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Old 11-08-2002, 11:24 AM   #1
Aribu
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinjya, Granite Falls, WA
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Shinto

I have seen a great many posting about Aikido as it pertains to Christianity, some about how Aikido is related to Zen or Buddhism, but I haven't really seen anything on Shinto practices. There are some questions posed at the end, but first I'll give a tad bit of personal experience/background info.

Recently, I've begun to train at Tsubaki Kannagara Jinjya, a shinto shrine in Washington state, under the shinto priest Koichi Barrish. (It's the U.S. branch of the Tsubaki O' Kami Yashiro in Japan, which enshrined master Ueshiba after is death. See www.kannagara.org/Quotes.htm.)

Many of the "traditions" performed in Aikido dojo are actually shinto practices. As an example, I've read a couple of times on these boards about doing the 2-bows, 2-claps, 1-bow tradition, which is a part of many shinto ceremonies. When entering the shrine (after purifying our hands and mouth outside), we perform this (the bowing is to show respect for the enshrined kami, and clapping purifies the air - a remedial explanation, I'll admit...I'm no shinto expert.)

At the end of training, sensei performs a ceremony performed by master Ueshiba at the conclusion of his training sessions (it has never been made clear to me how often Ueshiba did this, and I've never asked. I believe ours is also somewhat shorter, as our time is limited in some respects.)

I would not give up the shinto ceremony aspects of training at the shrine for anything. It creates an atmosphere in which it feels like what we do has a connection with something, if that makes sense (this is on top of the innate tendency of Aikido to be extremely fun to practice). One of my largest complaints of martial arts in the past has been either the sportification or (to coin a phrase) "new-age-ification" of any given form. (In my opionion, this is largely the fault of people in the United States. Americans are generally - even if they don't want to admit it - offended unless something is either Christian or completely non-religious. As a result, to succeed commercially, a dojo must prove how non-religious it is by referring to blatantly religious acts as mere traditions...this may seem like nothing more than a digression, but it helps lead to the point of this thread...)

Some questions about which I have been curious are as follows:

Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?

Along the same lines, does the large-scale commercialization of martial arts detract from Aikido training?

Do you ever wish that your dojo was a little less religiously sterile, or do you prefer that it be more neutral?

Is it ok to traditionalize shinto religious practices so that they are acceptible to Americans, or would it be better to drop them entirely since their meaning is no longer present in many dojo?
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Old 11-09-2002, 12:21 AM   #2
tedehara
 
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"Jay Gerard (Aribu)"...Some questions about which I have been curious are as follows:

Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?

I would say overall, Christianity has improved Aikido in the US.

Along the same lines, does the large-scale commercialization of martial arts detract from Aikido training?

While I have visited some very sucessful dojos, I have yet to be involved in large-scale, commercial aikido training. So I cannot answer the question because of lack of experience. For me, Aikido training has never been a question of numbers.

Do you ever wish that your dojo was a little less religiously sterile, or do you prefer that it be more neutral?

What do you mean by religiously sterile? Spirituality and religion comes from the person not from props and ritual.

Is it ok to traditionalize shinto religious practices so that they are acceptible to Americans, or would it be better to drop them entirely since their meaning is no longer present in many dojo?

I think people should do things they are comfortable with. Maybe it would be better to traditionalize them. Ask me when I'm doing winter training and freezing my buns off in a river misogi. I might have a different answer.

It's good that you can make the connections between Shinto ceremony and dojo ritual. But these are just forms. Don't mistake the surface waves for the ocean.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 11-10-2002, 02:15 AM   #3
aubrey bannah
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I think that christianity could hurt in Aikido training. To train with a open heart and in a sincere manner results in a knowledge of the prejudices that we carry in this life.

The greatest learning in Aikido is the understanding of direct connection [ spirit to spirit communion ], thus attaining a connection to the love aspect of the universe, and insight to the truth of reality.

Aikido ia a gift of the God's though O'sensei

O'sensei expressed Shinto practices because of the presence of Gods he was intimate with and part off.

