Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb System

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-28-2004, 10:26 AM   #1
AikiWeb System
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,318
Offline
Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Discuss the article, "Lack of Spirituality" by George S. Ledyard here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_06.html
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2004, 02:55 PM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

For those who are interested:

Tsubaki Grand Shrine in America under Rev. Koichi Barrish

Aikido and Zen Retreat

Aikido Bo Seminars in the Wild

I would encourage folks who know of other such experiences or evets to post them here...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2004, 03:42 PM   #3
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
For those who are interested:

Tsubaki Grand Shrine in America under Rev. Koichi Barrish

Aikido and Zen Retreat

Aikido Bo Seminars in the Wild

I would encourage folks who know of other such experiences or evets to post them here...
Another link:
Ancient Arts Center in Alsea. OR

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 06:26 AM   #4
Mark Jewkes
Dojo: Frederikshavn Budo Klub
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Denmark
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Dear George
Thanks for an interesting article.I agree with your conclusion: If you want some kind of Kensho, physical practice is not enough. But of course there are other possibilities than mentioned i your article. As O-Sensei said in one of his doka: "Do not overlook the truth that is right in front of you". In a society where Zen or Tibetan Buddhism is not available, how about investigating Christian spirituality - which according to my belief is a perfect addition to aikido...
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2004, 08:25 AM   #5
NagaBaba
 
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,145
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
It is my opinion that Aikido practice itself is unlikely to result in "kensho" or some such insight. Rather it is a way to express ones current understanding. To really duplicate what the Founder did on a spiritual level one needs to expand ones practice to include some sort of internal solo practice and to connect ones whole practice to some sort of regular experience of nature, however one might do that. Then I think that ones Aikido practice might start to reflect the kinds of values and insights which O-sensei put forth in his teaching.
I don't think it is true. Understanding O sensei's ideas come only from physical practice, from pure aikido technique.These techniques are constructed this way, to teach us that stuff.

Nobody must and ever will duplicate spiritual experience of Founder, it is waste of time.
It is completly indyvidual thing.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2004, 11:56 AM   #6
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Mark Jewkes wrote:
Dear George
Thanks for an interesting article.I agree with your conclusion: If you want some kind of Kensho, physical practice is not enough. But of course there are other possibilities than mentioned i your article. As O-Sensei said in one of his doka: "Do not overlook the truth that is right in front of you". In a society where Zen or Tibetan Buddhism is not available, how about investigating Christian spirituality - which according to my belief is a perfect addition to aikido...
Mine too, but there is such a wide variety of Christian beliefs that it's hard to make any sort of generalization regarding Christianity and aikido.

For that matter, it has been interesting reading about how people of Jewish or Islamic faith have approached aikido.

I'm Chrisitian, Lutheran, but I also consider myself a skeptical and open-minded person. My faith and religious concepts have been tested by life events, and by learning about other religious/philosophical concepts. So far, that has led to a more nuanced approach to my faith and how I apply my faith to my life.

I see aikido as one more challenge/opportunity to my faith and my daily life. There are aspects of aikido that fit very well with my understanding of Christianity, and there are conflicts.

One key, for me, is that I am a religious person who studies aikido. So I tend to see pretty much anything I do through the lense of my faith. On the other hand, I know of a few people who have found a religion that resonates with them through their study of aikido.

The question I have is whether a formal relationship between religion and aikido is a desireable thing? Toyoda sensei studied zen, and those who studied under him had the opportunity, but not (as I understand it, anyway) the obligation of doing the same.

I like having the opportunity to practice sitting and meditation. I like examining the ethical, social, and spiritual aspects of studying aikido.

OTOH, I'd be uncomfortable with an instructor who tied his or her own religious understanding to aikido. There was a recent thread about an instructor who practiced in a church and applied his own fundamentalist/evangelical concepts of Christianity to class. Going so far as to start and end class with a prayer.

