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Doka: Poems of The Way by O-Sensei

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by Morihei Ueshiba

Aiki News #46 (March 1982)

MYSTERIES

AIKIDO OKUGI
(Doka)

(The Secret Significance of Aikido)

(Poetic Songs of the Way)

Edited by Seiseki Abe

Under the general supervision of

Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei

Okui - The Secrets

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.

An Auspicious Day, December, 1936


The Poems

(Pre-War Works)

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).

7. Progress?

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

instantly in!

9. With Jodan (5) you trample down the

enemy’s spirit

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

Cutting diagonally.

14. His sword raised to attack

The enemy flies at the man he thinks

before him

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

Surrounded!

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

haste.

24. Pour your spirit and heart

Into daily technical training

To approach the many through a single

principle

This is “The Way of the Fighting Man.”

(8)

25. Bujutsu: The form and the spirit

of the gods

The parent (9) of Izu and Mizu

So precious!

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

your heart

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

“evil path”

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

of instruction

Through the Sword of Love.

33. Enlightenment of delusion?

Who is to say which person has which

Like the evening moon, they appear

and fade

Not one knows exactly when.

34. To see the true things

Harmonize with the voice which shouts,

“Yah!”

Never be drawn into the rhythm of

the enemy.

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

Way).

36. At the beginning of the world

There came down from the Heavens

The Curved Stone, the Mirror, and the

Sword (10)

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

you out

Be on your best guard

An entire host of the foe

Is on your left, your right, in front

and behind.

(Post-war Works)

39. Aiki

The root of the power of Love

A love that must grow ever broader.

40. Aiki is the holy Form and Spirit of

the God(s)

The parent of Izu and Mizu

How priceless!

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).

42.Aiki!

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

things

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

Heavens

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

great sea

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

Bridge (14)

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

Universal (iki-inochi)

All spinning and flourishing

The Jewel-like Aiki of the Spirit

(tama-no-aiki)(16)

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).

52. Izu!

By ritual purify, wash clean the soul.

The true form of the All-pervasive

Universal Principle cries out

(Izu-no-mitama)

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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