Such powers I poccess for working in the political field have been derived from the spiritual field. Mahatma Gandhi.
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Old 11-10-2002, 03:33 AM   #4
Jeff Tibbetts
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You have some really good questions© Well, first off, I've heard from a lot of people that American instructor's are told to not mention some of the more esoteric principles of Aikido for fear of driving away some people who would see it as "hoky" or whatever© I can see why this is the case, but I think that overall if you're going to train in Aikido you have to be in agreement with the philosophy© I guess the thinking is that they can get you to like the philosophy after you realise how much you like the "other" stuff in Aikido© The other point I'd like to make, although it's kindof just what you're talking about, is that much of the bowing and ceremony is purely representational© Not to say that there's no meaning, it's just that you can view it from the secular standpoint as well as the spiritual© I've known people that think of bowing and breathing exercises as a barrier that they cross coming into the dojo, leaving the world behind for the time they're practicing© Overall, I think that it is what you make of it© If an atheist and a christian and a buddhist can all practice and share a philosophy without it being connected to one or the other than I don't see how that can be a bad thing© Anything in America will be altered to suit our tastes, however, like pizza and tacos© Not to compare Aikido to such trivial things, but our fast-food culture shows up in some weird places© We generally have no problem changing something quite a bit to make it "palatable" while claiming it's authentic© I think people do this to feel cultured without going too far into other territory, and you can see this in almost any restaurant or dojo© Again, don't get me wrong here, I think this happens on a sociological level, not that anyone starts a dojo and says "I have to pretend to be Japanese but remain American", it just kindof happens sometimes© In my personal opinion, I really love the Shinto aspects of Aikido, and I think that as a religion ¥debatably¤ it makes a hell of a lot of sense© Some people may not agree with that, and in some ways it's better not to force it on them and hope they like it later© It's tough, if I were running a dojo I can't say I wouldn't secularize it as much as possible, it seems like the only practical way to do it© hm©©©

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Old 11-10-2002, 04:47 AM   #5
G DiPierro
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Re: Shinto

Quote:
Jay Gerard (Aribu) wrote:
Is it ok to traditionalize shinto religious practices so that they are acceptible to Americans, or would it be better to drop them entirely since their meaning is no longer present in many dojo?
Not every dojo still uses Shinto practices. The ASU uses the shinto bow, the USAF does not. Even in the USAF, some teachers use Shinto warmups, like the rowing exercise, while some use more modern methods. Some dojos use Shinto shrines for their kamiza, some use a non-denominational tokonoma. Here again, I think the ASU, on average, employs more Shinto symbology than the USAF.

There is really nothing wrong with removing the Shinto aspects of the art in this country. O Sensei was personally quite enamored of the neo-Shinto cult Omoto but he never required his Aikido students to study or beleive in this religion. I think Shintoism is one of those cultural artifacts not directly related to Aikido that are sometimes needlessly dragged along with the art as it migrates to another culture. Another example of this is excessive use of Japanese in the dojo. The reason that they count and say "Thank you" in Japanese in dojos in Japan is because that is how those things are done in everyday life in Japan as well. Blindly mimicing that aspect of dojo behavior in the United States makes no sense.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 11-10-2002 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 11-14-2002, 04:22 PM   #6
Jeff Tibbetts
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I'm not so sure that using Japanese language and practices are out of place at all© I think that this performs several functions, wether on purpose or not© For one thing, it makes it possible for Aikido to be a truly international thing, and the top-ranking Sensei from Japan can come to an American or Norwegian or whatever Dojo and feel at home© In the same vein, many Aikidoka travel to Japan to study, and this is a lot easier when you already know what a "shihonage" is or whatever© Another reason is that Aikido is a VERY Japanese thing in itself, stemming from the mix of Shinto, Buddhism, and everything else in Japanese society, not to mention the style of dress and the reason that many of the techniques were created© The level of Japaneseness is part of the appeal for many people, myself included, who care a lot about Japan in general© I think that it makes it clear that you aren't just lifting weights at the gym or playing football or whatever, and it sets the right mood and atmosphere when you bow and such before practice© Besides the fact that people don't want to feel like they're pretending to be Japanese, I think they want to secularize it too much, some amount of that mysticism and intrigue make it so much more interesting© But that's just my opinion©©©

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Old 11-15-2002, 03:02 PM   #7
Jim ashby
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Jeff. Why are all of your sentences copyrighted?

