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Old 02-02-2009, 08:42 PM   #1
John Furgerson III
 
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Aikido spirituality and life after death

Hello all!

Many people seem to associate Aikido and all of the martial arts with reincarnation. Has anyone here ever been asked if Aikidoists believe in reincarnation since it's connected to eastern ideas?

I used to have people ask me things like that when I was living in the States. But since I've been out of Aikido for some years and I'm just now going to be starting up again here in Mexico City, I thought I would see what answers I could get to this question that probably isn't asked very often.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:33 AM   #2
chuunen baka
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
Hello all!

Many people seem to associate Aikido and all of the martial arts with reincarnation. Has anyone here ever been asked if Aikidoists believe in reincarnation since it's connected to eastern ideas?
Firstly, Aikido is a martial art, not a religion or a belief system. The people practising Aikido are very diverse so it makes little sense to ask what they all believe.

Secondly, Aikido's founder had his own strong religious beliefs but I don't think they involved reincarnation.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #3
Chantal
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

I agree, aikido is a martial art ... not a religion in itself. Religion is a touchy subject for many people. I teach in the Catholic School system and it is also my religion, but by no means are all the students at my school Catholic. Same goes for aikido and any other martial art. We practice and train in our own spiritual ways. For someone to ask you a question like you have mentioned, it for them to generalize and sterotype ... both of which are not what aikido (or martial art training) entail.

that's just my 2 cents ... take it or leave it

Chantal

The spiritual beauty, which is the deepest truth, sustains me!
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

I've never been asked my ideas about religion or spirituality based on, nor do I associate my spiritual or religious beliefs with, my practice of Aikido or any other martial art. If my beliefs and my training conflicted in some way I would train somewhere else. Unless the dojo they attend is an extension of a religious institution, it should not be an issue what an individual believes.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Hello Mr Furgerson,

I think we need to be clear about reincarnation.

Are you thinking about (1) the Buddhist doctrine about coming back to earth after death, or (2) the doctrine that deities may possess someone and act through them?

I think that the only person seriously concerned with reincarnation in aikido was the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba. If you read his writings (now available in English), you will see that he believed that he was the reincarnation of several deities. In other words, several deities acted through him in his daily training. This belief is quite commensurate with his belief in Shingon Buddhism.

I do not believe that any postwar aikido shihan believes in similar theories of reincarnation, so we might ask why this might be a problem in Mexico City.

Very best wishes with your new dojo.

PAG

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
Hello all!

Many people seem to associate Aikido and all of the martial arts with reincarnation. Has anyone here ever been asked if Aikidoists believe in reincarnation since it's connected to eastern ideas?

I used to have people ask me things like that when I was living in the States. But since I've been out of Aikido for some years and I'm just now going to be starting up again here in Mexico City, I thought I would see what answers I could get to this question that probably isn't asked very often.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
John Furgerson III
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
Alastair Rae wrote: View Post
The people practising Aikido are very diverse so it makes little sense to ask what they all believe.
Why does it make little sense???? It's a simple question. And it is a fact that some people connect a religious belief with a martial art.

It makes plenty of sense.
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:25 PM   #7
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Perhaps to you...and I'm ok with that.

Not to me...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

I believe that I was the reincarnation of a gnat that got slapped to death in my first 15 minutes life by a serf who was slaving in the swamps of New Amsterdam in 1683

Marc Abrams

JUST KIDDING!
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:34 PM   #9
John Furgerson III
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
For someone to ask you a question like you have mentioned, it for them to generalize and sterotype ... both of which are not what aikido (or martial art training) entail.
I can't figure out why you would think I'm generalizing or stereotyping unless you have been working in a university setting. Those two words are normally used by the liberal thought police on campuses in the States.
It was a simple question. And for all who say Aikido is ONLY a martial Art.....that way of looking at it is 100% western in thinking. It's a KNOWN fact that in asia martial arts are associated with spirituality.
I would appreciate you not stereotyping ME Chantel. You sound like a university student or faculty.
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Hello Mr. Ferguson,
Re: Rejoining Great Nature

Aikido evolved from and can be said to reflect Shinto thinking. The basic of Shinto thinking re: leaving this life is that the Mitama (soul) returns to Great Nature and becomes Soreisya (ancestral kami).

