Category Archives: Kotodama

O’Sensei no Kuden: Kototama(2)

Understand the relationships between sounds and incorporate them into the physical techniques of aikido.

– – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, recorded by André Nocquet Shihan in his Hombu training diary, 1955-57. Published in Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message p.77

…AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU in Shinden (2)!!!…


TAKA-AMA-HARA is a way of seeing the world…

Now, what we call “Taka-Ama-Hara”  is a way of looking at the [natural] universe. It is a way of looking at it that arrays everything around you as a living thing. [The words that come next:]  “Kami tsumarimasu” ( “the Kami are gathered here”) are about the order and clarity that arise from this way of seeing.

Now, if we were to define “Taka-Ama-Hara” in just one phrase, it would be:  the words we use to talk about the complete fulfillment and consummation of the vast expanse of the whole wide world and the celestial sphere.  So that when you contemplate this “Taka-Ama-Hara,”  which is absolutely fundamental to the ongoing, real-time, continuing process of  creation in the “now”, and of living transformation… when you understand and appreciate everything that surrounds you from the heart of – and with the mind of  this “Taka-Ama-Hara,” then you become a child of the Kami, a living offshoot of the Kami, with your own special task and individuality… and Aikido can be a place where this happens.

– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui,  pp.111-112

TAKA-AMA-HARA…from the Kujiki-72…

The very manner in which you, yourself, protect and  nurture [your connection to]  TAKA-AMA-HARA  is a place where you can find the Way. Your own body originates in a coming-together of Heaven and Earth – – – from the Heavenly sphere: your head; in the direction of the Earth: your feet; from the Nine Emperor Gods of the Big Dipper (seven visible and two invisible): your hara and your guts; from the North Pole itself: your seven bodies (shichi-dai)… in one year there are twelve branches: the South Pole is in your left hand and forearm’s bones; and the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper are in your right hand and forearm’s bones;  the broad expanses of your back are the Heavenly hidden mountains,  and when you feel the great god of the sea, Watatsumi Kami, in your hara, then all the kami gather round and your sense of self disappears – and actually, with their aid, this is something that happens easily:  the one thing is, your barriers disappear – your filters disappear – and your sense of your own body being a separate thing disappears. You become exactly the same in two worlds at the same time, and in fact, becoming the same in both those two worlds is precisely what is meant by ‘a Way’ and ‘the Way’… or ‘the Tao‘.

–  – – from the Kujiki-72,  Chapter Eight



TAKA-AMA-HARA …and the chant begins…

…the meaning of ‘TAKA-AMA-HARA’ may be grasped in the world of the spirit, in the Dharma world, and in what people like to call the “physical” world – in any or all of these. The way these three words are used varies – to a greater or lesser degree – according to the time and the place,  and these various meanings  are often mutually contradictory. On one hand it is said to be the boundless and perfect, pure, innocent “emptiness” that is the immediate reality of every part of this great, natural universe…  but it is also said to be the true, really real reality that is the actual content of this “emptiness”… or, again,  its organized,  constituted, fully-realized, material body.  These are all, in their way, metaphysical ‘TAKA-AMA-HARA’s’.  But the fundamental  metaphysical truth of this ‘TAKA-AMA-HARA’ was grasped, a long, long time ago, at the court of the ancient Emperors of Japan – and this is the teaching that has been passed on from ancient times, from age to age… and wise men and sages of every time have benefited from it, and thus it has guided and preserved our culture. ‘TAKA-AMA-HARA’ originally comes from the Futonorito arrangement of the Fifty Sounds.  It is the top line of the chart, which gives the order: “TA-KA-MA-HA-RA-NA-YA-SA“. And in this particular context: “TA-KA-MA-HA-RA” is to be read and interpreted – and intoned – as “TA-KA-A-MA-HA-RA”.

– – – Koji Ogasawara,   Kototama Hyakushin,   p. 18

* – * – *

TA-KA-A-MA-HA-RA ni Kamu tsumarimasu…

…Kamurogi Kamuromi no mikoto mochite. Sume mi-oya Kamu


Tsukushi no Himuka no Tachibana no Odo no Ahagihara ni misogi harae tamaishi toki ni aremaseru


Moromoro no magagoto tsumi kegare o harai tamae kiyome tamae to maosu koto no yoshi wo. Amatsu Kami Kunitsu Kami, yaoyorozu no Kamitachi tomo ni kikoshi-mese to. Kashikomi kashikomi mo maosu!