That would make me uncomfortable.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2004, 01:16 PM   #7
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 219
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I don't think it is true. Understanding O sensei's ideas come only from physical practice, from pure aikido technique.These techniques are constructed this way, to teach us that stuff.

Nobody must and ever will duplicate spiritual experience of Founder, it is waste of time.
It is completly indyvidual thing.
I don't agree when you say that physical practice is the only way to understand O sensei's ideas. I do agree that there is a transcendental spiritual quality that comes from challenging rigorous practice. This is the same quality that can be found in an honest days work of physical labor. Maybe this is the reason that the Protestant movement strongly advocated hard work for the soul.

I also agree that "pure' Aikido techniques contain an innate quality that can lead to spiritual development. One just has to exam the teachings of Gozo Shioda to see that this is a viable concept. Whether this has to do with jikishin, memes, the holographic nature of the universe, or the Hermetic concept of "as above so below" is debatable. The fact is that through physical practice these concept slowly become hardwired into the psyche, but what is required for this a priori experience, what is the formula?

For one thing, the practice must be correct in execution and transmission. In addition, one has to push and be pushed passed ones own physical limits repeatedly. One also has to be allowed to fail, and be left a lone to figure things out why they failed. Lastly, one has to analyze the technique and try to figure out its occult (hidden) meaning.

But can this transcendental quality be enhanced by a spiritual belief system? O sensei had his belief in Omote-kyo, for Shioda it was probably the rigors of scientism, and for Tohei it was the teachings of Tempu Nakamura. Does learning and adhering to a cosmological structure aids one development in Aikido? Does it provide a reference for the physical teaching to adhere to like a riverbed carrying water? I will personally say yes, with the stipulation that such beliefs must be carried to the experiential world. One cannot be a simple theorist. They say the difference between a scientist and magician understanding a pool of water is that a scientist will only study, document and exam the water with cold detachment, while a magician during the course of his studies will throw himself into the pool to experience the water. And maybe this is where the study of nature comes in. Maybe by studying nature, we see patterns in the universe that translate to patterns in Aikido.

So while we don't have to duplicate the exact spiritual journey of the founder, a well thought out system of belief will probably aid us in our journey, and help us interpret what we are learning.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2004, 09:31 PM   #8
NagaBaba
 
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,145
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Damion Lost wrote:
So while we don't have to duplicate the exact spiritual journey of the founder, a well thought out system of belief will probably aid us in our journey, and help us interpret what we are learning.

I don't think that O sensei, Shioda sensei or Tohei sensei had "a well thought out system of belief ". They took elements from different sources, and modeled it at their will. i.e. O sensei beliefs were quite different that Omoto system. The same for Tohei sensei and Tempu Nakamura sect.

I prefer to think, one's mind has to reflect pure aikido technique's teaching as water of the lake reflects a moon's light. It is very safe option, cos any system of belief is very tricky for human's mind and will deform O sensei's transmission.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2004, 10:22 AM   #9
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I don't think that O sensei, Shioda sensei or Tohei sensei had "a well thought out system of belief ". They took elements from different sources, and modeled it at their will. i.e. O sensei beliefs were quite different that Omoto system. The same for Tohei sensei and Tempu Nakamura sect.

I prefer to think, one's mind has to reflect pure aikido technique's teaching as water of the lake reflects a moon's light. It is very safe option, cos any system of belief is very tricky for human's mind and will deform O sensei's transmission.
We can definitely say that the Founder's spiritual practice has roots other than just Oomoto. But it's far from clear, given the eclectic nature of Oomoto practice and belief, that the Founder's "beliefs were quite different (than the) Oomoto system."

By the same token, whichever one of the Founder's students is "transmitting" the Founder's teaching, that individual's "system of belief" will color the transmission. The notion of "pure aikido techniques" as with the idea of any kind of "pure transmission" is, arguably, like "a rabbit with horns" or "a barren woman who has given birth," in short, a logical impossibility.

The phrase "system of belief" may be as misleading as it is helpful. Are we discussing "belief in spiritual entities," "belief in common ethical principles," or "belief in the benefit of particular practices?"

