A First Zen Reader, Legett, Trevor;
E. Tuttle, Rutland, Vermont. ISBN: 0-8048-0180-0.
"The Taoist classic Tsaikondan
says: `The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only
when there is stillness in movement can the spiritual rhythm appear
which pervades heaven and earth.'" (AFZR, p.132).
"An ancient sage said: `Meditation
in activity is a hundred, a thousand, a million times superior to
meditation in repose.'" (AFZR, p.132).
(AFZR, p. 132), "The Sutra teaches
that by the practice of meditation the lake of the heart becomes pure
and calm, and when the lake of the ordinary man's heart becomes pure,
the reflection that appears within it is of a Bodhisattva. When the
wellspring of the heart is purified, the wrong paths which otherwise
appear as a result of his wrong actions, to that man become as if
non-existent. How should there be wrong paths for him? The Pure
Land is not far. As the phrase goes `This heart becomes the
meditation room.' The world of light, of virtue, appears, and now
our daily life has a changed meaning. In fact, for the first time
our ordinary life becomes radiant with real meaning."
(AFZR, p. 150), An ancient sage says:
`The Way is not attained by mindfulness (Yu-shin), nor
will it be attained by mindlessness (Mu-shin); it is
not reached by purity and silence, and to be even a fraction involved
in verbal concepts is to be a thousand, a million miles away.' Again
it is said: ' Zen is not words and phrases. Nor is there an
exclusive creed to give people. Under this doctrine you cannot
insert even a hair. It is direct grasping. The Buddhas of the three
worlds draw in their tongues; the great patriarchs gulp back their
words.' This is the real turning of the light within and directly
experiencing one's own nature."
(AFZR, p. 215) "Japanese Buddhists
had a keen spiritual intuition of the importance of relating Buddhism
to daily life. Acting on hints in the Indian and Chinese traditions,
these developed what are call Do or Ways.
These are fractional applications of enlightenment to arts and
activities in the world. They spiritualized the arts of war such as
fencing and archery, and turned the household accomplishments of
flower arrangement and making tea into vehicles for spiritual
(AFZR, p. 216) "There is a body of
traditional instruction on spiritual development in the Ways, most of
it orally transmitted to chosen pupils only. Sometimes a hidden or
secret transmission is passed on in writing, but mainly in the form
of cryptic sentences unintelligible without an oral explanation. "
(AFZR, p. 221) "The Masters also
hold that as the secret of the Ways is fundamentally one, an expert
in, say, the tea ceremony will be able to understand the innermost
secrets of fencing, though naturally he may not be able to express
them perfectly by manipulating a sword."
A Zen Tale:
(AFZR, p. 235-236) "CHESS: A
young man who had a bitter disappointment in life went to a remote
monastery and said to the abbot: `I am disillusioned with life and
wish to attain enlightenment to be freed from these sufferings. But
I have no capacity for sticking at anything. I could never do long
years of meditation and study and austerity; I should relapse and be
drawn back to the world again, painful though I know it to be. Is
there any short way for people like me?' `There is,' said the abbot,
`if you are really determined. Tell me, what have you studied, what
have you concentrated on most in life?' `Why, nothing really. We
were rich, and I did not have to work. I suppose the thing I was
really interest in was chess. I spent most of my time at that.'
"The abbot thought for a moment,
and then said to his attendant: `Call such-and-such a monk, and tell
him to bring a chessboard and men.' The monk came with the board and
the abbot set up the men. He sent for a sword and showed it to the
two. `O monk,' he said, `you have vowed obedience to me as your
abbot, and now I require it of you. You will play a game of chess
with this youth, and if you lose I shall cut off your head with this
sword. But I promise that you will be reborn in paradise. If you
win, I shall cut off the head of this man; chess is the only thing he
has ever tried hard at, and if he loses he deserves to lose his head
also.' They looked at the abbot's face and saw that he meant it: He
would cut off the head of the loser.
"They began to play. With the
opening moves the youth felt the sweat trickling down to his heels as
he played for his life. The chessboard becomes the whole world; he
was entirely concentrated on it. At first he had somewhat the worst
of it, but then the other made an inferior move and he seized his
chance to launch a strong attack. As his opponent's position
crumbled, he looked covertly at him. He saw a face of intelligence
and sincerity, worn with years of austerity and effort. He thought of
his own worthless life, and a wave of compassion came over him. He
deliberately made a blunder and then another blunder, ruining his
position and leaving himself defenseless.
