Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sources of Bushido

"A foremost teacher of swordsmanship, when he saw his pupil master the utmost of his art, told him, 'Beyond this my instruction must give way to Zen teaching.' 'Zen' is the Japanese equivalent for the Dhyana, which 'represents human effort to reach through meditation zones of thought beyond the range of verbal expression.' Its method is contemplation, and its purport, as far as I understand it, to be convinced of a principle that underlies all phenomena, and, if it can, of the Absolute itself, and thus to put oneself in harmony with this Absolute."
-- Bushido, Inazo Nitobe.
Cited at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12096/12096-8.txt

Bushido is on my list of eight essential budo books. This passage addresses one of the most important ideas in traditional martial arts training: that Zen concepts are a natural extension of physical training, and that sufficient practice and contemplation of these concepts can help to "put one . . . in harmony with [the] Absolute."

Fighting practice can bring you closer to perfection of character? Great!

Nicklaus Suino teaches iaido and other martial arts at seminars throughout North America. Information about his seminars can be found at www.artofjapaneseswordsmanship.com. He teacher iaido, judo, and jujutsu at the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan.

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