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Masakazu Ikeda sensei – the art of being human

In life, if you are lucky enough, we come across people that are incredibly human. People that humble and inspire you in the same instant. For me Acupuncture practitioner, scholar and teacher Masakazu Ikeda sensei is one of those people. The following excerpt from an article written by him may give you some insight into his life’s work.

“While developing our skills to treat illnesses, we may also strive to become an acupuncturist that serves as an example for our patients. But patients and healers alike are both human. Is it possible to become a healer that is a model for our patients? And is it even necessary?

I smoke cigarettes, but it is said that smoking is something healers should not do. Why is this so? This is based on the thinking that healers must set an example of living for their patients and that we must outlive our patients. However, this is a very tall order. First of all, is it even possible to become an example for our patients? If it’s not smoking cigarettes, it might be drinking alcohol. People will always have some sort of vice. A person without any vices is a living god. If there are any readers here who fit this description, there is no need for you to continue reading this essay.

Next, there is no guarantee anywhere that a healer will outlive his patients. Because we are not gods, there are instances when a healer will die before his patients. Although it is obvious when you think about it, many healers who espouse this ideal want to stand on a pedestal and preach to their patients. In other words, these people want to let their patients know that they are excellent acupuncturists. There are many acupuncturists of this type who are not skilled at healing. An acupuncturist should not think about what will earn the respect of his patients.

What type of philosophy should a person have to become a healer? One should become an acupuncturist that can cry with his patients. One should become an acupuncturist that can apologize for not being able to cure a patient’s problems. If a reader claims that all of his patients become healed, then that healer is a god.”

-by Masakazu Ikeda sensei