"The abbot suddenly leaned forward
and upset the board. The two contestants sat stupefied. `There is no
winner and no loser,' said the abbot slowly, `there is no head to
fall here. Only two things are required,' and he turned to the young
man, `complete concentration, and compassion. You have today learned
them both. You were completely concentrated on the game, but then in
that concentration you could feel compassion and sacrifice your life
for it. Now stay here a few months and pursue our training in this
spirit and your enlightenment is sure.' He did so and got it."
The Title below says it all. One of the most
important works on the subject!
(Note: I first shared this great classic book around 1988 and since that time many have
quoted from it and used pages from it to promote their schools or organization conventions. Before then, terms such as Yugen,
Miao, or Satori were virtually unknown.)
Zen and the Japanese Culture, Suzuki, D.T;
1959, Bollingen, New York.
(Z&JC, p.145) "The sword is
generally associated with killing, and most of us wonder how it can
come into connection with Zen, which is a school of Buddhism teaching
the gospel of love and mercy. The fact is that the art of
swordsmanship distinguishes between the sword that kills and the
sword that gives life. The one that is used by a technician cannot go
any further than killing, for he never appeals to the sword unless he
intends to kill. The case is altogether different with the one who is
compelled to life the sword. For it is really not he but the sword
itself that does the killing. He has no desire to do harm to anybody,
but the enemy appears and makes himself a victim. It is as though the
sword performs automatically its function of justice, which is the
function of mercy...When the sword is expected to play this sort of
role in human life, it is no more a weapon of self-defense or an
instrument of killing, and the swordsman turns into an artist of the
first grade, engaged in producing a work of genuine originality."
(Z&JC, p.146) "When the sword
is in the hands of a technician-swordsman skilled in its use, it is
no more than an instrument with no mind of its own. What it does is
done mechanically, with no mind of its own. What it does is done
mechanically, and there is no Myoyu discernible in it.
But when the sword is held by the swordsman whose spiritual
attainment is such that he holds it as though not holding it, it is
identified with the man himself, it acquires a soul, it moves with
all the subtleties which have been imbedded in him as a swordsman.
The man emptied of all thoughts, all emotions originating from fear,
all sense of insecurity, all desire to win, is not conscious of using
the sword; both man and sword turn into instruments in the hands, as
it were, of the unconscious, and it is this unconscious that achieves
wonders of creativity. It is here that swordplay becomes an art."
(Z&JC p. 140) Myoyo means
"something defying the challenge of man's thinking powers. It is
a mode of activity which comes directly out of one's inmost self
without being intercepted by the dichotomous intellect. The act is so
direct and immediate that intellection finds no room here to insert
itself and cut it to pieces."
(Z&JC,p.147) Tajima no kami
(1571-1646) taught that "the mind that is no mind is the last
stage in the art of swordplay. `To be of no-mind' (Mu-shin)
means the `everyday mind' (heijo-shin), and when this
is attained, everything goes on well. In the beginning, one naturally
endeavors to do his best in handling the sword, as in learning any
other art. The technique has to be mastered. But as soon as his mind
is fixed on anything, for instance if he desires to do well, or to
display his skill, or to excel others, or if he is too anxiously bent
on mastering his art, he is sure to commit more mistakes than are
actually necessary. Why? Because his self-consciousness or
ego-consciousness is too conspicuously present over the entire range
of his attention - which fact interferes with a free display of
whatever proficiency he has so far acquired or is going to acquire.
He must get rid of this obtruding self- or ego-consciousness and
apply himself to the work to be done as if nothing particular were
taking place at the moment. When things are performed in a state of
`no-mind' (Mushin) or `no-thought' (Munen),
which means the absence of all modes of self- or ego-consciousness,
the actor is perfectly free from inhibitions and feels nothing
thwarting his line of behavior.