The Founder seems to have been clear on the first point, saying that practice of aikido doesn't require adoption of another religious tradition, as in his often quoted advice to Andre Nocquet:

[One day] I said to Ueshiba Sensei, "You are always praying, Ueshiba Sensei. Then aikido is a religion." "No, that's not true. Aikido is never a religion, but if you are a Christian, you will be a better Christian because of aikido. If you are a Buddhist, you will be a better Buddhist."

On the second point, there seems to be little difference between the various wisdom traditions. All of them seem to agree on the basics: avoid killing, avoid stealing, avoid screwing around, avoid lying. The rest is pretty much local nuance.

The third point is where the rubber hits the road, and I think that is part of what George Ledyard was getting at in the article that spawned this thread, as well as his thread on "Ancillary Practices."

With aikido or anything else, getting your mind to the point where it is capable of "reflect(ing) pure....teaching as water of the lake reflects a moon's light" is one heckuva job.

This is not an overt technical focus of most methods of "prayer" in the Abrahamic tradition, although there are a few mystical traditions such as the Trappist Monasticism or some forms of Eastern Orthodox practice which have emphasized this sort of thing.

But in the context of East Asian wisdom traditions, whether you are talking about Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, or Confucianism, basic mindfulness meditation practice seems to be a foundational technique of all of them, although some are better known in the West for more elaborate or exotic elements.

My feeling is that this kind of practice may have been so much a part of the cultural water the Founder swam in, that its absence elsewhere may have been beyond his ken. Additionally, it is a form of "physical practice" that doesn't necessarily require a particular "belief," although individual traditions may emphasize the need to begin meditation practice with that tradition's notion of a "right view."

From the perspective which regards basic meditation practice as fundamental "mind-body training," time spent simply sitting while engaged in contemplation may be as important as mat time in terms of developing the facility of clear perception untinged by "attraction or aversion." Manifesting that same level of clarity and "non-reactiveness" while someone is attempting to grab you, or hit you with a hand or a stick seems a bit trickier. Maybe some people are ready for that kind of advanced practice without basics, but I'd be hard-pressed to make that claim for myself.

My personal belief is that such practice is generally beneficial, to aikidoka as well as other individuals. Conversely, given what we do know about not only the Founder, but most of his most advanced students, some practice of this kind seems to be a part of almost all of their lives. Abe Sensei and the late Hikitsuchi Sensei included misogi practice (including meditation) in the instruction they gave to many of their students, Tohei Sensei and many of his followers drew this material from the Tempukai, and similar examples reach down into the lives of many, if not most, of the Shihan in North America.

But as Sugano Sensei once said in an interview when he was asked about weapons practice in aikido dojo, "If you want mochi, go to the mochi maker."

Less obliquely, people who are looking for this kind of practice should find a source that is in keeping with their own proclivities and cultural affinities. That may take them outside their aikido dojo, but that's just fine.

If someone is receiving benefit from aikido practice without any of that, that's great. And for those folks who feel no need for this kind of ancillary practice, if the Founder didn't require it of anyone, who am I to say otherwise? Maybe they will change their minds at some point. But pushing it on them in the meantime and insisting that they simply must do this, that, or the other thing isn't likely to help either their aikido practice or get them to the meditation cushion.

Theory and belief are one face of the coin, pragmatic action in the world is the other. Separated from each other, you get fanaticism in the first case and amoral opportunism in the second. For me, much of the beauty and power of aikido lies in the way good practice brings the two back together again creatively and experientially.

Though I must admit that my meditation instructor would be very happy if I spent more time sitting......

