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Old 01-20-2006, 01:46 AM   #51
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
My experience is that 'everything is as it is'.
Just so. Then an atheist mystic exists, after all.
To see things as they are, and not as we wish they were.

Most people are not content to be as they are.
They desire to seem as they are not. In fact, they often work quite hard at it. In some cases, what is not becomes what is.

Aikido is about becoming, however, not being. To imagine what is not is the soul of creativity. In application, Aiki cannot be limited to what is, since properly applied Aiki technique will change what begins as highly negative, and neutralize or even convert it to positive. Aiki is an act of spontaneous imagination within a form, like a metered poem. Creative Art happens in every encounter. Wide variations in nonetheless effective technique attest this.

So seeing things as they are is good, but creativity requires more.
In my experience, effective Aiki requires more. Certainly, it requires more of me.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:07 AM   #52
Mark Uttech
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Of course, 'everything as it is' includes omote and ura. Aikido actually is the discovery of 'more of me.' On the one hand, Budo is translated as "to stop the thrusting spear" and on the other hand, it is translated as: "hey you! stop thrusting with the spear!"
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:52 AM   #53
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Hmm, no offense, but...

Quote:
Though I am not professional like Chris Li, I spend a lot of my time translating and interpreting from Japanese to English and vice versa. I see this mystification all the time, especially with Japanese, which has semantic features which are quite different from those of English. As a linguist I really do not believe that the 'stopping spears' stuff stands up to close examination and I have one dictionary which states that this explanation rests on a mistake (p.1279 of Tetsuji Atsuji's Gendai Kanjigo Jiten, published by Kokogawa Shoten).
From http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...oldsbury#34631

Best,
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 01-20-2006, 04:44 PM   #54
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
Of course, 'everything as it is' includes omote and ura. Aikido actually is the discovery of 'more of me.' On the one hand, Budo is translated as "to stop the thrusting spear" and on the other hand, it is translated as: "hey you! stop thrusting with the spear!"
A good counterpoint, in that the boundaries of "I" are expandable to include our seeming enemies. O-Sensei surely taught that. The subjective "I" is the omote to the ura of the objective "you." And vice versa. (perhaps infinitely regressed).

If a card-carrying atheist said that, though, I would wonder...
Ex. 3:14 and Matt. 16:15-16 suggest themeselves to me. Or the Dhammapada 1:2-5, if you prefer:

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:22 PM   #55
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Why would you wonder if a card-carrying atheist said that?
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:40 PM   #56
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hmm, no offense, but...

Quote:
Though I am not professional like Chris Li, I spend a lot of my time translating and interpreting from Japanese to English and vice versa. I see this mystification all the time, especially with Japanese, which has semantic features which are quite different from those of English. As a linguist I really do not believe that the 'stopping spears' stuff stands up to close examination and I have one dictionary which states that this explanation rests on a mistake (p.1279 of Tetsuji Atsuji's Gendai Kanjigo Jiten, published by Kokogawa Shoten).
From http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...oldsbury#34631
Best, Ron
My non-western language training is in Chinese. The kanji character -- Japanese "bu" 武 Chinese "wŭ" is indeed formed of two radicals. When decomposed into these two stand-alone characters, they do carry a meaning in Chinese of "stopping spears," or a like command as Mark suggests.

止 zhĭ = halt, stop, desist, detain
戈 gē = halberd spear lance

Compare:
兵法 bīng fǎ = strategy (Suntzu- "art of war" lit. - soldier-method)
where 兵 bīng is composed of two radicals that mean, respectively, hand and axe.

But false folk etymologies of this sort abound in Chinese, and kanji, as an adapted system, is fertile ground for more.

Cordially,
Ercik Mead
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Old 01-21-2006, 04:28 AM   #57
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
A good bit further right is fair to say. If I may ask, and I will not pursue where the discussion is not wanted, I wonder a couple of things. Some thoughts from those on the committed secular side may help others, both secular and non-secular.
Thank's Erick you have just given me a new title to go by, from now on I will no longer think of myself as an Atheist ( it has such negative connotations! ). I now want to be thought of as a "Committed Secularist" I do no want to sound facetious, I'm genuinely pleased, as a little research turned up this definition: Secularism - The state of being secular; applied by G J Holyoake to an ethical system founded on natural morality as opposed to religious education or ecclesiasticism.
Quote:
So-- the question.

