November 03, 2005

Thich Nhat Hanh

I found a quote (again?!) from "Going Home" by Thich Nhat Hanh which seems to me a nice way of describing Shintaido's "Ten-Chi-Jin" philosophy.

There are two kinds of relationships. The first level is the relationship between us and other beings. In Christianity, we hear the expression "horizontal theology." This kind of theology helps us to see and touch what is there around us. Horizontal theology helps us establish links with what is around us, including human beings, animals, vegetables, and minerals. Our daily practice should help us get in touch with these beings, animate or inanimate, because by getting in touch with them, we will be able to get in touch with God. Getting in touch with God is symbolized by a vertical line and is call "vertical theology." These are the two dimensions. If you do not succeed in getting in touch with the horizontal dimension, you will not be able to get in touch with the vertical dimension. There is a relationship between the horizontal and the vertical. There is interbeing between the two. If you cannot love man, animals, and plants, I doubt that you can love God. The capacity for loving God depends on your capacity for loving humankind and other species.

I think that this amounts to stating that "Agape" and "Eros" are the same which is something I remember Aoki-sensei saying a long time ago. And, of course, at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal is the embodied "Self."

Posted by mandragore at November 3, 2005 12:23 PM

Me again... So much to say about this image - and images in general. But let's keep it simple :)

In my view the relationship with self is not just a point, but a full axis of its own. This dimension, as a matter of fact, has acquired much more importance in our modern society than it used to have, as we are given (or forced to make) so many "choices" and have so little guidance about how to match them with our deepest aspirations. The power of Shintaido, I believe, is precisely to recognize this third dimension as such and help us take it into account in our everyday life. I remember Ito Sensei used to bring a hand made drawing to his workshops, representing such a "2D coordinate system" : The X axis went from "denying self" to "asserting self", the Y axis from "denying others" to "asserting others".

Took me a while until I thought of asking myself the question : where do I belong?

Posted by: Patrick Bouchaud at November 18, 2005 06:36 AM