Dojo: Aikido Alive London
Join Date: Sep 2010
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology
Why O Sensei and Deguchi differ.
The fundamentals of O Sensei's esoteric framework of Aikido are, "Ichirei Shikon Sangen Hachiriki":
One Spirit—Four Souls,
Three Origins—Eight Powers.
They in turn, are based on his understanding of the Kojiki—the oldest origin story of Japan, and on Onisaburo Deguchi's Oomoto-Kyo neo-Shinto teachings and his own revelations thereof.
We will see that O Sensei's and Deguchi's view differ in application of the four idioms.
From an Aikidoka's perspective we need to be able to comprehend these teachings in our body for them to make any sense. They won't serve us intellectually or philosophically in our physical training without its inherent equivalent relationship to our body with its internal framework.
No doubt, these fundamentally spiritual teachings cater for all people, martial artist or not, but we as Aikidoka, must be able to incorporate them (literally) into our daily training, if they are going to have any bearing on our Aikido.
Without a question, you can learn Aikido without resorting to ancient mythology, but if you're interested in where O Sensei comes from, and if you want to explore the roots of his culture, then, the study of these axioms is a must. And it must be said that gaining some understanding thereof will immeasurably help your practice, especially in conjunction with learning the internal system of Aiki from a master teacher.
So to start let's look at each one of the four axioms one by one.
1. Ichirei —One Spirit.
According to Deguchi it is;
"81. The God who created everything in the universe is one only: He is called the Ame-no-Minakanushi-no-Kami' (天之御中主神).
82. In short, He is called "God" or "True God".
"85. God is one only. He is the holy God, without beginning and without end."
("Divine Signposts," Part 1, Ch. 2.)
From the Kojiki:
"At the beginning the universe was immersed in a beaten and shapeless kind of matter (chaos), sunk in silence. Later there were sounds indicating the movement of particles. With this movement, the light and the lightest particles rose but the particles were not as fast as the light and could not go higher. Thus, the light was at the top of the Universe, and below it, the particles formed first the clouds and then Heaven, which was to be called Takamagahara (高天原, "High Plain of Heaven"). The rest of the particles that had not risen formed a huge mass, dense and dark, to be called Earth.
When Takamagahara was formed, the first three gods appeared:
* Amenominakanushi (天之御中主神, Amenominakanushi)
* Takamimusubi (高御産巣日神, Taka-mi-musuhi-no-kami) and
* Kamimusubi (神産巣日神, Kami-musuhi-no-kami)."
One God with two aspects: Wisdom and Love, light and heat. Possibly we derive the triangle from the trinity?
Deguchi says of this:
83. The light (wisdom) of God is called the God Takamimusubi and the warmth (love) of God is called the God Kamimusubi."
These three ‘Gods' appeared in the beginning of time in Japanese mythology to get things rolling. According to the Kojiki—the record of ancient matters:
As a martial artist it would be natural to look at the Chinese daoist yin and yang philosophy to find similarities and to compare notes, as so many do. But I do not think we need to. Everything we are looking for can be found within the Japanese texts, regardless of if they've been influenced by Chinese and Indian thought through the ages, because, I believe, they contain everything we need, to be able to get a holistic overview of the Japanese way of seeing the world, from the large to the little, and hidden within it, a process to follow for the comprehension of our own body and mind.
Looking across cultural borders is beneficial, and to draw inspiration and to find similarities is enriching, but to remain true to O Sensei there is no need to contextualise his worldview by incorporating Chinese or Hindu thought, and though we find these influences all over the Japanese adopted religions and their foreign imports, they have become wholly incorporated into the Japanese culture. So there is no need, in my opinion, to go outside of Japan to find the basis for O Sensei's worldview, even though for us personally, it will be broadening and enriching for our overall understanding. Like in the same manner, the Bible is sufficient in revealing Jesus Christ, even though there are an infinite amount of textual references outside of it describing his mystery. So let's remain within the context O Sensei himself would have lived within, to the extent we can know about it. Simply not to water it down to much and lose the poignancy of the original scriptures.
Because that's what we're talking about here, the potential inherent in esoteric, cryptic, difficult, old, but possibly insightful masterful descriptions of internal secrets, hidden in myth, saved to posterity by national interest. Just as the Torah is to the Jewish people. A thread back to where we come from, through a genealogy of the gods; of God and his people.
So let's go further. Number two.
2. Shikon—Four Souls.
"91. Spirit consists of four distinctive qualities: activity, harmony, love and wisdom. These four comprise the complete Divine spirit.
92. The human soul, too, is endowed with these four divine qualities."
"From the light, the first three creation gods came to be. The first Japanese god was Amenominakanushi, who was more of a genderless concept than a deity. After them, Takamimusubi and Kamimusubi were born. They are the source of the universe and the first being. The combination and interaction of these three fundamental principles is what constitutes the fourth god—Umashiashikabihikoji; designating a potential; the budding of a reed, something being pro-generated. The realm these primeval forces inhabited was named—Amenotokotachi: the fifth principal/god.