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 11-15-2002, 09:02 PM   #8
Jeff Tibbetts
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Jim, I'm not sure, I was wondering that, too© It just happens to some of my posts in place of periods, maybe because I use the quick reply or maybe because I use Mozilla, could be a bug©©© dunno, but I think it's kind of funny© The really weird thing is that it USUALLY takes an hour or two of being normal, then switches© weird

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Old 11-19-2002, 03:01 AM   #9
ian
 
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It seems pretty formalised over there in the US on what you can and can't do. Pretty much the order of the day in the UK depends on the sensei.

I could understand how the shinto stuff makes you feel connected, but I'm sure some people think the same when they go to church. I would be interested in hearing more about how shinto relates to aikido. We don't do the clapping bit, we just bow. I've always considered the bow to Kami as as bow 'to the universe' (rather than to Ueshiba), as a sign of respect - and the bow to each other as an important sign of respect (in fact I wouldn't allow people to train who did not bow since I would believe they were not willing to protect those they train with).

In terms of spirituality - I believe if aikido incorporates a fixed ideology we will go down the road of organised religion with its power play. Personally I don't believe that peace is the natural state of the universe (as Ueshiba appeared to) but instead more in the yin/yang aspect found in taosim. I tell people about the philosophy of aikido in that it is designed to cause minimal damage - if they want to find out more they can find out themselves; its not for me to brainwash people (except of course on aikiweb)!

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-19-2002, 06:57 AM   #10
Ghost Fox
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First let me start by saying that I'm glad your posting. It will be interesting to have someone training at a Jinja relate his experiences. I look forward to reading more of your post.

Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?

Only in the fact that anything non-Judeo-Christian is evil and bad, and that any hint of spirituality should be banished from "non-religious" activities if it is not Abrahamic in origin.

Along the same lines, does the large-scale commercialization of martial arts detract from Aikido training?

Of course, when you commercialize something you tend to water it down and cater to the lowest common denominator in order to attract the largest number of students.

Do you ever wish that your dojo was a little less religiously sterile, or do you prefer that it be more neutral?

Absolutely, I don't think of Aikido as religion, but I do see it as a deeply spiritual experience. I would love to gather more information and learn some of the rituals that Ueshiba brought to Aikido.

Is it ok to traditionalize Shinto religious practices so that they are acceptable to Americans, or would it be better to drop them entirely since their meaning is no longer present in many dojo?

It would be great if more instructor where familiar with Shinto cosmology and how it applies to Aikido, as opposed to utilizing Zen precepts. Not that there is anything wrong with Zen, but I think many Americans teach from a Zen perspective because it's easier to grasp. Also, it is easier to separate religion from Zen and therefore make it more palatable to mainstream America. By comparison Shinto has a complex pantheon of major and minor Kami, and it's distinctly Japanese. I believe anybody who teaches Aikido should have a good foundation of Ueshiba's religious teaching. I'm not saying they should practice Shinto, but they should understand its teachings. Just like I feel anybody who teaches Aikido should have a good grasp of the history of Aikido. If you want to teach you should be held up to a higher standing.



Peace and Blessings,
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Old 11-19-2002, 07:19 AM   #11
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
Personally I don't believe that peace is the natural state of the universe (as Ueshiba appeared to) but instead more in the yin/yang aspect found in taosim.

Ian
Just a quick side note, natural/original state of the universe according to Taoism is the state of Wu-Chi. Wu-Chi gives birth to Yin/Yang. Wu-Chi is a state of stillness or how I like to describe it, extreme potentiality right before movement (Like the top of the swing in a pendulum). In a sense peace (Nirvana).

In all movements in Aikido, no matter how dynamic & powerful, there should be stillnes in the center.

