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Old 01-08-2007, 05:16 AM   #51
Mark Freeman
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Gene Martinelli wrote:
Uhmm Mark... you do know that line I wrote that your quoting is nothing more than a joke? Hence the smiling wink face icon after the statement.
Sorry Jun - figured I had to at least ask on that one.
Hi Gene, of course I realised, which is why I kept the smilie in your quote, and why I added one to my own.

If God does exist I suspect that he has a sense of humour

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:22 AM   #52
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
Erick and I have "epistemological distance".... Erick came in with interpretations of the Bible to counter my statements with specific references from the Bible.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
"Shinto can be accepted in every particular where it does not conflict with revealed truth. If anyone thinks the concept of kami is necessarily offensive to revealed truth, then they have not properly understood the concept of kami. "Thrones, powers, dominions ...?"
...
It is no more impermissible nor unfaithful to observe or venerate the kamidana in accordance with Shinto ritual in a genuine spirit of faith as to the "uniting to one another in love" that occurs in the proper Aikido practice than it was for St. Paul to point out and venerate the statue of the "unknown God" for the benefit of the Athenians and in accordance with their own traditions."
... honest interpreters of all traditions would agree, ... They might interpret it like Erick but they never would have said that the NT writers would have accepted a Shinto cosmology. ... His statements demanded a public response ...
Actually, they only suggested an intensely private response -- the public part is merely bowing and clapping -- from which people will, inevitably, infer what they will, interior reality notwithstanding.

The point being whether is there an interior understanding of the external act that is honest to traditional observation and meaning in Aikido practice by bowing and clapping (i.e.-- not falsely pretended, which is spiritually dangerous in its own right) but also genuine with regard belief in a revealed faith, such as Christianity.

One does not have to establish that the Fathers of the Church would have accepted "Shinto cosmology." There is a worthy intention in the act of bowing and clapping toward the kamidana in which both the Christian and non-Christian may genuinely share and be in harmony with one another. Jorge seeks distinction, difference -- signs of external contradiction. Those tend to lead, ultimately, to a sense of external disharmony that does not exist in proper perspective. It is not the things outside us that that cause spiritual problems, it tis those within us. On this, I believe, both East and West may whole-heartedly agree.

We look, too often, for the signs of contradiction outside of us, merely to confirm a point of comfort in our interior state. We ought to look within -- where the bad things really come from, and which truth truly contradicts. If we let the interior be disturbed, by acknowledging the truth of the chaos within requiring balance, we may be moved toward both interior and exterior harmony instead.

Fudoshin.

The problem is larger than the dichotomies we use to define it. "Good" and "evil" (as men consider them, pace Job), violence and non-violence, belief and unbelief, harmony and disharmony -- it is the left leg that turns us toward the right, and vice versa. We are bilaterally symmetrical beings -- inside and outside.

The Christian understanding of this resolution is to convert the whole, not to sever the two. In doctrinal terms, the latter tendency leads to Manichaeism, an irretrievable duality. Aikido shares in this aspect of solving the problem in wholeness, joining of opposites into harmonious union that does not thereby destroy their distinctiveness. We may rightfully and genuinely do honor in the dojo to this spirit and its proponent, O Sensei, regardless of our professed religion.
Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
In my defense, how to properly interpret the Bible, "hermeneutics", is a course I have taught at many levels for many years.
"Hemeneutics" is an offense I have occasionally been accused of in this forum. Also guilty, I am afraid.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:04 AM   #53
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
If I believe God does not exist and he 'knows' ... that I am wrong, isn't he neglecting his duty by letting me blindly go about my business without some proof of the error of my ways?
If, and only if, truth requires evidence. If Love is truth, it requires no evidence, it only requires love as a free gift, often given in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Even to one's enemies. Which is its fundamental power, that Paul spoke of.

Christ said that love is the primary (and really, the only) command and test of truth, first toward God, and then toward my neighbor as myself. He also said that in loving one's fellows, even "the least of these" without the least expectaiton of recompense, you offer love to Him also. For Christians, he exemplified the limits of that love, to exceed all evidence, all proofs and even the limits of life itself, to make possible the same for us.