If one is without faith, how does one fit the groundwork for the moral elements of aikido, which are closely woven into its practical elements, without taking on board the mystical side? I have met very few second dan or above, and none that I can recall fourth dan or above, who did not take that side very seriously, although there are wide variations in emphasis, surely.
It's easy really, us 'committed secularists' do not need faith to be moral, come to that, we do not need aikido, it is just that as very moral people we are drawn to aikido as a practice that fits in with our morals. I was a non-violent pacifist before I discovered aikido. I regard the teachings of O'Sensei and the Art he created as a fantastic practice for human beings in the modern world. A superb tansformation of past 'Martial' ( ultimate killing machine ) ways to a future " Loving protection of all things" mentality through practice of the Art of Peace.
I do not think there is anything 'mystical' about Aikido and I take my practice very seriously. I come from the Ki Aikido end of the spectrum so my practice has 'ki' built in ( ki developement exercises )and I can see plenty of opportunities for people to mystify (glorify?) and generally bamboozle.

I believe the universe and all thats in it is the most fantastic, beautiful, complex system. And the more we discover about it the more of each of those things it becomes.

Mysticism - is for the gullible and the controlling, a co-dependant relationship made in heaven or hell depending which side you are on.

Just my humble opinoin, but you did ask the question.

Regards,
Mark

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Old 01-21-2006, 04:49 PM   #58
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mysticism - is for the gullible and the controlling, a co-dependant relationship made in heaven or hell depending which side you are on
Actually, isn't it the "revelation" mode of thought which fits this description and not the "mystical"? My understanding of the term "mystical" demands that all experiences are deemed rational or irrational by my own personal experiences above all others.
"Mysticism...is the pursuit of achieving communion with or conscious awareness of God (the divine ultimate reality) through direct, personal experience, intuition or insight." (Wikipedia)
Also, it may have been posted already, and if so I'll find it soon I'm sure so please don't feel obliged to answer my question, but what exactly is "natural" morality? This word seems to imply an objective concept of what is and is not moral (ie- a "true" morality next to which all other morality is supposed to be false or inferior) which, in my experience, is the very mechanism people seek to control each other by.
Take care!
Matt

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Old 01-22-2006, 08:10 AM   #59
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Hi Matt, good response, in my mind the term mystic, mysticism and mystify sit very cose together ( next to each other in my dictionary ). And while your definition is correct, in part, my dictionary says: Mysticism - The doctrine that man may by self-surrender and spiritual apprehension attain to direct communion with and absorbtion in God, or that truth may be apprehended directly by the soul without the intervention of the senses or the intellect.
Now my problem is, that for this to make sense, there is a presupposition that a) God is the supreme ultimate reality, and b) there is a God.
What happens if neither is true ( as is possibly the case! )
I also note that mystic is: adjective- Pertaining to or involving mystery or mysticism; occult, esoteric; allegorical, emblematic. noun- One addicted to mysticism; a support of the doctrine of mysticism.
Which when coupled with - mystify : To involve in mystery; to bewilder, to puzzle to hoax
You may be able to see why the 'committed secularist' tries to steer clear of this little minefield.

Let me make one thing clear, I think people should be free to practice any belief system they want as long as it doesn't impact negatively on others. Unfortunately in my experience this is not the case for many. The list of examples would be too long and too depressing to contemplate right now.

As for "natural" morality I'm not sure where that phrase arose from. My position was / is that man does not need religion to act in a 'moral' way. In fact what leads me to that conclusion is that some of the most despicable acts carried out are by righteous religious men against believer and non believer alike.
The US Constitution is a pretty fantastic document, and I believe the founding fathers did a brilliant job of putting in place a system that has held up well for it's citizens so far. One thing that they made clear was that it recognised every man's freedom to worship as they chose. They also made it very clear that the Church and State (secular ) should remain separate, please correct me if I am wrong.
Would you not agree that inherently this document is a moral one?

The fact that the US now has a president with "a direct line to God" is enough to make the rest of us feel very worried, especially when words like 'crusade' start appearing in his language.

