The roots of AIKIDO philosophical principles lie in the entire life that MORIHEI UESHIBA lived.
Tanabe, Morihei Ueshiba’s native village, is located in the Kumano district, a place considered to be 'the gate to God'. This district is scattered with numerous religious holy places.
As a child, Morihei indulged in esoteric readings. At the age of seven, he was initiated in meditations, mantra incantations, ceremonies by a Shingon priest.
After being discharged from active duty in the Russo-Japanese war, he became increasingly interested in spiritual matters. At the same time, Morihei Ueshiba was intensively training.
In 1919 he met his spiritual teacher Onisaburo Deguchi (b. 1871) and adhered to Omoto-kyu.
In 1924, in Mongolia, he demonstrated his energetic capacities by healing sick people with his hands.
In 1925 at Ayabe, he confronted a marine officer in a kendo fight. The officer was armed, Morihei was not. Despite this, Morihei easily avoided every hit. At the end, he explained what happened: before every hit, a ray of light showed him the direction of the next attack. After the kendo fight, Morihei stepped into the garden to get some water. He started to tremble and felt as if something was holding him back. He felt as if the earth was quaking underneath his feet and a ray of light shone down on him from the sky. He apprehended the whole Universe inside of him; what he understood was that martial arts were not really about fight, but about love.
This mystic experience brought Morihei Ueshiba to incredible performances and it also sharpened up his foresight ability.
In 1926 Morihei Ueshiba had a second mystic experience: He had the vision of a virgin wrapped in a rainbow, seated on a celestial turtle.
His level of identification with the Universe continously grew higher. The way aikido as a system evolved is the very proof of it.
Morihei Ueshiba considered himself protected by the Ame-no-murakumo-kuki-samuhara-ryu-o (God of Sun) and Ta-jikara-ono-mikoto gods.
Before his trainings, he used to sit in front of the Shinto sanctuary in order to adjust his qi and bring good spirits in the dojo.
The PRINCIPLES OF AIKIDO, as they were formulated by O-SENSEI, are based on non-conditional love.
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, used to say:
“The Unique way I can explain Aikido is to draw a triangle, a circle and a square”
- The triangle with the top upwards symbolizes fire, while with the top downwards - water. The three sides of the triangle represent various trinities: heaven, earth and humankind; mind, body and spirit; past present and future. The triangle represents the dimension of Ki circulation.
- The circle is the universal emblem of infinity, perfection and eternity. Nature expresses itself through circles, circuits and spirals. The circle can represent zero, the emptiness that completes all things. It represents the liquid dimension.
- The square is steady, ordered and material. It is the basis of the physical world, consisting of ground, water, fire and air. The square represents the solid dimension.
The triangle represents generation of energy and initiation; it is the most stable physical posture. The circle symbolizes unification, serenity and perfection; it is the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for form and solidity, the basis of applied control.
All philosophical principles of AIKIDO are based on the concepts of the Japanese religion Omoto kyu received from his spiritual mentor Onisaburo Deguchi, which is a combination of Buddhism and Shintoism.
Short history of Buddhism and Shintoism
Similar to christianism, Buddhism developed from the teaching of one person. In the ancient sanscrite language of India, Buddha means “the awakened one” and is a title confered usually (but not exclusively) to Suddhartha Gautama. Buddhists are the ones who follow his teachings.
Buddhism and other several Indian religions all share the belief in SAMSARA, the neverending cycle of existence, in which birth, death and rebirth perpetuously follow. They believe in the law of karma according to which individuals are bound by this neverending cycle and in every life they suffer the effects of their actions and thoughts of the previous incarnations.
The core of Buddhist teachings is formed by the four Noble Truths exposed in the first sermon of Buddha, the “Benares Sermon”.
The first truth refers to suffering or pain (dukkha). For him everything is about suffering: „birth is attended with pain, decay is painful, disease is painful, and death is painful. Union with the unpleasant is painful, painful is the separation from the pleasant; and any craving that is unsatisfied, that too is painful”.
The second Noble Truth identifies the origin of suffering in the desire, crave or thirst (tanha) which causes reincarnations. This „thirst” is always seeking new satisfactions. Buddha distinguishes between three types of craving: craving for gratification of pleasure of the senses (kama-tanha), craving to perpetuate (bhava-tanha) and desire of inexistence (self annihilation) or vibhava-tanha. The latter is not however a solution for freedom because it is a craving like all the others and does not stop the cycle of transmigrations.
The third Noble Truth proclaims that the freedom from suffering consists in the annihilation of thirst. Its ceasing is the Nirvana.
Finally, the Fourth Truth reveals the paths leading to the end of suffering, Buddha offering a means of suppressing desires (the "Eightfold Path ").
The formulation of the four Noble Truths follows the structure of an Indian medicine method: finding the disease, the cause that determined it, the chances of healing and the treatment for the disease. Buddha himself identifies with a doctor whose purpose is to treat people.
As you can see, the idea of suffering dominates the entire Buddhist philosophy. Dukkha not only represents physical or spiritual pain, but also existential pain consisting of subordination to our own desires and feelings, dependence on various life principles and conditions, self alienation, imperfection, subjugating the being by its own personality, instincts or obsessions, etc. Pain is as much more amplified as the prospect of future reincarnations perpetuates it forever.
There are two main types of Buddhism: Theravada Buddhism, spread mainly in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia; and Mahayana Buddhism (the "Great Vehicle") spread in China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea.
Theravada Buddhism concentrates on the individual’s attempt to become an enlightened saint, while the Mahayana form has transformed the enlightened saint into the concept of Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva can be sentient beings or celestial entities that have reached enlightenment but gave up final nirvana to help all the other beings reach nirvana. This commitment for common benefit is the reason why Mahayana is considered superior to other forms of Buddhism.