O Sensei said that his art is Love, that it is a religion without being a religion, and that one must love one's enemy, not destroy him. "Jujido" [ 十字道 ] he also called the art, oddly enough -- "The Way of the Cross-Shape," and making what is a not too difficult reference to a pertinent point about the nature of Christ (the Divine Logos of Creation, that he mentions eslewhere), along the way.
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
The spiritual essence of the Heavens and Earth
Congealing becomes the Way of the Cross-Shape +
Harmony and Joy make up the Floating Bridge
That binds this world together.
He wrote also (punning on "aiki" [合 氣 ] :
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
The "Cross Of Aiki" [ 愛 氣 ] (Love-Ki)
Of the structure of the Great and Swift God (Kami)
The meritorious deeds (samuhara) of the
God (Kami) of the Eight Powers.
The Eight Powers are the powers that give the universe life. In other words, the Kami (God) of Creation.

I bow to the kamidana, as a Christian, in reverent honor of this.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:52 AM   #54
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
... love is the primary (and really, the only) command and test of truth, first toward God, and then toward my neighbor as myself. ... I bow to the kamidana, as a Christian, in reverent honor of this.
It occurred to me that the topic was more broadly "Western religion." To be more responsive in that regard (not to speak too far for my Jewish brethren), Jesus, in stating the Great Commandments in the New Testament, was quoting a portion of the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:5-9, and the latter regarding love of others, from Leviticus 19:18.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:38 PM   #55
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Hi Gene, of course I realised, which is why I kept the smilie in your quote, and why I added one to my own.

If God does exist I suspect that he has a sense of humour

regards,

Mark
Right there with you on that one Mark. I know God has a sense of humor. God created "me" and God has seen me do Aikido.
Cheers,
Gene
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:56 AM   #56
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Hello Erick, Happy Holidays! I noticed that you made a few references here and there regarding the role of the character "ju". Could you please tell me where these references come from? Where did you hear that Ueshiba once called his art "jujido". I never heard of these things before. I would appreciate it as well if you could point me in the right direction as to where I could find information regarding Ueshiba's thoughts on Christianity. Thanks!

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 01-09-2007, 01:07 PM   #57
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
Hello Erick, Happy Holidays! I noticed that you made a few references here and there regarding the role of the character "ju". Could you please tell me where these references come from? Where did you hear that Ueshiba once called his art "jujido". I never heard of these things before. I would appreciate it as well if you could point me in the right direction as to where I could find information regarding Ueshiba's thoughts on Christianity. Thanks!
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and good New Year, as well!

The quotes above regarding "ju" and "jujido" on the "cross of aiki" and "way of the cross" of aiki come from Seiseki Abe Shihan's edition of the Doka contained in the 1936 edition of Budo Renshu, available online here:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/doka.html;

also here in Pranin's AJ version, but some different Doka were included and others not :

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=603.

In the Aikido Journal version they are numbered. The Doka quoted first was No. 49 in that set . No. 2 in the AJ set also makes reference to the "Cross of Aiki," but that one is different from the second one I quoted from Aikido FAQ.

Another Doka in the Aikido FAQ set references what Christians would understand as the nature of the Divine Word (kotodama) in terms that are similarly cognate with our theology:
Quote:
Shining and echoing is the kotodama
An honored form of the Holy Parent
That single, spiritual origin (of all that is)
The Nicene Creed also explains that Christ, "the Divine Word" is "one in being with the Father." As quoted earlier (See http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=2) O Sensei ascribed SU to the Divine Logos of the Gospel of John. The Dobun of O Sensei reported by Takaoka Shihan (http://www.aikidofaq.com/dobun.html )also speaks specifically of the root kotodama ("word spirit") "SU" as being "born" rather than made. That is a key element of the Nicene Creed "begotten not made."

The Dobun also says that in the course of creation, that the "work" of the root kotodama "SU" "is the origin of spirit as well as substance." The Creed says of Christ that "through him all things were made," and speaks of the maker of "all that is, seen and unseen."

