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Bradenn
25th February 2003, 12:59
Do devout Muslims, Jews and Christians often have problems with some of the bowing in and out rituals and the "Shikin haramitsu Daikomyo" prayer?

From some of the translations I have read, it seems as though there is a prayer to some god or spirit implied. "chihaya furu, kami no oshie wa, tokoshie ni, tadashiki, kokoro mio mamoruran"

The bowing to the kamiza and the clapping of hands also has some religious connotations.

I have never been too religious so it has not bothered me in the past, but recently an Orthodox Jewish friend told me that those actions can be considered a form of idol worship.

Is he just over-reacting or does he have a point?

Bradenn
25th February 2003, 14:20
Personally I feel the same as you and I don't think of myself as praying.

However, the other guy had a problem with the word "kami" and also the clapping which some people say is to attract the attention on gods or spirits. Bowing down to anything, especially a kamiza that has a picture is also a problem for the ultra-Orthodox.

Some of the high ranks (e.g. Alex Modine) are very religious Christians. How do they get around this?

One thing that I do disagree with is people who think the 5th dan test is anything satanic or occult-based. I haven't done it myself yet, but in my opinion it simply makes use of a God-given sense which the Godan student has developed further.

The Tengu
25th February 2003, 16:49
Originally posted by Bradenn
Personally I feel the same as you and I don't think of myself as praying.

However, the other guy had a problem with the word "kami" and also the clapping which some people say is to attract the attention on gods or spirits. Bowing down to anything, especially a kamiza that has a picture is also a problem for the ultra-Orthodox.

Some of the high ranks (e.g. Alex Modine) are very religious Christians. How do they get around this?

One thing that I do disagree with is people who think the 5th dan test is anything satanic or occult-based. I haven't done it myself yet, but in my opinion it simply makes use of a God-given sense which the Godan student has developed further. Alex Mordine gets around this issue by removing it from his curriculum.

Your friend has a point, but also keep in mind that many Christians believe Catholicism involves idol worship and even polytheistic beliefs. Many Islamics believe Christianity is an offshoot of Islam, and that Christians are idolaters because they believe in Jesus... et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum...

If you're not religious, I don't see a reason for you to be too concerned.

Oni
25th February 2003, 16:49
I think one important factor is how the teacher presents what this stuff is all about. The concepts behind the formal bow in can be explained in such a way that it fits in with anyones 'beliefs'. It does not have to be 'worship' and 'religion' exactly.

While I have heard of individuals having issues with this, in all my personal years of training I have not encountered it. I think a big part of that was the careful way my instructors discussed what it was all about.

The Tengu
25th February 2003, 17:06
Originally posted by Oni While I have heard of individuals having issues with this, in all my personal years of training I have not encountered it.I've seen it once, a while back. One of the guys in our class would not participate in reiho because of his religious convictions.

He did have to translate the Japanese into English and provide his own interpretation of its meaning as part of the grading system, but he did not have to participate in any bowing.

Jay Bell
25th February 2003, 17:28
I have never been too religious so it has not bothered me in the past, but recently an Orthodox Jewish friend told me that those actions can be considered a form of idol worship.

I have a close Orthodox Jewish friend...he and I have talked at length about this (He studies Goju ryu). It is against his faith to bow to anyone...the meaning itself does not matter. Bowing in his faith is considered an act of worship, regardless of the intent behind it. Case closed. There is only room for interpretation from people on the outside...

Soo...


It's only worship if he is worshipping, now isn't it?

No. :p

Oni
25th February 2003, 17:32
Originally posted by Jay Bell

Bowing in his faith is considered an act of worship, regardless of the intent behind it.

Heh,

Japan is sure a worshipful country in his reality then...all those folks daily worshiping one another. It is interesting how much someones religion can sometimes alter their view of reality in such rigid ways. Understand I mean no disrespect to your friend or his beliefs...I just find it fascinating.

kimq
25th February 2003, 17:35
"Time to get out the chickens..."

shinbushi
25th February 2003, 20:50
Originally posted by Bradenn
Some of the high ranks (e.g. Alex Modine) are very religious Christians. How do they get around this?
My wife is Greek Orthodox and has no problems with it. Most Japanese are agnostic and the ceremony is just that a ceremony, having little to do with religion. It is for Bujinkan tradition.

Janin
25th February 2003, 20:57
I simply see this bowing as a way to show respect to Takamatsu and Hatsumi for the art and tradition they have given us. I don't pray to what i am bowing to its just a ceremony nothing more. Thats my two cents on it

Eric Baluja
25th February 2003, 21:35
...I remember a Chinese-American lady who came to train at the dojo who would never bow in or out, not because of the religious connotations, but as a form of protest against Japanese war atrocities committed in China in the last century.

Why she was even taking a Japanese martial art if she felt that strongly about the Japanese I could never figure out...

Sorry for the somewhat off-topic post. Back to lurk mode.

Jay Bell
25th February 2003, 22:14
Thanks for sharing that, Eric. Pretty ironic to say the least...

Oni
25th February 2003, 22:23
Originally posted by Shojin
BTW,

I of course acknowledge the fact that people can just go through the motions of something, either ignorant of the actual meaning, or regardless of the actual meaning. In our example of the "bow in" I am saying of course people can think in their mind, oh... Just tradition no big deal. And for them, that's all there is. But all I am saying is that it is pure shinto amatsu tatara, regardless what the people doing it "think" they are doing.