The combined three original gods inherently hold potential for a cross; a vertical and a horizontal line, centred in the middle, delineating growth in space, to begin with in four directions. Thereof the fourth god, advertising a possibility of birth inherent in the three.
The fifth god simply frames the timelessness of the three first principles but also denotes its ‘Heavenly' superior status.
1. Amenominakanushi, "Lord of the August Center of Heaven".
2. Takamimusubi "High Creator" (vertical).
3. Kamimusubi 神産巣日 (alt. Ka+Mi fire/water)(horizontal).
Due to their only descriptive nature, no 4 and 5, do not remain but escape unnoticed, only to later be realised and substantiated in the "Ichirei Shikon"—One Spirit, Four Souls:
The wondrous Kushimitama, ‘Wisdom'. Summer, South. Heaven.
The happy Sakimitama. ‘Love'. Winter, North(facing). Earth.
The turbulent Aramitama, ‘Courage'. Spring, East(facing), Fire.
The tranquil Nigimitama,‘Relation'. Autumn, West, Water.
According to the Kojiki,
"Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (the Central Land of the Reed Plain, which is the land between heaven and the land of the dead, i.e. the earth)." The ‘Reed' is straight vertical and the ‘Plain' is horizontal flat, intersects at the central point in the cross-section between Heaven and the Underworld. Outlining four corners again, the four cardinal directions, and ‘souls'—Shikon: Aramitama, Nigimitama, Sakimitama, Kushimitama.
The "Naohinomitama" is now the name for the One Spirit, once it has entered the ‘world', and that acts as kind of a ‘reflective' conscious quadrant container for the four souls within our own body and mind. Maybe that's why the Sun goddess Amaterasu was given the designation of the square?
So, onto number three. Stepping down from Heaven onto Earth.
3. Sangen—Three Origins.
Which three do we choose from? Because they do reappear several times down the line. Which is only natural as we are talking about a genealogy—one generation after another, with more or less same the DNA makeup, even when we're just talking about deities. So in that sense, we do refer to the same origins even when we use different examples.
But the incident referred to by coupling Sangen to Hachiriki is this one, from the Kojiki:
"The elder gods delegated the youngest couple Izanagi and Izanami to carry out their venerable mandate: to reach down from heaven and give solid form to the earth. This they did with the use of a precious stone-covered spear named Ame-no-nuboko (天沼矛, "heavenly jewelled spear"), given to them by the elders. Standing over the Ame-no-ukihashi (天浮橋, "floating bridge of heaven"), they churned the chaotic mass with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the tip, they formed into the first island, Onogoroshima (Self revolving island). In forming this island, both gods came down from heaven, and spontaneously built a central support column called the Ame-no-mihashira (天御柱, "heavenly pillar") which upheld the "hall measuring eight fathoms" that the gods caused to appear afterwards."
The three components to creating the ‘hall' were Izanagi and Izanami, and the central pillar.
We have now left the heavenly realm of Takamagahara and entered the Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (the ‘Central Land of the Reed Plain', which is the land between heaven and the land of the dead, i.e. the earth), where we live—human beings.
Now Deguchi confuses the story somewhat as he infers;
"90. By body is meant matter. The body of God consists of three functions, which can be named solidity, softness and fluidity. These three comprise the Divine body."
Ie. Kotai, Jutai and Ryutai.
To me, he is mixing the metaphors and mixing up the implied reference to the resulting eight powers.
Yet he also says;
"86. In the universe there exists nothing other than these three elements: spirit, power and body."
Is he there referring to the original trio? I think so. So it actually is better to stick with the Kojiki story to gain the correct sequences in order of appearance. So when O Sensei joins him in this con-fusion, the three origins become muddled. But if we stay with the story it all make sense to us Aikidoka. Because after all, isn't it describing a process of how to create a body filled with the power of ‘God'? From the ground up as it where. Or rather, from top down.
So then, the final eight.
4. Hachiriki —Eight Powers.
This hall of ‘eight fathoms' is the length of a pair of arms, times 8, outstretched in eight directions, ie Eight Powers—the spherical span of your body. So perhaps, it's from here we derive the circle to represent ‘man'?
"94. The power of God has eight functions, otherwise called the "eight powers". This is called "the complete power of God."
Movement—Stillness, Melting—Congealing, Pulling—Loosening, Combining—Splitting.
Maybe here does O Sensei's and Deguchi's note on hard to soft to fluid come into play? In the transition from one to its opposite? But then they really set the cart before the horse.
Izanagi and Izanami go on to create the eight islands, or platforms, the archipelago that was to become Japan. And that is as far as I've got to by now.