One other parallel from the Dobun is of interest in this regard:
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
Takamagahara (high planes of heaven) represents the universe. It teaches us what the law and order of the universe 'hould be and how the gods reside within it. Everyone's family represents Takamagahara and each individual has Takamagahara within him\herself.
Jesus said: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within/among you." The ambiguity of the Greek preposition entos -- "within/among" has been variously translated both ways in interpretations of the Gospel.

O Sensei uses both senses to say the same essential thing.

Trinitarian elements of Creation cognate to those of Christian teaching are present in O Sensei's discussion of the Musubi ("creation") trinity of Ame no Minakanushi no Kami, Takami Musubi no Kami and Kami Musubi no Kami.
Quote:
O Sensei Taemusu Aiki Lectures wrote:
Aikido is also the working of the five voices—A-O-U-E-I. This is closely related to the combination of nigen (two origins), water and fire. In Shinto, they are the two deities, Takami Musubi and Kami Musubi. The world was built through the actions of the flow of these two deities.
See http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=638

And also

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=636

And again from the Doka:
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
The Pine, the Bamboo, and the Plum
The make up of Ki that we are training to purify
From where do they arise?
The Water and Fire of the change in the self.
John the Baptist, in Matthew (3:11) said that ""I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

These parallels are not merely Western speculations, but the same observations of Shinto have been made natively in Japan. Hirata Atsutane's work in the revival of Shinto in the Kokugaku, has long been suspected of being influenced by some Christian ideas, especially in his exposition of the Kojiki, and focussing on Ame no Minakanushi no Kami. http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp...mi/sasaki.html

Motoori Norinaga, another Kokugaku scholar, (and arguing the other side of things, it should be said) has objected to the kami of Shinto being given rank in order of appearance vice relation to the governing Imperial family. Basically, this was because "then the possibility exists that all kami might converge into monotheism." See citation above. Since the express purpose of the Kokugaku scholarship in reviving Shinto was to bolster the presumed status of the Emperor, the question may fairly be raised as to which possible ranking of the kami is the more balanced from the original standpoint of the writers of the Kojiki as opposed to the expressly political purposes of the Kokugaku.

There is great deal of commonality in the Japanese sources for the ideas of spiritualtiy expressed by O Sensei both in relation to Aikido (and in a larger context) with Western religious teaching that is extremely fruitful to consider, on both sides.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-09-2007 at 01:18 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:36 AM   #58
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

I'm not religious at all and honestly I'm very skeptical and negitive towards religion for many reasons.

On that note Aikido has helped me get over some of my predjuices towards spirituality and I'm quite thankful for it.
eligion in my opinion is saying YOUR way is the right way and other people are wrong. It will probably sound cliche but Aikido has taught me that religion and what people believe are just different paths up the same mountian, with the same goal. People get stuck in the path directly infront of them and not whats at the end. I guess Aikido is helping me open up my mind. Thats more stemming from the origional post mind you and not how it's branched off.

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If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 01-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #59
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
I'm not religious at all and honestly I'm very skeptical and negitive towards religion for many reasons.

On that note Aikido has helped me get over some of my predjuices towards spirituality and I'm quite thankful for it.
eligion in my opinion is saying YOUR way is the right way and other people are wrong. It will probably sound cliche but Aikido has taught me that religion and what people believe are just different paths up the same mountian, with the same goal. People get stuck in the path directly infront of them and not whats at the end. I guess Aikido is helping me open up my mind. Thats more stemming from the origional post mind you and not how it's branched off.
The key point for me is how all religion, "rightly" understood and Aikido the "religion without being religion" are on the same path. And it is quite simple. So simple, and indeed radical, that people with other agendas want to obscure it because it does not fit into their desires and schemes.

In Buddhist terms, wholly negating Self means wholly embracing Other. Whether Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto or any other religion worthy of the name -- that point is to "Love one another." In Jesus' teaching of the two great biblical commandments, the first is subsumed into the second - that you give your love to God precisely by loving the least of your neighbors as yourself.

