43 AM   #17
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's funny, and more than a little disturbing, how history lays a veneer of simplistic saccharine over historical figures that we've decided are "good"
History doesn't lay veneers. People do and for very specific purposes. In India as in Japan as everywhere else.

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Old 01-03-2012, 07:33 AM   #18
graham christian
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yes, well, to you, anything that you consider nifty is aikido, and anything that you consider not so nifty is not aikido. Humpty Dumpty couldn't change reality, though, and Gandhi was quite thoroughly involved in insurrection and rebellion.
Not really. Just peaceful, non-violent, harmony promoting stellar figures like Ghandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, not forgetting the stellar religious figures also from Jesus to Buddha etc.

All shining stars on the heavenly path of peace. All bringing their light to bear on change for the better.

Non-violent change for the better.

Spiritual.

G.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:41 AM   #19
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
After a (very) casual refresher on MKG:
Doesn't saying that his goal was revolution and not peace over-simplify too? His revolution seems to have included peace/peaceful things as both a means and an end. It seems more correct to say his goals were non-violence, truth, and individual autonomy, more than revolution; (pacifistic) revolution was a means to this end.
In that order? Was non-violence the goal of Gandhi's political activism in South Africa?
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #20
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In that order? Was non-violence the goal of Gandhi's political activism in South Africa?
Not necessarily in that order, no, and your second question leads me to think "probably not" but the Great Oracle of Truthiness, Wikipedia, suggests "yes." Certainly, non-violence was part of his means in South Africa:
Quote:
wikipedia wrote:
Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time. He urged Indians to defy the new law and to suffer the punishments for doing so. The community adopted this plan, and during the ensuing seven-year struggle, thousands of Indians were jailed, flogged, or shot for striking, refusing to register, for burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. The government successfully repressed the Indian protesters, but the public outcry over the harsh treatment of peaceful Indian protesters by the South African government forced South African General Jan Christiaan Smuts to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi's ideas took shape, and the concept of satyagraha matured during this struggle.
And I would guess the hierarchy I suggested wouldn't have been fixed for every circumstance, particularly earlier on in his life/"development", but it does seem to be a kind of rule of thumb, doesn't it? It seems to have become more important to him later in his life.

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Old 01-03-2012, 11:20 AM   #21
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

The goal was to acheive equality, and non-violence was the means to acheive it. I don't believe that Gandhi felt non-violence was something all people should aspire to simply for the sake of doing so. Especially when at certain points in his life he actually condoned violence.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #22
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
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The goal was to acheive equality, and non-violence was the means to acheive it. I don't believe that Gandhi felt non-violence was something all people should aspire to simply for the sake of doing so. Especially when at certain points in his life he actually condoned violence.
Perhaps it depends on what part of his life we're looking at, but I'm pretty sure he felt non-violence was something all people should aspire to...particularly when you consider his idea that the UK and European Jews should let Hitler have what he wants and walk to the slaughter-house willingly.
I share a very similar view about non-violence and antagonism in general. When someone does harm to another, the basic impulse is to do harm back. I've seen it in one form or another my whole life that when violence or perceived violence is perpetrated, it tends to create a lowest common denominator approach. Spiteful qualities suddenly pour into the equation under the notion that it's now justified to be as low-handed and dirty as the other guy. When the towers fell, for example, many many people suddenly didn't care at all for their those who were associated with the violent people who made it happen. Suddenly collateral damage is more acceptable than it might have been before. If we fly a bomb into the home of an evil man, but kill the neighbor's child, suddenly that neighbor, who might have been otherwise sympathetic to our intent, is our enemy. I'm very closely aligned with Gandhi's sacrificial sentiments, but if someone killed my sons it would be hard for me not to feel a reckoning was in order, regardless of the circumstances.
This is why violence is so dangerous; why war should be taken so much more seriously than it is. When violence becomes the normal situation, peace can feel wierd, requiring more effort than before to act peacefully.
This is, in my opinion, the genius of Gandhi. I don't think he suggested doing anything purely for its own sake and I submit anyone who does is short-changing the non-violent methodology. Strictly speaking I am not a pacifist; I will not walk willingly to my death in the hopes that my enemy will eventually change his mind. However, escalation is the seed all violence plants, and I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I weigh any situation.
O Sensei, I believe, was of a similar mindset. I believe he recognized that fighting quickly spirals into exponential proportions if not checked, and that the chaotic nature of fighting/violence demands a powerful peaceful force to balance or the best you can hope for over a long enough timeline is mutual destruction.
An eye for an eye quickly makes the world blind.
Interestingly enough, the greatest commonality I see between Gandhi and Ueshiba O Sensei was the idea of self-mastery and a reliance on the concept of innate truth (i.e. "natural" power).

