Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei used to recite the norito, a Shinto invocation, during his practice. Itsuo Tsuda recited it daily during the last few years and the tradition is still kept within the Itsuo Tsuda School.
« The norito does not belong to the world of religion world but certainly to that of the sacred in the Animist sense.
The vibrations and resonance flowing from the pronunciation of this text brings to each practice a feeling of calmness, fullness and sometimes something that goes beyond and remains inexpressible.
The norito is a Misogi. * In its essence, it is never perfect, it always changes and evolves. It is the reflection of a moment in our being. » (Régis Soavi)
This norito is very popular in Japan, it is called Misogi no harae. The Norito version of Master Tsuda is in some way a short version.
Itsuo Tsuda received this Norito from the hands of Nakanishi sensei, met during a trip to Japan. She also passed on the position of the hands, which, without being stiff, reflects high accuracy. It is a KI knot; all the fingers must touch each other and the position of the elbows has its own importance too. Nakanishi sensei was the Kotodama teacher of Morihei Ueshiba » from an interview with Régis Soavi
Itsuo Tsuda himself wrote: « At a given moment of his life, Master Ueshiba felt stuck in the continuation of the path, he found himself facing a dead end. He was very strong physically, but he felt that something was missing. It was then that he met Nakanishi. He was 56 or 57 years old while Mrs. Nakanishi was more or less 20 years old. (…) »
Itsuo Tsuda, The Way of Gods
In his book The Way of Gods (Original Edition La voie des Dieux, Le Courrier du Livre – 1982), Itsuo Tsuda attempts to clarify Shinto and Kotodama, difficult subjects to access. We will publish some extracts as part of the listening of the Norito recitation by Itsuo Tsuda.
« It ‘s really hard to define the so called » Shintoism « , literally, the Way of Gods. The name was invented after the need to compare it with other forms of « belief » that were introduced in Japan over the centuries. (…) »
« If I have to say in a few words what Shinto is, I should quote a French proverb of the fifteenth century: » Flowing water does not carry with it any dirt. » What is important, is not the dogma, but the immediate feeling of serenity. Is it possible, in any circumstance, to constantly maintain a feeling of serenity? If you succeed, I have nothing to add. I rather think that most of the time, we feel a precarious peace in certain particular conditions. We strive to maintain this serenity by tensing. Which means keeping up appearances. You have to be blind not to admit that we have weaknesses and flaws. This proverb is almost unknown today. . (…) »
« The whole universe is conceived like an overflowing of vibratory sensations. These vibrations exist before being perceptible. Thus, Ueshiba Sensei talked often, for example, about the Kotodama of the ‘u’ vowel, a vibration that comes from the belly. He explains the functions of all the vocalism that were, after all, very simple, but difficult to understand because for me it was one of those things that did not fit in my regular habits. (…) »
« According to Ms. Nakanishi, the particularity of Budo, in martial arts, lies in the ability to respond to resonances. That is the meeting point between a martial art and Kotodama. That is also why it differs from sports. In fact, martial arts were born at the time when the human being was continuously exposed to fatality, without notice. It was not a way to produce a physical technique, in front of spectators in awe, as in a circus. It was a matter of feeling the approach of something dangerous before the perceptual data could get actually confirmed. The moment of confirmation was already too late because it was not about scoring, but about life or death. (…) »
« Aikido conceived as sacred movement by Master Ueshiba, is actually disappearing to be replaced by athletic Aikido, combat sports, more in line with the needs of the civilized ones.
« True budo is to be as a kind of ever, » said Ms. Nakanishi. « The others are the ones going around, but the true master does not move. »
In Shinto, there is no opposition between God and human being as in Christianity. It is a matter of finding God in yourself. This is called chinkon kishin, soothing the soul and return to God. Indeed, one can neither calm nor shake the soul. The ki attached to our person gets purified to keep us alive, but at the same time exposes us to constant agitations. (…)
« He also said: » We do not need miracles. The most difficult thing is to be natural, to be normal. » Calm sea reflects the moon in its round shape. Rough sea gives only fragmented reflections. (…) »
« Mrs. Nakanishi’s teachings revealed to me a new dimension of the universe. The Shinto universe does not match at all with the pre-Copernican geocentric or heliocentric conception, established by Newton. The universe of which she speaks is not located anywhere. It arises from the original Void, at the time and place where there is the need, and disappears as soon as the case is closed.
From the Void, « Nothing » arises and the « Nothing » creates the Existence. And the Existence culminates in « Nothing » that goes back to the Void. Therefore, there is no creation at the beginning of the world, once and for all. Every moment can be the moment of creation. Anyone can try to create the universe wherever he happens to be.
We must not, therefore, discuss with a Gagarin to affirm or deny the existence of God in space. Shinto is too fluid to stiffen in sclerosis.
Every day is the first day of creation. Every day is perhaps the last day of the return to the Void. (…) » Itsuo Tsuda The Way of Gods (Original Edition La voie des Dieux, Le Courrier du Livre – 1982)
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