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Thread: Christianity & the martial arts (Budo) article I wrote

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers
    Thank you, can you also tell me what Dana means, as in Kamidana?

    David
    Dana 棚 means shelf, as in bookshelf, ledge or mantlepiece. So kamidana is the shelf for the kami or deities who are believed to protect the household. Some households will also have a BUTSUDAN, or Buddhist altar. This DAN is quite different from the dana above and has the primary sense of altar, stage or podium/rostrum.

    In an earlier post tokonoma 床の間 was mentioned. This is a space or alcove and usually contains a makimono 巻物 or hanging scroll. In my house here in Hiroshima, the tokonoma is large enough for an altar, but it contains a hondana, or bookself, not a kamidana. It also has a makimono, with a picture painted by an old student of mine.
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 24th February 2006 at 10:57.
    Peter Goldsbury,
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    Thank you Goldsbury Sensei! I have a question, & this question may, or may not backfire on my previous posts, but, want to be accurate; As I am a seeker of truth, not just from within my own religion, but, in all things. You confirmed that the word (or Kanji for) Kami means God, in a general point of view, from the Japanese mind, is this a shinto, or perhaps even a Buddhist God, or can Kami refer to any God, as in the way I am thinking? If I would place a statue of Jesus, or picture of him within the Kamiza, would that be wrong? Please, not from with your own personal belief, but, as a general idea, of how the Japanese in general would think? I guess what I am getting at, is when they say, or use the word Kami, can it be used to describe my God, or any God, or is it just a word used for a Shinto/Buddhist God? The reason I ask, cause within my dictionary, all it says is God, it doesnt talk about what kind of God, it is, or does it matter, as long as it is a God, & the one you personally believe in? Again, thank you for your help.

    David

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    Smits San wrote:

    In my opinion, 1.the Christian faith (or whatever religion or faith) and 2.budo are man-made.

    My reply:
    Yes, it is your opinion.
    However to give an answer to your comments, or should I say a reply see post 21 in this thread.

    To answer this further take a look at this:

    Genesis 1:26-27 (King James Version)
    26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    To reply to the 2nd part of your comment, as I written earlier:
    In Psalms 144:1,
    it tells us, "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight".

    So to summarize, we are of one body, we were created in his image, and he is my strength, who has provided me not only life, but knowledge , & wisdom to fight, and/or defend myself, but knowledge, & wisdom of everything in life.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers
    in a general point of view, from the Japanese mind, is this a shinto, or perhaps even a Buddhist God, or can Kami refer to any God, as in the way I am thinking?
    from what I know... Mr. goldsbury could correct me but... kami (in shinto) refers to an ancestral spirit, much like in taoism. in a more broad sense of the term, satan could be referred to as kami. (but more accurately mono)
    If I would place a statue of Jesus, or picture of him within the Kamiza, would that be wrong? Please, not from with your own personal belief, but, as a general idea, of how the Japanese in general would think? I guess what I am getting at, is when they say, or use the word Kami, can it be used to describe my God, or any God, or is it just a word used for a Shinto/Buddhist God?
    historically, the first japanese "christians" were just shinto with crucifixes and jesus statues on there kamidana... they ended up going to niether shrine nore church... the other japanese feared them... so I hope that gives you a clue!
    colin (katsu) dunlap
    I hate "smileys" :mad:

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by momoyama katsu
    from what I know... Mr. goldsbury could correct me but... kami (in shinto) refers to an ancestral spirit, much like in taoism. in a more broad sense of the term, satan could be referred to as kami. (but more accurately mono) historically, the first japanese "christians" were just shinto with crucifixes and jesus statues on there kamidana... they ended up going to niether shrine nore church... the other japanese feared them... so I hope that gives you a clue!
    Colin, regarding the latter part of your post -- Please post the relevant historical research for your theory. You're speaking for a lot of Japanese who are long dead. With at least some basis for your ideas, we'll have a starting ground to understand where you're coming from and how to debate and/or talk from there. But just saying that the Japanese feared the "Christian" Japanese and that they never attended a "church" is too sweeping and general a phrase that might not be valid for all Japanese since we have but one opinion so far.

    Thanks,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray
    Colin, regarding the latter part of your post -- Please post the relevant historical research for your theory. You're speaking for a lot of Japanese who are long dead. With at least some basis for your ideas, we'll have a starting ground to understand where you're coming from and how to debate and/or talk from there. But just saying that the Japanese feared the "Christian" Japanese and that they never attended a "church" is too sweeping and general a phrase that might not be valid for all Japanese since we have but one opinion so far.

