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Old 12-08-2013, 07:54 AM   #1
Sojourner
Location: Adelaide
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Circle Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Greetings All,

As I have begun my training in Aikido I have been studying the writings of Morihei Ueshiba and have the copy of the book called "The Art of Peace".

I have to say that I find this quote about the creation of the world very interesting on a number of levels and I would love to hear your thoughts on what you feel that he is saying here.

"This is how the universe came into being. There was no heaven, no earth, no universe -- just empty space. In this vast emptiness, a single point suddenly manifested itself. From that point, steam, smoke, and mist spiraled forth an aluminous sphere and the sacred sound of soo was born. As soo expanded circularly up and down, left and right, major and breath began, clear and uncontaminated. Breath developed life and sound appeared. Soo is the word mentioned in many world religions. All sounds and vibrations emanate from that word. Your voice is a very powerful weapon".

Some of the points that I have noted are as follows,

1, this is very differnet to the Creation Story in the Shinto book of Records and I am unsure if this is repeated in the Oomoto scriptures or not, as they are proving hard for me to locate and read for myself. Still the fact remains that O Sensei appears to be giving us a different account for a reason that I do not yet understand.

2, The Word. very interested in this, in my book it is typed in Capital letters. In the New Testament The Word is translated as Jesus Christ and I don't think that is an accident that the very same term appears here. From the little that I do know of Oomoto I know that they venerate Jesus Christ as a prophet / messenger / person of significance, again to what detail I don't know.

3, Aluminous Sphere. - A shape forms and begins. What shape this sphere is I do not know, yet I am also learning that Aikido works within such a sphere with the circle being predominant.

4, Sacred sound of Soo and the capacity of the Human Voice, your voice is a weapon - how true is that and how true has it become with the modern age of Facebook Tweets and the like. Words can build people up or they can cut down and destroy all in an instant.

I don't know why, but I love reading this passage along with many others in this book, I suspect the reason for that is because its deep and has meanings to be understood by people through Aikido. So again I would love to get some thoughts from the group on this passage!
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
kfa4303
Dojo: North Florida School of Aikido (ASU)
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Well, aside from the fact that Ueshiba had absolutely zero training, or factual knowledge of astronomy and/or astrophysics, I wouldn't listen to his views on such matters. Particularly, from someone who proclaims "This is how the universe came into being.", really? How modest. Who told you that? Where's his evidence? What data can he proctor? There is none. It is also fallacious to assume that "it['s] deep and has meaning". Nah, Osensei was famous for prattling on about obscure/inane topics. So much so that many of his students, almost to the man/woman, have commented on it. They all knew he was just a crazy old man at the end, but in Japanese society (and the Far East in general), respect for elders is of great importance, even if they're nuttier than fruit cake. (better keep his glass full at dinner too )

Much of the "cosmology" that Ueshiba claimed knowledge of, was directly taken from his Omoto Kyo religion which is/was a very peculiar combination of Jewish Old Testament creationism ( an utterly and verifiable false myth) along with native Shinto creation mythologies (also utterly and verifiable false). As a result, you get a very peculiar, completely ridiculous and utterly fictitious story indeed.

Spheres are very common symbols in virtually all mythologies (i.e. perfect shape, etc...), however that isn't to say it "means" anything (double rainbow, what does it mean?). However, the idea of spheroid movement is a very common theme in Aikido, in general (remember the three primary shapes of Akido: circle, triangle and square).

I also hate to tell you that there are no magic/divine sounds, "soo" or otherwise. After all, what if you,or I were deaf? Does that mean we have less access/ability to the "divine" (not that there is such a thing)? Not only is that nonsensical, it's quite cruel.

Clearly you're new to Aikido, which is great, but Osensei, like all people, was deeply flawed (hair brained religious quests, cavorting with war criminals, etc...) and not particularly well educated in the sciences. While his comments on martial arts and related matters are valid, interesting and innovative, any areas of "expertise" outside of these rather narrow fields are not. Listening to Ueshiba about the creation of the Universe is like asking a pastry chef for advice on your plumbing. You can do it, but it won't end very well and you'll look really, really dumb.