An atheist can make the sign of the cross saying, in the name of the father son and holy spirit, all the while not beliving in God or the act they are doing, but just "doing it' for whatever reason. It does not change the fact it is a Catholic ritual ;)

regards,

Richard,

Your 'Catholic' signing of the cross is a perfect lead into my thoughts on this. You say it is a catholic Ritual...however the signing of the cross is also found in various cabalistic and other occultic practices (several of which likely predate Catholic practices).

Religion is an organization surrounding a certain group belief...generally dogmatic in part(s). Jays friend who feels that anytime one bows it is worshipful is a perfect example of this dogmatic thought process.

Any ritual means exactly that which the practitioner puts forth into it. Just because a large group of individuals puts a particular meaning into a ritual does not mean that it is the only or final end all meaning.

As religion is based on faith, and therefore very personal and objective, any symbol set can be used or rearranged to suit the individual in question. When I practice the opening 'ritual' I recognize that there are certain belief systems inherant within it. I am however not a shintoist, I am not a buddhist, I am not christain, I am not a 'X'. I am me...an individual symbol system with my own slant and perceptions of faith.

The overall point here is that although I recognize certain aspects of this 'ritual' and where they come from...it does not necessarily have the exact same meaning for me...and can fit into my particular symbol set without any degradation of either part.

One can say God to any individual and that 'god' can mean any one of an infinite array of possibilities.

JimGould
25th February 2003, 22:38
Backing the truck up a bit (beep, beep, beep)

The bowing in we use is not actually a prayer at all if you think about it. It is a afirmation to YOURSELF that YOU will study hard and learn the lessons being instructed both technically and otherwise.
Does it not mean (kinda) 'Let me take from this a piece of the puzzle that can finish the jigsaw'? and in doing so it is the individuals piece of that puzzle as we all learn at a different rate.

Sure the elements can be taken as coming from buddhist, shinto and others but even in Buddhism the bowing to Buddha actually has nothing to do with prayer or worship but actually its a sign of respect (as you would do to a living person) for guding them on the path.

DWeidman
25th February 2003, 23:52
Originally posted by JimGould
Backing the truck up a bit (beep, beep, beep)

The bowing in we use is not actually a prayer at all if you think about it. It is a afirmation to YOURSELF that YOU will study hard and learn the lessons being instructed both technically and otherwise.
Does it not mean (kinda) 'Let me take from this a piece of the puzzle that can finish the jigsaw'? and in doing so it is the individuals piece of that puzzle as we all learn at a different rate.

Sure the elements can be taken as coming from buddhist, shinto and others but even in Buddhism the bowing to Buddha actually has nothing to do with prayer or worship but actually its a sign of respect (as you would do to a living person) for guding them on the path.

Actually, let me throw in a quick comment.

No matter what your take is on the situation - you simply can't project your thoughts and feelings on the matter to someone else. Just because it doesn't bother one person doesn't mean anything. Religion is deeply personal - which makes any discussion about so-and-so can(n't) do this pretty much moot. If 100 people think (believe) one way, it doesn't invalidate what the other 2 people believe. And guess what, logic doesn't work for you. Religion, faith, and beliefs are not subject to scientific review (or popular opinion, majority rule, etc.)

Sorry. It is what it is.

-Daniel Weidman
San Diego Bujinkan TenChiJin Dojo
http://www.sandiegobujinkan.com

Kamiyama
26th February 2003, 04:14
I really enjoyed Rick Rayís post, very well.
I spoke with Sean Askew Shihan a couple of years ago about this and he more or less said the same thing Rick has posted here.

I use my kamidana or kamiza as I like to call it as a place where my past, present and future is taking place. What I mean is the area where it sits is where I educate myself to the vision of my human potential. The vision of what I was, am and would like to be. I manifest the feelings of goodness and happiness every time my eyes wonder to that place up high on the wall in the dojo. Itís funny to those who donít feel it or understand it. Never the less it is Ďrealí to me. Thatís whatís important. What is it that comes from the kamiza for me? I feel the energy of big light or the path to a better understanding of kinesiology, biomechanics, psycho-physiology, awareness, compassion and other wonderful gifts from the godsÖ.
I feel the influence of the kamiza is wonderful.. like a point to anchor yourself to here and now.
Once the class makes themselves ready and those words are spoken..illuminated from my mouth I feel a sense of easeÖ simple enjoyment and at peace..or equality in my place where Iím sitting..
The kamiza is nothing more than a thing to many of the students.. and they donít relate.. no trouble.. itís my kamiza.. a passage to the inner self without limitationsÖ

so it's nothing but something.. don't make it an obligation nor an obstruction to your happiness...

kamiyama, ralph severe

Daniel san
28th February 2003, 16:10
Hello,
Great thread. Very enlightening. I try to bow to everyone. I don't know why or how this crept into everyday life. As a Christian I suppose I am not to do that,(just going by Old Testament prescedent)however, since it has been going on for so long I have come to the understanding that everyone deserves initial respect. I give it in the form of a small head bow. I don't bow lower though for another person or thing. When I am doing a formal bow it just means that I get to talk to God for a minute. Just my take on things no judgements. :smilejapa