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Founder of Aikido (14): Your Father Is Just Fine As He Is

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

Aiki News #43 (December 1981)

We would like to thank Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba for his kind permission to publish these chapter summaries.

I have no real way of understanding the Founder’s genuine feelings toward his father, Yoroku, or those of Yoroku toward his son. However, I can guess that Yoroku had a certain trust or ambition for the Founder although he never verbalized this. Outwardly, he always appeared to be satisfied with his son. I’ve already mentioned several times how the Founder had used up all of his inheritence in pursuit of his ideals. And also you will remember how Yoroku gave unsparingly of his own fortune, the results of his own efforts to help his son. I’ve heard the story that Yoroku had traveled to Shirataki taking the family registry there from Wakayama to follow his son. I don’t know if he actually intended to transfer the family home, but it is a fact that he once visited Shirataki. If he did carry the family registry there with him, he must have planned to stay there permanently. But Kiku, the younger sister, remembers the old man saying, “If it’s always this cold, I can’t possibly stay here all the time,” and so he returned to the south and reinstated the family records in Wakayama.

At any rate, at this point in our story we find the father, Yoroku, who was in so many ways so precious to the Founder, on his death bed. Transportation from Hokkaido to Kishu was very inconvenient, so even if one rushed, the journey required about 10 days of travel. He was no doubt distraught when he heard from a fellow passenger of a wonderful new religion called Omoto-kyo, in Ayabe near Kyoto, which could perform miracles, and so we may not be too surprised to hear that he immediately decided to visit there.

Upon his arrival in Kyoto, rather than boarding the ship for Kishu, he took the San-In Railroad directly to Ayabe. There is also some evidence that he had heard rumors of Omoto-kyo even during his life in Shirataki. According to the Founder’s own words (“oral memory”), “During one of the town council meetings in Shirataki a farm owner had spoken of a certain old woman, Nao Deguchi, of Ayabe, who was famous for being an oracle, or “tip of the writing brush” (fudesaki), of God’s redemption of the world. I myself had felt the great need of reforming this world and upon hearing this story, something clicked.”

Be that as it may, the first thing that struck the Founder upon his arrival late in the year 1919, around the 27th or 28th of December, was the strangely vibrant feeling of the entire town, from the front of the station to the Omoto headquarters. For about 10 minutes he walked as if led. He came upon the elegant “Hongu (Main Hall) Mountain” delicately decorated with white snow. A sacred and pure atmosphere pervaded all. Arriving at the headquarters, he requested prayers for the recovery of his father who was dying. Taken to the Konryuden, he was advised to calm his soul and pray and reflect. He sat neatly and meditated using the Esoteric Buddhist technique known as “Kaji no Ingyo” (“the Incantation of the Seal”) which he had learned earlier in his life. There slowly appeared a figure walking toward him exuding an atmosphere that called on him to surrender.

He bowed deeply and upon raising his head, the master spoke to him, asking, “Did you see anything?” “I saw my father with a thin, almost transparent body, though he is actually quite well-built…” The master said without any hesitation, “Your father is just fine, as he is.”

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