Last edited by mathewjgano : 01-03-2012 at 12:35 PM.

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Old 01-03-2012, 01:03 PM   #23
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

I look at non-violence as being a combat tactic, like any other. In nature, animals defend their bodies with scales, shells, horns, poisons, camouflage...even by playing dead. Non-violence is the equivalent of playing dead when attacked. The idea is that a complete lack of resistance will result in less harm than any other employable means. Again, it's not a lack of combat. It's just an unconventional approach to combat/defense (which I argue is not that unconventional anymore).

Personally, I would use the technique that I felt gave me the best results. Trying to fight off a drunk guy and his buddies at a bar may not be as good a strategy as standing there and letting them hit you and then having the fight quickly broken up by bouncers and having them all arrested. Conversely, punching a bully in his nose after he demands your lunch money might be a much quicker and more effective solution rather than telling on him to faculty and parents who may not be able to control him.

Which brings us back to O'Sensei whom I believe preferred peace, but understood the yin and yang relationship that peace can not exist without violence. And that you should be a master of both.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #24
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Not necessarily in that order, no, and your second question leads me to think "probably not" but the Great Oracle of Truthiness, Wikipedia, suggests "yes." Certainly, non-violence was part of his means in South Africa:
The word I used was "goal". Not "means".

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
And I would guess the hierarchy I suggested wouldn't have been fixed for every circumstance, particularly earlier on in his life/"development", but it does seem to be a kind of rule of thumb, doesn't it? It seems to have become more important to him later in his life.
IMO, later in life -- after he had succeeded in his goal of revolution -- non-violence was the means to a different goal, that of the survival of the new nation as a pluralistic state.

Let's also not forget that Gandhi's opponent was arguably the most formidable military power of its time. Using violent means against a stronger opponent...well, sometimes it works, for some definition of "works". But contrast India with Ireland, if you will. Gandhi went up against the same empire and came to a different conclusion about what would be the most effective technique. Again, modern fuzzy-thinkers put Gandhi in a nice warm-fuzzy basket with all the people we're taught to admire without knowing anything about their actual history, but why does the Indian flag has a spinning wheel on it. Why did Gandhi wear homespun? Think about it...
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:03 PM   #25
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
The word I used was "goal". Not "means".
I know, but how does this address my understanding of the Wiki text? I added that I think non-violence was a means to his goals in South Africa because you seemed to suggest it wasn't.

Quote:
IMO, later in life -- after he had succeeded in his goal of revolution -- non-violence was the means to a different goal, that of the survival of the new nation as a pluralistic state.
Ok, but he also used it before the revolution goal would have been accomplished...it was an ongoing (very reoccuring, at least) means, streching from South Africa to India, which he suggested ought be applied to other situations than that of Indian independance. To me this suggests he viewed non-violence as a thing which should be applied to all situations...the caveat being, as much as possible...or at least, that he felt that way later in life.

Quote:
Again, modern fuzzy-thinkers put Gandhi in a nice warm-fuzzy basket with all the people we're taught to admire without knowing anything about their actual history, but why does the Indian flag has a spinning wheel on it. Why did Gandhi wear homespun? Think about it...
I would say that modern fuzzy-thinkers stop "thinking" beyond the warm-fuzzy feeling. There is a logic involved that Gandhi employed which I think those you're rightfully critiquing are missing. In a sense, he was a fighter, though in a perhaps subtle, roundabout, way.
His primary goal seemed to be Indian independance, but this shouldn't take away from the value he seemed to hold for non-violence as a means of handling disputes in general.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 01-03-2012 at 03:17 PM.

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