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Old 01-22-2004, 11:15 AM   #26
Don_Modesto
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Thanks, Peter.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 01-22-2004, 02:51 PM   #27
Ron Tisdale
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Thanks Peter, and thank you Don for asking so many good questions!

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-04-2004, 06:49 AM   #28
bogglefreak20
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Aikido training helps me understand myself better by pointing out fears, frustrations and also many good sides in me. I can then contemplate on them and see if any progress can be achieved on or off the tatami.

We train in correct breathing also which comes in handy in my meditation at home. I also found out that seiza is the only position for meditating in which I don't get a sore back (I have a problem with my spine and a certain muscle on my back - they both have gotten better since I started training though). And meditation certainly is one of the things I recomend to anyone interested in spiritual growth.

Beatus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini!
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Old 05-05-2004, 05:33 AM   #29
Pauly
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

I'd have to say that, like Anders, Aikido led me back to where I started, in my case to Christianity. Shortly after I earned by Shodan, I spent an entire summer doing nothing but working, training and meditating, and it was a fantastically powerful time for me. I had a really unpleasant job that paid very little money with strange hours and I found myself with six to ten spare hours a day, and so around Aikido class, I began volunteering at the Salvation Army shelter in my town. Soon, I was able to connect (or maybe expand) what was happening in the dojo to how I was behaving at work and my attitudes toward people at the Salvation Army. I began thinking about Aikido and other heavier spiritual and philosophical questions, and to try to wrap up what could be a long post, led me back to Christianity.

I'd never heard the quote that Aikido makes religion better, but I like it.

Thanks for all the info on this thread. Very interesting.
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Old 05-06-2004, 02:05 AM   #30
Mark Jewkes
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
Has anyone seen that great O Sensei quote, where someone asked him if Aikido was a religious practice, and he answered something to the effect of, "Not at all; rather, Aikido improves all religions" ...?

This is excactly what I have experienced. Aikido fits very well into Christianity with maxims like "love your enemy" and "swords into plowshares". The more you read the gospel or the writings of St. Paul, the more you find parallels to aikido spirituality. If O-Sensei had been a catholic, he surely would have been made a saint


yours sincerely
Mark
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Old 05-06-2004, 08:46 AM   #31
tedehara
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. An oil painter can be a member of different schools of art, just as an Aikidoist can be a member of different schools or religions.

An artist might want to use a different medium, like watercolors, dance, theater or sculpture. A martial artist might want to train in TKD, Karate or Judo.

What matters is the individual expression. Maybe that's why Aikido is not a religion but a martial art.

Last edited by tedehara : 05-06-2004 at 08:54 AM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 05-06-2004, 08:51 AM   #32
PeaceHeather
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

As a slightly out-of-practice pagan (eclectic, mostly solitary Wiccan) I find any practice that embraces the concept of ki (chi, prana, whatever) and teaches how to reach and use ki, to be a good thing.

Just to toss an idea at people to play with: prayer as an extension of ki.

I'm also enjoying the connection to Buddhist concepts -- universal concepts, really -- of compassion, harmony, and blending with the energy that comes your way.

For some reason, I keep wanting to say "namaste" instead of bowing in at the beginning of class. It's a term used often in yoga, that refers to a person's center. More specifically, it conveys a sense of the center that touches the infinite -- when you're at that place in you and I am at that place in me, we are one person.

Heather
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:19 AM   #33
Mark Jewkes
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
tedehara wrote:
Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. An oil painter can be a member of different schools of art, just as an Aikidoist can be a member of different schools or religions.

An artist might want to use a different medium, like watercolors, dance, theater or sculpture. A martial artist might want to train in TKD, Karate or Judo.

What matters is the individual expression. Maybe that's why Aikido is not a religion but a martial art.
Onisaburo Deguchi used to say that art is the mother of religion. I always had difficulties to understand this doctrine. Had it been "religion is the mother of art" I would have agreed. Religious faith is often expressed in art - and so did O-Sensei with Aikido

yours sincerely
Mark.
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Old 05-07-2004, 04:27 AM   #34
Charles Hill
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
tedehara wrote:
Aikido seems more like a medium, just as oil painting is a medium for Art. People can express themselves through Aikido just like oil painters can express themselves through their paintings. What matters is the individual expression.
I have to (respectfully) disagree with this, Ted. I think that Aikido is more of a method than a medium. The point is to develop myself, not express myself. We practice because we are not satisfied with ourselves at some level. If Aikido can be thought of as a manner of self-expression, it is like Omori Sogen wrote of shodo; by writing characters (or doing techniques) we see ourselves more clearly to understand where we need to develop. However, the point is the development, not expression.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:55 AM   #35
Ron Tisdale
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

I don't know Charles, I think of what I do as expression of what I am at the core...strip down all the fancy words, all the intellectual thought, all the preconceptions...step on the mat and see what comes out. Expression at one of its highest forms.