I realise that doesn't have much to do with aikido, but if some of our leaders tried to use some of the principles of aikido in resolving conflict, they might get a little further than trying to 'smash' their enemies or 'break' them, it only seems to make them worse.

My feeling is that next to global warming the biggest issue in this century is going to be ideological. Christianity and Islam are both 'guilty' of harbouring fundamentalist, people who will stop at nothing to 'win' their deluded argument. Unfortunately the rest of us will be caught in the crossfire.

From a committed secularist , ..peace!

Mark

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Old 01-22-2006, 04:13 PM   #60
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Thank's Erick you have just given me a new title to go by, from now on I will no longer think of myself as an Atheist ( it has such negative connotations! ).
Mark
Glad to be of service. Words like that have a tendency to cause people to revert to template. That is anathema to real discussion.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
It's easy really, us 'committed secularists' do not need faith to be moral, come to that, we do not need aikido, it is just that as very moral people we are drawn to aikido as a practice that fits in with our morals.
Mark
I agree that faith is not required to be moral. But to survive profound immorality -- there's the real test. It is a test whether we are its source or its object.
Too many witnesses in far sundered religious traditions attest that despair and fundamental doubt are the desolate soil in which powerful faith sprouts.

And how is one to be certain of one's morality? It is a perilous thing to believe that one is doing good.

Such a cry echoes in many traditions as with St.Paul's experience "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. ... So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand." Rom. 7:19, 21. The juxtaposition of Tolkien's poetry earlier cited has this feeling in a Northern European idiom. Gautama Buddha's own experience exemplifies it, as does his teaching:

"Think not lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil. Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
... Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by entering into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one may escape from the results of evil deeds. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by entering into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one will not be overcome by death."
Dhammapada, 9:121-122, 127-128.

The carnage of the twentieth century's incessant and grandiose "best intentions," is apalling to the point of near moral numbness. It is fatefully predicted above in both Christian and Buddhist tradition. Being moral by one's own lights is not enough, and is in fact downright dangerous.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Mysticism - is for the gullible and the controlling, a co-dependant relationship made in heaven or hell depending which side you are on.
To the contrary, the mystical experience is empirically real -- even if its object cannot be identified empirically. I have addressed it in this forum elsewhere, but the references are still valid: see http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...1&page=3&pp=25
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Current research has found empirical neurological evidence that meditation does indeed involve an other than ordinary experience at aneuorlogical level. See for instance:
http://www.shinzen.org/shinsub2/_disc1/0000003c.htm
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, undertook a radilogical examination of the neurological basis of mystical experience. Subjects included a Catholic nun and a practioner of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. He later wrote a book outlining called "Why God Won't Go Way"
Lest anyone think this a crock or one- off study, other studies have found similar brain activity changes in religious and mystical experience.
http://hendrix.imm.dtu.dk/services/j.../WOBIB_22.html
The experience quoted by one of Dr. Newberg's test volunteers in the first cited report of his study closely matches the descriptions of O-Sensei's three ecstatic visions, and in several pertinent points, the conversion visions of St. Paul.

An identifiably similar description of experience, so widely reported over so long a period of time has proved to have an objectively measurable presence. It therefore has some definitive referent in reality. Mere gullibility it is not.

I have read that some of O-Sensei's closest students confess that they did not understand this aspect of his experience or his teachings on the topic. I have heard none of them say he was gullible.

If mysticism (substitute conscience, if you prefer) gives a guide to the perilous grounds of whether we act for ultimate good or for evil, drop by drop, then any tradition collecting the benefit of mystical or religious learning should be given due weight.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:31 AM   #61
6th Kyu For Life
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Erick-

Quote:
as Western religion was earlier crosspollinated into Pure Land Buddism in the post-Hellenic period in Asia
On the surface, Pure Land Buddhism does look a lot like Western religion, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to say that it was influenced strongly by it. The strongest influences of European culture on China happened first before the fall of Rome (when Christianity was not very prominent, and there were certainly no missionaries spreading it in China), and then during the age of imperialism and exploration, long after Pure Land Buddhism had emerged. So, just for the record, Pure Land Buddhism was not significantly influenced by Western religion.

