Friday, July 2, 2010

The Zen Art

Budo is definately a Zen process.
My last post, exploring inherent weaknesses and bad habits in my own technique, was well commented on by Sensei Strange.
He said:
"Lowry Sensei told me in a phone conversation that Budo is a Zen art, because every time you take to the mat you regain the beginners mind. You always find a problem that takes you right back to a beginning."
Perfectly put.
It reflected a passage in Nitobe's book Bushido that I had recently read and had yet to put into context.
"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....'"
And while the student will have to come to terms with this Truth in order to advance his skill, it is likely that his training in swordsmanship was a lesson in Zen all along.


  1. that was a subconcious one--i have pisces on the brain..... what can i say?

  2. Heeeeeeeeeere fishy fishy fishy!

  3. 'Beyond this my instruction must give way to Zen teaching....'"

    That was one of my favorite lines of "Bushido".

    I read in "Autumn Lightning" by Dave Lowry, an account of the famous Yagyu Menenori who stood face to face with a new student with swords in hand. The student said he had little experience with the sword, and since he had been promoted to guard someone of very high authority, he thought he should work on his poor sword skills. After standing for a few moments, Munenori was in awe of the man's presence, and judged him a liar, believing him to already have mastered the sword. The man reaffirmed that he honestly had very little training. Munenori asked how he could possibly have such a presence with the sword, and the man replied that he had pondered death his whole life, and came to the realization that he was not afraid of death. Munenori walked to where he kept his paper, wrote a certificate from his school for the young man right there on the spot, and handed it to him telling him there was nothing for him to learn at his dojo; he had already learned what was most important.