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
Koichi Barrish
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:17 PM   #11
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
I can't figure out why you would think I'm generalizing or stereotyping unless you have been working in a university setting. Those two words are normally used by the liberal thought police on campuses in the States.
It was a simple question. And for all who say Aikido is ONLY a martial Art.....that way of looking at it is 100% western in thinking. It's a KNOWN fact that in asia martial arts are associated with spirituality.
I would appreciate you not stereotyping ME Chantel. You sound like a university student or faculty.
John:

Politics and religious discussions frequently lead to ridiculous arguments. Seriously, look at this response. I know of more than one Japanese Shihan who DO NOT associate Aikido with Spirituality. There are places in Asia that practice martial arts absolutely devoid of any sense of spirituality. So much for your 100% assertion.

If we are going to be spiritual then let us display the acceptance of differences in others based upon the fundamental assumption that we are all endowed with something from something far greater than us mere mortals.If people chose to associate any form of religion or spirituality with their practice of Aikido, then we should all be accepting of that and even the absence of that.

My first post was an attempt to throw humor into a pot that I anticipated would quickly boil over.

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:10 PM   #12
John Furgerson III
 
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Smile Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
My first post was an attempt to throw humor into a pot that I anticipated would quickly boil over.
I get your point Mark. I wasn't trying to step on toes. I was asking a serious question that's all.I don't care who sees Aikido as a spiritual art and those who only see it as a martial art only. As for the 100%, I was trying to say that there are SOME who see Aikido as a tool to develop ones spirit.
I should have made that clear.

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Old 04-30-2009, 08:18 PM   #13
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
I get your point Mark. I wasn't trying to step on toes. I was asking a serious question that's all.I don't care who sees Aikido as a spiritual art and those who only see it as a martial art only. As for the 100%, I was trying to say that there are SOME who see Aikido as a tool to develop ones spirit.
I should have made that clear.

John:

I am in TOTAL agreement with you in seeing Aikido as a tool to develop one's spirit. This is how I view it. Unfortunately, when you try and place that within the "confines" that other's view as religion, people lose sight of the larger picture and it turns into a war of words. The "thought police" on the "left", "right", "religious", "atheists" ....... are all there waiting for us to give them ammo to use. I am frankly sick of each "side" trying to prove themselves "right" with the other side "wrong."

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:01 PM   #14
John Furgerson III
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

I agree with what you said Marc. I think saying that the spirit can be develped through Aikido practice may be msitaken for religion. The same with reincarnation. I wasn't trying to go there though. I hope everyone understands that.
Here's an example of Aikido training the spirit and making it better. Everytime I go to class I get there early so I can sweep the dojo, then clean the mats with soap and water. After that I sit and meditate and stretch the wrists. Our instructor a couple of weeks ago made a comment to some students who were late. Normally if you're late you wait for the teacher to give you permission to get on the mat.
But this teacher told the students....no. First you get a brrom and sweep around the mats. After they did that he gave a lecture to everyone about the importance of cleaning the dojo. He said cleaning the dojo helps one clean themselves of ego. And you need to be ontime. I like how he connected cleaning the dojo with cleaning ones ego.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:24 AM   #15
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

John:

What you describe is what I learned that is not that often seen today. As a new student, I would come early to clean the dojo. This is a form of shugyo and in my eyes is part of training. I now have my own school. I still train with my teacher once a week now and I always am the first person at the dojo. I still practice this shugyo there and at my school.

My teacher wrote an article a long time ago about this form of training/shugyo. Cleaning the exterior as a form of cleaning one's interior.

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:28 AM   #16
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Saotome's Aikido and the Harmony of Nature describes in detail the once uchi-deshi's questions to O'Sensei concerning this precise matter. These passages mean much to me.

Drew
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:28 PM   #17
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
Saotome's Aikido and the Harmony of Nature describes in detail the once uchi-deshi's questions to O'Sensei concerning this precise matter. These passages mean much to me.