Say, are you back in Japan, or here in the states? Stevens Sensei will be here in July...

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 05-07-2004, 09:46 AM   #36
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Good discussion folks. Thanks.

I agree with both Charles and Ron as they make their points. I think we begin the study/practice learning the "method" as a means of developing ourselves (in many ways...). At some point during this developement we begin to also express ourselves through this method. Further on, the expression becomes a mix of our self as developed by the method. Finally, it all becomes one.

It is a continuing process of making decisions each instant and learning. I think very high level expression of budo is simply actualizing our intent. Of course this works best when our intent is informed by a significant amount of time spent internalizing proper principle and form.

Again, thanks for a good discussion.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 05-07-2004, 06:16 PM   #37
Charles Hill
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Mr Clark and Ron,

Thanks for your comments. I think that what I wrote can fit with the ideas in your posts. I personally believe that we are continually expressing ourselves all the time. This can become especially clear during Aikido practice. I generally seem to be able to tell what kind of person my partner is after practicing with him/her even if we have never met. This is kind of scary as it seems to work the other way too, I can`t hide on the mat. However, I disagree with the notion of aikido practice as a formal way of expression. The problem may be in the definition of the word art. I think that what Onisaburo Deguchi meant by "art" is the creative impulse inherent with all of us. I think that if this kind of art is bereft of of self development (the mix Mr. Clark wrote about in his post) we are left with something that may be beautiful but without life changing characteristics. The art of Mozart and Van Gogh is sublimely beautiful and of inherent worth but both men were maladjusted in terms of society.

Similar is the story related by Shoji Nishio in an Aiki News interview about the difference between Ueshiba Sr. and Judo`s Mifune. Nishio Shihan relates that he quit Judo and continued to practice Aikido because of how the two teachers reacted to a robbery. Mifune`s house was apparently broken into a few times while he was away to which he responded that he would risk his life to stop the robber from doing it again. Ueshiba when learning that someone stole Tohei Koichi`s leather jacket, on the other hand, commented that the robbery was the fault of Tohei`s who allowed an "opening" through which the robber could (was forced to?) enter (fall into?). Nishio Shihan seems to indicate that while both were master martial artists, Ueshiba had developed his character to an extremely high level through his practice.

Ron,
I`m in Japan now, but I`ll be in the US late July. When is the seminar?

Charles Hill
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:58 PM   #38
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

One of the concepts that i'm greatly found of in buddhism, is the idea of the boddhisatva. The buddha that returns after each life to help others reach nirvana. I met a nichiren monk and some people this summer at a local temple who really opened my eyes to alot of things.

O sensei said that the aim of aikido is to create heaven on earth. That's something i really believe in. The concept of dealing with situations rather than escalating them is something we need to see more of in the world.

I guess if you were to really classify me in any given religion you would have to say i'm a"Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Shinto, Jew" I take so many of my ideas from different religions that i love.

those religions are what i am. But for me, aikido is the ultimate expression of my faith. It's how i practice all those different things. I've always told myself that when / if i reach the age of 40, i'll settle down at a temple and become a monk. I've often thought of teaching an "aiki-buddhism" of sorts. A cool concept i've always liked (shao lin monks express chan buddhism with their kung fu, I want to express mine with aikido) is the idea of the "aiki-monk" which i hope to be some day, and completely devote myself to teaching and understanding myself, god, and others.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:36 PM   #39
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
I generally seem to be able to tell what kind of person my partner is after practicing with him/her even if we have never met. This is kind of scary as it seems to work the other way too, I can`t hide on the mat.
Charles,

I have experienced this for many years. My students begin to comment about this ability to "know" others in the dojo after about two years of training.

I have experienced quite a few people that have quit practice and tell me that they don't like the feeling of being so "transparent" to others in the dojo.

Having this "intimacy" in our relationship with the whole world makes many aspects of life much simpler for sure.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 05-08-2004, 04:48 AM   #40
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
Anders Bjonback wrote:
I'm interested in hearing more about this.
Hi Anders,
As you may or may not know, this is a distinction that a large number of Buddhists would take issue with. Hinayana means "Lesser Vehicle" and is the term used by the followers of the Mahayana or "Great(er) Vehicle". The correct name for the tradition is Theravada or Tradition of the Elders.