In Shinto terms, it means honoring others as Kami ("One Above") -- as more important than oneself. Even the Emperor Hirohito, the highest living personage (kami) in Japanese culture expressed this self-negating understanding for himself -- in the previously unthinkable surrender message at the end of World War II "We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable."

Budo has therefore been recognized in Japan as among the highest expressions of this self-negating spirit of love, just as it is recognized in the West, in the eulogy honoring "the last full measure of devotion" of the slain soldier.

"Religion" in its root meaning, is to "bind together" or to "make as one." It is not far from the straightforward physical meaning of "musubi." And of course, the meaning of musubi in in Aikido goes beyond the physical.

Binding ourselves (musubi) utterly to that which is beyond us, we set ourselves free from the lonely, narrow prison of self. That is the spirit we practice to set free in aikido, regardless of our professed source of understanding as to why we do it. That is true religion -- by whatever name, or by no name -- religion that makes us ultimately one in being.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:57 PM   #60
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

I pulled out Stephens' "Essence of Aikido" to find the other reference to "jujido" I did not have in the earlier post. Stephens may take too many liberties with O Sensei's text, on occasion. So I have transcribed the kanji, romaji and his translation:

天 地 の
精 魂 凝りて
十 字 道
世 界 和 楽 の
むすぶ 浮橋

Ametsuchi no
seikon korite
jujido
sekai waraku no
musubu ukihashi.
Quote:
Stephens' translation wrote:
The spiritual essence
of heaven and earth
congeals as the cross of our Path.
The peace and happiness of the world
is linked to Heaven's Floating Bridge.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-16-2007, 07:28 AM   #61
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

i just figured id give you my input. since we follow o'sensei's martial art and since it is "first and foremost a martial art" maybe it isnt completely necessary to be spiritual in your studies(or atleast as far as being spiritual towards eastern religions). but if you read "the art of peace" i think this would help you alot in your thinking on this subject, o'sensei says in one a part of the book something like that the art of peace is to refine all world religions, and since he also says that we should respect everyone no matter what there beliefs id say that since we study a japanese martial art it is important to folow there customs, and to honor our dojo. and in the shomen it is very important to have a picture of o'sensei becasue again we are following his "way" in our studies so we should most definitly honor him. so i dont know all in all id just say go and read "the art of peace"(incase you havent already) because it makes what you are studying whole, rather than just the budo aspects of it.
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:47 AM   #62
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
Practicing a faith, one which we can trully understand and is close to our hearts, I think would bring new meaning and depth to our practice of Aikido.
Amen.
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:19 PM   #63
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Smile Re: Western religion and Aikido

My 2 cents,

Before founding Aikido O-Sensei studied and mastered several different martial arts. He also was higly spiritual and a follower of Omoto-Kyo and studied under its leader at the time, Onisaburo Deguchi. Onisaburo was supposedly to possess psychic skills. O-Sensei must have put as much focus in his spiritual training as his martial training.

Aikido was the manifestation of his training in both fields. Aikido is based in love, and so is Christianity. The forms and expressions of love are limitless. I believe that if Jesus had the desire to become a great martial artist and with his spiritual background he could create an art which achieves the same objectives as Aikido. While the techinques may vary. The intent of the techniques would be the same.

A good teacher tries to adapt the form and applications of the content into what would be the most readily accepted by his or her students. A master, takes what he or she can use from their various teachers and discards the rest. He or she will not blame any teacher for not teaching them the "right way". I think O-Sensei realized that Aikido was not his Art, but the universe's (God's).

O-Sensei and Aikido was lucky enough to have been created in a time where their histories could be properly documented for future followers with less doubts of its accurateness. Yoga, Tai Chi, Christianity, and others where founded when no such proper documentation technologies existed. So the accurateness of the documentation that exist is in dispute and creates confusion for current followers.

If you read books by Sylvia Browne, a psychic. She claims that the original teachings of Christ believed in such things as reincarnation of the soul, and of nature as being an aspect of God. It was just suppressed or distorted by those who controlled the information. However, since you are a part of God and a part of God is within you, one does not need to rely on any such books to discover the truth. You will find that it has always existed within you.

