Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Concept of Kendo

At Kenshi247, there is a brief article which is a translation of an esteemed Kendo Hanshi, who was deeply involved in Buddhism. An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

Getting rid of “The Self”
In the end, the worst evil that can infect your kendo shugyo is, from start to end, is “the self.”
In buddhism there is a saying that “worldly desires cannot be extinguished” (煩悩無尽), which means that no matter how you try you can never rid yourself completely of “the self.” The discipline and training required to (even attempt to) remove “the self” is a not an easy one.
All humans have this “self,” that is to say, everyone has “worldly desires.” Living daily life in accordance with these desires leads to a disordered lifestyle with no aim.
If “the self” looks at something beautiful and thinks “it’s beautiful” and leaves it at that, then it’s fine. But if it looks at something that is beautiful and thinks “I want to poesses that,” or looks at something unclean and seeks to avoid it, then that thought becomes part of “the self.”
So, someone who seeks to rid themselves of “the self” should aim to – when seeing something beautiful – think “it’s beautiful” then not give it another thought. The initial thought itself is fine, so it should be left as is. But if someone can’t leave it and thinks “I want it,” then that thought will lead to another thought and yet another… if this happens then the person will be distracted by their thoughts (desires), and their heart and mind trapped by them.
Thus, in our daily lifes we should seek to live in the moment. For example when we are working on a job we should work on it purposefully without being distracted. If you start thinking that the job is silly or useless, then idle thoughts will arise in your mind and become a part of “the self.”
When it comes to kendo you must simply aim to win (see below). Only that. If you think “everyone is watching so I should do my best kendo,” or “I should try and execute a cool technique,” or “I’ll be so embarrassed if I lose to this guy,” or other such thoughts, then you will become lost. These fixations will lead to mistakes (openings), and in those openings you will be struck.
To lose “the self” you need not use power. All you need do is not allow your thoughts to be transfixed by something and lose control of them. Take things one at a time, and do so always. This is called “ichinen-fusho” (一念不生), a state where no obstructive thoughts, feelings, or ideas enters the mind or heart.

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