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More Thoughts On Dialogue…Aikido

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

In the Indian tradition of Anekantavada, the doctrine of non-absolutism, there are three ways to have a dialogue : ‘vaad’ or a discussion, which seeks to understand the opponent’s point of view and explain one’s own in order to reach the truth; ‘vivaad’ or an argument, which seeks to impose one’s own point of view over that of the other; and the third, ‘vitandavaad’, which merely seeks to bulldoze the other person’s views, without really offering any alternative thought.

Truth is universal if not absolute.  Aikido is a martial art founded in the early 1900’s by a Japanese man, Morihei Ueshiba, who wanted to teach a way for people to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. To control the aggression of an attacker with caring and without inflicting harm.

I am reminded that about 30 years ago, at a mind/body conference, I took part in an Aikido workshop led by George Leonard (for further study read “Education and Ecstasy, The Ultimate Athlete (which deals at length with aikido) and The Silent Pulse.) A 3rd dan Aikikai practitioner, Leonard was a particularly charismatic practitioner and my experience with him would have a profound effect on me for the rest of my life.

Wikipedia:  <em>The word “aikido” is formed of three kanji:

* 合 – ai – joining, unifying, harmonizing
* 気 – ki – spirit, life energy
* 道 – dō – way, path

Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy”[1] or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.”[2]

Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical energy, as the aikidōka (aikido practitioner) “leads” the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements.</em>


<em>One applies aiki by understanding the rhythm and intent of the attacker to find the optimal position and timing to apply a counter-technique. Historically, aiki was mastered for the purpose of killing; however in aikido one seeks to control an aggressor without causing harm.[2] The founder of aikido declared: “To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.”[6] A number of aikido practitioners interpret aikido metaphorically, seeing parallels between aikido techniques and other methods for conflict resolution.</em>

Now I don’t propose we all become control freaks and walk around in a defensive posture (which sometimes invites attack) but there was something particularly powerful in being taught this “attitude” using both a mind and body analogy.

Non-Absolutism-The Principle of Multiple Views

Friday, September 18th, 2009


 A friend posted this on a couchsurfing forum today.

Anekantavada, the doctrine of non-absolutism, a multi-dimensional approach is of paramount importance in today’s troubled times.  Anekant is a basic principle of Jainism dealing with the multiple nature of reality. It deals with particular aspects, but does not deny the existence of other attributes or qualities.

Anekant means non-insistence on one’s view-point only. In the world of philosophy this doctrine adopts the policy of ‘coexistence,’The fundamental principle of Anekantvada is to tolerate others’ views or beliefs; one should not only try to discover the truth in one’s own views or beliefs, but also in other’s views and beliefs.  Anekantvada establishes the truth not by rejecting the partial views about reality but by taking all of them into consideration.

Anekāntavāda also does not mean compromising or diluting ones own values and principles. On the contrary, it allows us to understand and be tolerant of conflicting and opposing views,while respectfully maintaining the validity of ones own view-point.

Lord Mahavir stressed  freedom of expression through his unique doctrine of Anekantvad i.e. the “Principle of multiple views. It discards absolutism of thought. It propounds mutual understanding. Anekantvad teaches the lesson of religious tolerance, which is essential to remove the present air of hatred and conflict prevalent on the national and international arenas. Views are bound to differ, because we are guided by different conditions. Hence, it is wrong to think oneself absolutely right and all others absolutely wrong.  Such an outlook is imperialism in thought.

The world is sharply divided into multiple opposite camps.There is an ‘either . . . or’ in world politics. Peace, therefore, demands a new logic, a new outlook. Had the world leaders adopted the philosophy of Anekantof Lord Mahavir to understand others’ points of view, the mental reservations, misunderstanding and clashes would have been banished and an era of global peace would have prevailed.

Non-absolutism is the ideology of a new civilization of peace and non-violence. The ‘all or none’ approach has brought us to the brink of total annihilation, hence the non-absolutist approach in thought, word and deed is the only way before us.

For more :

Anekanta is a Sanskrit word anekānta (manifoldness) and vāda (school of thought)

Peace for all

Disclaimer: The intent of post is not to propagate the Jain religion.

Mexican Independence Day In Oaxaca

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
A friend who saw the parade into the Oaxaca City zocalo this A.M. said it was similar to all  military parades he has seen in the US and elsewhere, and by that standard, quite good. I didn't go, so have ... [Continue reading this entry]

Response To The Wingnuts

Sunday, September 13th, 2009 had an article this morning on the NY Times best seller list that puts the far right-wing into a broader perspective. begins:
"For the past nine months, ... [Continue reading this entry]