Budo Secrets

“In true budo, there are no opponents.  In true budo we seek to be one with all things, to return to the heart of creation.  In real budo, there are no enemies.  Real budo is a function of love.  The way of a Warrior is not to destroy and kill but to foster life, to continually create.  Love is the divinity that can really protect us.” ~ Morihei Ueshiba, Budo Secrets

The Four Seasons of Mastery; How Swimming is the Mother of All the Arts.

The Four Seasons of Mastery

The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens

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Water is the source of wisdom; swimming is the mother of all the arts.

Children should be introduced to the sea as early as possible.  Rather than being strictly “taught” how to float and swim, they should be unobtrusively guided at first in order to allow them to gradually acquaint themselves with the mystery of water.

Body and mind must remain flexible.  A calm mind is the single most important element of successful training.  A swimmer must avoid struggling against the water, against him- or herself, or against others.  A trainee must strive to harmonize him- or herself with the waves, becoming one with the body of water, be it a pond, lake, river, or ocean.  Ride the waves with your mind as well as your body.

There are four levels of mastery, symbolized by the four seasons.  In spring, the raw swimmer, bursting with energy and eager to compete, needs discipline and hard physical training.  In summer, the experienced swimmer, now at his or her physical peak, should explore the full dimensions of the art.  In autumn, the mature swimmer can relax a bit, sporting more freely in the water, and reflect on past experiences.  By winter, a true swimmer  has become a wise old master, beyond the limits of victory or defeat, in perfect harmony with the sea, sky, and shore.

Swimming teaches us how to live properly.  There is no way a solitary swimmer can impose his or her selfish will on the water.  Swimming against the current will ultimately result in disaster.  Swim with the flow without strain, resistance, confusion, or unnatural movement.

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Budo Secrets - Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters

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More:  The Nine Views – Traditional Form of Meditation Taught to Samurai  ///  Relax Your Mind; Flow Like A River – A Short Zen Story

The Nine Views – Traditional Form of Meditation Taught to Samurai

Enso

Enso – The “Circle of Zen.”

The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens

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1 – Observe the Fundamental Rules
There is an etiquette to sitting meditation.  One can sit either in seiza (formal Jamanese style on the knees, in the lotus posture, or in a straight-backed chair.  One first needs to learn the rules for a proper meditation posture.

2 – Breathe from the Belly
The breath should be centered in the kikai tanden, a point about two inches beneath the navel.  Breathing should be slow, rhythmic, and calm.

3 – Soothe the Spirit
As one settles down, petty thoughts, distracting emotions, and mental agitation should gradually melt away.

4 – Fulfillment
As worldly thoughts dissipate, one should fill the body with ki (life force) from the top of one’s head to the bottom of one’s feet.  There should be a sense of completeness.

5 – Natural Wisdom
If one is calm, undisturbed, and unagitated, things can be seen in their true light, and this leads to the development of natural wisdom.

6 – Liberation
This means to to get caught up or snared by any particular object, physical or mental.  It is a state of freedom.

7 – True Void
Just like a cloudless sky, the mind is clear and bright – its true state.  Usually the limitless sky is obscured by clouds, sometimes very dark and thick, and this makes human beings downcast.  Penetrate the clouds, however, and the light can be seen in full glory.

8 – Marvelous Function
For a realization to be authentic, one must be able to apply it in the actual world.   True understanding is reflected in one’s technique and also in one’s daily life.  This is the real battlefield where one’s enlightenment is constantly tested.

9 – Perfection
The Japanese term for this final “view” is enso, the “circle of Zen.”  The circle is both perfectly empty and perfectly full; it is simultaneously transcendent and immanent.

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Proper understanding of these “Nine Views” leads to the insight that “the way of heaven is to achieve victory without fighting.”

Budo Secrets - Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters

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More:   Relax Your Mind; Flow Like A River – A Short Zen Story  ///  The Pointer – A Short Zen Story  ///  See the Glass as Already Broken (and Everything Else Too)

 

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