This is kind of like the name we use for the people associated with the cliff dwellings in the Southwest, the Anessazi. Native peoples don''t use that name which apparently means "enemy" in Navaho and was picked up from them by the White folks.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 05-08-2004, 04:56 AM   #41
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

[quote=Don_Modesto]Saotome has stopped in with senior students during seminars, taught them some particularly nasty variation of the current technique, and then said kind of dismissively, "But, this is BUJUTSU" as if it were more vulgar, less advanced than aikiDO.QUOTE]

The last time I was with Saotome Sensei he was talking about "Aikido Bujutsu"; this apparently being how he refers to the applied martial side of Aikido or what he also has referred to as the "dark side". While I think he really does believe that the live affirming side of the art is the so-called higher practice I would also say that he, more than most Aikido teachers, emphasizes understanding and being able to execute Aikido technique from this standpoint. I don't think he believes that they can effectively be separated as they are two sides of the same thing.

George S. Ledyard
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Bellevue, WA
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Old 05-08-2004, 12:11 PM   #42
senshincenter
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

If I may sum up a couple of things:

1. Prior to a certain period (let's say the turn of the 20th century -- around there to be safe) we know, through the research of various scholars, that the current distinction between "do" and "jutsu" did not exist.

2. We also know that after a certain period (let's say the first part of the 20th century -- around there to be safe) a new distinction between "do" and "jutsu" started to exist, one that was "contrasting" in nature. We know that this movement to hold "do" (up) in contrast to "jutsu" (down) made ample use of Japanese culture's tendencies for aesthetic practices (e.g. revisionist history, double meanings, hidden meanings, foreign borrowings, etc.).

3. We know that currently, if we are really pressed, no one that adopts this distinction can make clear use of it.

4. And we know that today there is a backlash, or reverse of this distinction, that is taking place in some circles -- such that "jutsu" is held (up) in contrast to "do" (down).

When I see these things all together, the question that arises in my head is not "What is the truth?" The question is: "What's the truth game and who is it serving, how, and why?"

I came across an interesting angle on the "do/jutsu" debate -- one that I have not seen addressed at all in the literature that is building up around Aikido, etc., which is a shame because I think it might prove very interesting for those of us that wonder if the game is worth still playing. This area is by far not my area of specialty and I only came across it via a personal question I had. I did not reach any kind of valid conclusion, but I could see that there were connections that could be proven fruitful if one would simply take on the huge amount of research needed.

The question I was pondering over one day, due to an experience at class, dealt with the difference between Budo's historical technology of Self, which is for the most part Buddhist in nature, and the current technology of Self that Budo, especially Aikido, tends to implement today. As I said, this work is huge in scope, so I can only here give general ideas, which led me to more general ideas, etc. I do not wish to prove anything here, but rather lead the reader through some research paths that were leading me from one thing to the next thing -- all extremely interesting.

In that sense, let me generally explain what I mean so far without being required to address every contrasting position a reader may take. "Technology of the Self" was a term used by Michel Foucault to denote the various historical ways in which Man through culture comes to determine himself as "saved," "wise," "awakened," "enlightened," "holy," "well," "spiritual", etc. When I say that Budo's technology of the Self is Buddhist in nature I do not mean to imply that other traditions, such as Taoist traditions, Shinto traditions, Yin/Yang traditions, Confucian traditions, Christian traditions, etc., do not have their historical influence in Budo and/or in Aikido. They do. I merely mean to say that the technology used by Budo to determine who has reached its ideals (i.e. spiritual cultivation, awakened, enlightened, being a master), etc., is Buddhist in nature. That is to say the model Budo uses, for the most part, makes use of the Buddhist position concerning the nature of existence -- particularly that clearly defined in the writings of Nagarjuna (turn of the common era). All "problems to be fixed," all issues by which we as human beings require a technique to address properly, center around reconciling the subjective experience of Reality. Toward this end, throughout most of Budo's history various practices, of course derived from a plethora of other cultural traditions, have been used to address the problem set forth in Nagarjuna's tetralemma. Understanding this, we can very easily relate things as Musashi's emphasis on victory, Osensei's emphasis on ritual purification and Love, and Takuan's notion of immoveable wisdom, etc. -- mentioned here because they are commonly known.