Peace,
Tom Newhall

Last edited by 6th Kyu For Life : 01-23-2006 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:57 AM   #62
Edwin Neal
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Re: Religion and Aikido

I believe you may be incorrect in your statement that pure land buddhism was NOT influenced by christianity... I do not have the sources at hand presently but from my studies I "seem to recall" a distinctly chinese variety of christianity, i just can't remember what it was called and it's not coptic, but i believe it starts with a "C"... and one could say that both christianity and buddhism(some forms) both derive some of their beliefs about devotional grace (faith) from Hindu and other even more ancient religious beliefs... damn I wish I could remember what that sect of christianity was called, but it was more or less contemporary with gnosticism and the coptic tradition in egypt, and thus "travelled" over time...

cut this from a google search I think it was the second that i was thinking of...

Nestorians.--In A.D. 631 the Nestorian Church introduced Christianity into China, under the title of "The Luminous Doctrine;" and in 636 Nestorian missionaries were allowed to settle at the capital. In 781 the famous Nestorian Tablet, with a bilingual inscription in Chinese and Syriac, was set up at Si-ngan Fu, where it still remains, and where it was discovered in 1625 by Father Semedo, long after Nestorianism had altogether disappeared, leaving not a rack behind.

Manichaeans.--In A.D. 719 an ambassador from Tokharestan arrived at the capital. He was accompanied by one Ta-mou-she, who is said to have taught the religion of the Chaldean Mani, or Manes, who died about A.D. 274. In 807 the Manichaean sect made formal application to be allowed to have recognised places of meeting; shortly after which they too disappear from history.

My main point is that (I believe) there was MUCH more interaction between ancient cultures than most modern scholars believe... remember we are looking back a long time and have little evidence to go on so it is understandable that most scholars are "conservative" in their estimates and beliefs

the "dates" of pure land buddhism in china run from about the first century c.e. thru the 6th c.e. with reference to it originating in India...

Personally I think it all got mixed together both going east and west...
just my two cents

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-23-2006, 03:01 AM   #63
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Re: Religion and Aikido

WOW this thread has really gotten out there into the fringes... ;-))

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-23-2006, 03:59 AM   #64
Mark Freeman
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
WOW this thread has really gotten out there into the fringes... ;-))
So far in fact I'm about to fall off.

Quote:
Being moral by one's own lights is not enough, and is in fact downright dangerous
I'm not sure how you can come to that conclusion. As already mentioned I feel that the opposite is the case. By having a 'higher' morality to refer to has allowed men to carry out appalling atrocities. The Bin Laden's of this world carry out their deeds safe in the knowledge that they are morally right, they'll even be rewarded for being so 'moral'. Personally I'll stick to being responsible for my own actions and being judged by what I do by those around me.

I've yet to be convinced that those of 'faith' act in a more moral way than the rest of us.

I count myself lucky that I live in a country where religion is practiced by a minority, and that they have complete freedom to do so.

Many of my generation have grown up watching the awful spectacle of sectarian violence taking place in Northern Ireland, some of us being innocent victims in the bombing campaigns on the mainland. I'm sure seeing this rediculous hate filled feuding between religious believers, turned many of my generation away from the church for good.

Where did the morals of a catholic IRA man come from when he blew up a group of unsuspecting innocents?

I've fallen off the edge .............

Peace

Mark

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Old 01-23-2006, 05:24 AM   #65
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Edwin-

Wow! I'm surprised someone bothered to look into this issue further. You're absolutely right about the Nestorians and Manicheans. These now-dead branches of Christianity did have an impact in China, but just as you said, to what extent we aren't able to know. The mere presence of Christianity in China must have influenced Chinese thought and religion, and therefore Pure Land Buddhism also. But in the two centuries of these religions existing in China, it's likely that their fellowship did not extend much outside the original immigrant communities, not enough to profoundly influence Buddhism. Basically, yes, Christianity must have had some influence on Buddhism simply because it had some presence in some parts of Chinese history. But there is really no substantial evidence (that I know of) that links Christianity in China to Buddhism in China.

To paraphrase my religion professor: "The only reason anyone ever talks about Christianity in China is because we come from a Christian background. If you were to see how the Chinese write their own religious history, Christianity would just be a footnote."