Drew
Thanks Drew.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:30 PM   #18
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Huh, I gotta look that up when I get home tomorrow.

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 05-05-2009, 01:49 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Found the passage, it was interesting. Any Nihongo specialists care to take a turn describing Kannagara? I think I spelled that correctly...

Best,
Ron (it didn't seem like the kind of reincarnation where my "soul" ends up in someone else's body)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:50 PM   #20
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Found the passage, it was interesting. Any Nihongo specialists care to take a turn describing Kannagara? I think I spelled that correctly...

Best,
Ron
I think the word can generally refer to divine flow.
Quote:
A web site on Kannagara wrote:
An adverb modifying authoritative actions of a deity or deities, meaning divinely, solemnly, or sublimely. The phrase kannagara no michi (in accordance with the gods' will) was used to describe Jinja Shintō as the orthodox Shinto, separate from Kyōha Shintō and popular beliefs.http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/bts/bts_k.html
The web page below page describes Kannagara toward the end. It was written by the 96th generation Guji of Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie-ken.
http://www.tsubakishrine.org/kaminom...o_Michi_7.html

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-05-2009 at 04:02 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #21
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
It's a simple question.
Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
Has anyone here ever been asked if Aikidoists believe in reincarnation since it's connected to eastern ideas?
No.

David
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:37 AM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Thanks Mathew!
Best,
Ron

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Old 05-06-2009, 06:41 AM   #23
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Hi
Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
Many people seem to associate Aikido and all of the martial arts with reincarnation. Has anyone here ever been asked if Aikidoists believe in reincarnation since it's connected to eastern ideas?
No I have never been asked that. I think no one over here understands Aikido as something connected to specific religious beliefs.

But I've had the case, that christian fundamtalists asked me about my understanding of ki.

Carsten
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:05 PM   #24
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

I was raised in a strong religious background. I believe my father to be a "man of God", truly striving to do his will to the best of his knowledge. I think my father is a spiritual man without a cruel bone in his body. It is safe for you to say, "I believe my father is a religious and spiritual person." But I also believe that "Religion" and "Spirituality" are not necessarily the same thing. I think one can be religious and not have a clue about spirituality and that one can be spiritual without religion.

I think religion has more to do with doctrine and spirituality has to do with our relationship to the universe we live in. Maybe that's a little to cut & dry, but I still feel there's a difference. I hope you get my point.

I do believe there is a spirituality connected to Aikido. I do not, however, think it is a religion. I try to practice Aikido with a spiritual mindset but I don't pray to Ueshiba, sensei for forgiveness or salvation. I've adopted the "go through life, uplifting all beings and doing as little harm as possible" philosophy, and its difficult sometimes not to revert to my original nature. That being said, I want to apologize for some of my earlier inflammatory responses. Sometimes I still like to play the Devil's Advocate... it's deep seeded, but I'm working on it.


Oh, and I do believe in life after death... but the jury is still out on the whole reincarnation thang.

Last edited by brUNO : 06-01-2009 at 05:09 PM. Reason: additional comment

Bruno
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:25 AM   #25
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Re: Aikido spirituality and life after death

Osensei didn't mention anything about reincarnation.

I believe his search for Kami was never ending. As you grow older and realise that your time is up, anyone who is human would want to know what life is all about. Some of us realise this earlier than others.

Most people want to have some meaning to their lives and death. Some believe that leaving a legacy of knowledge, wealth or even kindness makes their life worth living and dying for.

I believe Osensei was looking for the One God. In his practice of the art, he felt the oneness with the universe and everyone in it. We are sharing the same space. If you look at it, from the eyes of say a cosmic being at the edge of our solar system, earth is but a speck of dust. Everyone on earth is a microbe on that speck. To eyes that are big, a speck is but a single entity. Its only us stupid microbes that fight so hard for individual ownership to ludicrous extent that believe otherwise.

Though Aikido is not a religion, you can practice it to better seek your faith. Of course that depends on the spirit you practice with.

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