Instead, I would encourage you to actually read up on astronomy. It's 10,000 times more interesting than any man-made myth you'll come across, and best of all it's true

Last edited by kfa4303 : 12-08-2013 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Quote:
Karl Arant wrote: View Post
Well, aside from the fact that Ueshiba had absolutely zero training, or factual knowledge of astronomy and/or astrophysics, I wouldn't listen to his views on such matters. Particularly, from someone who proclaims "This is how the universe came into being.", really? How modest. Who told you that? Where's his evidence? What data can he proctor? There is none. It is also fallacious to assume that "it['s] deep and has meaning". Nah, Osensei was famous for prattling on about obscure/inane topics. So much so that many of his students, almost to the man/woman, have commented on it. They all knew he was just a crazy old man at the end, but in Japanese society (and the Far East in general), respect for elders is of great importance, even if they're nuttier than fruit cake. (better keep his glass full at dinner too )
It doesn't really have to do with comparisons to physics, he's citing a classical world view that was very common in China. It also relates quite closely to his technical method, which is also quite common in China. His terminology is certainly obscure, but I wouldn't call it inane, he's actually quite clear and repeatedly hammers on the same points and themes.

Of course, no reason to go into that - unless people are interested in what the Founder of their art thought - it seems to me to be a no brainer that they would.

That being said, I would be cautious with the translations in the "Art of Peace", which are out of context, edited, and unreferenced.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-10-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
GMaroda
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

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Ben White wrote: View Post

3, Aluminous Sphere. - A shape forms and begins. What shape this sphere is I do not know, yet I am also learning that Aikido works within such a sphere with the circle being predominant.
I would guess the sphere was sphere shaped.

You're welcome.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:36 AM   #5
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Quote:
Karl Arant wrote: View Post
Much of the "cosmology" that Ueshiba claimed knowledge of, was directly taken from his Omoto Kyo religion ... along with native Shinto creation mythologies
In fact Ueshiba's thoughts also have deep roots in Daoist views of the world and also in Mikkyo. Also I learned that Ōmoto kyo has roots in Daoism and not only in Shintō.
I found it very interesting how Ueshiba can be "translated" to some degree just by reading e.g. the Dao de jing or texts about related practices like nei gong.
He doesn't seem inan at all, but on the contrary seems to have been very, very literate. His words and texts proof an immense knowledge.

Anyway, I think it is a fundamental misinterpretation to survey religious cosmologies with the critera of physical science. It is not their intention to answer scientific questions. Just as phsycial science does not intend to answer religous or philosophical questions.
Also I think it to be very unlikely for a inane person to be involved in influential busines and political circles of a country, like Ueshiba was. Asked by Ueshiba about his himpressions while being in space, John Glenn answered that spiritual teachings and modern science don't contradict each other.
When Ueshiba talkes about the relationship of physical science and spiritiuality, he understands spirituality as counterbalance of physical science. Stating that one without the other will not lead to harmonious life.

@ Ben:
Paralles between Texts of Ueshiba and Christian thoughts are mostly due to the translation and interpretation of John Stevens. It is my deep impression that it was his intention to show similarities, so he made Ueshiba's words sound familiar in Christian ears. So you have to be aware that you his understanding instead of Ueshiba's in those Texts.

Nevertheless I find it intriguing how near daoist thoughts are to the Judaeo-Christian cosmology. It is striking how much parallels there are to be found.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 12-11-2013 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:01 AM   #6
PaulF
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Carsten, intriguing yes, but perhaps not surprising. My take is that most religions have a lot in common, because they are manifestations of a need to collectively organise an interpretation and understanding of the world on the one hand and to codify the way we have to behave in order to live together successfully on the other, i.e. ethics are emergent from the hard-wiring of humans as self-aware, social and cooperative beings. Likewise the significance of "the word" can probably be put down to an early instinctive understanding of the role of language in shaping our minds and the human experience, indeed in making us conscious in the first place.

The root of commonalities in terms of cosmology, creation myths and metaphysics can be found in universal experiences e.g. the need to explain natural disasters, the dualities of life/death, night/day, sky/earth, land/water, heat/cold, male/female, etc. Similarly the commonalities in ethical systems are down to shared emotional responses (which are explicable in evolutionary terms), e.g. empathy for someone in pain and the desire to alleviate its cause, indignance at injustice, guilt at causing suffering in others, etc.