Finally, regarding the dates and origins of Pure Land Buddhism. It has kind of dual origins in both China and India. Two of the core texts of Pure Land Buddhism (The Larger and Smaller Pure Land Sutras), have sanskrit predecessors, which were written between 252 and 713 ad according to this source. But Pure Land Buddhism was never an independent school of Buddhism in India, as it was in China.

Yeah, this thread has really taken a detour.
Hope that helps.

Peace,
Tom Newhall
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:25 AM   #66
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Re: Religion and Aikido

To throw Mark a rope .. common heritage and resonance between faith traditions must be examined and promoted. Those who exploit the differences will prevail if we merely we do nothing.

O-Sensei had some hopes for aikido as a mediating vehicle on a host of such fronts. Certainly, it has affected me in this way. Aiki has taught me that belief is not opposed to belief, however it may appear that way, just as uke is not opposed to nage regardles how strong the attack.

In confilcts bweteen persons we must correct ill- considered conflict with good technique. In conflicts between traditions we must correct ill-considered conflict with good history.

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
I believe you may be incorrect in your statement that pure land buddhism was NOT influenced by christianity... My main point is that (I believe) there was MUCH more interaction between ancient cultures than most modern scholars believe... remember we are looking back a long time and have little evidence to go on so it is understandable that most scholars are "conservative" in their estimates and beliefs
...
the "dates" of pure land buddhism in china run from about the first century c.e. thru the 6th c.e. with reference to it originating in India...
Christian trinitarian thought had pagan antecedents in Hellenic Greek philosophy, which developed in Christianity contemporaneously with similar ideas in Pure Land Amidisim (Trikaya theory) that developed along the Silk Road and its side routes into India, also heavily Hellenized in the two centuries before Christ. Bamian, in Afghanistan, where the giant Buddha statues were tragically destroyed by Taliban barbarians was one of these Hellenic-Buddhist centers.

There is a good source for the later Silk Road interactions (ca. 650- 850 a.d.) puts Christians, Shingon and Tendai Buddhism as active contemporaries in Chang'an, the Chinese T'ang capital.
See : "The Jesus Sutras" by Martin Palmer, with good historiography and scholarly primary source translations of Chinese Christian works spanning that period. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034...lance&n=283155
The extent of interaction seen in these tyexts from the Christian side in using Buddhist concepts as evangelical material cannot be denied. The suggestion that the same occurred on the Buddhist side is thus bolstered in plausibility if not yet in direct proof.

Some suspect direct interaction between these religious scholars in translating Christian and Buddhist works late out of India, which was at that time simultaneously a Buddhist source region and a Christian source region for the Church of the East cutoff from the West, first by the Byzantine-Persian wars, and then the Arabization of the Islamic conquest.

This discussion is NOTtoo far afield. Shingon was one of O-Sensei's early major influences, and which was deeply involved in the development of Ryobu Shinto cosmology, that underlies the entire doka cycle and O-sensei's more esoteric discussions, which are directly relevant here.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-23-2006 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:45 AM   #67
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Tom Newhall wrote:
Edwin-
To paraphrase my religion professor: "The only reason anyone ever talks about Christianity in China is because we come from a Christian background. If you were to see how the Chinese write their own religious history, Christianity would just be a footnote."
Tom Newhall
A professor who said such a thing does not understand the concept of ura, or the operations of latency and contingency in history. It is like saying that Irish culture has no influence anymore because so very few Irish speak Gaelic.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:56 AM   #68
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
So far in fact I'm about to fall off.
... The Bin Laden's of this world carry out their deeds safe in the knowledge that they are morally right, they'll even be rewarded for being so 'moral'. Personally I'll stick to being responsible for my own actions and being judged by what I do by those around me.
...
Where did the morals of a catholic IRA man come from when he blew up a group of unsuspecting innocents?
From the same place as those of BinLaden's own moral echo chamber. One's own opinions or those closest to you are not a safe enough guide. Traditions winnow things like this to give more relaiable counsel. Bin Laden, and the IRA have each departed far even from their own moral traditions.

Aiki requires us to meet and respond to the forces of those in confilct with us, but not by breaking them in the process. If we begin with the mindset of Aikido that people make mistakes in both beginning conflict and in continuing it, then we try to ameliorate the error, rather than to eliminate the one mistaken.