O-Sensei would want his followers to become masters like him, a master of one's self, and find their own path, create their own Aikido. He would not care what name it would be called or what its techniques looked like, just as long it perpetuated love and harmony between men as individuals and also as a part of the universe.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:25 AM   #64
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Labels, definitions, boundaries, and dogma by nature do create limits and boundaries that can keep us from realizing the truth and our potential. They also help us understand and make sense of a complex world.

I think it is important to explore and consider many things. Most importantly it is important to let go of thost attachments and figure out things for ourselves. It can be a scarey journey, but in the end, it is one we should take in order to reach a deeper understanding with the nature of our existence and our realationship with the world around us.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:23 AM   #65
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Fascinating thread.

I've never had any interest in incorporating Omoto kyo, or Shinto, or Zen Buddhist religious ideology into my practice of Aikido. I hold very strongly to my biblical beliefs without significant tension between those beliefs and my practice of Aikido. Moreover, I don't think that my practice of Aikido is somehow lessened or hindered by not holding to specific Far Eastern philosophical/religious systems.

I should remark that the "all streams lead into the ocean" philosophy is, logically speaking, fundamentally and profoundly flawed. Not all differing perspectives and beliefs can be held to be correct or true at the same time. This is logically impossible. Much (but not all) of the thinking expressed in this thread, though, holds to a patchwork, collage-like, adoption of Truth. For many on this thread, there is no Truth but what the individual makes. Truth is almost completely subjective and opposing views on what the Truth is are implicitly held to be equal in value. This kind of thinking, however, is a recipe for personal, and cultural disaster. It leads, not to clarity, but to greater and greater confusion ethically, morally, philosophically, and spiritually.

I think it has become chic to doubt. Being without hard and fast answers to the big questions in life is more "tolerant", more "open", more "broad-minded". Of course, if there really is Truth out there, this kind of willful ignorance makes one blind to it. I wonder if the same thing is true in the practice of Aikido? I mean, there are those who would suggest that there is no right and wrong Aikido, only your Aikido and my Aikido. Is this a better way to think about the nature of Aikido, or is this the means to the dilution and ultimate destruction of the art? Hmmm....

Have I gone too far of topic?

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:57 PM   #66
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

[quote=Jonathan Hay]Fascinating thread.


I should remark that the "all streams lead into the ocean" philosophy is, logically speaking, fundamentally and profoundly flawed. Not all differing perspectives and beliefs can be held to be correct or true at the same time.


QUOTE]

I beg to differ. Do you agree that the size of the universe is infinite? If you believe this is true, than from your perspective as an individual you are the center of the universe, but also at the same time from my perspective I am also the center of the universe. Under the laws of the universe both of our individual perceptions do not conflict.

Just as the person you excert the most degree of control over is yourself. So from your perspective you are the most powerful person in the universe, and that would be true. But, I could also believe that I am the most powerful person in the universe and this would be true too. However, where it would not be true is if I believe that I could have control over you. Which I really don't.

There are times when our individual perspectives and also in alignment with the laws of the universe. This is when we obtain true power and are the most powerful. When we take a view that is against the universe, we will come to the conclusion that we are really not that powerful.

O-Sensei, Jesus, Buddha, and others may have come to the same conclusions, even by walking different paths.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:08 PM   #67
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

I believe that more ignorance comes from blind faith than from doubting and seeking knowledge and understanding of the truth.

I don't pretend to know or understand completely any truth. I also try and not be critical of others that believe or the paths they are on...because that is a personal choice.

However, once you say, "I know"...I have a multitude of questions that I would ask and challenge you with, and the answers have to be more substansive than...."because the book says so", or "I was told it was so".

I have the same approach toward religion as I do to aikido and martial arts. I expect my teachers to be able to demonstrate what they profess to know, and when I ask why...they need to be able to explain/demonstrate or have the courage to say "I don't really have the answer". However, if that answer is, "because that is the way I was taught." ...I have issues.

