Religion and ninjutsu

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by dragon_bunny, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. dragon_bunny

    dragon_bunny Valued Member

    i was just reading Greg's post on Shiki and it got me thinking - how do you equate the teachings of shinto and buddism (sp) with your training?
    Personnally i'm a total atheist - i don't believe in spirit/soul or that god(s)/spirits/elements (well except chemical ones) have any effect on my life so naturally i think i'll struggle with the understanding of such concepts as Shiki or any other religious aspects to ninjutsu :rolleyes: now I don't really think this will affect my progress because i might just interprete these aspects in some other way but how do you fit it in to your training? And do you think a lack of belief in these elemental/religious themes that are woven into ninjutsu would affect my training? :confused:
    and just incase it turns that way i'm not interrested in which religion or thought is right/wrong it's not really a question of that it's more how important do you think the reglious aspects are and can you ignore them completely? :)
  2. Peaceful Tiger

    Peaceful Tiger Happy Member

    I think it's important to learn the spiritual aspects of ninjutsu, the way Soke talks of harmony within the universe etc., just so you can understand his perspective, although I don't feel you would necessarily have to agree with it all, I would leave that up to personal choice.

    I believe in certain spiritual aspects linked to training and areas of my life in general but I have a fairly spiritual outlook on life anyway, it doesn't mean I would expect everyone to agree with me.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
  3. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Spirit, not religion.

    If you want to get really really scientific, and ignore the thought of the spirit (which doesnt have to mean the soul) there are plenty of things u could equate it with. Things like sanshin could be ways of training in different circumstances, like when you want to be aggressive or passive. It is very important to know where things come from, in my opinion. Even if you dont believe in any sort of relgion or spiritual aspect. I suggest to just internalize everything, and make it your own. I dont believe that kuji can give me magic powers, but that doesnt mean that i ignore them completely. I dont think that clapping before class gets rid of evil spirits, but that doesnt mean that i ignore why we do it and where it comes from. To understand what you do and why you do it, is more important that believing a certain way. Ninjutsu isnt about that, right? Its about following your own path. If you think that doing seals and sanshin and the like dont do anything spiritually for you, at least know why they are done. Perhaps it will open a new door to more important information to help u unlock more secrets within the art.

    Yeah... study up on buddism, even if you are an atheist. I do, and I am.

    I'm a newb, if i'm wrong feel free to shun me and kick me out.
  4. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    also remember, buddism, as a whole, isnt really a religion. Some buddist do this, and some do that, but the majority agree its not so much a religion, as a philosophy. There are wonderful philosophical information in our art, some comes from buddism, some comes from other places, but this doesnt mean that we have to regaurd buddha as anything besides a guy that knew this world is full of sufferring. Maybe thinking in terms of philosophy rather than religion or spiritual practice could ease your mind, but im still having a hard time believing you truely dont believe in a spirit....

    Not a transparent white ghost, but a spirit. Like a fighting spirit. Eastern ideas are hard to explain, someone else do it...
  5. dragon_bunny

    dragon_bunny Valued Member

    i ment both the / between words wasn't to indicate they were the same thing ;)
    i get what you mean and i got through the clapping to get rid of bad spirits etc but only in the same way that i wear a gi or bow when i enter - not because i think there are bad spirits in the room but because it's expected to do it and traditional

    i don't.. i think it's a nice idea and all but i see it as a frame of mind which i guess is pretty much the same thing :rolleyes: :D i would like to believe in a soul but i can't get over the feeling that it's just a thought to make us feel like we're something more than chemical reactions and electrical impulse :eek:

    i do kinda understand the idea of harmony and balance in the universe i just don't buy it and thats kinda my main point. As it seems to be a big part of ninjutsu do you think it matters that i don't?
  6. Satori81

    Satori81 Never Forget...

    If you want some insanely deep philosophical discussions on Ninpo, Spirituality, and Religion, go to the forums and look for posts by someone named "Nojiri Family Representative". He is apparently an ordained Mahayana Buddhist Monk/Professor with some controversial ideas, but he knows his stuff on Ninpo and Buddhism. I typically have to read his posts three or four times before I get an inkling of his intent.

    I hope this isn't taken as an advertising plug.

    May you achieve
  7. xen

    xen insanity by design

    science is a description of our world which appeals to our 'left-brain logic'

    spirituality is a description of our world which appeals to our 'right-brain creativity'

    the two are different, but not mutually exclusive.

    If you study the messages behind the religions of the world, and study the principles inherent within the various spiritual doctrines, you find they do not contradict a scientific outlook on life.

    One of the things which most attracted me to ninjutsu was that its philosphy is so inclusive of both aspects of the world. It has a deep mystical element to its higher order (which many practioners in the west choose to de-bunk and denegrate as superstition) and yet it is built on the solid foundation of the laws clearly visible in the natural world.

    It unites the spirit with the science and allows us to stand in either camp and view the world as it really is, as opposed to how we think it should be.
  8. Qoorbs

    Qoorbs Banned Banned

    yeah in my jinenkan they bow and they say something in japanese but its calling up spirits or something like that...i dont bow because i dont bow to idols...i think that worship...
  9. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    wow qoorbs, way to understand your teachings.

