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Founder of Aikido (21): Enlightenment at the Edge Of Death (Part Two)

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

Aiki News #50 (October 1982)

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

Even this late moment it seems that Ro did not yet grasp the realities of the situation. Thus, he interpreted the unrest among his troops as something temporary or “just” psychological. He even requested Master Onisaburo “to calm the minds (chinkon) of the soldiers by performing a great miracle.”

By then the Master, Matsumura and the Founder had become aware of the situation and realized that their future would be dark unless they did something to escape. They could not, however, think of any good idea. Finally, they decided that it was necessary, after all, to display a “great miracle.” On the 23rd of May, under the broad sky of Mongolia, the Master was going to “make it rain.”

The Master must have had some confidence in his ability, but it may also be true that he felt he had no choice but to make the attempt, win or lose. Matsumura was to be the performer and he himself would act as an assistant. According to “Onisaburo’s Mongolian Escapade”:

At the general headquarters the leaders and men were whispering to each other, “It must be very difficult even for God to make it rain from this clear Mongolian sky,” just as Onisaburo’s group proceeded gallantly to the place where all the people were waiting.

After a short rest, Matsumura started praying silently. Soon the sky above got dark and rain clouds covered the whole sky. With a gust of mysterious wind a violent storm attacked. Everyone was frightened and ran in different directions to close the windows and put away the chairs that had been moved out in the yard for the commemorative photograph. For a while everyone was struck dumb with amazement. Finally, someone said disappointedly, “O-Sensei (Deguchi), we won’t be able to take photographs today, will we?” Matsumura looked at Oni’s face and replied, “Why not, in five minutes every thing will be all right.” At that, Oni suddenly got up and stood in the rain. “Uh!”, he yelled loudly to the sky. The wind died down and the rain gradually subsided. In about five minutes the sun was shining gloriously again and the sky was as clear as before. Overjoyed, Ro Sen Kai walked around exulted to see that his publicity wasn’t at all an exaggeration.

Thus the whole army including Ro was convinced, but things were nonetheless getting worse.

“The Self-Governing Army” was scheduled to set up their next base at Paintara. However, on the way there they found themselves already under almost daily attack. After each attack there were many dead and injured soldiers and the number of deserters mounted. Things got so bad that it was clear that Master Onisaburo and Ro Sen Kai’s group had failed in their resort to arms.

Master Onisaburo admonished Ro, who still insisted on heading for Paintara, by saying, “According to the revelation of God, going to Paintara is the same as jumping into a fire holding a load of fire wood.” But Ro no longer listened to anyone’s advice.

They finally reached Paintara though they were attacked constantly. The situation became so bad that even the Master and the Founder were dragged into the war.

For example, on a mountain road they were suddenly attacked from both sides of the path. Guarding the Master’s carriage were only five people with the Founder blocking the front trying his best to guard the Master with his own body.

The Founder later related with a smile, “We couldn’t move even one step. So when the bullets flew at us we could only avoid them by twisting our necks and bodies. After a while we could clearly sense and feel, ‘Ah! This time it’s coming from the right. Ah! This time it’s from the left.’ A pebble-like white flash would come flying at us one second before the bullet. I got away from the white flash in an instant and afterwards the bullet would pass by. Everyday was a repeat of this and in time I naturally came to understand the secrets of Budo. I understood that one can sense or feel intuitively the opponent’s murderous intent more and more clearly when your “everyday mind” becomes perfectly clear.

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