Technique gives us means to do this. Tradition tells us how far they should be applied.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:22 PM   #69
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Religion and Aikido

It's always difficult to tell what influenced what in the ancient world. Every culture has started with with certain common set of myths and symbols which seem to go back so far that there's no telling when or where they actually originated...

If one reads the works of someone like Mircea Eliade on archaic religions one can clearly see that there is a common set of shared myths and symbols which get incorporated in virtually every faith. Carl Jung accounts for these by talking about the "collective unconscious" and this is probably as good as any way to describe the various stmbolic structures which we all seem to share and which, I believe, actually give much of religion it's transformative power.

Myth and ritual, are on some level, the "machine langauge" of the Mind. Every spiritual system has relied on this to "transform" it's adherents. Anyway, we have a shared symbolic structure which is cross cultural. As the various modern religious traditions developed they picked this up and then transformed it according to the culture in which the new faith was developing.

This is why it's so difficult to tell at a later time, what influenced what... In many instances they started with w shared set of symbols and even similar myths lomd before any contact was made.

Toaday one can see how powerful this underlying symbolic and mythic structire is... as the great Religions have revealed their various weaknesses and people have fallen away, especially in the West, people are constantly re-inventing thier faith by appropriating the symbolic structures of our previous traditions out of contect to create satisfying new traditions of spiritual practice. One can see this in recreations of Native American or shamanic traditions, recreated Celtic / Pagan traditions, etc We often laugh at these people and see their efforts as unauthentic. We consider extreme examples of these to be "cults", a word that now has all sorts of negative overtones that were not there in its original usage.

The desire to impose a spiritual structure onto Aikido is completely understandable. It was there at its start and has been removed by many people passing on the mechanics but not the internal content of the tradition. For those looking for something beyond mere self defense this is essentially unsatisfying and people will automatically start reinserting those spiritual principles into this vacuum. It is my preference to try to discover and pursue the knowledge that was already there at the inception rather than re-invent them on my own but one way or another people will be inventing, re-inventing, or re-discovering all sorts of spiritual and even religious principles in connection with their Aikido practice. This will happen automatically and inevitably as long as people believe that Aikido is something beyond a weird, dancelike set of movements for self defense.

As for the gentleman who said he was an Atheist and that Buddhism contains no concpet of God, this isn't true. Buddhism accpeted the entire pantheon contained in Hinduism. They also accpeted the Gods and Goddeses of every culture into which they moved. Like the Greeks they had Divine Beings but they didn't look at these divinities as the source for all knowledge, all moral distinction, etc. The reason Buddhism doesn't talk much about the Gods is not that they rejected them but rather that Enlightenment has nothing to do with them. The Gods themselves can be as "Ignorant" of their True Nature as any mortal. So Buddhism simply addressed the Four Noble Truths:
1) the Existence of Suffering
2) the Origin of Suffering
3) the Cessation of Suffering
4) the Eightfold Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering

This is not in any way Atheistic, it just doesn't look to a God (s) for salvation.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:39 PM   #70
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
So Buddhism simply addressed the Four Noble Truths:
1) the Existence of Suffering
2) the Origin of Suffering
3) the Cessation of Suffering
4) the Eightfold Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering
An observation of which I am fond, and speaks to both Buddhist and Christian (particularly Catholic) traditions:

"Suffering is but the bite of chains binding us to this world."

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Buddhism accepted the entire pantheon contained in Hinduism. ... The reason Buddhism doesn't talk much about the Gods is not that they rejected them but rather that Enlightenment has nothing to do with them.
Hindu teaching shows Brahman identifying with Creation in a fundamental manner -- "Tat vam asi." This thou art.
Christian ideas of Incarnation are not so far removed.
Tantra, from that Hindu tradition, speaks of the nine billion names of God, which is essentially every possible name.
Jews scruple with even writing the Name of God, which is: "I AM."
The Way that can be named is not the eternal Way.

Definition on our part is an imposed limitaiton and accommodation to a reality profoundly beyond us. We should explore freely the spiritual traditions of the world, whatever our own tradition, without abandoning the special meaning our own tradition has to us and the crucial foundation that such familiarity allows. The unfamiliarity of many today in their own tradition, or any tradition, is unsettling and dangerous for them.