In a sense everything in nature moves between states of Yin/Yang, but one wants to achieve a state of Wu-Wei (Actionless action, Enlightenment) which can only be achieved by aligning ourselves with Wu-Chi.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-19-2002, 09:35 AM   #12
happysod
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Like the topic & the replies, but have to take issue with one phrase used so far:

Ian's "in fact I wouldn't allow people to train who did not bow since I would believe they were not willing to protect those they train with" did leave me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth I'm afraid (no offense meant, agreed with most of the post) as we'd had a bad experience of this being put into practice.

We had a occasional member of our dojo who was a practicing orthodox jew. He was occasional as he was based elsewhere and could only get to our dojo on an irregular basis. However, as he was worried about the "religious" aspects of the dojo, he'd asked his religious teacher and was informed that such bowing was contrary to his religion. His normal dojo couldn't accept his not bowing and did use pressure to make him conform. Result, both dojos lost a very promising aikidoka (and caused a nice guy an unnecessary soul-search).

Basically, I think the answer is we're supposedly adults and able to make informed decisions. If religion/spirituality works for you, fine, but the idea that a dojo would or should impose "religion" in the name of "tradition" (how old's aikido again..) seems absurd and not-so-slightly worrying.
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Old 11-20-2002, 01:42 AM   #13
Jeff Tibbetts
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Ian, I think I see your point about bowing and impressing Aikido's "religion" on people© I must add, though, that whatever you make of the bow before the Kami or O-Sensei, you must realise that the bow to another person is not religious at all© Well, it could be, and if your religion forbids it than I don't think it's a big deal, but the fact is that it's only a respect thing© I would tell him that it doesn't matter, but I would also think it very odd if an Atheist didn't want to bow to another student before they pair up, as it's not something that carries any religion with it© I don't know, I think people are very quick to add elements of meaning to the bows and everything without thinking about what they're really for© I think that you maybe didn't mean it the way I took it, and I'm sorry if that's the case© I've never had a problem doing anything that I found to be spiritual, and I'm an Atheist© Anyway, sorry if that post didn't make sense, I'm tired©©©

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
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Old 11-20-2002, 03:30 AM   #14
happysod
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Thanks for the reply Jeff, totally agree with you about the bowing and it's regard to being about respect, sorry if this was unclear. My comment about the bowing was more about how some dojos seem to want to make aspects of etiquette "set in stone". In this instance, the bowing business clashed with a person's deeply held religious views with no real point as far I could determine.

My missive against imposing religion in the dojo in general was a reference to the original posts query "Do you ever wish that your dojo was a little less religiously sterile, or do you prefer that it be more neutral? " -- I'm firmly on the side of the neutral. (note to self: be more clear of which bit of a post I'm ranting at)
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Old 11-20-2002, 04:33 AM   #15
ian
 
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Quote:
Damion Lost (Ghost Fox) wrote:
natural/original state of the universe according to Taoism is the state of Wu-Chi. Wu-Chi gives birth to Yin/Yang
yep, you're totally right as far as I am aware! I was going to argue over some semantics but it doesn't seem worth it!

As far as the Jewish bloke who did not train - I would consider that his own predjudices (and that of his religion) which caused the problem. Fair enough, bowing may be considered a worthless ritual to some people, but I definately see it as a useful part of producing a safe training atmosphere. Maybe I was harsh saying I would exclude anyone who didn't bow - if they were physically incapable of bowing I would have to take the mutual respect for granted. (or maybe a different sign of respect could be used in case of religious beliefs - but it could get ridiculous).

However, just because religions are established, does not mean they are correct. Many religions DO treat others differently (excluding inter-marriage with those outside their race/religion etc) or are blantently racist or sexist. I don't think society should change rules which are there for the good of everyone for some belief system which was probably made up by a group of authoritarian people. Different ideologies rarely mix - so we should probably defer to the ideology which is to the mutual benefit; people should always come before religion.

Sorry if I'm getting off the track,

Ian
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Old 11-20-2002, 05:17 AM   #16
ian
 
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P.S. when I suggest different ideologies rarely mix - I didn't mean as peoples; I mean that if people have different ideologies there will be unresolvable conflicts in ideas and concepts somewhere along the line.

