Kevin Leavitt wrote:
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.
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.
"Religion" means "that which binds together." "Musubi" is actually very close in root meaning. On those grounds aikido qualifies as a religious practice, but not as a religious doctrine.
Today's insistence on religion as an individualist pursuit is a novel, and oxymoronic, approach to the search for meaning. Largely this is becasue there is a misunderstanding between the respective purposes of religious practice and religious doctrine.
From my experience, proper religious practice is always effective to accomplish its purposes. I have experienced this same essnetial thing in contexts as far ranging as the muezzin at dusk in Jerusalem, the DaiButsu in Kamakura, the Grand Canyon, Eucharistic Adoration, Mozart's Requiem Mass, in just plain sitting, and yes -- also in the practice of aikido.
If a Universal Truth is indeed truth it must be everywhere the same, or it cannot be true. If it is universal, yet it must also differ in its particulars of expression, or it cannot be found expressed in all different perspectives. Doctrine is a means to teach affirmative concepts about the deeper meaning, but always comes from a particular perspective. Practice should invite us to the universal that is found in
but is not of
the particular means of its expression.
How we affirmatively understand that paradox of purpose and meaning may therefore differ very widely because affirmation implicitly negates or distinguishes what is not affirmed. Practice just IS
. By practicing in the proper spirit, you get it. By practicing in the wrong spirit, you don't.
At least that is how I see it from my little corner of the universe.
It all about Ki-Musubi. The Spirit that binds us all together.