I for one am fascinated by the circumstantial evidence of connections between different systems of spiritual understanding historically. But, Christianity is an historically mediated faith. This is understandable from that context. Other traditions will approach from a different perspective and further enrich understanding.

Thus, it is important to restore relevant connections that help me and others to grasp more of of O-Sensei's own understanding of the often quite esoteric things he related. That these ideas they are difficult, recondite, even, is but a challenge, not an excuse. If we dismiss them, we dismiss him, and the power and durability of his physical Art, even after passing through many hands, demands otherwise.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:05 PM   #71
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
From a committed secularist , ..peace!

Mark
Hi Mark! Thanks for the reply. It cleared up my questions very well and it appears we're of like minds in this matter.
Take care!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:26 PM   #72
Edwin Neal
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Re: Religion and Aikido

this thread has started to get too broad, but as to "trying to understand the deep and esoteric" things that Osensei taught well... most people tend to go overboard... his message at its core was simple... we are all interconnected... when we realized this then we act in a spontaneous and powerful way... this leads us away from conflict and toward peace... all the other stuff is just ways to explain or illustrate it for different people ie skillful means for all you buddhist scholars...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-24-2006, 06:00 AM   #73
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Erick-
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
A professor who said such a thing does not understand the concept of ura, or the operations of latency and contingency in history. It is like saying that Irish culture has no influence anymore because so very few Irish speak Gaelic.
I don't feel a need to defend my religion professor, as I'm sure he can do so on his own, but those are my words not his. I'll take the blame for any misconstruction of his lectures.

Regarding "Ura" I've never seen that terminology before. Is this a concept presented in Palmer's book? I did a google search for it, but no luck. Just a bunch of acronyms... Unless of course you mean Ura as in Omote and Ura?

While I haven't seen Palmer's book, (and I am currently pretty far from a library) evidence of Christianity in Buddhist sutras is not really that surprising. Considering the vastness of the Chinese Buddhist canon (100 volumes), the mistranslation of early Indian texts into Chinese, and the interaction of religious traditions that happened along the silk road, there is definitely quite a bit of "borrowing" in what became Chinese Buddhism. Of course, "borrowing" is kind of the essence of the development of religion. It seems that this is more a question of "to what extent did Buddhism borrow from Christianity?" From what I know of Buddhism, the answer is "not much." However, my studies in Religion have focused on China, Japan, and Buddhism, without venturing too far into the realm of Western Religion, and I also haven't read Palmer's book.

Peace,
Tom Newhall
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:39 AM   #74
Mark Freeman
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
From the same place as those of BinLaden's own moral echo chamber. One's own opinions or those closest to you are not a safe enough guide. Traditions winnow things like this to give more relaiable counsel. Bin Laden, and the IRA have each departed far even from their own moral traditions.
Hi Erick
I guess you cannot recognise that it is possible for a man to be 'moral' without some belief/faith in some 'higher order' as that is your experience. One a number of occasions you have tried to explain that relying on my own sense of 'morality' is not enough, "One's own opinions or those closest to you are not a safe enough guide"
My point about the Bin Laden's is that they get their morality from a book that they insist gives them the right to kill 'non belivers'. That is not them sitting quietly meditating on themselves and their relationship with their fellow man, it is them acting out of blind 'faith' in the 'teachings' of their sacred texts, made worse by the belief in a specific reward in 'heaven'
To re emphasise my point - for the last time - if the text or the belief in such did not exist, then the excuse to slaughter people that have done you no harm, does not exist.
They may as you say have departed from their own moral traditions, but on Friday and Sunday, you'll know where to look for them.

Quote:
Aiki requires us to meet and respond to the forces of those in confilct with us, but not by breaking them in the process. If we begin with the mindset of Aikido that people make mistakes in both beginning conflict and in continuing it, then we try to ameliorate the error, rather than to eliminate the one mistaken.
We agree on something

Peace

Mark

p.s. in post # 67 you start "To throw Mark a rope" do think that I am drowning??

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Old 01-24-2006, 06:42 AM   #75
Mark Freeman
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Re: Religion and Aikido

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
Hi Mark! Thanks for the reply. It cleared up my questions very well and it appears we're of like minds in this matter.
Take care!
Matt
Cheers Matt, I sometimes think I am the only one!

Mark

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