Shintoism is the most important religion of the Japanese. Shintoism represents the purification of the Japanese religion from Buddhist, Confucianist and daoist elements and the return to the ancient religion of the Japanese.
Shinto means the “Way of the Gods” and is complementary to Butsudo - “Buddha Way”. Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan and is connected to native deities (the spirits of the ancestors, called "kami"), shrines, from the emperror’s ritual to the common people’s religion. Shintoism considers that passive energy and active energy coexisted from the very beginning.
"REIKI – THE FOREMOST TRIBUTE TO ENERGY is a generic term known worldwide to define the Universal Energy, and it is included in various techniques (systems) working with this energy.
REIKI systems are techniques accessing the Universal Energy which can be transmitted to oneself or another person (and not only) to beneficial purposes.
The particle Ki designates the same thing as the Chinese Chi or Qi which designates the energy all around us.
In the Reiki system energy is channelled towards a person in order to heal it. It was “(re)discovered” by dr. MIKAO USUI at the end of the 1800’s.
Although of Japanese origin, dr. Usui was a Christian priest at a boys school in Japan. One day, a few students asked him whether he believed in the miracles performed by Jesus Christ. As he was a Christian priest, he answered affirmatively. The same students asked him then if he knew how Jesus had performed these miracles. Usui answered that he did not.
Thus he decided to find out how Jesus had healed and immediately left for a journey that lasted several years.
He studied for a while in some Christian schools in America, but he had no results.
He was suggested then to study Buddhist writings because Buddha also had healed. He thus spent several years studying in a monastery in the Orient. But he could not find any answer. In Japan, he went to several temples asking how Buddha had healed. The priests told him that they were more interested in spiritual than in physical well-being. In a small monastery he found some ancient Sanskrit writings. After few years of study, he felt that he began to understand but, in order to move forward, he needed to do some profound meditation. Usui told the monks of this monastery that he intended to fast and meditate for 21 days on a nearby mountain and if he did not come back they should come and get his body.
He went to the mountain and gathered 21 stones to count the days with. Each day he would throw away a stone and in this way count time. On the 20th day no revelation had come and he threw away the last stone saying “Well, this is it, either I get the answer tonight or I do not.” During the night, he saw a ball of light coming towards him.
The first instinct was to get out of the way, but he realized this might just be what he was waiting for, so he allowed it to hit him right in the forehead. As the ball of light struck him, Usui was taken on a journey and shown bubbles of all the colors of the rainbow in which were the symbols of Reiki, these were the very same symbols in the Tibetan writings he was studying but was unable to understand. Now, there was total understanding.
From this moment on he was able to heal. This first day he was able to heal his broken nail of his toe, his own health problems that occurred during the 21 days on the mountain, an ailing tooth and a sick person who was bedridden. These are known as the first four miracles.
Wanting to use these abilities to help others, he spent the next seven years in the beggar section of Tokyo, healing the sick, helping them find work, thus freeing them from poverty.
Reiki is a Japanese system that transfers the “universal energy” through palms, allowing for healing or self-healing.The technique being commonly called palm healing or hands on healing.
Reiki is classified as energetic therapy, as the therapist intervenes in the person’s energy field.
Reiki is based on the concept that everything in the universe is energy and this vital energy that surrounds us is transferred into the body through chakras, feeding cells, organs, glands, etc. The same energy radiates from the body, forming the bioenergetic fields of the human body. When the energy level of an organism is low or its circulation is perturbed or blocked by different factors such as stress or disease, the organism is much more susceptible to discomfort and illness.
When personal energy is restored, flowing unhindered, relaxation occurs and healing takes place.
In qi-qung, tai chi, tao, the universal energy – named Prana, Chi, Ki or Qi, is taken from the atmosphere, stars, etc., while in Christianism it is taken through payer, the Eucharist, and holly water from the priest who has direct access to the universal source (the Holly Spirit).
Reiki Masters have a personal vibration that is superior to the other practices.
The Reiki practitioner transfers the universal energy by placing his hands on various parts of the pacient’s body. The therapist never uses his personal energy, because the universal energy has its “own intelligence” allowing it to focus on the areas that need treatment, without causing any unpleasant side effect.
The universal energy flows through a person’s hands that are placed and held normally, in specific positions, on the head, the body, both on the practitioner himself and on other persons, animals or plants. The access to Reiki is particularly easy, rapid and safe, effortless and without many preliminary conditions.
The practitioner has nothing special to do but accept that there really are unexplainable things and the power of the human mind is unlimited or at least its limits are not known yet. Any human who wishes to practice Reiki has this possibility. He shall make appeal to a Master to receive the attunements of the Degree.
No pressure, handling or massage is applied and as the energy flows into the pacient, it helps balancing, healing, harmonizing all the parts of the person – body, mind, feelings and spirit.
Usui’s Reiki method is not just a form of hollistic therapy, because its fundamental purpose is to encourage spiritual development and conscience.
Reiki is a path to knowledge intended to serve the spiritual aspirations of each one of us.
REIKI PRINCIPLES are everlasting teachings that help us get through the day more easily; they are not moral rules in the sense of “orders” or “interdictions”. The formula “just for today” is not only a reference to the fact that we should live in the present, the spiritual reality knowing only the eternal present.
The four REIKI PRINCIPLES: harmony (AI), respect (REI), purity (SEI) and silence (JEKA) are synthesised as follows:
“Just for today, I will not be angry,
Just for today, I will not worry,
Just for today, I will be grateful for all the gifts that I have received,
Just for today, I will do my work honestly,
Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing!“