(Z&JC p.148) Yagyu Tajima no kami
"really intends is to free the mind from every possible psychic
obstruction or inhibition and to restore it to its pristine purity in
order to display its native activities to the utmost limit. In the
case of swordsmanship, this is to sharpen the psychic power of seeing
in order to act immediately in accordance with what it sees. Tajima
no kami thinks that the seeing must first take place in the mind, and
then it is transmitted to the eyes, and finally to the body and
(Z&JC p.95) "In the case of
swordsmanship, for instance, when the opponent tries to strike you,
your eyes at once catch the movement of his sword and you may strive
to follow it. But as soon as this takes place, you cease to be master
of yourself and you are sure to be beaten. This is called `stopping'.
[But there is another way of meeting the opponent's sword.] No doubt
you see the sword about to strike you, but do not let your mind
`stop' there. Have no intention to counterattack him in response to
his threatening move, cherish no calculating thoughts whatever. You
simply perceive the opponent's move, you do not allow your mind to
`stop' with it, you move on just as you are toward the opponent and
make use of his attack by turning it on to himself. Then his sword
meant to kill you will become your won and the weapon will fall on
the opponent himself. In Zen, this is known as `seizing the enemy's
spear and using it as the weapon to kill him'...When you set yourself
against him, your mind will be carried away by him. Therefore, do not
even think of yourself."
(Z&JC p.66n) "`Katsu!'
is pronounced `Ho!' in modern Chinese. In Japan when it is actually
uttered by the Zen people, it sounds like `Katz! ' or
`Kwatz! ' - long a somewhat like in `ah!' and tz like
tz in German `Blitz'. It is primarily a meaningless
ejaculation. Since its first use by Baso Coichi, from whom it may be
said that Zen made its real start in China, it came to be extensively
used by the Zen masters.
(Z&JC, p.145n) "Rinzai Gigen
distinguishes four kinds of `Katsu!' (Ho
in Chinese), and one of them is likened to the sacred sword of
Vajraraja, which cuts and puts to death anything dualistic appearing
(Z&JC p.205) "Mr. Takano
Shigeyoshi, is one of the greatest swordsmen modern Japan has
produced. While writing about a bamboo sword in a short essay
recently, Mr. Takano refers to the psychology of swordplay. `When I
have a bamboo sword most suited to my personal taste in respect of
weight, formation, tone, etc., I can enter more readily into a state
of identity where my body and the sword I hold become one. It goes
without saying that as soon as one cherishes the thought of winning
the contest or displaying one's skill in technique, swordsmanship is
doomed. When all these thoughts are done away with, including also
the idea of the body, on can realize the state of oneness in which
you are the sword and the sword is you - for there is no more
distinction between the two. This is what is known as the psychology
of Muga ("no-ego" or "no-mind").
This perhaps corresponds to what Buddhism calls a state of emptiness.
It is then that all thoughts and feelings, which are likely to hinder
the freest operation of whatever technique one has mastered, are
thoroughly purged, and one returns to one's "original mind"
divest of its bodily encumbrances.'
(Z&JC p.206) "What may be
called Mr. Takano's `super-psychology' of self-identity fitly
describes the perfect swordsman's mind when he actually confronts the
opponent. As long as he is conscious of holding the sword and
standing opposed to an object and is trying to make use of all the
technique of swordplay he has learned, he is not the perfect player.
He must forget that he has an individual body known as `Takano' and
that a part of it holds the sword, which he is to employ against
another individuated body. He now has no sword, no body. But this
does not mean that all has vanished into a state of nothingness, for
these is most decidedly something that is moving, acting, and
thinking. This is what Mr. Takano and other swordsmen, the Taoist and
Buddhist philosophers, designate as `the original mind' (Honshin),
or `the mind of an infant' (akago no kokoro), or `the true man'
(Shinjin; chen-jen in Chinese), or `the perfect man'
(Shijin; chih-jen), or `the original face' (honrai
no memmoku; pen-lai mien-mu).
"This mysterious `non-existent'
quiddity `thinks and acts' without thinking and acting, for according
to Mr. Takan `he' perceives every thought that is going on in the
mind of `one who stands opposed', as if it were his own, and `he'
(Z&JC p.208) "A monk name
Henkei replied to a query, `Have you never heard of how the perfect
man (chih-jen) behaves himself? He forgets his own viscera, he is not
conscious of his own bodily existence. He saunters away from a world
of defilement as if he did not belong to it, he engages himself in
every kind of activity as if he were not engaged in it at all...In
your case you make a show of your intelligence, which frightens the
backward people; you take to moral discipline which brings out
defects in others. You act as shiningly as if the sun or the moon is
fully out. "
220, "Life is indeed full of mysteries, and wherever there is a
feeling of the mysterious, we can say there is Zen in one sense or
another. This is known among the artists as shin-in
the taking hold of which constitutes satori.