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Old 02-12-2007, 10:28 PM   #68
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Marcus:

Using the term "perspective" was probably not the best way to express my thinking. Two people can witness a car accident from two very different perspectives, or vantage points, share their view of what they witnessed of the car accident and, even if they say different things about what they saw, provided they don't directly contradict one another, may both be quite accurate about the events of the accident. However, if person A says, "There were two green cars that collided" and person B says, "There were two red cars that collided," then one of the two witnesses has got his/her facts about the color of the cars wrong. They cars can't be both red and green at the same time. To hold that both witnesses are equally right in the color of the cars is to be completely illogical.

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I beg to differ. Do you agree that the size of the universe is infinite? If you believe this is true, than from your perspective as an individual you are the center of the universe, but also at the same time from my perspective I am also the center of the universe. Under the laws of the universe both of our individual perceptions do not conflict.

Just as the person you excert the most degree of control over is yourself. So from your perspective you are the most powerful person in the universe, and that would be true. But, I could also believe that I am the most powerful person in the universe and this would be true too. However, where it would not be true is if I believe that I could have control over you. Which I really don't.

There are times when our individual perspectives and also in alignment with the laws of the universe. This is when we obtain true power and are the most powerful. When we take a view that is against the universe, we will come to the conclusion that we are really not that powerful.

O-Sensei, Jesus, Buddha, and others may have come to the same conclusions, even by walking different paths.
Yes, well, your words here make my case for me...

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I believe that more ignorance comes from blind faith than from doubting and seeking knowledge and understanding of the truth.
I don't believe ignorance comes from blind faith; I believe it is the cause of blind faith. You make it sound as though blind faith and seeking for truth are mutually exclusive things. Why is that?

The really mature believers in the truths of the Bible that I know are not blind in their faith -- rather the opposite.

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I don't pretend to know or understand completely any truth. I also try and not be critical of others that believe or the paths they are on...because that is a personal choice.
The most confused and logically corrupt people I know are those who resist the idea that there is knowable, inflexible, universal truth.

It is possible to be critical of a person's beliefs and thinking without rejecting him or her. This is the route I take; I can value a person while denying their beliefs.

If I had an Aikido teacher who said, "Do whatever you want! It's all good. There is no wrong way to do Aikido!"; if that teacher refused to correct his students' technique for fear of offending them, I'd be finding another teacher as fast as I could.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:49 AM   #69
GnosticWarrior
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Thanks for the previous posts to clarify one's understanding. It really made me look at my labels and definitions that I have and I may have previously misused them. Religion is a complex topic.

I think Aikido is a benefical art for society and everyone here wants to better themselves as an individual in some way. As long as people don't lose focus on the self improvement, things will work out regardless of the labels or rituals that go along with the process.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:05 AM   #70
ian
 
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote:
If I had an Aikido teacher who said, "Do whatever you want! It's all good. There is no wrong way to do Aikido!"; if that teacher refused to correct his students' technique for fear of offending them, I'd be finding another teacher as fast as I could.
Well, you wouldn't train with Ueshiba then. I had heard that he rarely corrected students, he just smiled and said 'good', no matter what you did! Agree pretty much with your post though Jonathon (inc. the bit I've quoted from you).

I think alot of this thread brings out fundamental philsophical/religious beliefs. I think we have to accept we live in a pluralist society (at least we do in the UK) and I would hope there would never be any specific association of a religious thought with aikido. I think it's wrong to believe that omote-kyo or zen or taoism is aikido's religious aspect, just as it would be wrong to associate it with Christianity. I think you can talk about yin/yang without necessarily inferring that it is a spiritual thing. I think aikido is a physical practise ('beyond words') which enables two practitioners with different religious or philosophical backgrounds to come together with mutual (non-verbal)understanding.

Indeed, I think the core of religion comes down to the natural human compassion that is part of who we are as humans (most of us anyway). We're all humans first; the religious bit is just an add on, and often distorts the natural compassion through dehumanisation of the 'other'.

Last edited by ian : 02-13-2007 at 10:09 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:54 AM   #71
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Jonathan, you make some good points counter to mine.

