In 1918 O’Sensei joined the Omotokyo Religion that had been established by the Rev. Onisaburo Deguchi. The following year he moved his entire family to Ayabe where the Omotokyo Headquarters were located. In Ayabe, O’Sensei lived, studied with Deguchi and taught Aiki-jujitsu until 1926.
It was at Ayabe that O’Sensei spoke of experiencing a spititual awakening. It was in the spring of 1925, when O’Sensei was taking a walk in the garden after having just been engaged in a “fight” with a naval officer who had come to visit him. The officer who was a professor of fencing, was armed with a wooden sword whereas O’Sensei was unarmed. However, each time the officer tried to strike him, O’Sensei was able to avoid the weapon, until the officer gave up, totally exhausted. His son, Kissomaru Ueshiba wrote of O’Sensei recalling this experience in his book “The Spirit of Aikido” (p. 39) as follows:
“It was nothing. Just a matter of clarity of mind and body. When the opponent attacked, I could see a flash of white light, the size of a pebble. flying before the sword. I could see clearly that when a white light gleamed, the sword would follow immediately. All I did was avoid the streams of white light.”
The incident had a profound effect on O’Sensei. Kissomaru Ueshiba writing in his book “Aikido” (p 154) recalled O’Sensei saying:
“I felt that the universe suddenly quaked, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one.
At the same time my mind and body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the Creator of this universe. At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God’s love – the spirit of loving protection for all beings. Endless tears of joy streamed down my cheeks.
Since that time I have grown to feel that the whole earth is my house and the sun, the moon and the stars are all my own things. I had become free from all desire not only for position, fame and property, but also to be strong.
I understood, “Budo is not felling the opponent by our force; nor is it a tool to lead the world into destructions with arms. True budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in Nature.“
I understood, “The training of budo is to take God’s love which correctly produces, protects and cultivates all things in Nature, and assimilate and utilize it in our own mind and body“.