Saturday, January 19, 2008

aikido and enlightenment

I want to take this time to urge everybody to catch the Mary Heiny seminar class at our dojo Wednesday February 6th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. There is a $30 workshop class fee. If that is economically challenging for you don't let that stop you from training. See me and we can work something out. Mary sensei is an old friend from the time I trained in Japan in the '70's. We've known each other for over 30 years. Since I first knew her, she has gotten very deeply into meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. She was around during the last few years of Osensei's life, training at Hombu dojo in Tokyo. She was the first foreigner to establish a major relationship with Hikitsuchi sensei and the Shingu dojo. It was through her I was accepted for training at the Shingu dojo. It is amazing how time flies. And it is wonderful to have friends who have been there literally decades.

The major topic of this blog is the subject of aikido and enlightenment. Through Hikitsuchi sensei, I learned that Osensei stressed that there are 5 steps to enlightenment(satori):

1.kairimiru(to reflect)
2.hajiru(to feel shame)
3.kuiru(to repent)
4.osoru(to feel fear/awe)
5.satoru(to transcend)

It is interesting that I've never run into this in any book about aikido or any book or article even by Osensei himself. I once asked Hikitsuchi sensei if it should be done daily, or say, before one goes to bed. He rather pointedly told me that it was a constant practice, always what he termed "shinken shobu", literally as if facing an opponent with a live blade.

So it is obvious that Osensei viewed aikido as something much more than just the techniques. In the following video, Tojima sensei, during a class on the UC Santa Cruz campus in May of 1979, goes through these steps in a lecture. Pictured is Robert Frager sensei at the beginning. The translation is by Linda Holiday sensei.


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