Universal Mind in This Practical World

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  • Title: Universal Mind in This Practical World
  • Author(s): Jonathan Doner
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Religion in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Foundations of Being, Universal Mind, Mind and Body Unification, Ki and Aikido
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i04/15-21
  • Citation: Doner, Jonathan. 2018. "Universal Mind in This Practical World." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 8 (4): 15-21. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i04/15-21.
  • Extent: 7 pages


Universal mind, despite historical links to esoteric metaphysics, can be objectively experienced through a practice called “shin shin toitsu,” meaning mind and body unification. Universal mind became a central element of Eastern thought with the rise of Chan Buddhism in China. Bodhidharma taught that the one, or universal, mind is the foundation of existence. It is unchangeable and imperturbable. Moreover, it is expressed equally whether one is sitting in silence or performing a complex martial art. In Japan, the close historical relationship between religion and the martial arts transformed the concept of universal mind. This paper discusses how, in modern times, the efforts of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido (the way of harmony with ki); Tempu Nakamura, teacher of Japanese yoga; and Koichi Tohei, the founder of Shin Shin Toitsu Do (the way of mind and body unification) have presumably made it possible for anyone to directly experience universal mind within daily life. Then, as a way of evaluating this proposal, the paper analyzes universal mind using the philosophical and psychological principles of Western phenomenology. This sheds new light on both Eastern and Western perspectives.