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Zen and the Martial Arts

Discussion of other spiritual or religious traditions with Zen in mind.

Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Ninpo on Wed May 27, 2015 3:03 pm

Hello everyone,

Many thanks for all of your time and input. My apologies for not replying sooner, I have had very little time for online activities.

I will take a read through the replies and will add my input in soon.

Many thanks to you all,

Ninpo
Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:05 am

Ninpo wrote:Hi everyone,

Firstly, I am unsure if this topic is being posted in the correct place (if not my apologies).

I am in the process of writing an essay on the history of Zen and the martial arts for a grading I am taking with my dojo.

I am looking into the Samurai and their stance on Zen Buddhism. From what I can see, not all samurai were into Zen, it's a misconception that they were all Zen practitioners.

Zen was originally picked-up on by the Japanese government at the time and taught to the foot soldiers, to help them face their fears of death and to make them more effective (unrestrained) in battle.

The Samurai however followed the code of Bushido and fought for honor, something that is tied in heavily to the ego. While Zen tried to teach detachment and that 'self' and 'other' do not exist, this puts Zen at a conflict with Zen's detachment philosophy.

---

If anyone has any interesting ideas on Zen and th martial arts I would love to hear them.

Thanks,

Ninpo

Hi Ninpo.
I am muslim, Shia muslim. I follow Imam Ali, but this is unimportant for you. My perspective according to him however is that you have to be detached to life, and we have a a word for that in arabic (detachment) and it is considered a virtue, but it is difficult so it is neglected by "lay people". This word, called Zuhd, is heavily tied to Jihad (struggel, or what you would say is Silat or MA).

We believe there is a smaller Jihad and a greater Jihad. Smaller is against external enemy. Greater/Bigger is against internal enemy (yourself). You can't separate these two forms of Jihad (MA). I myself have done external Jihad (against enemy) all my life, now I am 30. I am getting more peaceful now and settling down, and working on internal Jihad (internal enemy). Working on getting along with life and Sangha (mosque). I am exactly 29 and half, that is a half of a mans age where war should be over.

I believe Samurai who were summoned to defend their homeland, did ... Fight for honor, in terms of hormones and illusions. And that is honor. An illusion. Imam Ali himself, was a warrior and a poet. His war gave him experiences so he could write about with depth and clarity.

Zen doesn't exist, and I don't think there is anythring wrong in saying that. Zen doesn't exist for a warrior. Ninjutsu is the ultimate form of Zen. The latest development. I've heard many muslims finds Ninjutsu "sexy". They even got many academies across the arab world. Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Modern day Buddhists deny God, But Buddha himself didn't give an answer to wheither there was a God or not. He was steady and ready, but didn't go. Jesus too said in the Bible, there are things I can't tell you now because you can't bear them. So came Islam after that and revealed the final reveleation.

I belive that Ninjutsu (with Zen and spiritual cleansing) and Islam are the best forms in the world.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:36 pm

Many modern Buddhists do not deny God. The question of what you believe is not especially relevant in Zen practice. A problem in the question is that you must first define God in order to affirm or deny. In Zen, there are Muslim, Jewish, and Christian believers who are Zen practitioners. There are even some well known Catholic priests who have become authorized Zen teachers.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby HePo on Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:54 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Many modern Buddhists do not deny God. The question of what you believe is not especially relevant in Zen practice. A problem in the question is that you must first define God in order to affirm or deny. In Zen, there are Muslim, Jewish, and Christian believers who are Alison Zen practioners. There are even some well known Catholic priests who have become authorized Zen teachers.


Could you explain what "Alison Zen practioner" means? - did try to Google it, no luck.
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:02 pm

Cool. But i've met one Zen priest in my life, he didn't believe in God. He unvoluntarily shook his head when i mentioned Allah. Faith is belief without evidence, it works and is a light in the darkness. Belief in rebirth requires faith. Belief is with proof.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:52 pm

...
Last edited by Lunarious1987 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:08 pm

Sorry for the insertion of the "Alison" typo, which I guess is a family name. I don't know quite how that happened (maybe an over aggressive autocorrect or spelling checker). The line should have read "Zen practitioners." :blush:

I have now edited the text to remove evidence of the crime. ;)
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:53 am

A deceased Ch'an teacher of mine claimed that for a Zen practitioner, it is not essential to know whether a god exists, or not, nor whether spirits or demons exist, or not, but that it is however important not to get involved with them, nor to expect anything from them, if they do exist.