Best regards,

Fred Little
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2004, 11:39 AM   #10
kironin
 
kironin's Avatar
Dojo: Houston Ki Aikido
Location: Houston,TX
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Damion Lost wrote:
But can this transcendental quality be enhanced by a spiritual belief system? O sensei had his belief in Omote-kyo, for Shioda it was probably the rigors of scientism, and for Tohei it was the teachings of Tempu Nakamura. Does learning and adhering to a cosmological structure aids one development in Aikido? Does it provide a reference for the physical teaching to adhere to like a riverbed carrying water? I will personally say yes, with the stipulation that such beliefs must be carried to the experiential world. One cannot be a simple theorist. They say the difference between a scientist and magician understanding a pool of water is that a scientist will only study, document and exam the water with cold detachment, while a magician during the course of his studies will throw himself into the pool to experience the water. And maybe this is where the study of nature comes in. Maybe by studying nature, we see patterns in the universe that translate to patterns in Aikido.

huh?
scientist and magician ? who is "They say..."?

no offense, except this is absolute patent BS.

scientist are hardly cold and detached theorist. we willing jump in the pool too. are you referring to actual magicians like James Randi or Penn&Teller ?
or do you mean mumbo-jumbo BS artists ?

In studying nature, scientists have gotten themselves poisoned, burnt, maimed, killed and murdered. Chemists know a lot of noxious compounds taste, smell and feel because that was how 19th century would categorize newly made compounds - by direct sensory experience.



Having studied what Tempu Nakamura Sensei taught as compared with what Koichi Tohei Sensei teaches. It really comes down to the fact that they are interested much the same things. If you set aside metaphysical versus biomechanical/psychological/cultural discussions regarding conceptualizations of Ki, what you get in both men's practices and exercises is a fairly pragmatic no-nonsense top down approach to maximizing sensorimotor function by an experimental process where the student forms their own internal system. What you don't have is a lot of spiritialism, purple fogs, complex multitheisitic cosmologies, etc
some distortions and misunderstandings notwithstanding.

so please don't drag Shin Shin Toistu Do in to a talk of spiritiality.
It may be used as a tool like the technical movements of Aikido to enhance ones feeling and expression of personal spiritual beliefs
one already has and brings to ones practice, but it itself is by no means
a spiritual/religious system.

Craig

Last edited by kironin : 07-14-2004 at 11:44 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2004, 08:58 AM   #11
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 219
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
huh?
scientist and magician ? who is "They say..."?

no offense, except this is absolute patent BS.

scientist are hardly cold and detached theorist. we willing jump in the pool too. are you referring to actual magicians like James Randi or Penn&Teller ?
or do you mean mumbo-jumbo BS artists ?

In studying nature, scientists have gotten themselves poisoned, burnt, maimed, killed and murdered. Chemists know a lot of noxious compounds taste, smell and feel because that was how 19th century would categorize newly made compounds - by direct sensory experience.



Having studied what Tempu Nakamura Sensei taught as compared with what Koichi Tohei Sensei teaches. It really comes down to the fact that they are interested much the same things. If you set aside metaphysical versus biomechanical/psychological/cultural discussions regarding conceptualizations of Ki, what you get in both men's practices and exercises is a fairly pragmatic no-nonsense top down approach to maximizing sensorimotor function by an experimental process where the student forms their own internal system. What you don't have is a lot of spiritialism, purple fogs, complex multitheisitic cosmologies, etc
some distortions and misunderstandings notwithstanding.

so please don't drag Shin Shin Toistu Do in to a talk of spiritiality.
It may be used as a tool like the technical movements of Aikido to enhance ones feeling and expression of personal spiritual beliefs
one already has and brings to ones practice, but it itself is by no means
a spiritual/religious system.

Craig
My apologies if my little parable riled you up.

But by BS artist do you mean the likes of Pythagoras, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and Immanuel Kant, whose discoveries in the realms of science and philosophy where offshoot of their occult studies, great men who treated their studies of the forces of nature and mathematics as a way or "do" towards enlightenment. As for modern chemistry, it wouldn't exist today if it weren't for the efforts of alchemist from of the 7th -- 18th century. It's interesting how people see what they want to see, and disregard what they don't understand as trivial and inconsequential. I'm sure Aikido will be stripped of all it's mystery and charm given a few more decades in Western culture, and I'm sure technically it will improve while leaving it with no more meaning than a toaster.

