Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Takuan Soho

                Takuan Soho applied Zen to kendo, the art of the sword. In a letter to Yagyu Munenori on the “Mystery of Prajna Immoveable,” he begins by drawing attention to the tendency of the mind to “stop” or “abide” with things rather than flow naturally from one object to another. This is characteristic of avidya, or the ignorance which is the opposite of enlightenment. In kendo, if the swordsman’s attention is stopped in this manner, he will be unable to respond to the moves of his opponent.
                “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 whatsoever. 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.”

[Takuan Soho – Zen Masters of Japan: 160-167]

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