Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Moon in Water

Technique must be unconcious.
The following quote from an ancient writer (as borrowed by Daisetz Suzuki in Zen and Japanese Culture) explains a teaching used in an old school for swordsmen.
"...The main idea is to grasp the way the moon reflects itself whenever there is a body of water... Again, it is like one moon reflecting itself in hundreds of streams: (However) the moonlight is not divided into so many shadows, but the water is there to reflect them; the moonlight remains ever the same even when there are no waters to hold its reflections."
The Zen goal of swordsmanship was to not to become entangled in the illusory conflict between two forces. Rather, it was the playing out of a unified force of nature. There existed no difference between the two combatants, their swords, or the earth itself. No warrior won and neither could lose. They became as the moon, not its reflections. The reflections were merely the technical aspects: the steps, the blocks, and strikes.
Reflects Suzuki:
"When this is not realized.... instead of flowing, as (Takuan) says, from one object to another, the mind halts and reflects on what it is going to do..... (these thoughts) must be given up so that they will not interfere with the fluidity of mentation and the lightning rapidity of action."

*Takuan Sōhō (1573–1645) was a major figure in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. -- wiki

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