Sensei and the Dalai Lama

Several weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a lecture delivered by His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama in Nagano City, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. The lecture began with a recitation of Hannya Shingyo, a core surta in Mahayana Buddhism and Zen in particular. Following the recitation by the crowd of some 5,000 people the Dalai Lama spoke for about 90 minutes in English regarding various elements of Buddhist thought and philosophy. Although Tibetean and Japanese buddhist traditions are different, the Dalai Lama addressed several issues related to modern life and the challenges that we all face in our daily lives. Throughout the lecture, His Holiness continually refered to 3 of our Kokikai Principles: relax progressively, keep one point and developing our positive mind. I would like to offer a summary of what he said and how it relates to Sensei’s teachings.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Joseph J.
Pielech

The Dali Lama spoke at length about the need for all people to learn to relax. He maintained that one of the major contributing factors to personal turmoil, international disputes, terrorism and war was that people in modern society are too tense, too rigid and too stubborn. According to the Dalai Lama, when we learn to relax, we can see our problems more clearly and work positively not only to correct our existing problems but to also not allow them to be problems in the future. Essentially, what I believe he was saying was that only when we are relaxed we can be natural and it is only then that we can achieve our best, strongest state and reach our full potential.

Another element of the Dalai Lama’s lecture regarded developing our positive mind. According to the Dalai Lama, because the cause of our problems resides in the mind, the best way to help others and bring them peace is to help their minds. A human body and a mind full of potential give human beings incredible opportunities. This mind has the potential to attain any happiness we want, and by developing our positive mind, we can cause the temporary and ultimate happiness of others. It appeared to me that for the Dalai Lama learning to relax and developing a positive mind are inexorably linked and growing each of them in tandem, we can achieve some degree of inner peace. We can learn to be calm by discarding the impurities that exist in our minds.

A final element of His Holiness’ lecture dealt with keeping one point. The Dalai Lama spoke of ‘one point’ as the focal point for internal meditative and breathing techniques. By concentrating on this one point (hara, in Japanese) we can calm our breathing and focus more clearly on the task at hand. In addition to being relaxed and focus we not only benefit ourselves and our condition, but we can also benefit those around us by not reacting in a negative or disharmonious way.

Clearly there is a strong connection between the Dalai Lama’s and Sensei’s teachings. What I think Sensei and the Dalai Lama have in common is this: each maintains that the exploration of these principles allows for considerable progress and growth throughout a person’s life. As one comes closer to understanding these basic principles, one is able to generate positive feelings under any circumstance (even the most trying) and the realization of this positive feeling can be found not only in aikido techniques but also in our attitude, conversations and interactions with our coworkers, friends, family and adversaries in daily life.

I am not suggesting that you run to Barnes & Noble or Amazon and buy up all of the Dalai Lama’s books and CD you can find. Doing this does not give you what Kokikai Aikido gives you: valuable experience in what living aikido is all about. What I am suggesting is that you continue to fastidiously and diligently study Kokikai Aikido. If it is your goal to lead a fuller or calm and centered life, then Kokikai Aikido and Sensei’s teachings can be your vehicle. Attend as many camps and seminars you can. Summer Camp, Fall Camp, Winter Camp, the International Convention in Nagoya. Do not miss a chance to practice with and learn from Sensei. Your life will be immeasurably benefited by Kokikai Aikido practice and you will see what these two great men have in common.

 

Joseph Pielech
Nagoya, Japan