Also I understand that my insistence on bowing may be slightly bigoted; and I'd reserve the right to change my mind if the situation required it (rules serve people and not vice versa!).

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:02 AM   #17
Ghost Fox
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Fuel to the fire.

How would you feel about bowing to the Kamiza if there was an actual Kami enshrined inside?

Also I thought that bowing to ones partner was an acknowledgement of the divinity that resides in all mankind? I bow to you because Man was made in the image of the Creator and therefore contain part of the Divine Spark.

I tend to agree with Ian about the prejudices and bigotry that exist in most religion. If you truly want to embrace Spirituality you have to remove the shackles of Religion. Religion is the scaffolding of which Spirituality is built. Religion is for the masses not for the Superior Man (Taoist term).
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Old 11-20-2002, 07:20 AM   #18
DavidEllard
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One thing that worried when when my friends were convincing me to start aikido was the bowing to 'o-sensei' at the begining of the class. As someone with christian beliefs this looked a bit like "worshipping" to me.

They way I resolved this for myslef was looking into the history of aiki and finding out, with help, a little about O Sensei. I could then justify the bowing to him as a mark of deep respect for what he has done in creating aikido.

As for bowing to each other, that seems only correct to me, but i certainly see it as a respect thing not religous. If other people choose to see a religious aspect though I wouldn't for a moment dispute their right to do that. Indeed I quite like the image mentioned above of the internal divinity

In addition we have a Jewish Nidan in my organisation, and he does NOT bow to O Sensei at the begining of a class. We respect his right to do that, he has shown dedication to aikido by years of practise, and i don't see that forcing someone to "choose" between aikido and thier religon would be productive.

However,in my experience, the UK is more secular than america and japan. So in answer to the original question I don't think that incorpoerating more of the religous aspects would work here. It would certainly alienate people, or belittle those religous ideals.
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Old 11-20-2002, 11:55 AM   #19
achilleus
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I would just liek to remind us all that O Sensei was very fond of christianity. I can't say whether or not he really was one, but he had a very clear syncretic religious ideal which very much included christianity. Lets not forget how we all like to talk about MAs sharing what is true as a fundemental principle - so too the idea of Love that is the 'center' of O Sensei's aikido.

Also, although I understand that our protestant brothers and sisters may disagree, bowing as a religious action, is not always an act of supplication. Anyone who justifies not bowing to anyone or anything for religious reasons is thinking more of themselves than of the Other - which is contrary to the whole idea of bowing to someone, nes pas?

When I am feeling unduly hauty I mentally bow to the person, reminding myself that I am not always the most important thing in the universe.

Of course, this all comes from many many hours on the cold stone floors of monastic chapels.

ps

our dojo bows and claps and as others have mentioned, I try to practice as mich of my zen training as possible in our sacred space.



DA
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Old 11-22-2002, 08:39 AM   #20
Rev_Sully
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To understand the "props" used in a dojo, one must understand their root. Shinto and Japan are almost inseperable. Shinto is a Partiotic religion that includes the veneration not only of differnt Kami but of ancestors and also gives the land of Ise (Nippon or Japan) it's unique status of Chosen Land.

Bowing to Kamiza and O-Sensei's portrait does invoke both of these venerations upon inspection. But Shinto itself is not worshiped as a religion that the West likes to think (in realms of the Abrahamic Three). Shinto is very equatable to "Hindu". "Hinduism" is a potpourri of different gods and legends spanning thousands of years of culture. The same goes for Shinto (Shin=God, To or Do=Way: The Way of the God(s)). Hindu isn't really an organized religion either but a collection of evolving Divine interpretations (it's only called Hindu because of the Indus Valley/River in India. Hindu, Indus, India...get it?).

Same with Shinto.

People threatened by the "religiousity" of Shinto icons/idols/practices in the AiKiDo dojo should inspect their feelings and see if what they do when they practice is true veneration or dojo culture with no religious signifigance.

I personally believe that Christianity cannot improve AiKiDo but AiKiDo can compliment and help/assist Christianity.