– – – MISOGI-NO-O-HARAI-NO-KOTOBA   Tsubaki O-Kami Yashiro tradition

* – * – *

TA-KA-A-MA-HA-RA ni mototsumi oyasume O-Kami…

…Amata no Kamigami o tsudoete toko to wa ni Kami tsumarimasu, Kamurogi Kamuromi no mikoto mochite. Kamu


Tsukushi no Himuka no Tachihana no Odo no Ahagi ga hara ni misogi harai tamau toki ni narimaseru


Moromoro no magakoto tsumi kegare o harai tamae kiyome tamae to maosu koto no yoshi wo. Amatsu Kami Kunitsu Kami, yaoyorozu no Kamitachi tomo ni,


furi-tatete kikoshi-mese to. Kashikomi kashikomi mo maosu!

Kannagara tamashi haemase!

Kannagara tamashi haemase!

– – – AMATSU NORITO   Omoto-kyo  tradition



– – from Andre Nocquet’s notes…

The first scroll of the Kojiki offers a perfectly logical order, and can be summarized as follows:

kojikiFIRSTPAGESMALLEverything originates from the state which preceded “the beginnings of Heaven and Earth: TAKAMA-NO-HARA or AMA-NO-HARA“, or, as the Hindu scriptures tell it: there was neither existence nor non-existence: Nirguna Brahman, which the Nihongi calls “Sora: Emptiness”, in Chinese: “Wu“.

Then there appeared the Center around which Heaven formed itself: “AME-NO-MINAKA-NUSHI: the Master of the August Center of the Heavens”, who is called “Saguna, Brahma” in India.

There follows then the Principle of the emergence of life, the Initial Agency or generating Ki of the universe, the universal cosmic Breath [Kokyu], of bipolar aspect, consisting of “TAKA-MI-MUSUBI: the vital force”, [and KAMI-MUSUBI .]  Which are primordial for the “Kamurogi“, of yang aspect, and their accompanying “Kamuromi“, of yin aspect. These two kami,  who are the “productive forces”, constitute the two opposing and complementary potentialities which contain in themselves the seeds of all life: KAMI-
MUSUBI, “who embodies Life”, and TAKA-MI-MUSUBI, “who embodies the aware Mind”…

– – – J-D. Cauhépé and A. Kuang,  Shobu aïki. La victoire selon l’art chevaleresque de Morihei Ueshiba, p. 50

….the Marvelous Effect of Kotodama…

It is in your own  “soul” – as they say – that all the mysteries and secrets are to be found.  Your own, truest reality is is not to be found from reading in books – you will find that it is to be found in practices and prayers.  So that in the end you will discover that:  it is in living in the now that your own true reality is to be found – and, for sure, intellectual knowledge and learning will not get you there – and that it is in your own blood, in your own body  –  when you can manifest the Marvelous Effect of kotodama – that the life and soul that belongs to you will shine.out brightly.

So – the Marvelous Effect of kotodama – – – is that, being awakened to that great Love which fills  your life and soul with creative energy – and pursuing  many, many pursuits and studies – and being awakened to your mission in life…  is the place where you can unfailingly manifest love and affection, and are passionate in every aspect of your life and in every faculty of your soul – and then this becomes the passionate utterance, the battle cry of your own soul, and of your own life.  And when you  manifest this great Love that makes everything sacred, then you can pursue the arts, science, politics or economics as a unique, extraordinary human-being – and it is as if you are embued with the kami, manifesting Heavenly works.  And it is in this way that vitality of the soul and kotodama are inseparable.  And you can see this in me:  when I use a sword, when I perform shugyo, it  manifests in exactly this way.

– – – O’Sensei,  reported by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan,  Densho no Tomoshibi,  p. 151

…Kotodama of the Jo!!!…

What counts is the quality of our inner sensitivity. To be able to feel from where precisely comes the gesture that I am making: that is what is truly alive and perpetually becoming: an  [always]  fresh view of a thousand-times-repeated movement.

– – – Masamichi Noro Shihan, forward to Le Kinomichi – Du mouvement à la création – Rencontre avec Masamichi Noro by Raymond Murcia,  p.8

…KOTODAMA of Great Nature…














“…you will be able to understand
wind in the pines
the many sounds of the waves…
every sound that does not exist –
and consequently every sound that is actually sounded …”

– – – Shido Yamaguchi,  from the MIZUHO-NO-TSUTAE,  Hi no Maki  fascicle I,   pp. 1-2