I agree with Glenn's point that spiritual and scientific teachings don't directly contradict each other since they operate in different modes (ships that pass in the night) but there are some inherent tensions between the religious and scientific world views. e.g. the emotional/ethical responses mentioned above aren't entirely universal but when they're lacking we can either look at explanations such as childhood trauma or brain damage to explain the absence, and try to treat through therapy or medication or surgery, or we can posit possession by evil spirits and try to treat with exorcism. There will also be significant differences in the criteria, methodology and evidence we will use to assess the success of these different approaches.

Just my 2p/2c of course
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:49 AM   #7
Krystal Locke
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

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Greg Maroda wrote: View Post
I would guess the sphere was sphere shaped.

You're welcome.
And made out of Aluminom-nom-nom. If it were a hollow sphere, I wonder how they milled it.

This seems to be a matter of Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. It is going to take a LONG time to get to Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Uruk (Oh, now that is funny on a couple levels, actually, as is the name of the planet Picard and Dathon were stuck on.), and even when we do, we actually still wont be communicating, at least not through the metaphors themselves. Picard didn't and could not have a clue about what Dathon was saying until he spent a shitload of time connecting a meaning-free repeated phrase to a real, boots on the ground situation. Without Dathon making the correspondence between what was happening in the moment and the contentless phrase apparent by repeated direct, objective description, Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra would have never meant anything to Picard.

Metaphor is not as efficient a language as a descriptive, objective language is. Metaphor is far too imprecise, and is necessarily based on a hugely shared history, mythology, and experience. It only works as a primary communication device if the people involved already know, understand, and have a closely related experience with the metaphor. Only then can the metaphor become a definition or a symbol for a pre-existing definition. We are not all Tamarians.

Krystal Locke and kfa4303 doing aikido.

Last edited by Krystal Locke : 12-12-2013 at 10:50 AM. Reason: I felt like it.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:35 PM   #8
Michael Douglas
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Quote:
Greg Maroda wrote: View Post
I would guess the sphere was sphere shaped.
Damn. Totally beat me to it. :|
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:06 PM   #9
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Empty Space, Soo and the The Word

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
In fact Ueshiba's thoughts also have deep roots in Daoist views of the world and also in Mikkyo. ...

Paralles between Texts of Ueshiba and Christian thoughts are mostly due to the translation and interpretation of John Stevens. It is my deep impression that it was his intention to show similarities, so he made Ueshiba's words sound familiar in Christian ears. So you have to be aware that you his understanding instead of Ueshiba's in those Texts.

Nevertheless I find it intriguing how near daoist thoughts are to the Judaeo-Christian cosmology. It is striking how much parallels there are to be found.
More than parallels and this occurs in the Mikkyo as well: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...3&postcount=19 The reasons for this are deep and may well give substance to DIRECT Christian influence in the transmission of Mikkyo to Japan at the Tang capital at Chang-an. There was a lengthy collaborative effort in Indian sutra translations by both Christian and Buddihist monks there, and which were integral to the developments of both Shingon and Tendai in Japan. See "The Jesus Sutras," by Martin Palmer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Sutras;

A replica of an 8th century Chinese monument erected to memorialize this early Christian/Buddhist collaboration (rediscovered in 1625) was installed before WWII on Mt Koya.where Shingon is centered. In the image following, above the main title at the top , just below the flanking birds there is a cross -- coming out of lotus blossom. See: http://www.bradwarden.com/quest/nestorianstele/



That rather solidifies the perceived connection, at least from the Japanese perspective. In other words the famous syncretism of the Japanese on these points may be an original feature of their reception of these teachings -- and not merely an internal cultural development after their arrival.

The Judeo-Christian connections in Aikido are not "interpretations" but direct references from the source -- not just from Stephens. Ueshiba himself tied his understanding of his purposes in his Takemusu Aiki lectures -- not only to St. Michael in and explicit citation to Daniel 12, but also making a quite direct Logos reference relating the kotodama SU to John 1:1. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...3&postcount=90

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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