Otomo is a Japanese tradition among martial art masters. It
is very often confused with Uchideshi (private disciple) because
it is often one of the Uchideshi who performs Otomo. Otomo
is usually considered as a training method for Uchideshi.
It is to take care of the master just like a valet.
However there is a deeper meaning to the practice of Otomo.
Martial arts masters often had enlightenment in meditation.
Enlightenment means that one becomes conscious of one's
inner world and understands that watching one's inner world
is the only way to develop one's life with truth. Some dancers,
painters, actors, musicians and meditation practitioners
achieved this state. Watching one's inner world gives such
a feeling of wellbeing that one does not desire any friendship
or socialisation. One only enjoys his job of art performance
or teaching besides basic life activities like eating, drinking,
sex, taking a walk, etc. This can create a misunderstanding
with other people because of the lack of friendship or social
life. People may consider this as being cold or impolite.
That is why a master needs an Otomo, a person who can make
a bridge between the master and other people.
A master is not interested in social conversation but he
is always ready to teach or to answer questions. The presence
of an Otomo prevents social conversation but gives the possibility
for asking questions. Many dinners continue with social
conversation of one or two hours. The Otomo can take the
master home without bothering people who are enjoying social
Naturally the Otomo can also practice meditation in daily
life while he/she is with the master. It is not important
whether one is enlightened or not because no one knows why
enlightenment happens nor how to enlighten others. The important
thing is to understand life after enlightenment. All philosophers
and artists end up in a way of life which is in the direction
of life after enlightenment. That shows that the life after
enlightenment is the natural goal for all human development.
Here lies the value of enlightenment and meditation.