    Not only are you not bowing to idols, bowing doesnt even mean worshipping. Not only do you not know what they are saying, you closed the door to even trying to figure out. Why dont you try investing some time in what your learning before u say something like that....
  10. dragon_bunny

    dragon_bunny Valued Member

    i do have a basic understanding of several religions i just don't believe in their messages beyond be good to other people etc. but i don't think thats a particually spiritual message
    and i think there are some times when science and spiritual thought clash :)

    how does the spiritual side affect your training at a higher level?
  11. Keikai

    Keikai Banned Banned

    Are you not bowing for respect and asking for you to be tought?

    Where is the idol?
  12. sshh

    sshh Not Talking Anymore

    Some principles may be congruent with religious tenets, but that doesn't mean that they don't have a physical aspect. Whether you want to feel spiritually about any of the priciples/practices, at least understand them.

    Something like shiki, e.g., refers to use of intent, determination, the will behind the action, / the spark in the darkness / etc. - swords don't kill people, people kill people . . .

    it's not necessarily a religious idea, but there is something remotely spiritual about it - at least if spirit is equated with energy and feelings.

    [disclaimer to all of the above: "as I understand it"]
  13. dragon_bunny

    dragon_bunny Valued Member

    ok i get you (kinda ) As long as i understand the physical concepts like the one behind shiki (which i will understand if it kills me!!) I don't neccessarily have to believe the spiritual side to be able to put it in to practice?
  14. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6

    Right -- think of it as a descriptive model you can use as a way to understand a process.

    There can be more than one: An illness, for example, can be viewed -- and "made sense of" -- in terms of demonic activity, germ transmission, malevolent magic spells, psychology, or punishment by God. Each of those has its own "framework" of associated concepts into which the illness can "fit".
    Last edited: May 4, 2005
  15. Brad Ellin

    Brad Ellin Baba

    I've actually had revelations or understandings in the reverse. Instead of my religion being neccesary to understand my taijuts, a lesson from Luke Molitor gave me insight into Buddhism. All about "holding on".

    But I digress. Dale said it best (IMO) think of it as a descriptive model. You don't need to practice the religion to understand how the ideas/theories interact.
  16. sshh

    sshh Not Talking Anymore

    dragon_bunny: "ok i get you (kinda ) As long as i understand the physical concepts like the one behind shiki (which i will understand if it kills me!!) I don't neccessarily have to believe the spiritual side to be able to put it in to practice? "

    Right, just make sure that the actions are in agreement with your own values, and practice them to improve the effectiveness. You don't have to believe in some of the concepts, but sometimes belief can be a benefit (and othertimes a hindrance) - one tends to fight more strongly (to keep it in a combative / martial arts frame) when you believe in something strongly.

    For now, just think of shiki as your intention to train well and your determination to keep going. You can use it for other things later.
    Last edited: May 5, 2005
  17. telecino

    telecino New Member

    To help an atheist to consider new teachnings in fields that involve some kind of spirituality, it becomes usefull to "undefine" God, rather that define it. If you don't beleive in God, then you don't beleive in the description that society gave you of God, which is correct if it suits you.

    If you wish to learn more about the possibilities of spiritual teachings but still don't wish to beleive in spirit, you can simply "undefine" God. Let's try an example. For a catholic, let's say "God is NOT the old bearded guy standing on a cloud." Of course, we will wish to define God as not even a human, not even a guy, not even the concet of an individual identity, therefore, God does not exist, especialy if it can't be an old beaded guy. Apply this concept to everything, and you will undefine Spirit, undefine life-force, and eventually, there will be no definitions left to keep you resisting to the new possibilities.

    Then, with an open mind and new possibilities, you could juste decide that you spirituality is you own personal conept of mind-body interaction, and that Chi is only the electricity that runs in your nervous system from your brain to your muscles and from your skin back into your brain. Contemplate this concept of redifinition and you will be able to keep your scientific approach while accepting your availability to your own definition of spirituality.

    In no time, you will be feeling this electricity in your nerves and accept that others call it Chi, you will understand the interaction between your mind and your body, and accept that others call it manifestation from the spirit, you might even become aware of the flow of constant synchronocity of events that occure, and accept that others call it destiny or goal.

    If you want to be at peace in your mind while being able to accept spiritual phylosophy, simply underfine what keeps you from being available to concider the phylosophy to be acquired, and accept that others call it in different ways. You are a master of your own experience and you discover life by yourself, you should not be stopped from discovering only by intellectual denomination of abstract things.
  18. sshh

    sshh Not Talking Anymore

    Oh that's handy. I've never believed in invisible pink flying unicorns, but maybe it's because of my definition of them - I mean, how can something be pink and invisible? Maybe it's my own error in thinking they are invisible since I've never seen one. Maybe "flying" means something else than what I've imagined.

    I guess they are real after all.

    I like the whole "undefine god" thing. Very Tao. Including "undefinable" as part of something's definition is very convenient.

    For more on invisible pink unicorns, see:
  19. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6

    Ninja Chaplain Takes Part in Festival of the Sea
  20. hottdogg

    hottdogg Valued Member

    I'm an outsider of ninjutsu, never been trained with any sort of ryu or any x-kan. Contrary to dragon bunny, I'm a monotheist. Just want to ask. Does bujinkan (Mr. Hatsumi Masaaki's ) doing any ritual or something that related/derived with/from shinto or buddhism?
    What about if, for example, me as a non shintoist/buddhist and have very strong other faith and don't want do anything shinto or buddhism but willing to do any general spiritual things in ninjutsu, want to train in bujinkan sometime, can I still train in bujinkan?


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