I will answer the original question from above:

<i>Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?</i>

Yes. Everyone is entitled and empowered to behave in manners that suit the individual or cult only. There can be no complience to discipline when exceptions are made because someone uses their religiousity to not comply. If they are so uncomfortable as not to bow in respect to altruistic ideas and sensei/sempai/women/eachother, then they should consult with their religious leaders (priest, rabbi, imam, etc.) to see if their religiousity and the dojo are truly compatable.

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 11-22-2002, 10:21 AM   #21
darin
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As Eric said, Shinto and Japan are almost inseperable. I don't view Shinto in Japan as a religion as Japanese in general are not religious.

Japan in many ways has never really opened its doors to the world. Its people have great pride in their culture and traditions. To them these things are a part of "being Japanese". This is hard for me to explain. I guess the only way is for people to go and live in Japan for a year or two. Then they will understand.
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Old 11-22-2002, 11:03 AM   #22
achilleus
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Eric,

nice point. although, my train of thought with respect to

"Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?"

was leaning more towards 'no it hasn't' (with the exception of some christian variants which I don't always consider to be christian).

I would say that American secularism is the culprit - something which not only negatively effects christianity (and other religions) but disciplines like aikido, too.

I think you are right on about some things being culturally inseperable from each other. Shinto/Japan and aikido is an obvious example. Are there such analogous inseperable-cultural traits in the West?

I would hazard to guess them too subtle to pin down in our multi-sultural society (in america). Sitting in a room with 3 other people and discussing the saints of the early christian church you'll get:

person 1: 'why do you worship saints & not G-d'

person 2: shares with you a mutual sneer at person 1

person 3: an 'enlightened-humanist' who cynically denies the significance of such people.

If each of those people were aikidoka would they resond similarly to the respectful observances of the dojo?

Are aikidoka out there just going through the motions?



DA
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Old 11-22-2002, 12:59 PM   #23
Rev_Sully
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Cool Shinto

Quote:
David Achilleus (achilleus) wrote:
Eric, nice point. although, my train of thought with respect to "Has the American view of religion due to the dominance of Christianity taken anything from practicing Aikido?" was leaning more towards 'no it hasn't' (with the exception of some christian variants which I don't always consider to be christian).

I would say that American secularism is the culprit - something which not only negatively effects christianity (and other religions) but disciplines like aikido, too.DA
No. I would have to disagree, courteously though. American Secularism encourages and allows for differences whereas exclusive religions and cults (especially those with eschatological goals) do now allow for its adherents to have other spiritual icons/idols/ideas beside and beyond its own. The goals of your cult are the goals of your salvation (and the only true salvation to boot). This is obviously an extreme and/or orthodox POV. I know quite well that usually there will be flexibility to things such as training in a martial art.

If you are a Christian learning AiKiDo and have no conflicts or problems, that's good. But what happens if you mention to your pastor that you bow to Shinto-oriented ideas and icons such as Kamiza and O-Sensei's portrait and they mention that it could be in violation of Biblical Covenants (esp. idolatry and and no gods other than YHWH). Would a conflict exist? It would depend on how Christian or how Jewish or how Muslim the Aikidoka was. The more Orthodox the Aikidoka, the greater the chance of conflict. Under inspection, there are violations of Christian covenants every time one steps on the mat.

It is a clash of Western and Eastern philosophies. Easter philosophies are much more syndaclistic than the polarized Western POV in regards to spiritual things. Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc all can accept and encompass the Abrahamic Three while the converse is not possible. So when an Aikidoka has exception due to a religious belief, it does take away from the dojo and the dojo culture. It creates incongruity. Dojo, IMHO is a secular but sacred space. Western thought used to have a tough time really grasping how something can be secular and sacred at the same time but use Ground Zero at the WTC as an example. There is no conflict really. Only when someone creates a problem will a conflict arise.
Quote:
David Achilleus (achilleus) wrote:
I think you are right on about some things being culturally inseperable from each other. Shinto/Japan and aikido is an obvious example. Are there such analogous inseperable-cultural traits in the West?