But somewhere, for budoka, over time, the problem of reconciling the subjective experience of Reality stopped being a problem that required various techniques. For example -- Today it is quite common for folks to feel that they can be non-violent, loving, brave, compassionate, spiritual, empowered, awakened, and any of all the other ideals commonly put forth as a goal of this particular technology of the Self, simply by doing Aikido -- simply by doing Budo. There was a time when that would have been a crazy notion. These ideals could not be realized, in the past, until the reconciliation of the subjective experience of Reality took place. Today, however, for many, for more than not, it makes perfect sense. For most, do enough tenkan and you'll get "it". For some, a growing some, doing even one tenkan leads to a spiritual alteration in terms of whether or not one is violent, loving, compassionate, etc.

Yet there was a time when it would have been totally ridiculous to propose that the problematic of human violence, the capacity to Love and to feel compassion, etc., could be solved by something other than the reconciliation of the subjective experience of the world. Whereas today many hold that Aikido is a non-violent art, part of the modern evolved self that is non-violent, that it is the "rubber bullet" of martial arts, etc., practitioners of old would have clearly said, "Having rubber bullets doesn't make you a non-violent person." An epistemic shift has occurred, culturally speaking. Our two times appear paradoxical to each other. Somewhere a break took place.

Looking casually for that break I was led to see a relationship between some very interesting things -- some mentioned here:

a. The (re)defining of terms Budo and Bujutsu that started to take place around the turn of the 20th century.

b. The role that folks like Kano played in the current understanding of Budo's technology of the Self -- they way Kano "modernized" martial arts; they way he attempted to unify them; the institutional support he had to address them; the financial resources at his disposal to support them; etc.

c. The affect "The West" has had on Japanese history and/or self-understanding, etc., following the Meiji Restoration.

d. And a movement little known today, and never mentioned in my experience regarding Budo, called "Muscular Christianity".


Again, by scholastic standards there is nothing here to prove -- the research has not be done. But I can put forth a general hypothesis that may shed a new light on the truth game behind the will to (re)define Budo and Bujutsu.

Muscular Christianity was a movement that around the turn of the 20th century grew in popularity -- especially in Europe and the United States. Its position was that there was a direct relationship between things like being a good Christian, being masculine, being a good citizen of the State, and exercise, physical activity, and competition. The ideas contained and/or related to Muscular Christianity have gone on to create and/or influence such diverse things as the YMCA, the Modern Olympics, the Boy Scouts, the Hitler Youth, the health and fitness industry, the breakfast food industry, etc., AND Judo AND Kano's understanding of martial arts, particularly concerning the "do" and "justsu" endings.

Kano came into contact with these ideas and with the proponents of these ideas via his interests in Western athletics and his involvement with the Japanese Olympic committee as well as through his position in key government institutions related to the practice of martial arts. Nearly ever other martial arts, ourselves included, came into contact with these ideas via folks like Kano -- folks participating in the "rediscovering" or "redefining" or "modernizing" of Japan's martial arts. (Please note that this is not something that solely pertains to what might be called the "Gendai Budo" -- this is nearly across the board influence we are talking about.)

The cultural traces leftover by the Meiji Restoration had much of Japan thirsting for all things Modern and therefore Western. There was also a general distrust of things Buddhist since the Buddhist were associated too closely with the Bakufu (for many) which had just been overthrown and blamed for every ill Japan was facing as it raced to catch up with the West. What we see in the "do" and "justsu" contrast is not an evolution so much as it is a re-invention; it is a rejection of an older technology of the Self (Buddhist) and the adoption of a new one (Muscular Christianity) -- one that was deemed better because it was Modern (Western); but one that nevertheless had to make sense to those folks that were espousing it and making it work for them. Japan is famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, for doing this type of thing: borrowing something and making it theirs via little tweak here or there, a lie here or there, a misunderstanding here or there, etc. All cultures do it.

Once it was all in place, every member of the culture had to address it, had to use it to make sense of his or her own experiences, etc. Not even our shihan have escaped this history. They are for the most part thoroughly immersed in it. Only those who opted not to participate in this particular aspect of Japanese culture, those who could weather the harsh winters of no institutional support, and there were many in Japan, even within Judo and Aikido, etc., offer us something else -- something totally different.

In short, the "do/jutsu" distinction has a lot to do with influences from the West, influence that came in through movements like Muscular Christianity, and movements that rejected the old Buddhist technology of the Self for the a new Modern one that was 100% related to being a good citizen of the State.

