Takemusu Aiki–Lectures of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido (4)

Takemusu Aiki is a series of lectures by Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. These talks were transcribed and edited by Hideo Takahashi of the Byakko Shinkokai (see interview in AJ115) and originally published in Japanese in 1976 as Takemusu Aiki. The importance of these lectures as the primary source of reliable material on the spiritual views of Morihei Ueshiba cannot be overstated.

Readers wishing to plumb the depths of the philosophy of the founder will face a challenge when exploring these texts. The symbology and metaphors employed by O-Sensei originate from Shinto texts such as the Kojiki and are, moreover, influenced by the Omoto religion and its co-founder Onisaburo Deguchi. Also abundant are references to the kotodama, a Shinto belief system incorporated into the Omoto religion that holds that primordial vibrations before letters and sounds have an intrinsic value capable of influencing physical reality. The meanings of many passages are obscure and therefore we have often resorted to the use of footnotes in an effort to assist the motivated reader in navigating the difficult text. The extensive use of footnotes will necessarily oblige the reader to refer to previous issues of the magazine and we apologize in advance for this unavoidable inconvenience.

I would like to sincerely thank Sonoko Tanaka for her diligent efforts in rendering the Japanese into comprehensible English and for researching the material used in the footnotes. — Editor

3. Aikido is the Great Way of Harmony and Devotion to the Way of the Universal Plan


Aikido is the Way of Harmony manifested as the One World Family, that is, devotion to the realization of a Heaven on Earth. Religious devotees would call it the establishment and clear manifestation of Takaamahara.1

Those who desire world harmony must dedicate themselves to its realization and to the accomplishment of the Divine Plan for their own nation. The assigned task of a nation is the realization of national harmony as One Family. We must all accomplish our own missions, that is, our assigned duties, as our share of the Divine Plan. Thus, we must perfect our own selves before the perfection of others in order to render any service in accordance with the Will of the Great God. The very act of perfecting oneself is a rendering of services towards the perfection of the Universe. This is, therefore, the Way of Loyalty.

We need to hurry to perfect the Way of Loyalty. Our mission is to accord a place to everything existing in the Universe—all manner of animals, birds, fish and insects—and to set them at ease. This mission is solemnly and clearly manifested in the Great Way wherein the birth and growth of all nature occurs in accordance with the Universal Plan.

Together we must study very deeply the principles of this Universal Plan while showing respect to Heaven, God, individual human beings and ourselves as well; then we must accelerate our efforts to accomplish God’s Work. This is how we can demonstrate the true existence of spirituality in aikido.

First of all, it is important that we ourselves set good examples for others and live up to the Way of Supreme Loyalty and Sincerity, and the Way of Supreme Mercy and Supreme Goodness, by devoting ourselves wholeheartedly. This is my dearest wish each and every day.

I have thus far each day dedicated myself to eliminating attachments to life one after another. This spirit is needed to perfect the Way of Budo, that is, the Way of Supreme Sincerity and Loyalty. That fact is we have not been truly sincere thus far and, without being aware of our behavior, we have been acting upon aggressive ideas of killing and fighting each other.

There is no enemy on the Way of true budo. True budo is the work of Love. It is the action of giving birth to and nurturing everything in nature, and not of killing or fighting. Love is the principal guardian of all things. Nothing can be achieved without Love. The Way of aikido is the very manifestation of Love.

With old-style martial arts it took many years of hard training to realize the true self. However, I have established a Way that can be understood immediately and this is the difference between aikido and old-style martial arts.

Power and authority must be vested in those who are vessels of flowing ki energy and of the force of attraction that binds everything together. Aikido works to achieve this end. The goal has been established and everything is ceaselessly improving each day with the realization of one achievement after another.

The Universe is immense and its truth is also limitless. The life of human beings has no beginning and no end, and continues throughout the past, present and future.

We must assimilate Eternal Life and the Universe within and become the Universe ourselves. We become one with the Universe, that is, to become one with Takaamahara.

Our actions performed in oneness with the Universe will resound splendidly throughout its expanse. This is the view that devotees of aikido should cultivate while completing their missions.

Aikido must be the Way of perfecting human beings, the Way of God, and the Way of the Universe. Aikido is the manifestation of Ichirei Shikon Sangen Hachiriki2; it is the true nature of the Universe, the manifestation of the activities of the Great God. Human beings share a common destiny. Our task as human beings is to fully assimilate the truth of the Universe and allow it to permeate within us.

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