|Saturday, December 7, 2002|
はるか昔にダージリンの丘に学校をたてた宣教師は 全ての人間の人生において二つの基礎となる要求があるといった - 清潔さと知識である -
By VIVIENNE KENRICK
A European missionary who many years ago established a school in the hill station of Darjeeling said every person has two basic requirements in life: cleanliness and books.
Mitsunori Seino, quiet, calm and thoughtful, agrees with that dictum. Perhaps childhood in the bracing weather of Aomori disposed him towards vigor, and awareness of physical fitness and cleanliness. The son of a school teacher and the youngest of five children, from an early age he began practicing karate and judo. The mental disciplines, which stress purity of mind, were as important to him as the physical skills.
As it became time for him to choose a career, and motivated by a desire to be useful, Seino turned to books for guidance. He decided on acupuncture. "Needling," he explained, "began in China in the centuries before Christ, and came with Chinese medicine to Japan. An acupuncturist inserts needles into different spots of the human body in order to treat various disorders. Recently acupuncture has become very popular in Europe and the U.S.A., as well as in Asia."
As he continued, Seino felt that his need for spiritual peace and assurance was still not being met. By chance he saw a televised program on Indian yoga. Impressed, he sought out books again, and bought several on the subject. They led him to the Ghosh Yoga Institute in Shinjuku, where he was interviewed by Jibananda Ghosh, founder with his wife, Karuna, of the institute, which is now 29 years old. Seino already knew that the Ghosh lineage was a long one, and the name in Calcutta well known and highly respected. "My interview was a private, personal one, designed to find out a lot about me," Seino said. "After I answered questions about my health and beliefs, Ghosh made up an individual program to suit me, and I began regular practice of yoga postures and breathing exercises."
Beginning with a regular 5:30 a.m. class, he embarked on learning hatha yoga, said to be 5,000 years old. This "yoga of force" bases its doctrines on a theory that each person possesses within himself a divine strength that will always stay dormant unless it is deliberately activated. Through a system of physical and mental practices, a follower aims to awaken his divine strength, and eventually develop his will until it achieves complete mastery of his body. An accomplished yogi may claim to be able to command his mind to control his heartbeats, and to keep him alive for protracted periods without food or water and even without breathing. For the everyday life of an average practitioner with usual desires, the control of mind and body leads to good health, clear thinking and longevity.
Enrolling in the Ghosh Yoga Institute brought Seino into the orbit of outstanding yoga instructors. Jibananda and Karuna Ghosh came from their parent institute, the Ghosh Yoga college of Calcutta, to open their center in Tokyo. In time they opened branches throughout Japan, and operated centers in newspaper, television and government offices. They extended their influence also to a base in Italy, and to one in Australia, where their daughter is in charge whilst pursuing medical studies. They established the Indo-Japanese Association in Tokyo and Calcutta, and through it promote Japanese culture in Calcutta.
Seino says he receives from yoga increased energy, confidence and a serene ability to cope with whatever comes along. He introduced his wife and two children to yoga training, and says he sees its benefits in all of them. Each year his family takes part in the Ghosh winter and summer camps. They help with the institute's bazaars, and go with other devotees on picnics and outings. They especially enjoy the annual cross-cultural variety program that the institute presents. During the program, the semifinals and finals of the annual yoga posture competition take place.
Seino says yoga asks for no particular religious commitment. It makes no particular dietary rules either, but he rejoices that, from her association with Karuna Ghosh, his wife has learned to cook excellent vegetable and chicken curries. He thinks that yoga has made him a better acupuncturist, and a better adviser to his patients. He wants to go to Calcutta and practice yoga by the side of the Ganges River. "I shall find the roots of Oriental culture there," he said.
Japanese Yoga Magazine tel: (03) 3352-1307 'Woore at the Borders' Vivienne Kenrick's latest book, "Woore at the Borders," recounts the history and connections of the Kenrick family with the village Woore in Shropshire, England. The late Douglas Kenrick, lord of the manor, was the first New Zealand businessman in postwar Japan and president of the Asiatic Society of Japan. The book is available at the Foreign Correspondents' Press Club, tel. (03) 3211-3161, and from Vivienne, fax (03) 3280-2485.
The Japan Times: Dec. 7, 2002