As the Buddha is reported to have said on his death-bed, "Work out your own salvation with diligence". My teacher taught us methods, and he encouraged us in them, but it was up to us to have faith in the methods, to have faith in ourselves, and to faithfully carry out the practices, correctly. Then, our original nature could have a good opportunity to reveal itself, and we could realize it, and be guided by it, as true Wisdom and true Compassion could then arise freely in spontaneous and seamless accord with circumstances just as they happen.

In this way, Zen Buddhist practice is for everyday life, not for some expected or hoped-for after-life, or next life.

It's very practical, by enabling us first to see what is the truth ("What IS this?!"), before we try to live in some chosen or particular way, or in a way dictated by scriptures or strictures. Wonderful... .

My present reply isn't to the point of the OP, and so it is off-topic, really.

But, developing skill in Zen Buddhist practice is kung fu, which means "skill".

--Joe
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Meido on Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:54 am

For the pot from perhaps the two most famous Japanese swordsmen, both of whom also deeply practiced Zen:

Miyamoto Musashi: (From his Dokkodo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokkodo)

Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.


Yamaoka Tesshu: (From John Steven's biography of Tesshu, The Sword of No Sword)

Another time, a fervent disciple of the Russian Orthodox missionary Nicolai tried to convert Tesshu to Christianity. Tesshu, weary of the young man's irrational persistence, came up with this koan: "If you discovered someone greater than Jesus, what would you do?"

"I'd gladly become his follower, but I don't believe there is anyone greater than Jesus in this world."

"You are wrong. There is one greater right here," said Tesshu as he pointed to himself.
明道禅徹
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
http://rinzaiheartland.blogspot.com
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Linda Anderson on Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:12 am

Tesshu already knew what I never forgot when I was taught Aikido. Morihei Ueshiba said: Aikido is love. I'd add, this is not a concept in case you are wondering what I mean ....
Last edited by Linda Anderson on Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:29 am

My Sufi friend said Islam doesn't acknowledge Buddhism as a religion yet, and he adds, my experience is they have much wisdom to offer.

Didn't samurai hate to take pictures? I know some did. Islam forbids pictures. My sister doesnt take pictures. I need to be pressured to take puctures if i do. I am thinking about Morehi Ueshiba mostly.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:43 pm

L.,

Lunarious1987 wrote:My Sufi friend said Islam doesn't acknowledge Buddhism as a religion yet, and he adds, my experience is they have much wisdom to offer.

Funny, I think that, even among some Buddhists, there is acceptance of the possibility that Buddha Dharma may not constitute a religion. ;)

Opinion seems divided among "philosophy", "way-of-life", and "religion", when it comes to trying to characterize and accept or hold Buddhism.

I'd say that Buddhism is "Buddha Dharma". I enjoy not calling it an "-ism", most of the time.

I suppose the character of Buddhism and Buddhist practice is truly "up to" the practitioner. One may hold it or accept it as a way of everyday life, as Zen Buddhists do, or perhaps more as a deistic or spiritualistic religion as some esoteric Buddhists do. Yet, even there, the "deities" are actually metaphors of psychological aspects of mind, and are not external to oneself.

But it seems the majority of Buddhists take Buddhism (Buddha Dharma) as a religion that is simply not deistic. I appreciate this very much, and feel it is most honest. I feel that the assumption of a "supreme being" is an unnecessary complication, and I feel that one should take on oneself the responsibility of digging deep, oneself, and not accepting specious decrees and claims of a god or gods without direct experience of such a being, or beings.

Yes, "Reason" can be and is applied to create the outlines of the seeming "need" for such a being, but Reason is a very limited faculty and facility, and even Science must respect that fact. Direct experience is more reliable, I'd opine, than arguments from seeming "first-principles", or etc. Especially reliable is direct experience under the guidance of a master practitioner of the same "yoga" with the same ends that oneself is trying to accomplish mastery in, and realization through.