(emphasis added, ed.)
"Every art has its mystery, its spiritual
as the Japanese would call it. (emphasis added, ed.)
Zen Way to the Martial Arts, Deshimaru, Taisen;
Dutton, New York. ISBN:
comment: This is a rather small book, full of meaning and insight. Reading it is like sitting at the feet of a Master and
The Zen Way to the Martial Arts
Taisen Deshimaru (ZWMA, p.2) "Master Deshimaru emphasizes that
the true Martial Arts take their spirit from Budo rather than from
sports: `I have nothing against sport, they train the body and
develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and
power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted
vision of life. The root of the Martial Arts is not there...In the
spirit of Zen and Budo everyday life becomes the contest. There must
be awareness at every moment - getting up in the morning, working,
eating, going to bed. That is the place for the mastery of self.'"
(ZWMA, p13) "Bushido, the way of
the samurai, grew out of the fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism. This
way can be summarized in seven essential principles:
1.) Gi: the right decision, taken with
equanimity, the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must
2.) Yu: bravery tinged with heroism.
3.) Jin: universal love, benevolence
toward mankind; compassion.
4.) Rei: right action - a most
essential quality, courtesy.
5.) Makoto: utter sincerity;
6.) Melyo: honor and glory.
7.) Chugo: devotion, loyalty.
These are the seven principles
underlying the spirit of Bushido, Bu – Martial Arts; shi - warrior;
do - Way."
(ZWMA, P15) Shojin is the
first stage, a period during which the will and consciousness are
involved in practice: in the beginning they are necessary. In Budo as
in Zen, this stage lasts three to five years - in olden day, it was
ten years. Throughout those ten years one had to continue practicing
zazen with one's will, although sometimes after only three or five
years of true practice, the master would give the Shiho,
the transmission. In those days people had to live permanently in the
temple and participate in the Sesshins (intensive Zen
training - Ed.)."
(ZWMA, p46-47) "Zen and the way
have flowed together, so most of the great Zen masters speak of Do
and never employ the word Zen, which is largely a Western usage."
(ZWMA, p49) "In the Martial Arts,
work on technique is indispensable, usually for ten or twenty years.
But ultimately, state of mind or consciousness takes precedence...The
link between mind and body, spirit and posture, mind and waza, is
breathing. Breathing becomes Ki (energy, the spring), like the Ki in
Aikido. In Budo, three essential things are technique (waza),
activity (Ki), and mind/spirit (shin)."
(ZWMA, p51) "The true way of the
Budo is not through competition or conflict; it is beyond life and
death, beyond victory and defeat. The secret of the sword is never to
unsheathe the sword: you must not take out your sword because if you
try to kill someone, you must die for it yourself. What you must do
instead is kill yourself, kill your own mind; then other people are
afraid and run away. You are the strongest and the others keep their
distance. It is no longer necessary to win victories over them."
(ZWMA, p55) "Zazen means
returning, completely, to the pure, normal human condition. That
condition is not something reserved for great masters and saints,
there is nothing mysterious about it, it is within everyone's reach.
Zazen means becoming intimate with oneself, finding the exact taste
of inner unity, and harmonizing with universal life."
(ZWMA, p64) "Through the practice
of zazen we learn to experience direct, natural relationships that
are not affected by our egos; and we also learn the virtues of
silence. Body and mind recover their natural unity. `Out of silence
rises up immortal spirit.'"
