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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó April 2, 2004

Weekend Living

Warrior for peace

Monk teaches at Zen Buddhist
refuge in Hailey


By Tony Evans
For the Mountain Express

Myohei Genshin Sensei is a paradox in modern western society: a warrior who teaches peace. He is a Soto Zen Buddhist monk who teaches Aikido, a traditional Japanese "Budo," or martial art, "as a way to polish the spirit and awaken beings of peace."

Genshin Sensei translates Budo literally to mean "path or way to end conflict."

Genshin Sensei relaxes at home in the Dojo. Express photo by Tony Evans

After over four decades on the Path of Peace as a warrior and Buddhist teacher in America, Genshin Sensei came to the Wood River Valley 10 years ago to establish Uheijo Dojo, a traditional mountain retreat for all beings seeking peace. He is the spiritual leader and resident teacher of a devoted group of practitioners at Uheijo, a Zen Buddhist refuge in Hailey. Uheijo translates from Japanese to mean "Being Peace Center." The title of Sensei is a title of respect in the Buddhist tradition, which means "one who has gone before."

Genshin Sensei was classically trained by the great Japanese masters of the early 20th Century in Zen Buddhism and the traditional Budo of the Samurai. In addition to his duties as spiritual leader of Uheijo Dojo, Genshin Sensei teaches Aikido as the physical representation of Zen. In his words, "Zen is peace in stillness, Aikido is peace in action."

Aikido, the Art of Peace traces its roots back over 800 years to the Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujitsu tradition of the Shingen Takeda samurai clan. Ueshiba O-Sensei, or the great Teacher, was classically trained as a warrior in the early 20th Century. Genshin Sensei continues this lineage into the 21st Century. Ueshiba-O Sensei experienced the horror and futility of war, both on the battlefield and at home in Japan. Through his spiritual practice and severe martial arts training he came to realize enlightenment, and his vision was to create a warrior art that would allow for the resolution of conflict without the destruction of life. Aikido was that vision. According to Genshin Sensei, "it was a transcendent moment in the history of Japanese Budo."

Aikido translates into English as Spirit of Harmony Path. According to Genshin Sensei itís, "the way of joining or harmonizing your spirit with the spirit of the universe in each moment. In practical terms itís joining your energy with the energy of your opponent, creating "musubi," or a bridge of spirit, which transforms the action of violence into the compassionate action of peace for both. At its highest level it becomes Takemusa Aiki, the ability to spontaneously create the perfect technique or solution that resolves any conflict in a compassionate way to manifest peace.

As Genshin Sensei teaches, "the purpose of all practice is to polish the spirit of its practitioners, whether Zen, Aiki or any other life practice, and awaken as a true human being." In Japanese the word for human being is Hito, which is composed of two characters that mean to be a vessel or container of the light of the universe.

In Genshin Senseiís words, "The Dojo is just a metaphor for life, and Zen and Aiki are just guides to find your way through. The true spirit of compassion cannot manifest in your life or practice until your ego is polished away. In any moment there can be no distinction between self and other, only compassion and love. This is the true path of peace."


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.





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