A method to quiet and center one’s Spirit and to return one’s Heart to God.
- Stand facing forward with both feet a shoulders width apart. Look down with hands in a prayer form with the fingers pointing down. While breathing in deeply and looking up, slowly raise the hands above the head so that the fingertips are pointing at Heaven. When looking down, feel that you are breathing in the Ki of the entire Earth, and as the hands begin to point upward, feel that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe. As you breathe in the Ki of the Earth, feel it being drawn in through the nose and the mouth. For the upward breath, you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe, taking it in through the medulla and passing it down the center of the backbone. Do this slowly twice.
- SHINKOKYU: At the end of part 1, with the hands still over the head, slide the palm of the right hand down so that the fingertips are level with the first knuckles of the left, and clap the hands 4 times. Then slowly bring them down to a point just below the navel, with the fingers and palm of the left over the right, with the tips of the thumbs touching (as in zazen). Silently concentrate on the syllables I-KU-MU-SU-BI. Breathing out on I, in on KU, out on MU, in on SU and out on BI, letting the BI change naturally to I and continue the same pattern. When breathing out, imagine that your breath is extending out and becoming One with the Entire Universe. When breathing in, imagine that your breath is being drawn in to you from the Entire Universe. The eyes should be almost closed.
- AME NO TORIFUNE: After clapping the hands 4 times, as in 2., step forward into a left hanmi and extend both arms, fists clenched as though clasping a pair of oars. With the KI-AI of E, rapidly draw the hands back, only as far as the hipbone. DO NOT LET THE HANDS GO BEHIND THE HIPBONE. Then with the KI-AI of HO, shoot the hands forward again. When drawing in the hands, imagine that you are grasping and drawing in the entire Earth to your Center, and when extending, you should feel that you are moving the entire Earth forward. The whole movement should be done rapidly as a unit as though it was a yari or bo tsuki.
- FURUTAMA NO GYO: Return feet to a position a shoulder width apart. Raise hands in a prayer form over the head, and bring straight down, or bring them down inscribing a circle to the point below the navel, hands clasped left over the right. When you are drawing them down, imagine that you are taking in the KI of the Great Universe and forming it into a ball between the clasped hands. Begin shaking them rapidly so that the entire body draws in and is filled with the KI of the Universe, which should collect in the abdomen and pour through the body, just as the blood streams through it. This exercise is done with the eyes closed and during this time, one should attempt to see a white crystal in the center of the forehead. Once fully seen, this crystal should naturally turn to red. Repeat the name of the Sun Goddess AMETERASU-O-MI-KAMI over and over rapidly.
- Repeat AME NO TORIFUNE, from right hanmi.
- Repeat FURUTAMA NO GYO, this time repeating the name OHARAIDO-NO-OKAMI (the Kami charged with the Purification of the Earth).
- Repeat AME NO TORIFUNE, from left hanmi.
- Repeat FURUTAMA NO GYO, this time repeating the name AME-NO-MINAKA-NUSHI-NO-OKAMI. This is the first Kami whose KOTOTAMA brought the entire universe into being. It means “The Divine August Being Who Stands At the Center of the Universe.” This Kami is Pure Consciousness, Pure Act, and Pure Energy and has no form. One of the central aims of Aikido is to unite with this Kami. O’Sensei said that it is the SU point of Creation. In personal terms it is your spiritual and physical center located in the area just below the navel. This is the “golden cauldron where the red blood boils” and where the KOTOTAMA spiral forth. You should always be centered there during the practice of Aikido. (In view of recent discoveries in multfields that we live in muti- omnicentric Universes, each of us may indeed be this Kami. Now realize it.)
- Repeat #1 and clap 4 times as in #2.
- (Optional) Again standing with both feet at shoulders width apart, put your thumbs in your belt or obi and raising up on the bass of the feet, come down on the heels solidly, calling out loudly from the Hara:
- TAMA TSUME MUSUBI
- TARUTOMARI TAMA
- (your own name) followed by TOKOTACHI NO MIKOTO
This is to create the fact and the consciousness that your form and posture have become One with God, and you now take responsibility for being an active participant in Creation. Aikido is Kami Waza. It is a Divine practice transmitted to O’Sensei by the Kami. It’s central purpose is for the person to achieve a state of “KANNAGARA NO MICHI” where you unite with the Kami and act in perfect accord with the Will of the Universe at all times. KANNAGARA NO MICHI is the Divine Blood of the Universe spontaneously welling forth out of the Sacred Heart of the Cosmos. MICHI (which is discussed in the notes) is the Cosmic vitalizing continuum. It is the present biological link between individual man and the Cosmos, including the Kami. The first six chants are related to The Three Fundamental Principles of Aikido in a repeating 1,2,3 pattern and represent the Triangle, the Circle and the Square. (These will be discussed in future notes.) In the final chant above, you are elevating yourself to the level of a Kami. It activates the forces that will allow you to reach your goal. It was this final chant which so totally upset the Japanese students at the time that O’Sensei was forced to make it optional. I know of only two Shihon today who still teach it, even though it is central to this whole practice. It should also be remembered that the very word Kami is KOTOTAMA code for the Union of Fire and Water.
- Again standing with both feet at shoulders width apart, raising up on the balls of the feet, clasp the hands over the head with the fingers interlocked, come down on the heels solidly, and bring the hands down to the point below the navel with a KI-AI using the KOTOTAMA “OOOOOOOO” (as in boot). This should come out like “OOOOOOUHT!” When the hands reach the point below the navel, the index fingers should point upwards from the clasped hands and the energy of the final portion of the KI-AI should shoot the hands above the head.
- With the hands still over the head, slide the palm of the right hand down so that the fingertips are level with the first knuckles of the left, and clap the hands 4 times.
- Bring the hands down with the left clasped over the right to the level of your heart forming a ball of energy, in which you place all of the Ki generated in this practice. Begin to move the hands in a circular motion first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Gradually send the energy out in the four directions, increasing it to eventually encompass all directions.
SHINJI CHINDONKISHIN NO HO ideally should be practiced at sunrise (outdoors weather permitting). Ideally it would be performed after morning prayers and a breathing/KOTOTAMA practice of the 75 Aikido KOTOTAMA sounds. Each of the sections from Part 2 through and including Part 8 should be practiced until there is a sense of completion and a natural flow into the next section. This is then followed by the practice O’Sensei describes in the next paragraph. The total practice time for all of the sections would encompass an hour or more. This may be shortened to fifteen minutes or more for use before Aikido Keiko.
“Sit quietly in either seiza or zazen. Close your eyes and place your hands in the cosmic mudra. First contemplate the manifest realm for twenty minutes, i.e., how the world looks and feels. As you settle down, immerse yourself in the hidden and return to the Source of things, i.e. the Void, formless Center of Creation, Pure Consciousness etc. Remain at the Center as long as you can, working to increase the duration with each practice.”
— Translated by Ward Rafferty ©1997