As my post was mostly about beliefs in general and how they can be used to enhance and interpret one's physical training, the philosophies of Tohei are more than applicable, especially as they provide a different perspective of the art then those of Shioda and O sensei. If you can only interpret and filter your Aikido training through your belief in neuroscience that's perfectly okay, but do not apply those same limitations to those who are willing to explore different avenues of thoughts. Just for the record, I have spent the last five years of my Aikido studies with an offshoot of Shin Shin Toitsu, simply because it provides a more mystical/transcendental point of view as oppose to one that is too scientific or too spiritual, and you spelled Shin Shin Toitsu wrong.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2004, 05:14 PM   #12
Bryant Pierpont
Dojo: Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 12
Japan
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Ledyard Sensei's article is one of the best short articles on this I've ever read. I hope he develops it in future writings. The truth - Aikido has a very spiritual side and this affects everyone's practice - even those who would deny it. This really needs to be developed further.

If it steps on some toes, so be it. To change your karma, you must see it first.

Someone mentioned they would be uncomfortable with a fundamentalist Christian Aikido experience. I don't think I would be...if they were really fundamentalists and not just exclusionary hate merchants. I doubt I'd join the dojo but I'd feel comforable visiting.

Religions that teach love and understanding fit well with Aikido.

On the outdoors issue, I was fortunate enough to visit Doug Hanson Sensei's dojo a few times a few years ago. He took us outside on a riverbank to practice weapons. What a great experience...although my jo technique is so sad ;-)

Thanks for a great article.

Bryant Pierpont

Bryant Pierpont
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2004, 10:22 PM   #13
kironin
 
kironin's Avatar
Dojo: Houston Ki Aikido
Location: Houston,TX
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Damion Lost wrote:
It's interesting how people see what they want to see, and disregard what they don't understand as trivial and inconsequential. I'm sure Aikido will be stripped of all it's mystery and charm given a few more decades in Western culture, and I'm sure technically it will improve while leaving it with no more meaning than a toaster.

and you spelled Shin Shin Toitsu wrong.
Yes it is interesting. Thanks for catching my typo.

The useful stuff remains, the occult stuff is largely forgotten for good reason. When you get around to natural philosophy and science of the last hundred years let me know.

If Aikido loses its mystery and charm and meaning for you when it is not mixed up with mysticism, well that's your problem.

  Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2004, 10:24 AM   #14
rcoit
Dojo: northeast aikikai
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 34
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

I still consider myself a beginner, but the metaphysical side of aikido & O Sensei's approach resonated with me & my deepest beliefs right from the start. While some may view it awkward initially, I heartily recommend practicing outside, without shoes, with or without partners. I believe it is a very easy & an available method for experiancing the "nature-experience" that O Sensei and early practitioners had. In such an open environment, one can not escape the experience of connection so integral to aikido. (nothing like practicing Jo or Ken techniques against a tree!)
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2004, 10:51 AM   #15
Suru
Location: Miami, FL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 453
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Ledyard Sensei,

That is a thought-provoking article. It's funny you mentioned O'Sensei was a farmer. I never knew that. I'm going to try my hand at gardening at the tropical gardens in town. Do you think gardening can have psychic rewards similar to farming? I think it probably would, though maybe not so much.

To me, spiritual growth is the essence of Aikido. The self-defense aspects complement this growth by infusing us with confidence. As you implied in your article, Aikido has the power to foster inner peace.