Peter and Don -- love your posts. Could you please provide me with the source material for Bodiford's book. I would love to read it. If it's on the web -- some direction would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

dmv
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Old 05-08-2004, 09:22 PM   #43
dan guthrie
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

I wonder how much of our spiritual progress is weighted by our shared personality traits. I am often amazed at the similarity of the people in my dojo. Aikido isn't for everyone, it may be "our thing" attracts the personality type that yearns for spiritual order, subtlety and compassion (among many other things, obviously).
It might just be that we're a bunch of Labrador Retrievers and Aikido is our lake. I hope this makes sense.
I'm a white-bread and mayonnaise Christian but even I have noticed an increase in my gratitude to Him as well as the people in my dojo. I take my personal misogi very seriously. Even though it's out of my way by about 50 minutes, I go home to shower, shave and brush my teeth before training. I call it misogi, it's not just good manners.
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Old 05-10-2004, 12:03 PM   #44
Ron Tisdale
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
Ron,
I`m in Japan now, but I`ll be in the US late July. When is the seminar?

Charles Hill
Hi Charles, Stevens Sensei will be in the phila. area July 7 to about the 13th. If you can make it to Phila., I know he would be pleased, and I could probably put you up in my townhouse (I'm not the neatest person, but you won't have to dodge my ferrets anymore since they've crossed the rainbow bridge)

Just email me through my profile if it looks like you can make it. I'll have the details on the seminar posted within a week.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:43 PM   #45
Tadhg Bird
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

"I heard somewhere, "If you are a Buddhist, Aikido will make you a better Buddhist. If you are a Christian, Aikido will make you a better Christian." I guess in my case if I am a Polytheistic Celtic Traditionalist Pagan with Zen Leanings, Aikido will make me a better Polytheistic Celtic Traditionalist Pagan with Zen Leanings."

-- From my Black Belt Presentation May 31, 2003

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
--

http://www.AikidoStuff.com
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Old 05-12-2004, 09:35 PM   #46
Don_Modesto
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Peter and Don -- love your posts. Could you please provide me with the source material for Bodiford's book. I would love to read it. If it's on the web -- some direction would be much appreciated.
Sorry. Just noticed this.

Bodiford's article is Religion and Spirituality: Japan in Green's Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia

Get it NOW! It's available used for only $45; it lists for $175.

Excellent through and through.

Failing purchase, it's really meant for libraries; your local one might have it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:25 PM   #47
senshincenter
 
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Thanks Peter.
d
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Old 05-23-2004, 09:14 PM   #48
gasman
 
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Location: Oslo
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

How very interesting is this thread!!

I started my martial arts practice at the age of 23, training TKD at the engineering college where i studied. There was little spiritual teachings involved, but I could feel a connection between the physical training and my self-dicipline. I quit after seriously injuring my tendon running from the right hip down to the thigh.

Two years later I continued my engineering education in Hull, UK, where the sports centre offered AMO aikido and tai chi. I started up on aikido and wound up doing tai chi merely because I was more interested in striking and kicking at the time. Simultaneously I was learning the didgeridoo on my own and later found a teacher who was very much into alternative arts. But the breathing power I developed started to alter my mind and combining the two, didge and tai chi, made such an impact on my mind that I had a crisis related to my traditional scholarly atheist western rationality.

At the age of 25 I was in confusion, having to come to terms with a newfound spiritual outlook that conflicted with my scholarly cartheisan world image, and at this point in life I had a lot of help from a native English fellow who had converted to Islam. Combining the taoist teachings and the spirituality of Islam I managed to find a good focus to pursue. These teachings also enabled me to come to terms with many of the better aspects of Christian teachings.

It then took me a good year and a half until I resumed my martial arts training. This time, a good old friend of mine, a blackbelt TKD practitioner, had searched through most dojos in Oslo and found Sunyata Aikido Dojo to be the most impressive, regardless of art, and asked me to join him in the beginners class. Having already been introduced to aikido I accepted and started my martial arts training afresh with new vigour. I found the overall attitude of the members to be very kind and accepting, same as I did when training tai chi.

When I found out that the head teacher also had experience from zen meditation, and that he was quite interested in the link between breathing and spiritual power, I joined with him starting a zen meditation group.

Keeping the zen group and then aikido group separate, I still could see various connections between the two, in terms of attitude and application.

Nowadays, my only spiritual practice is training aikido. The principle of non-violence is very dear to me, and as a martial artist my highest goal is now to avoid or resolve all conflicts peacefully. Training with young and old, without hazard of injuries, working on my minds focus and power without elevating myself above others. Developing kokyo-power and reaching a more relaxed state of being.

