weeks TOTW is submitted by Shichi-Dan Barnes, Denshi/Shihan,
Ueshiro Bushi Dojo, Beverly Hills, CA
the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione
Moving Forward Spiritually through Life and Death Situations
Step First ! The Spiritual Mantra, Master Ueshiro passed
on to Hanshi, his number one devotee, the chosen one, whom
he hand picked to carry the message and teach the teachings
of our great art form, Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate.
Shoshin Nagamine, In his final paragraphs of The Essence
of Okinawan Karate, states,
One is both humbled and uplifted by this knowledge
of self : ken zen ichijo..
and Zen as one. Pp. 272.
Ken Zen Ichijo..Karate and Zen as One
One of my favorite Zen tales is that of How do you
stop a Samurai for Separating ones head from ones shoulder
as told by Professor Joseph Campbell (American Professor
of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative
mythology and comparative religion.)
I will share it with you now :
Let me tell you one story here, of a samurai
warrior, a Japanese warrior, who had the duty to avenge
the murder of his overlord. And he actually, after some
time, found and cornered the man who had murdered his overlord.
And he was about to deal with him with his samurai sword,
when this man in the corner, in the passion of terror, spat
in his face. And the samurai sheathed the sword and walked
away. Why did he do that?
Because he was made angry, and if he had killed that man
then, it would have been a personal act, of another kind
of act, thats not what he had come to do.
The samurais mission was not simply to kill the murderer,
but to honor his master and fulfill his duty. Killing the
murderer out of anger would not have fulfilled the intrinsic
call of his duty. To an observer, whether he killed the
culprit motivated by honor or anger, it wouldnt have
mattered. The murderer would be dead either way.
But to the samurai, his own motivation made all the difference.
He needed a crystal clear answer for why he was taking action,
and a reactive response out of anger would not only be dishonorable,
it would negate the reason for his quest.
You can choose your response. You can observe an unhelpful
emotion take hold, but you dont have to react. You
always can choose to act in a way that honors the vision
of the person you truly want to be.
Nothing is just a means to an end. Every action is an end
in itself. The path is the destination. Its the journey
journey we may ( we will) be confronted with a Life and
Death situation and must decide whos life and whos
death will result in the next 15 seconds and we may make
the mistake of acting out of anger or of pity, when as a
result of our training, if we are truly honoring our master
and dedication and commitment to our sacred Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu
training, we will not need to sheath our sword, we will
in fact put away our attacker(s) and preserve our life,
fulfill our duty to honor the long hours we have spent in
the dojo fostering our courage through the ecstasy of hard
work and sweat, polishing our human spirit, it is because
of this commitment that I am crystal clear of why I am taking
this action, like the samurai fulfilling his duty, so do
I, so that I may live on another day, to honor the vision
of the person I truly want to be, to celebrate with Joy
.. karate and zen as one !
Barnes Sensei, Shichi-Dan
Ueshiro Bushi Dojo, Beverly Hills CA