(ZWMA, p72) "Zen and the Martial
Arts have nothing to do with keeping fit or improving health,
either...And Zen is not some sort of spiritual massage...Zazen is not
meant to make you feel relaxed and happy, any more than the Martial
Arts are a game or sport. Their significance is deeper and more
essential, it is that of life. Of death as well, since the two cannot
p76) "In Budo the concept
of Sutemi is essential. Sute: abandon; mi: body. It means `discard,
throw away, abandon the body'. There are a number of schools of
kendo, but Sutemi, abandoning the body, is common to them all...they
all teach Sutemi, abandoning the body, letting go of it, forgetting
the ego and following nothing but the cosmic system. Abandon
attachments, personal desires, ego. Then you can guide the ego
objectively. Even if you fall down, you must not be afraid or
anxious. You must concentrate here and now and not save your energy
for another time. Everything must come from here and now. The body
moves naturally, automatically, unconsciously, without any personal
intervention or awareness."
(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Is the spirit
of all Martial Arts the same? The same spirit can and should be found
in every gesture of life. The techniques of fighting differ. But if
waza, ki and shin (technique, energy, and attitude of mind) do not
form one single whole there can be no right action."
(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Is that true of
judo too? It's true of all the Martial Arts and ultimately of every
act of life. Judo existed in Japan before the birth of Christ and
became a true science, a complete Art; the Art of knowing how to use
the adversary's strength, and also of knowing all the nerve centers."
(ZWMA, p90) Mondo "Where are they?
Many points must be kept secret; it is the responsibility of your
Martial Arts masters to teach them to you according to the stage of
(ZWMA, p98) "The true, traditional
Martial Arts training strengthens Ki, destroys egoism and fear, moves
the student beyond dualism, and develops Mushin consciousness,
consciousness that has forgotten the self. It's not necessary to want
to win; only then can one win. Abandoning the ego is the secret of
right living. In life as in the practice of the Martial Arts it is
important to strengthen the will and develop strength and skill. But
the main thing is to strengthen the spirit and find freedom. Mushin -
(ZWMA, p101) "Concentration is
acquired through training, through concentrating on every gesture,
which is the same as returning to a normal condition of body and
mind. In the end, the Will, the Intention, is no longer active and
the result comes automatically, naturally, and unconsciously. And
without tiring you."
The book cited below should be in the collection of everyone involved in Martial training and practice.
Spirit of Japan, Harrison, E. J.,
1988, Penguin Group USA, ISBN-13:
is an undoubted fact that contemporary works on the
secrets of the Martial Arts are written in somewhat vague and
ambiguous style effected by the Zen priests. But this circumstance
cannot rightly be held to prove that knowledge of the secrets of the
Martial Arts was due to Zen but rather that the samurai authors, who
had been taught composition by the Zen priests, quite naturally
copied their teachers style when they sought to express themselves in
literary form. In this way, then, the belief grew up that the secrets
of the Martial Arts could be ascertained only by means of Zen
training. Still, the fact cannot be denied that Zen has largely
influenced the Japanese masters of the Martial Arts right down to our
own days." (TFSJ, p.141,).
Harrison relates: "One young man,
pallid and anemic, whom I once questioned on the subject, smiled a
superior sort of smile and said, `I will illustrate. I clap my hands.
Where has the sound gone?' I sought to furnish an explanation on the
basis of Western physics, but he would have none of it. It ought to
be added that while he dismissed all my suggestions with an air of
lofty contempt, he made no serious attempt to give me the Zen
interpretation of the phenomenon. Chance encounters of this kind tend
to breed the suspicion that the Zen disciples are wasting valuable
time on the pondering of wholly useless problems that can have no
bearing upon real life. A good deal doubtless depends upon the
individual character of the Zen priests in charge of the courses of
meditation prescribed for secular students. If these men are of high
mental and moral character, the student will probably derive
practical advantage from the discipline to which he voluntarily
submits. Otherwise, the consequence for the immature intellect can be
only confusion worse confounded." (TFSJ, p.152).
writing is often vague and therefore lends itself to being
called esoteric - hidden as apart from exoteric or open. The hortative
portions of the Mokuroku provided by Professor Okazaki are called
esoteric portions. One of the reasons he wrote in this manner is due
It is not the purpose to determine
whether Professor Okazaki was a Zen adept himself. What we wish is to
expose the hidden meanings of the Arts that have been transmitted to
us. We do not have the skill or knowledge to determine the extent of
Master Okazaki's Zen involvement or his involvement in any of the
Japanese religions. We can look to see what he has borrowed though,
and how he has taken these things and woven them together.