With the risk of being labelled, I consider myself as being both muslim and buddhist, contradictory as it may be to some. In prayer and in daily life I am considerate of all human beings as being my brother, sisters, mothers and fathers. This has enabled me to enjoy my work as a doorman with self confidence and love, contrary to my steroid collegues. It has also allowed me to grow tremendously as a person between persons in all other circumstances.

All in all, I am now a more humble person than I used to be, and all for the better!

I believe, and stumbling across aikido was no accident.

Bishmillah ar Rahmaan ir Raheem (In the name of Allah, the merciful, the oft-forgiving)
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:05 AM   #49
malc anderson
Location: coventry
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Hi ya all, Quite a few replies have mentioned other religions and spiritual paths and the quote ‘Aikido completes them', this is of course correct the ultimate aim of Aikido is ‘KENSHO, THE SEEING OF THE HIDDEN LIGHT' and this is at the heart of all inner paths but it is not easily gained, so most people don't bother with it although it is the most important thing a human being can try to achieve. I have noticed that no one in any of the replies mentioned Kensho, until Kensho is experienced you will never truly understand the full meaning of what O'Sensei was trying to teach and will only be learning a martial art.
This must be the reason the Great man said towards the end of his life; "I've given my life to opening the path of Aikido but when I look back NO ONE is following me." He also wrote,

"Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The Secret of Aikido is to make yourself Become One with the Universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this Secret holds the Universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the Universe." Or how about?

‘Foster and polish
The warrior spirit
While serving in the world;
Illuminate the path
According to your Inner Light (KENSHO)' or how about?

"There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido. You are mistaken if you think that Budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and fell them. There are neither opponents nor enemies for True Budo. True Budo is to be One with the Universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe".

Until we experience ‘Kensho' our understanding of parts of what the Great Man taught is just guess work, logic, theories, ideals, or rules to live by, this is not the way of True Warrior ship. Have any of you had the illuminos vision of Kensho? If you had never tasted a kiwi fruit would you ever really Know what it tastes like? Until this requirement is met how can we truly say we have any real grasp of the true depth of Osensei's teaching? Malc
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Old 06-14-2004, 02:53 PM   #50
Anders Bjonback
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder, CO
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Re: How is aikido related to your spiritual path?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Hi Anders,
As you may or may not know, this is a distinction that a large number of Buddhists would take issue with. Hinayana means "Lesser Vehicle" and is the term used by the followers of the Mahayana or "Great(er) Vehicle". The correct name for the tradition is Theravada or Tradition of the Elders.

This is kind of like the name we use for the people associated with the cliff dwellings in the Southwest, the Anessazi. Native peoples don''t use that name which apparently means "enemy" in Navaho and was picked up from them by the White folks.
Actually, I personally do not like it when my friends who also follow Tibetan Buddhism blanket all of Theravada and the other schools early Buddhism as "Hinayana." In Tibet they made a lot of blanket statements about followers of the "Hinayana" (such as saying they're all selfish and only care about themselves) because they were such an isolated country and probably never even met a "Hinayana" practitioner. One could argue that the Tibetans picked that attitude from India, but I'm not so sure because there wasn't such a big distinction between Mahayana and Hinayana early on, as we know from records from Chinese explorers. One explorer even called one sect "Mahayana Theravada." Also, one of my classmates who's a Theravada practitioner told me recently that they do speak of or have the bodhisattva path in his school of Buddhism.
Because we have access to information like this, we don't have any excuse for ignorantly referring to Theravadins by a derogatory name today, but attitudes like these still persist as they're transported from the other cultures along with the religion. However, I think that within certain contexts, we sometimes might need to use the word Hinayana. Within Tibetan Buddhism, there are traditionally three different categories in which one puts the Buddhist teachings--Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Simply replacing the word "Hinayana" for "Theravada" in all contexts would lead to a lot of confusion since there are undoubtedly a lot of instances where the Tibetans group something that is not a Theravada practice as a Hinayana practice.
However, I think that when referring to actual practitioners and the school of Buddhism, we should say Theravada rather Hinayana. To be polite, too, rather than saying "it's like Mahayana and Hinayana," we could say, "it's like the path of the bodhisattva and the path to becoming an arhat."

But language takes a long time to change, even when we're bringing in words and ideas from another culture. It's like what Reb Zalman, a former teacher at Naropa University and founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, talks about when he compares saying sunrise and sunset to "the earth turning to receive its daily portion of sun." We don't think the earth is flat anymore, but our language it still stuck in the appearance that the sun is moving.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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