DA
Good question. Forth of July? 9/11 observances in the future? Bastille Day? December 8th. Christmas/Holiday Season? I think Christmas is a biggie. I work at a place where they're arguing the PC-ness of having a tree at the Holiday party but Santa is still there. No one has yet addressed that Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, Christian saint.
Quote:
David Achilleus (achilleus) wrote:
I would hazard to guess them too subtle to pin down in our multi-sultural society (in america). Sitting in a room with 3 other people and discussing the saints of the early christian church you'll get:

person 1: 'why do you worship saints & not G-d'

person 2: shares with you a mutual sneer at person 1

person 3: an 'enlightened-humanist' who cynically denies the significance of such people.

If each of those people were aikidoka would they resond similarly to the respectful observances of the dojo?

Are aikidoka out there just going through the motions?



DA
I think person #1 would be the one who wouldn't bow to Kamiza/O-Sensei. Wouldn't practice with women. And all other Orthodox-type of personal deletions of dojo culture that anyone can name.

Ah HA! Aikidoka are ALWAYS going through the motions! (puncyes, bad pun). But it is rote exercise until one questions, any action I would broker.

BTW: is Achilleus your real surname? Only because I'm a perennial wiseacre and I was going to post as "Patrokolos Jones". ; ^ )

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 11-22-2002, 01:35 PM   #24
achilleus
Dojo: West End Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2002
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this is fun. I don't usually get to use my brain at work.

"No. I would have to disagree, courteously though. American Secularism encourages and allows for differences "

Lets just disagree then. We obviously have had very different experiences and studies of secularism. I have found it a cannabalistic and cynical excuse for hate mongering.

But I also have a very eclectic POV regarding religion (as in the literal meaning = discipline, viz. without all the supernatural trappings and feel good-ness). I come from very somber monastic roots.

I also think that religion, when rational, is a great foundation for tolerance, because after all, it is a choice and if you are comfortable with your choice you can be comfortabel with the choices others make as well.

Your point on eschatology is interesting but I don't see it playing out. If it were true then we simply wouldn't have had many of the positive exchanges like the East West Spiritual Encounter, which has had, I think, 5-6 incarnations. Fact of the matter is that most religions are not only very tolerant of each other but are also very cooperative. Perhaps this is more on the ecclesiasticle side of things where most people aren't privy to.

I also think that there is only a 'clash' if you are resisting...again, if you can't get beyond the fact that someone calls this or that shinto then the clash is meaningless in a cultural aspect - the clash only exists so far as you are unwilling to see the connections.

years ago when people talked about TM and zen meditation mainstream protestant christians would whoop and hollar. mostly because it was eastern but the greater sin (read miss the mark) was that they had no knowledge of christian centering prayer which is exactly the same thing.

I'm not going to touch christmas. Too much for too many people to argue about.

"I think person #1 would be the one who wouldn't bow to Kamiza/O-Sensei. Wouldn't practice with women. And all other Orthodox-type of personal deletions of dojo culture that anyone can name."

exactly where I was going with that!

But its funny that you are using "Orthodox" -

you are intending small 'o', yes? Because I am an 'Orthodox Christian'.

and yes, my real surname as it appears. you can google me.

I'd like to think I've made a friend today, but beyond that lets not take the patrokles imagery any further!

as an aside, I think the idea of sacred/secular is a good starting point (provided I can get past the secular part - I own that problem). In such a paradigm aikidoka can consider themselves as preserving a bit of japanese culture without turning japanese.

small clarification: regarding going through the motions on two points,

1. if you do you'll never really 'get it'

2. original remark was with respect to the observances of respect we show, i.e. do you bow only physically without intending any respect? or are you reaching out to the Other (good uke)?

Again, I don't think the bow is only an act of supplication; it can be one of extension, too!



DA
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Old 11-22-2002, 02:01 PM   #25
Rev_Sully
Location: Somerville, MA
Join Date: Jul 2002
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"and yes, my real surname as it appears. you can google me.

I'd like to think I've made a friend today, but beyond that lets not take the patrokles imagery any further! DA"

LOL!!!

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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