    Thanks,
    yea... I was basically just told that...and the person who told me is not the greatest japanologist in the world... he may have gotten it from "Yankees in the land of the gods", but I don't know. I will do a little research on the matter but until the... please take it with a grain of salt. and please excuse all the ellipses. EDIT: here's something against my statement. I gues the person who told me that was full of it.
    Last edited by momoyama katsu; 24th February 2006 at 15:57.
    colin (katsu) dunlap
    I hate "smileys" :mad:

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    Mr Somers,

    You are correct. I have a Japanese Catholic Mass Book and on Page 24 (chosen at random) there is the following English sentence:
    "Father, all-powerful and living GOD, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ out Lord."
    In Japanese (Romaji) this becomes:
    "Sei naru Chichi, zennou eien no KAMI, itsu doko demo Shu Kirisuto ni yotte, sambi to kansha wo sasageru koto wa, makoto ni toutoi taisetsuna tsutome desu." (The Japanese enthusiasts in this forum can work out the grammar ).

    So, in modern Japanese, the God that Japanese Catholics worship is referred to as KAMI. Similarly, the deities represented on the kamidana or who were the object of Morihei Ueshiba's religious preoccupations at Iwama are also referred to as KAMI. Some Japanese, aikido shihan, for example, who would ultimately regard themselves as Shinto believers if pushed to indicate their religion in one word, would argue that KAMI is an incorrect translation for the Christian 'God'. But there simply is no other word available and so, as with other Japanese concepts that are 'non-Japanese' in origin, the traditional meaning was broadened to include the 'new' ideas.

    There is a fair amount of material on this in English and if you are interested, I will post a few titles later.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    There is a fair amount of material on this in English and if you are interested, I will post a few titles later.
    I'm quite interested, please post the titles!
    colin (katsu) dunlap
    I hate "smileys" :mad:

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    Here are a few books that I have at home:

    Joseph Kitagawa: Religion in Japanese History (Columbia U.P,, latest reprint: 1990), especially Chapters I, IV, V and VI.
    Joseph Kitagawa: On Understanding Japanese Religion (Princeton U.P. 1987), especially Parts I and V.
    Inoue Nobutaka: Shinto--A Short History (London, Routledge-Curzon, 2003), especialy the copious references to kami in the index on pp. 211-212.
    H Byron Earhart: Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity (Thomson/Wadsworth, latest edition: 2004). This is a texbook, with notes, study questions and an annotated bibiography.
    H Byron Earhart, Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations (Thomson/Wadsworth, latest edition 1997). This is a collection of extracts from variious sources, meant to go with the textbook cited above.
    George H Tanabe Jr (Ed): Religions of Japan in Practice (Princeton U.P.1999). This is a collection of articles, with some very good contributions. It is hard to single out particular gems, but the sections on Gods and Spirits is noteworthy.
    Ian Reader & George H Tanabe Jr: Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religions of Japan (Hawai'i U.P. 1998). This is a very interesting book, dealing with the practical benefits that Japanese expect any religion to offer.
    Michael Cooper S.J: Rodrigues the Interpreter: An Early Jesuit in Japan and China (Weatherhill, latest edition: 1994). This is a study of Joao Rodrigues, a Portuguese who arrived in Japan in 1577. Chapter 10, on the grammar of Japanese he wrote, has some relevance to the specific issues discussed in this thread.

    If this is not enough, I have other books in my study at Hiroshima University...

    Best regards to all,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    thanks, Mr. goldsburry.
    colin (katsu) dunlap
    I hate "smileys" :mad:

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    Goldsbury Sensei,

    Thank you very much for all your help, I appreciate it very much, & thanks for the links, as well.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inazuma
    Arts that have developed along to become sportive, oriented around competitions, would their practice be endorsed by Jesus? (What do the Christian teaching say about winning by subduing others?)
    Amir,

    I have finally found the answer, here is some scripture for you:

    1 Corinthians 9:19-27 (King James Version)
    King James Version (KJV)


    19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

    20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

    21To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

    22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    23And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

    24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

    27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

    David
    Last edited by dsomers; 26th February 2006 at 19:41.

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    Hi Peter,

    Getting back to argument over the original meaning of the character "budo"
    and whether it means a)

    Bu is made up of two characters, one being for the character of stop, the other of the character spear. Do, also sometimes pronounced michi, is often translated as way. So, the characters put together mean way of stopping the spear; so this indicates it is a way of stopping violence."

    or b)

    There is another body of opinion, according to which BU is made up of two characters: one for 'halberd', one for 'foot' or 'stride', and the character means 'forward progress with a weapon': a meaning according to which BU would mean 'start' violence as much as 'stop' it, or stop it in a violent fashion.

