According to the Home Minister of Bhutan, it is not necessary for the Bhutanese to understand what the term Gross National Happiness refers to or what it means, as long as they are living it. Whereas Weiner, the person who interviewed him, thinks otherwise. Ok, that is how slow I am with the book Geography.Of.Bliss, as I am still at the chapter Bhutan.
It is another one of those form versus substance thing where some would perceive that to understand something, one must understand the terminologies and all all its technical definitions in order to attain it. While another camp would simply just live it and manifest it, never mind if they themselves have never heard of the terms and definitions.
That is the struggle I have with ‘makoto’. ‘Makoto’, is the budo samurai concept of having a pure heart, of doing everything sincerely and wholeheartedly, and of acceptance of everything good and bad positively. By the way, those string of words I have just written, are simply something I regurgitate from whatever explanation my sensei gave. Do I understand it? Yes. Can I try to attain it? Maybe. Living it? Far from it.
So just like the Bhutanese Home Minister and the American researcher Weiner, where they were both at different camps where the understanding and manifesting the GNH standard is concerned, I have that internal struggle with makoto.
Makoto is needed to understand and manifest the concept of Budo correctly. And understanding and manifesting the concept of Budo is essential to a martial artist aiming to live up to the samurai concept, which is the pillar of aikido. I could do none of the above, as I am typing this, unfortunately.
How do I know that I am far from even starting to attain makoto? Well, after the aikido.seminar which we organised, there is this girl from another dojo who started to train with us. Young student still just a foot in her 20s. Truth be told, I find her irritating. So do some of my other dojo mates. But what I chose to do was, to just ignore her. As in just don’t cross her path and if possible have very little contact as I could with her. While the rest of our dojo mates, although they found her irritating as well, bear with her and accepted her as she is. That, I realised is the point where they have a certain level of makoto and I have zilch.
Makoto is to accept something with a sincere pure heart. By ignoring that girl, in an effort so that she would not irritate me, I have demonstrated that I couldn’t just accept something, what more accept with a pure and wholehearted spirit. So yes, I understand the concept of makoto, just like Weiner who understands the concept of GNH, but unlike my dojo mates ( and the Bhutanese for Weiner), I am not living it.
On another note but the same topic, we watched IpMan2 last night with the other aikido couple. I loved IpMan1 to bits and I enjoyed this one tremendously too. If anything, IpMan is someone who displayed and manifested makoto, in the truest sense of the word. A true martial artist inside out.
Ok enough of this makoto talk already. Late night supper last night was at the msg-rich hawker centre at Damansara Utama, where a travelling Hungarian couple who is couch-surfing at the other aikido couple’s house joined us. They are taking a year off to travel around Asia. After spending an evening with them, when we got home, I felt that itch… yes that irrepressible itch to be carefree and wandering yet again. We still have not bought ourselves a house anywhere. So we might still have hope, of not turning into the ol’ boring-ly married suburbia couple syndrome. Not yet.
(At least we know now we have free accomodation in Hungary. Heh :P)