It's often said that Buddha Dharma is medicine. I'd say that's perfect. Is medicine religion? No, medicine is medicine.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:56 pm

You do not have what it takes to be a Samurai who practises Zen, like Ninpo said, to give foot soliders reliability and conviction to face death. Heard like of the kung fu or zen of dishwashing? You don't have a master in yoga or else. You are alone and noone cares. Except Buddha or God. Allahs name is too pure to mention with Buddha.

I believe Buddha is a prophet. But not Allah. Do you want me to do you'r dishes?

(PS: I hate to work)

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:21 pm

Ok, sorry. I could be wrong.
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby HePo on Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:55 am

Caodemarte wrote:Sorry for the insertion of the "Alison" typo, which I guess is a family name. I don't know quite how that happened (maybe an over aggressive autocorrect or spelling checker). The line should have read "Zen practitioners." :blush:

I have now edited the text to remove evidence of the crime. ;)


Thanks
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:43 am

@Ninpo. I've thought alot about this and digged up information I've had before and forgotten and now remember.

There are two types of warriors, in relation to Zen and MA. Angry warriors (Ashuras) and they are stupid but derive they power from anger and honor. They don't warm up traditionally, like I've heard some Ninjas don't warm up because in a street fight you don't get a chance to warm up.

The other types of warriors are the peaceful warriors (Devas) and they derive their power from intelligence and unlike angry warriors (Ashuras) have no honor. They lie too, the peaceful warriors.

So angry warriors, before, young ones especially, they only fought with MA. But peaceful warriors fights with MA and deviousness or Zen. They are cunning.

Zen is about knowing something important and keeping it a secret. They lie. Except to their circle. And they force themselves upon the honorable Ashuras and consider honor one of the 8 wordly winds and bad.

I hope this answers. There are two types of warriors.

Peace and Unity
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:58 am

L.,

Lunarious1987 wrote:Zen is about knowing something important and keeping it a secret. They lie. Except to their circle.

Zen Buddhism is about knowing nothing special, or knowing nothing at all, and making absolutely no secret of that fact.

What you call "Zen" in your usage is some kind of comic-book idea that you have, I think. It's 'way past time to leave childish things like that behind.

--Joe
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:04 pm

I don't know where you are from although you practise Chan. But in Asia they follow the moon calendar. And the west they follow the sun calendar. Society and communism is important in Asia, and that requires honor. Ashuras live in Asia. Devas are silly. They enjoy life. It is life which is silly and shouldn't be enjoyed (to an extent) and one should maintain his honor and not lie.

Buddhism does says that Ashuras attack the Devas from time to time but lose always. But. I don't think, I know, it won't be like that always. ONe day EVERYONE will have honor.

And then there will be an eye for an eye an da tooth for a tooth. Quran.

But know this. If I shut up about this. It is mercy from God, not because you tell me it is cartoon stuff. .... Allah does say, do not hasten your tongue with it, when we read the Quran, then follow.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:21 pm

L.,

Thanks, L.

Good, yes, what I can respectfully suggest is that you sharpen your knowledge and experience, not your tongue. And keep "God" out of this. Really, if you try to speak about "Zen" or Zen Buddhism, you should at least know something about it. What you exhibit instead is cartoon-stuff, comic-book stuff. That is trash.

Better, then, to concentrate on the physical training in martial arts, if in fact you pursue that kind of training, for the muscles, the connective tissue, and for health. Ideas of what Zen Buddhism may be, without actual training in it, are of no value, and can be hazardous to yourself and others.

Zen Buddhist practice is medicine for awakening to our original and actual nature, and for remaining awake. It is not some kind of secret, or superpower. Those ideas are comic-book stuff, and are trash.

--Joe
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Re: Zen and the Martial Arts

Postby Lunarious1987 on Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:29 pm

Dharma means to hold back, but I am replying Ninpo. I don't like the fact that you call subtly (cowardly) my ideas and God for trash. Didn't you say Buddhists most today believe in God? Why should I keep him out? I don't want to talk about this.

But true, I should sharpen my knowledge and not tongue. As for experience i got plenty.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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