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Old 09-28-2003, 11:49 PM   #26
PhilJ
 
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Thank you, Mr. Furuya. It does help clear my question up -- aikido is not meant to be a religious cult.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:16 PM   #27
Kensho Furuya
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Hello, you are quite welcome, indeed.

I noticed just now that you are from Minnesota. Although this is not related to Aikido, but maybe an interesting sidenote for you - my associate teaches Zen in Minnesota and one issue came up many, many years ago. There are many devout Catholics in Minnesota and some had an interest to join the Zen meditation class but were concerned that this may be frowned upon by their Catholic Church. This issue was investigated and these members had approached some superior office in their local Catholic Church. They made an inquiry to the Vatican who then gave their approval saying that it was considered that Zen was a good practice to develop mental well-being and encouraged. This is how, I think, attitudes have changed and how we have become more broad-minded in recent times and educated in our attitudes with each other. I don't think many people remember this incident many years ago but I thought you might enjoy this in relation to your question.

Best wishes always,
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Old 09-30-2003, 09:28 PM   #28
Pretoriano
 
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Circle What, accepted?

I think this Kensho Sensei you wrote here about Vatican approving Zen practices for well being is very important I didint know about this. Aplausses (for Vatican) at least some recognise other realities exist apart from their dogmas.

Pretoriano
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Old 09-30-2003, 10:20 PM   #29
David Yap
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Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
<snipped> Most Christian and Catholic priests have a book called, "The Books of Cults." This book is to aid priests when they are counseling members of their congregation. This is quite a few years ago and I don't know about today, but as of a few years back, Aikido was listed in this book as a cult. I don't think most priest abide by this book too closely but some may do. <snipped> Why this book listed Aikido as a cult because a "cult" in this sense of the word refers to a group of people who "adore" a single person as an object of worship which is objectionable to the tenents of Christianity. In early days, Aikido was misinterpreted greaty as O'Sensei was often considered as a very "spiritual" person with many followers - and it was concluded by unknowing people that this "must" be a cult. <snipped>
Interesting. I was told that one of the founding fathers of aikido in Malaysia actually distanced himself from the art when he decided to become a pastor. He went to the extent of destroying his dan certificates from Aikikai & others. A couple of years, one of the instructors here (the aikido community in Malaysia is so small is like we are living next door to each other)was actually counseled by his pastor to give up teaching aikido. He did the same thing, destroyed his certificate, give away his gi and sold his hakama and collections of books and video tapes to his students (ex-students). How some cannot differentiate between an art/trade and ones religion is beyond my logic - unless the trade is morally unacceptable (e.g. flesh trading, illicit drugs trading/peddling, etc.)?

I wonder how many talented instructors out there have to been "forced" to choose this route of thoughts?
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Old 09-30-2003, 11:44 PM   #30
Suzanne Cooper
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I've been following this thread with great interest.

My initial observations:

Aikido has a uniform, but not a habit. Aikido has a pronounced mental aspect, but it's not prayer. Aikido requires faithful practice and insight into the integral value of humanity, but not worship of the founder.

The mental aspect of aikido seems unrelated to the practice of religion. Extending ki seems to involve visualization of the sort that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods do--but it doesn't seem to be any form of prayer.

David, keep in mind that if by chance the local practice of aikido made a habit of equating extending one's ki with manipulating one's soul, no correct-thinking religious hierarchy would approve. No church would approve of substituting Zen or ki exercises for worship.

Before frowning on the church, I'd love to see the situation in broader context.

I can speak to this: following Christian theology requires self-denial--we "sell all we own, take up our Cross, and follow Jesus," as it were--even if we do so spiritually instead of temporally. One of the best self-denial exercises is to give up those things that set us above others, such as awards, citations, and even dan certificates, if need be--symbols of superiority that might make us prideful.

I almost wonder if that wasn't the point of the exercise of the pastor you mentioned? Not so much asking him to forget the knowledge he had gained as to remind him of what the church really respects in local pastors? 'Detachment' is what we call it in my little Order. I wonder if his hierarchy observed him to be more attached to aikido than he should have been? Maybe he was putting it before the church?

Maybe not, but I had the thought...maybe I should stop thinking so much and go train some more...

I got guts, yes I do. I do aikido--do YOU?
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Old 09-30-2003, 11:59 PM   #31
Suzanne Cooper
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The word I was looking for was 'ascetical'--the practice of mystical Chritian theology contains ascetic practices such as detachment exercises.

Removing the reminders of aikido might have been a type of ascetic exercise.

Our word this week at our dojo is 'ascetic training.'

I got guts, yes I do. I do aikido--do YOU?
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:09 AM   #32
David Yap
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Quote:
Suzanne Cooper wrote:
The word I was looking for was 'ascetical'--the practice of mystical Chritian theology contains ascetic practices such as detachment exercises.

