Sunday, February 8, 2009

Eastern Sun Academy visit

Students, parents and teachers from the Eastern Sun Academy visited the dojo today. Shibata Sensei gave them a lesson in Japanese history, including some graphic descriptions of the 47 samurai who committed seppuku -- a strong diet for 8-year-olds, but it held everyone's attention. He described kyudo as completely different from sports or fighting forms. In kyudo one isn't working to perfect something (like getting a 100% on a test) or to beat someone else. Instead, it is a conversation with one's own heart. Through kyudo practice, we look into a mirror, but it's not like an ordinary mirror where we merely see our faces or fix our hair. It's something much deeper, a way to see not only our front selves, but what is behind and within. In practice, we can check ourselves to see whether we are on a clear path or if we are holding some tricky or mistaken ideas.

He told the children that loyalty is very important and one aspect of loyalty is to love your country. Only if you love your country can you offer help. Now, he said, America is experiencing a great economic downturn. The way to real recovery is through this conversation with our hearts and becoming strong from that clarity. He added that we are fortunate now to have someone in power in this country, Obama, who has a bit of the feeling of Abraham Lincoln (Sensei's all time favorite US president).

Vajra Rich and Bryant Lord (pictured above) provided demonstrations for the visitors who in turn expressed appreciation and gratitude after the warm gathering.

[From Carolyn Kanjuro]

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