Doka: Poems of The Way by O-Sensei
Aiki News #46 (March 1982)
Edited by Seiseki Abe
Under the general supervision of
Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei
1. Bu, the root of all that is, is the great spirit of the founding of our nation. This bujutsu, as a part of the Imperial Way (kodo),trains us in body and in spirit to achieve the martial spirit (buki), of Yamato-damashii (the Japanese Spirit) by means of Aiki (a meeting of the ki) with the multitude of deities (Yorozu no Kami). So we train to unite the truth, happiness and beauty of the sincere soul. Bu builds sincere people who have not the slightest vulnerability or opening since they have completely unified their soul and their mind. Therefore our aim is to mutually cultivate (ourselves) in both the world of appearances and in the world of essences and thus to take charge of this world of the present and bring to perfect harmony and beauty (our) Yamato-damashii (Japanese spirit).
2. In the narrow sense this means that we must perform austere physical training (shugyo) with our bodies while our kokoro (spirit/mind) remains ever mindful of what it means to be a “seeker” (shugyo-sha).
3. In the broadest sense this means unification with the Great Deity. The most important law of bu is the need for shugyo that fosters the foundation for expressing the Holy Soul of a Surpassing Love of all that is manifested in this world.
1. Mobilize all (your) powers through Aiki
Build a beautiful world
And a secure peace.
2. Ah, the precious Izu and Mizu,(1)
Together, the “Cross of Aiki” (2)
Advance with courage
In the voice of Mizu.
3. Though you may train
In this sword work or in that
What will it mean
Unless you do your utmost.
4. First master the techniques of Aiki
The Way of the Gods
Then no enemy will ever attack.
5. The Way of the Gods!
Give in to the life of the Universe of
Heaven and Earth
Thus draw nearer and nearer
To a spirit who serves the Godhead.
6. Assume gedan (3) and see
The spirit of the positive (yo) as
in shadow (in)
Recognize the cuts and thrusts of
the enemy’s blade
As merely a seigan (4).
When you have trained and when you
have the unseen things
Look not for “Secret Teachings”
For all is there, before you eyes.
8. Left and right
Cut or parry
Discard all thought of them
The human spirit must rush
9. With Jodan (5) you trample down the
But you must see his passive (in)
attitude as active (yo).
10. In jodan
Your every self must become Jodan
Then in that way
The attacking spear can be crushed
Victory will be yours.
11. Without the slightest opening
Nor the least thought of the enemy
And his encircling swords
Step in and cut!
12. Though the enemy’s spears and butts
are before you and behind
With their very weapons as your shield
You must cut in and gain victory.
13. Stand with the “First-moving Sword” (6)
held in the heavens
Close quickly and release your strike
14. His sword raised to attack
The enemy flies at the man he thinks
But from the very start
I was standing behind him.
15. To command the forest of enemy
blades arrayed before you
Know that the enemies’ spirit/mind
is your shield.
16. Rip away from your soul
The shabby rags it wears
Open the way to Heaven’s destiny
So let it shine!
17. When you assume chudan (7)
Move the enemy’s spirit into the midst
And grasp the rhythm in the same fist.
18. Even though surrounded by a great
number of the enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!
19. The enemy may assume gedan
But stay as you are in chudan
Move your blade neither up nor down.
20. If you wish to weaken
The enemy’s sword
Move first, fly in and cut!
21. The enemy comes running in to strike
At the instant of the attack
Avoid his strike with one step
And counter attack in that instant.
22. In a forest of the enemy’s spears
Then realize that those very spearheads
Are your very shield.
23. A person who
In any situation
Perceives the truth with resignation
Would never need to draw his sword in
24. Pour your spirit and heart
Into daily technical training
To approach the many through a single
This is “The Way of the Fighting Man.”
25. Bujutsu: The form and the spirit
of the gods
The parent (9) of Izu and Mizu
26. Watch not his flashing blade
Nothing can be seen there
His fists will reveal where he
intends to cut.
27. Causing the perverted enemy to attack
I must then stand behind his form
And so cut the enemy down.
28. It is sincerity!
First cultivate sincerity with all
So realize this truth
The World of Reality and the World
of Appearances are One.
29. Whenever I seem to confront
Another dead end on my path
That precious way of Izu and Mizu
I bring to mind once more.
30. Should you lose the Way
Without a doubt you will enter an
Give no reign to the spiritual horse.
31. Put the active principle (yo) into
the right hand
Turn the left hand into the passive (in)
And so guide the adversary.
32. By means of the Way
Call out the misguided enemy
Advance and persuade him with words
Through the Sword of Love.
33. Enlightenment of delusion?
Who is to say which person has which
Like the evening moon, they appear
Not one knows exactly when.
34. To see the true things
Harmonize with the voice which shouts,
Never be drawn into the rhythm of
35. I stand in the mountain stream
So pure! The splashing sound of water
against the stone
Yet where is the person
Who with such purity can speak (of the
36. At the beginning of the world
There came down from the Heavens
The Curved Stone, the Mirror, and the
To build up a nation
According to the Holy will of the God(s)
37. At the beginning of the time
Bu came down from the Heavens
To serve the defense of the land
So says the Emperor’s sacred voice.
38. Even when a single enemy has called
Be on your best guard
An entire host of the foe
Is on your left, your right, in front
The root of the power of Love
A love that must grow ever broader.
40. Aiki is the holy Form and Spirit of
The parent of Izu and Mizu
41. You must realize this!
Aiki cannot be captured with the brush
Nor can it be expressed with the mouth
And so it is that one must proceed
to realization (satori).
A Way so difficult to analyze
(But one needs only to) follow
The natural rotations of the Heavens.
43.Aiki is the power of harmony between all
Polish it ceaselessly
You people of the Way
44.The rays of the rising sun flow in
My mind is clear
Going to my window, I run about the
Shining like the dawn.
45.Speeding down from Heaven
The God of Light descends
Illuminating all the world
Even to the bottom of the seas.
46.Reflecting through the Heavens
All darkness is made light
Descending, the vastness of the
Is filled with the voices of Joy.
47. Deep in the glow of Izu
Which shines in the Heavens above
There is the reverberating sound
Of the King of the Eight Powers (11)
48. Blend with (ki-musubi)(12) the
Universe of Heaven and Earth (tenchi)
Stand in the center (of all)
In your heart take up the stance
Of “The Way of the Mountain Echo” (13)
49. The spiritual essence of the Heavens
and the Earth
Congealing becomes the Way of the
Cross-Shape (+) (2)
Harmony and Joy make up the Floating
That binds this world together.
50. This world is built up
Of living-life (iki-inochi)(15),
of the breath of life (iki-inochi)
and of the saving power of the
All spinning and flourishing
The Jewel-like Aiki of the Spirit
Is the floating bridge to the Heavens.
51. Shining and echoing is the kotodama
An honored form of the Holy Parent
That single, spiritual origin (of all that is).
By ritual purify, wash clean the soul.
The true form of the All-pervasive
Universal Principle cries out
In the midst of the Light courageously
With martial valor does it howl.
53. Since Ancient days
The virtues of training in the Two Ways
Both of the Pen and of the Sword
Has brought realization in the body
and in the soul.
54. The techniques of Aiki
Follow the Principle of Kusanaqi (17)
Thus they protect the Way of the
Buddhas, the (Shinto) gods,
And this world of manifestations.
55. The form and the beauty that is the
world of Heaven and Earth
Has become one family.
56. The great and honored God
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