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 > General

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 11-15-2004, 12:26 PM   #1
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Offline
Mysterious Action of Kotodama Lite

Interesting exchange in the Voices of Experience Forum (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...?t=2329&page=2).

Several years short of admission, I'll follow up here:


George S. Ledyard writes: "It is my understanding that Deguchi sparked something of a renaissance in Japan with regard to Kototama. His sytem was Omotokyo but other Shinto derived groups shared the same essential concepts and would therefore be able to get the general gist of what he was talking about even if the specific Omotokyo version was unique. And he would understand there basic frame of reference as well. I think this explaions the various friendships which O-sensei seemed to have with varios spiritual teachers of the time. They all shared this uderlying "energetics" view of the nature of hings andtherefore had something of a common language."

Not Deguchi and not Norinaga Motoori? (Question here, not correction; see below.)

Even having studied Gleason, I'm still not sure what KOTODAMA means. I think it goes back to mantra out of Shingon tradition. I have a hunch it also involves conflation of map and territory, as Korzybski famously scolded us not to do, through puns, "KANJI mining", allegory or other arbitrary associations in the case of Osensei: "Aikido is love (ai)", e.g. or "The cross (ju) of aikido".

Jacqueline Stone speaks of "Kanjin" style of interpretation in her book Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. This involved drawing parallels with a conflicting text through any means possible--puns, breaking down KANJI into parts and rearranging the meaning accordingly (think, contra Osensei on the pun of harmony/love in Japanese, what harmony in English lends itself to: "Aikido: the Way of 'Harmony'--You just go ahead and 'harm-any' beggar that bothers with you"), Kotodama (?) or other. The popularity of this lasted about 100 years and then was thoroughly reviled and repudiated (as we see some thinkers reviling similar tendencies in Post-Modernism; remember the Sokal hoax?) She notes that this kind of thought survives today in the form of the New Religions of which, of course, Omoto is one of the more prominent and quotes Okada Kootama, founder of Suukyoo Mahakari, on Kotodama. Note: Mahakari was an offshoot of Omoto, so George may be right about Deguchi reviving the Kotodama stuff, especially since he was such an infamous punster.

My own tentative hypothesis on Kotodama (presumptuous as it is for someone non-literate in Japanese, pace Peter Goldsbury) is that Osensei took the punning as isomorphism to the way aikido's taijutsu is used to scaffold our understanding of the world, physical punning, if you will. The way tantric mediation visualizes BECOMING a Buddha, aikido "physicalizes" the way we reconcile discord. Whether aikido "works" or not is no more relevant than whether a monk replicates the DNA of Shakyamuni in BECOMING that Buddha.

Just a thought. Thanks for the thread, Chris.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2004, 04:40 PM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,632
Offline
Re: Mysterious Action of Kotodama Lite

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Interesting exchange in the Voices of Experience Forum (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...?t=2329&page=2).
Even having studied Gleason, I'm still not sure what KOTODAMA means. I think it goes back to mantra out of Shingon tradition. I have a hunch it also involves conflation of map and territory, as Korzybski famously scolded us not to do, through puns, "KANJI mining", allegory or other arbitrary associations in the case of Osensei: "Aikido is love (ai)", e.g. or "The cross (ju) of aikido".

Jacqueline Stone speaks of "Kanjin" style of interpretation in her book Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. This involved drawing parallels with a conflicting text through any means possible--puns, breaking down KANJI into parts and rearranging the meaning accordingly (think, contra Osensei on the pun of harmony/love in Japanese, what harmony in English lends itself to: "Aikido: the Way of 'Harmony'--You just go ahead and 'harm-any' beggar that bothers with you"), Kotodama (?) or other. The popularity of this lasted about 100 years and then was thoroughly reviled and repudiated (as we see some thinkers reviling similar tendencies in Post-Modernism; remember the Sokal hoax?) She notes that this kind of thought survives today in the form of the New Religions of which, of course, Omoto is one of the more prominent and quotes Okada Kootama, founder of Suukyoo Mahakari, on Kotodama. Note: Mahakari was an offshoot of Omoto, so George may be right about Deguchi reviving the Kotodama stuff, especially since he was such an infamous punster.
Kototama in its more general sense goes back to the earliest written religious traditions. The "power of sounds" or as they were called in Sanskrit, "seed syllables" exists in the oldest of the Vedic texts and this, of course, would suggest that the concept had existed and been developed quite a bit before anything was written down.

I think that you do not have quite the subtlety with Sanskrit that you'd get with Chinese or Japanese. Sanskrit isn't based on pictographs and was said to be one of the most precise languages ever developed (very complex grammar).I suspect that the ability to talk at multiple levels simultaneously would have been limited here as opposed to Chinese and Japanese.

So at the heart of Kototama is simply the set of "seed syllables" a, e, i, o, u. Combining these together along with addition of consonants produces a family of sounds that gets grouped into sub families and becomes symbolic of every aspect of the world whether mind, body or spirit. This is not unlike the I Ching in which one starts with the essential differentiation into Yin and Yang. This allows the creation of a set of trigrams which are made up of lines either yin or yang giving you 8 possibilities. When two trigrams are combined you get a hexagram and the possibilities number 64. Each trigram represents a set of principles. Each hexagram symbolizes how those principles get combined into more complex forms as the universe became differentiated from it's original undifferentiated primordial state.

The kototama takes this type of symbology much further. Instead of starting with the split from one into two as in yang and yin the Kototama, starts with a, e, i, o, u developing out of the original Aum. So when looks at Gleason Sensei's book, one sees that there are more possible combinations of these essential symbological "traits" than there would be in the I Ching. This is VERY complex stuff. With the very large set of possible combinations available virtually aspect of mind, body, spirit development can be described. On the material level this isn't much different than Physics when it talks about everything in terms of vibration or waves of energy. The Divine level can be covered by having the essential combinations be represented by a particular deity with its various aspects. Everything right down to human emotional and character traits can be described this way.

The peculiar ability to take this essential symbology and add to it the dimension of speaking at multiple levels simultaneously which is offered by the Japanese language with its imposition of Chinese characters made it possible for teachers like Deguchi and O-Sensei to avoid having the system appear to be merely mechanistic, just mathematical. The essential mystery of the universe is preserved by having the meaning of things unfold, level upon level. This I think is the reason why the Japanese are so big on the Omote and Ura way of looking at things. Nothing has just one explanation. While being valid, a given explanation my have many levels underlying it. Developing an understanding of this process is what spiritual practice is about is what would constitute Wisdom in O-sensei's world.

At a certain point of understanding one would in theory, have enough understanding of how the universal process unfolds (the Kannagara no Michi) that ones own desires and actions would come increasingly into accord with the larger Process. This is my perception of what the Kototama was, at least in part.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-15-2004 at 04:50 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2004, 02:16 PM   #3
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Offline
Re: Mysterious Action of Kotodama Lite

Thanks, George.

That's a new perspective for me.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



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 On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mysterious Action of Kotodama Chris Li Voices of Experience 32 11-20-2004 06:52 AM
Hip Throw? Thor's Hammer General 20 06-05-2003 04:41 PM
kotodama Paula Lydon Training 18 09-16-2002 10:01 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:08 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