Drew
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2004, 12:08 PM   #16
AsimHanif
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 482
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Great article Ledyard Sensei. Great arguments as well from all on this thread. It just goes to show what a "hot" topic this is.
I'm not a scientist or a big religionist. In fact, as a Muslim anything outside of the 5 Pillars I regard as suspect. I do consider myself a spiritual person without the attachments of any particular religion. I do have a practice that is built on several models and is also constantly evolving. I take what is useful and throw away what is not (for me). What I DO know is that I have gone through periods with and without my mind-body connection and it does effect my aikido and my daily life. Someone above described it as "clarity". I would agree with that definition.
My feeling on this is that there is no right or wrong. Just food for thought. O'Sensei did what he felt was true to him and it worked for him. Tohei Sensei did the same. And I believe that is the lesson. My instructor said to me that O'Sensei said WE should surpass him. I don't see how that is possible if we imitate what Ueshiba Sensei did.
BTW- I also find it interesting that O'Sensei (in later years) did not perform any formal aikido jo kata. When you see him working with jo on tape, he appears to be just gathering up "energy", as part of his mind-body connection. Today we use jo kata to assist us in the mechanics of aikido. So have we already "lost" something or taken a step back? I don't know, just thinking out loud.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 12:12 AM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Asim Hanif wrote:
Great article Ledyard Sensei. Great arguments as well from all on this thread. It just goes to show what a "hot" topic this is.
I'm not a scientist or a big religionist. In fact, as a Muslim anything outside of the 5 Pillars I regard as suspect. I do consider myself a spiritual person without the attachments of any particular religion. I do have a practice that is built on several models and is also constantly evolving.
O-Sensei felt that Aikido contained the "essence of religions" in that the principles were universal and fundamental. If this is true you should be able to discover your own interpretation based on the 5 Pillars and how you see them in your own belief system.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 06:00 AM   #18
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Hmm. Though I respect George for the wealth of understanding in aikido he provides aikiweb, I would disagree with this article. For several points:
1. Ueshiba did not want people to adopt the same religious practise.
2. Ueshiba took certain decisions because they were right for him. To copy his life and think we could be more like Ueshiba is superficial. It is equivalent to copying someones techniques but not understanding the underlying principles.
3. It is my belief that spiritual understanding comes from an interaction between yourself and the real world (i.e. through experience). Although knowledege and education can guide your decisions, any ad-hoc or enforced adoption of a religion results in empty spirituality.

In my mind Ueshiba was much more philosophical and exploratory than those who try to copy him. He trained with many different martial experts, and also had the equivalent spiritual quest. It is not the destination, but the journey, which makes us who we are. I would say to people trying to emulate Ueshibas life, open your eyes, think for yourself, and find out what your OWN journey is.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 06:11 AM   #19
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

P.S. I'd also agree with Szczepan; technique IS related to the spiritual aspect of aikido because spirituality is not something seperate from our real life (unless we are young and indoctrinated or have our head in the clouds). Aikido has undoubtedly changed the way I think about religion and philosophy because of the introduction to eastern thought, however I would say the core of my spirituality derives from pulling together and relating the experiences of my life - not from some guru. Maybe I would explain it in eastern religious terms, but that is not to say my spirituality is different from that of a muslim, christian or athiest. These are just words and formats for religious or cultural practise.

If you ask people if they believe in god, the answer has very little meaning because the concept and understanding of what people think of as 'god' means different things to different people. I believe that individuals of different religions can often be spiritually more similar than people within the same religion (vis. christian fundamentalist George Bush and Muslim fundamentalist Osama Bin Laden). Its not what you call it - its what it means to you at the very core of your being.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 07:31 AM   #20
Martin Ruedas
 