    Over on Aikidojournal you replied in our discussion on "Budo" http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...pic.php?t=8205

    The meaning of 止 as todomeru (ashiato - foot) was current in Kokotsubun (the oldest written evidence, from around 3,000 BCE). In Setsubun (the writing current around 1,800 BCE), the meaning of 止 as stop became prevalent (with the meaning of BU as a line of spears stopping a disturbance before it has chance to arise).

    I find it curious that we are arguing over the etymological meaning of this character in relation to Japanese martial arts, when the usage of 止 became "stop" as opposed to "foot" in, as you say, 1800BC. This would be a good 1500 years before Sun Zi's "Art of War", and roughly 2300 years before writing Chinese characters even started in Japan.

    At the time when the character was taken and used in the context of martial arts, particularly Japanese martial arts, it already meant "stop" + "halberd", not "walk" + "halberd".

    Any writers in Japan who chose to write their thoughts with this character would have thus been using 武 with the understanding that it meant "stopping violence", so I believe when discussing the philosphical aspects of "Budo", we should take its meaning to be defensive, and not offensive.

    To say that "budo" in Japanese literature means "walk to battle" because that's what it originally meant 2300 years ago in China is a bit disingenious I think.

    (also posted on Aikidojournal Allan Beebe "Bun Bu Ichi" thread)

    cheers,
    Last edited by JasonW; 1st March 2006 at 05:37.

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    Reply to Jason posted on Aikido Journal thread.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Default Christianity and Martial Arts

    I am also a Christian, and have struggled a lot with the idea of my faith and the Martial Arts. My thanks go to Dave Somers for his excellent insights in this area.

    The Bible tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but it does use the analogy of battle a lot. I think it helps us to understand those parables better if we really understand what the battle analogies mean.

    For example in Hebrews 4:12 it says "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." - I feel I have developed a greater reverence for God's word since holding a shinken and understanding how sharp it is, and knowing that God's word is even more formidable as a weapon.

    In practicing Iaido, we don't practice against an opponent (that would be painful!), but always with the intention that we are facing an opponent equal in size and ability to oneself. The only way to beat that opponent is to better yourself. The idea of defeating selfishness is also one of the key themes of Christianity.

    Toward the end of the Bible, four visions of the destructive passions of human beings are presented, the "four horsemen of the apocalypse". The first goes out bent on conquest and dominion, the second with greed, the third with a SWORD to make war, and the fourth is Death himself. These pretty much cover all of the things that make us destroy eachother, jealousy, greed, wrath and pure self-destructiveness. One of my favourite stories of budo is that of Bokuden Tsukahara, whose response to a braggart challenger was to explain that he was a master of the 'No Sword School'. When challenged to a duel, he found a deserted island, steered the ship towards it... and left, with the braggart samurai now stuck on the island. To win without drawing the sword was indeed the ultimate goal of the samurai, and this seems to diffuse the destructiveness that anger and rage can have.

    Matthew 26:51-2 tells of the time Jesus was being arrested to be taken to his trial and crucifixion.
    "With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
    "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."
    Jesus Christ's triumph over death comes across as the ultimate example of winning without drawing the sword. The self-control that came with knowing His power was greater than the power of death, and that He had a purpose more important even than His own life, gave Jesus the strength to endure all things, even death on a cross. His righteousness has become our salvation.

    The self control that comes from practicing the martial arts correctly can increase our ability to stand up for peace in the face of violent people. This kind of transcendence I also understand to be at the heart of budo and Zen Buddhism, though it has its' greatest example in Christ. Of course, when badly practiced, with bad philosophy, the martial arts can also make people more violent and more arrogant. Anything that strengthens the goodness of a good person can equally strengthen the evil of a bad person.

    St Augustine said: "Stir a perfume and a fine scent emerges, stir a cesspit and a foul stench arises, it is the same movement that reveals both." Martial training is one such example of a discipline that reveals both. You won't become good by doing martial arts, but you may discover how bad you are. Christianity is unique among the world's religions because it says you can't climb your way up to God, you can only climb down from your own arrogance and understand your sinfulness, and your need for God's love.

    Philippians 2:3-11 is a passage on self-control, humility and service that summarises the heart of Christianity, but can be valued by all, particularly those who understand budo, for its' truth.
    "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself and became obedient to death--
    even death on a cross!
    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father."
    _____________________

    David Lundie

    "Your greatest enemy is your own self"
    - St Josemaria

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