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If I had an Aikido teacher who said, "Do whatever you want! It's all good. There is no wrong way to do Aikido!"; if that teacher refused to correct his students' technique for fear of offending them, I'd be finding another teacher as fast as I could.
Actually, I have instructors that say Do whatever you want, and question what you are learning. They then proceed to show me options and how what I am doing is less skillful, or can be done better or differently.

my instructors never say "that is not right." they say..."consider this view point".

It is not about dogmatic correction, or saying what is or is not aikido...it is about skillfully showing another perspective to consider...making it all within the realm of aikido.

that though requires a mature, and experienced instructor to be able to define aikido this way.

to me religion works the same way. Looking for the truths, one should not constrain or limit their view of the world, or not expose themselves to experiences that fall outside of the dogma of their particular afinity.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:01 PM   #72
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Kevin, I agree aikido is not a religion if religion is defined as belief in a deity.

However religion can be defined in a multitude of ways. Some believe that aikido is a practice that can help one reach a deeper understanding of harmony/peace.

It is a practice that has a goal to move to a better place in life for many.

Viewed as a religon or a religous practice in that light...it is one whose goals are completely compatible and not in conflict with other commonly agreed upon established religions.

Calling aikido simply a martial art is like saying Fine Cooking or Culinary Arts is all about basically nourishing the body to help it survive.

To many making wine, beer, cooking, and many other pursuits is more than the atoms and molecules...

Money or the pursuit of it is a religion for many.

I think the discussion of religion and aikido to be very relevant and worth discussing as it helps us better understand what makes people and the world tick.
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:25 PM   #73
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

I think it sounds wierd to you probably because you don't view it that way...and that....is Okay.

God I sound like that old Al Franken character Stuart Smiley or something like that!
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:53 PM   #74
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Ian:

Thanks for your thoughts. Yeah, I've read several times now that OSensei was a --- problematic teacher. Especially concerning his religious ideas, many of OSensei's students seem to have either largely ignored them or spun them in whatever way suited their thinking. Nothing I've read about how OSensei conducted his teaching suggests to me he was a particularly good teacher. That is, his capacity to pass on knowledge uniformly and clearly and foster the development of the ability he possessed was not well accomplished.

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Indeed, I think the core of religion comes down to the natural human compassion that is part of who we are as humans (most of us anyway). We're all humans first; the religious bit is just an add on, and often distorts the natural compassion through dehumanisation of the 'other'.
Hmmm...as I think on what you've said here it occurs to me that most religions are trying to correct human behaviour, the assumption in this being that human beings, for a variety of reasons, do not naturally follow compassionate or right motives in dealing with one another.

Kevin:

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Actually, I have instructors that say Do whatever you want, and question what you are learning. They then proceed to show me options and how what I am doing is less skillful, or can be done better or differently.
Isn't this just a more oblique way of saying that you are, in fact, doing it wrong? It seems like it to me...

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my instructors never say "that is not right." they say..."consider this view point".
What do you think your instructors would do if you outright refused to hear, let alone consider, their offered point of view?

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It is not about dogmatic correction, or saying what is or is not aikido...it is about skillfully showing another perspective to consider...making it all within the realm of aikido.
I don't mean to be obnoxious here, but this sounds like semantics.

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to me religion works the same way. Looking for the truths, one should not constrain or limit their view of the world, or not expose themselves to experiences that fall outside of the dogma of their particular afinity
What if you find Truth that is constraining and limiting to your view of the world? What if you find Truth and it prohibits certain experiences? Would you embrace it because it is Truth or ignore it because it infringes on your "freedom"?

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Old 02-14-2007, 09:55 AM   #75
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Re: Western religion and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Labels, definitions, boundaries, and dogma by nature do create limits and boundaries that can keep us from realizing the truth and our potential. They also help us understand and make sense of a complex world.
Quote:
Miyamoto Musashi wrote:
The purpose of today's training ... is to defeat yesterday's understanding.
Frank Doran used that in an AJ article, so I won't take credit for the research on that one.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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