Martin Ruedas's Avatar
Dojo: Makiling Southside
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 46
Philippines
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Nobody must and ever will duplicate spiritual experience of Founder, it is waste of time.
It is completly indyvidual thing.
I think this is right. Nobody will ever experience what O' Sensei had experienced spiritually, because if there is any spirituality that we should experience, it should be our own. Am i right?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 09:46 AM   #21
AsimHanif
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 482
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei felt that Aikido contained the "essence of religions" in that the principles were universal and fundamental. If this is true you should be able to discover your own interpretation based on the 5 Pillars and how you see them in your own belief system.
And I have! I see no conflict in what I practice on and off the mat. There is an interconnectedness in my personal mind-body practices, which have several components.
They each support the other. For example I find when I "ignore" uke my technique is not quite right. When I acknowlege uke's presence (making a genuine connection) my technique is much more fluid. This seems to happen with more consistency when I tend to my other practices such as Tai Chi, breathing, or making salaat (prayer). Those practices bring me to a place of "clarity". Ignoring uke would be to not acknowlege his presence or energy. My interpretation of the 1st Pillar is to acknowlege the presence of "God" as I know him, which to me means Universal Energy, which is endowed in all of us. How could I ignore THAT Energy (or Spirit or KI) and be a good Muslim?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 06:14 PM   #22
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Asim Hanif wrote:
And I have! I see no conflict in what I practice on and off the mat. There is an interconnectedness in my personal mind-body practices, which have several components.
They each support the other. For example I find when I "ignore" uke my technique is not quite right. When I acknowlege uke's presence (making a genuine connection) my technique is much more fluid. This seems to happen with more consistency when I tend to my other practices such as Tai Chi, breathing, or making salaat (prayer). Those practices bring me to a place of "clarity". Ignoring uke would be to not acknowlege his presence or energy. My interpretation of the 1st Pillar is to acknowlege the presence of "God" as I know him, which to me means Universal Energy, which is endowed in all of us. How could I ignore THAT Energy (or Spirit or KI) and be a good Muslim?
An interesting aspect of the Five Pillars is that of "Jihad". The majority and traditional interpretation for many generations has been that "Jihad" primarily refers to the struggle with the demons within oneself and not primarily to fighting with non-believers. This is precisely what O-sensei was referring to when he said the True Victory is self Victory (Masakatsu Agatsu).

(It was Ibn Temiiyah in the 700's who advocated the fundamentalist position that real Jihad was war against infidels and false believers. This is what the modern Wahabists have used as the basis for their philosophy and has produced Bin Ladin and the other folks we are currently dealing with.)

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2004, 10:38 PM   #23
AsimHanif
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 482
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Yes, Ledyard Sensei. I get your point but actually Jihad is not one of the 5 Pillars. They are:
Belief in God, 5 daily prayers, Fasting (Ramadan), Charity, and Pilgrimage (if you can).
The various concepts of Jihad comes from alleged sayings of the Prophet as recorded by "disciples" (I'm trying to use easy to understand language for everyones benefit).
Personally I take the Jihad to be an internal struggle.
So that's why I try to stay away from the "Hislam" interpretations. You can't go wrong with the basics. That is where you find the essence of Islam not in someone else's interpretation (read: personal agenda). Hmm, sounds a lot like aikido.
And like you said if you look at each of them, what was O'Sensei teaching?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2004, 02:20 AM   #24
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Lack of Spirituality by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Asim Hanif wrote:
Yes, Ledyard Sensei. I get your point but actually Jihad is not one of the 5 Pillars. They are:
Belief in God, 5 daily prayers, Fasting (Ramadan), Charity, and Pilgrimage (if you can).
The various concepts of Jihad comes from alleged sayings of the Prophet as recorded by "disciples" (I'm trying to use easy to understand language for everyones benefit).
Personally I take the Jihad to be an internal struggle.
So that's why I try to stay away from the "Hislam" interpretations. You can't go wrong with the basics. That is where you find the essence of Islam not in someone else's interpretation (read: personal agenda). Hmm, sounds a lot like aikido.
And like you said if you look at each of them, what was O'Sensei teaching?
Thanks for explaining. I have been reading too much of the stuff about Ibn Tamiiyah, Wahabism, and Bin Ladin... I think they view Jihad as one of the pillars.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 65 12-24-2005 07:34 AM
Article: Transmission in Aikido, Part II by George S. Ledyard AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 8 01-14-2005 12:56 AM
Article: Big Mind, Little Mind by George S. Ledyard AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 5 12-11-2004 03:49 PM
Article: The Use of Atemi (Striking) in Aikido by George S. Ledyard AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 7 11-29-2004 04:54 PM
Randori Seminar with George Ledyard Sensei aikibaka131 Seminars 11 10-24-2003 12:30 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:24 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate