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Kannagara No Jutsu (The Art of Shinto)

by Morihei Ueshiba

Aiki News #60 (March 1984)

Morihei Ueshiba c. 1935
This evening I would like to give a simple talk in response to requests from you, the students. Lectures on bujutsu are never about anything that one can really talk or write about. Daily I pray to the gods that everyone of you will someday master true bujutsu. The art that I instruct is the Bujutsu of Mother Nature which is based on "Kannagara No Michi", (that is to say, our Shinto). This power of the manifestation of all things on earth and such things as the sun and the moon in the Universe teach us bujutsu.

This "Bujutsu of Mother Nature" (your) Ueshiba conveys to everyone by means of "Kannagara". Through "satori" one realizes the form or shape of God in his mind/spirit and all bujutsu manifest martial techniques in the human body. So it is that human beings cannot help but be incomplete (in themselves), and it is thus impossible to talk about or express in words the "Daibujutsu" (great martial techniques) which corresponds to the Great Sphere of Nature. I, Ueshiba, hope to train this great manifestation and mind/spirit of the god(s) with you all, through (an understanding of) all beings and creation, including the sun and the moon. Human beings are to inherit this great bujutsu that has been passed down since the age of the gods and enshrine it (along with the gods), so we must look at the difficult inter-relations of Heaven and Earth and make them the center, later thinking of them as "saniwa" (that is, as a holy and pure garden where the gods descend to commune with the people of this world). Now, happily we have been able to make our bujutsu a kind of "saniwa" through the circular fate of Heaven and by the spirit and form of Mizu no Mitarna (power of the all encompassing divinity as it is made to function or be used in this world for the sake of its salvation). For this reason this bujutsu is not a subject that can be expressed in written form or by means of "book learning" without the "Great Foundation" of teachings from the Imperial ancestors. When you become a teacher this entity called "God" must be kept foremost in your minds. Trainees, too, must keep god in their thoughts from beginning to end as they polish their bujutsu. The purpose of bujutsu training is to direct or lead beginners.

Through the "Way" we should know sincerity through the "Way" we display sincerity, and from this "makoto" make a shape or form. Then it is from this form that we display spirit and train it. Thus we make the creation of sincerity the purpose for which we train in budo. That is what we are trying to accomplish. We observe holiness in the nature of all genuine phenomena and all the things in heaven and on earth and are enlightened about them. Then by means of the "Way" we come to know sincerity (makoto) and inscribe forms thus causing spirit (rei) to come into being.

By training and polishing a bujutsu that corresponds to this Great Sphere of Nature we must foster and clearly display the "Yamato damashii" (the Japanese Spirit) and realize the fundamental spiritualism of the Imperial Way (kodo), and finally unify them all into Truth-Goodness-Beauty. Based on this unity, a unified system is born and through the principle of cleanliness we can purify our bodies and minds.

This unification has both positive and negative aspects. Japanese people must as Japanese merge with the form and spirit of beauty, that is, "Truth-Goodness-Beauty", what is above and what is below must unite.

The authentic core of Japanese bujutsu must remain in its progressiveness. The Universe is continually advancing and in that same truth bujutsu must also move forward. Advancing is always a safe course but if you retreat you will be cut by the enemy. Therefore, we see that Japanese budo is performed through advancing and unifying all things into Goodness. Bujutsu must be in accordance with the rotation of the heavens and the earth. The human body is a miniature universe, a small version of the cosmos. If you want to train in bujutsu unify your spirit. The body is trained according to the "Way" exactly as the spirit thinks and so we are able to unify the body as well.

Since the unification of the spirit and the body is the formation of the genuine Yamato damashii, the Japanese spirit, this heaven-sent bujutsu itself is an enhancement of this spirit, a realization of the power of the gods and the enhancement of the strength of the country. The Imperial ancestral teachings are still extant and when we study the Great Foundation of the Imperial Way and express it outwardly then surely the Yamato damashii will appear and one will come to a realization (satori) of the "Bujutsu from Heaven". That is to say, bujutsu was led by the "Way" which results from this enlightenment (satori), expressed in forms and unified into Goodness. So it is that there are no vulnerable points (suki) in the bujutsu where "Truth-Goodness-Beauty" are unified.

Japanese bujutsu is the womb of the bujutsu of the world, and at the same time, its Great Foundation (also read Omoto) and its essence. When the spirit and body are united to form a Japanese spirit (Yamato-damashii) and made into a power, and the spirit and body which is "opened" instantly is an expression of the Omoto Scripture that says, "All over the world plum blossoms bloom." This (opening of the unified body and mind) is the true core of bujutsu, so it will become whatever you imagine it.

A person who knows true Japanese budo can take command of an army at the front. Bujutsu that one has practiced according to the truth of the universe is aimed at a broader scale of observation. Heaven and earth, all phenomena and the Great Universe are the (outward) appearance of god(s) and to receive the Great Mind of God in your own mind and utilize it is "Bu." This is the design of the gods.

"Bu" is kami (an exalted spirit). The expression of Bu which God (the Spirit of the Universe) causes is the purification of wind, water, and fire: it is (also) the "Mind of Love" which is for the rebuilding of the earth in a better, purer (form) (with) more "Truth-Goodness-Beauty."

The three disasters: starvation, plague, and war are the descent of the "Holy Sword of the Spirit of Love and Goodness" for the sake of reforming the hearts of mankind and bringing peace to the world through love and goodness. In such cases the "Sword of True Sincerity " is brought into play and the enemy can be easily subdued.

Bu is learning the mind of God. Bu is the life and soul of Japan.

Japanese budo is the mutual enshrinement and coming together of the appearance and workings of God with the godly mind of love of all beings.

In the view of the "God of Bu" there is no difference between the spirit world and the present world. Making these two worlds into one is the mind and form of God. This is how "bu" must be. If we make into "saniwa" all things in accordance with the Shinto way we can understand the truth of bujutsu well. A person who would serve the "Way of Bu" at all should from the beginning to the end only pray to the genuine god, build virtue, and sincerely study Bu. That is, through training Bu he must purify his body and mind and attain a "sincere spirit/mind" (magokoro)."

In summary, by humbly understanding the Great Foundation of the Imperial Way and letting all the people master the solemn and incomparable truth of the "Imperial National Policy", the loyal and sincere Japanese damashii must be nourished, fostered, and trained.

When this form is manifested it is bujutsu.

Finally, let me say that bujutsu should not move as slow as the flow of the ages. We must learn the will of god, then leap forward to take command and actively fashion the ages.

(From a Budo Senyokai publication entitled "Budo" which originally appeared in July of 1933)