Removing the reminders of aikido might have been a type of ascetic exercise.

Our word this week at our dojo is 'ascetic training.'
Thanks, Suzanne, for the valuable insight.

I guess given a choice for/of "detachment", I would rather choose Aikido than leaving my wife & kids to go into the Amazon jungle to teach some lost tribes the art of Aikido Hey, the 2nd choice is not a bad idea, I might even start a cult there

Warm regards & happy training

David
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Old 10-01-2003, 12:17 PM   #33
Ron Tisdale
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Hi Suzanne,

Did you used to train in Phila.?

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:18 PM   #34
MikeE
 
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I just thank the good Lord I'm Buddhist.


Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:13 PM   #35
Suzanne Cooper
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Hi Ron--

Nope--life-long southern belle here.

I had forebearers in Philadelphia about 250 years ago.

No family history of martial arts interest, though.

I got guts, yes I do. I do aikido--do YOU?
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:20 AM   #36
Ron Tisdale
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There's a Susan Cooper I believe, who used to train with Utada Sensei (yoshinkan) in Phila. (I don't know, she may be back again). When I checked your website, and saw the yosh connection, I just had to ask...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:42 AM   #37
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, almost everything that is the establishment now, was at one time considered a cult.

If Aikido is a cult, its a good one. I am glad I joined.

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 10-02-2003, 10:39 AM   #38
aikifish
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I prefer the term "sub-culture".

A.
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Old 10-02-2003, 11:36 AM   #39
Erik
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Do any groups ever refer to themselves as a cult? It's always the other group isn't it.
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Old 10-04-2003, 05:23 PM   #40
Kevin Leavitt
 
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I suppose to some it can be a cult, it just depends on your paradigm, perspective, and socio-religious make up.

In someways Catholicism can be practiced as a cult, it just depends on who and where you are.

Reminds me of a great, but strange movie (had to watch it twice). Holy Smokes with Harvey Keitel. Recommend watching it, you begin to wonder who is really in the cult.

As a Buddhist I am constantly thinking about the paradigms around me and the things that control my thinking.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I WOKE UP as the zen folks would say, that I realized that my thinking and way of life is dictated to me by all the things around me. It is sometimes hard to find the truth out there.

So, I guess my point is, in some ways all of us live in one kind of cult or another be it Aikido, the Catholic Church, Capitalism, the television...you name it!

How would you ever really know if you where in a cult to begin with???

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Old 10-06-2003, 06:36 AM   #41
Ghost Fox
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FYI

The Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
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Old 10-09-2003, 07:49 PM   #42
Jeanne Shepard
 
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I'd rather it was referred to as a "cult" than "that dance thing you do", which is how my father refers to it.

Jeanne
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Old 10-10-2003, 06:14 AM   #43
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
I'd rather it was referred to as a "cult" than "that dance thing you do", which is how my father refers to it.

Jeanne
Ouch!!
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Old 10-11-2003, 08:57 PM   #44
Suzanne Cooper
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Oooo! 'That dance thing'!

You must be graceful at it. Someday, I hope to be graceful! Until then, I'll just be faithfully attendent.

I got guts, yes I do. I do aikido--do YOU?
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Old 10-11-2003, 10:51 PM   #45
Jeanne Shepard
 
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My dad attened my ballet recitals for years, so to him, everything I do is "dance" even though I don't wear toe shoes to Aikido.

Jeanne
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Old 10-12-2003, 05:19 PM   #46
Mary Eastland
 
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I don't think Aikido is a cult. I do think some students give their power away to their instructors in a cult like way.

Mary
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Old 10-12-2003, 06:18 PM   #47
bca333
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Cults

There is no way I would EVER subject myself to an organization suspected of brainwashing!!!!!

Brad (Catholic, Boy Scout, US Army)
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Old 10-18-2003, 04:10 AM   #48
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Well Brad I guess I am two steps ahead of you! Was Episcopalian (Catholic lite), was a boy scout, but since they as a private organization seem to be somewhat pig headed on legislating morality based on one religion I disowned them!

Well still doing the Army thing!

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Old 10-26-2003, 11:53 PM   #49
p00kiethebear
 
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These day's aikido is soooo dynamic and diverse. There are thousands of styles that have evolved from the original taught by ueshiba. Yoshinkan, Ki, Ki Shin Tai just to name a few. All of them are different in some way. and they don't all have the same values. Some schools it's all about taking the enemy down with whatever it takes, in others it's about protecting yourself as well as the person who's attacking you from physical harm. They're all so different. Some may seem cultish.

websters defines cult as: "A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader."

Some aikido's are extremist. some may be considered "false". But aikido is not unconventional. However it WAS at one point under the guidence of a charismatic leader = P.

So it just depends on the dojo, who the sensei, and what you interperate aikido to be.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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