Issai Chozan, Tengu-geijutsu-ron (Discourse on the Art of the Mountain Demons, 1729
(p.8 – 10) It is the nature of the mind that thoughts are always arising. A person who wants to truly see, or be illuminated about, the mind must thoroughly study. There are some fundamental starting points to this study. When one masters the mental arts, one becomes advanced in matters of the mind regarding the Great Path. It is a great mistake to dismiss any of the arts as unimportant. On the other hand, it is a mistake to consider these arts as the same as the Path.
People are animals. When they are not trying to do good, they always do something not good. When they are not having any thoughts about one thing, they are always having thoughts about something else. People’s minds are such that there are endless changes within.
To achieve illumination and see the true nature of one’s own mind and straightforwardly obey the natural laws that govern the mind, and straightforwardly obey the natural laws that govern the mind is something that a person cannot do unless he/she is deeply intent upon the arts* of the mind and is diligent in his/her studies. This is why the saints (people with the highest levels of knowledge and wisdom) way that beginners must be first taught the six arts of etiquette, music, archery, horsemanship, reading and writing, and math, thus creating a foundation. By accumulating one’s training and development thus, one can hope to start exploring the ways of the mind in a way that is in accordance with the Great Way.
If a person is familiar with the six arts since childhood, they value the mind, distance themselves from vulgar use of words, do not become captivated by toys or play, and do not selfishly rebel and endanger themselves. Their bodies become robust and they do not get sick, and what they think about is how to work for the nation / society and not waste the opportunities given by the same.
When a person achieves what they should in regards to the arts and self-actualizes???, their arts* of the mind become helpful to the methods of the mind of the Great Way. One must not say that one art is insignificant and neglect it. One must also not mistakenly confuse the arts for the Way.
There was once a swordsman who thought like this:
A long time ago, back when Minamoto Yoshitsune was still known as Ushiwakamaru, he went into the mountains of Kurama and met various tengu. After mastering swordsmanship, he encountered a robber named Kumasaka in an inn in Akasaka, in the country of Mino. Ushiwakamaru singlehandedly drove away a great number of thugs and defeated Kumasaka, it is said. “It has been years since I committed myself deeply to this path and trained. I still haven’t mastered its secrets and my mind is not fulfilled. I will into the mountains again to meet the tengu and receive the ultimate principles of this path.” Thus he went into the mountains in the middle of the night, sat down on a rock and made firm his resolve, calling out repeatedly to the tengu. He did this every night but no one answered.
One night, when the winds were blowing very strongly, some individuals with red faces, long noses, and wings were hitting each other in the clouds, their voices immense.
After a while, they sat down on the tops of the cedar trees and one of them spoke:
(p.8 – 10) Principle has no form. It manifests its workings according to the form that it takes. The principles of the universe manifest as changes of ‘in’ and ‘yo’. Regarding humans, these principles manifest through emotion and cognition. The techniques of sword are simply the true, original functioning of the body and mind. However, it is unrealistic for beginners to operate at this level. So the old masters simply taught how to use the body, trained the body, and practiced to respond to changes as needed – all in accordance with the functioning of the body.
Principle has no form. The workings of principle manifest depending on the vessel into which they are put. If there is no vessel, we cannot see the principle. The mysterious workings of the fundamental principles of the universe manifest according to the changes of in and yo. The fundamental principles of the human mind, jin, gi, rei, chi manifest according to their beginning, jo – that is, according to the senses of compassion, contrition, deference, and justice, the four emotions. Although swordsmanship is technique for fighting, if one reaches the ultimate principles, that person’s mind and body function according to their true, exquisite fullest.
However, it is difficult for a beginner to immediately achieve this. Accordingly, the teachings of the elders say only to follow the true character of one’s body, devote oneself to the various techniques, vertical, horizontal, forward and backward, train one’s body to be robust, master the function of one’s arms and legs, and respond to changes when necessary.
Study technique well. Ki responds to the workings of the mind. Technique and the boy work and are trained through ki. It is crucial that ki is vibrant, doesn’t stop or accumulate anywhere, and is robust.
Technique contains principle and needs to match the true, original functioning of the vessel, that is the body and mind. By properly training technique, it harmonizes with ki, and the principle contained in the technique manifests. When all this combines with a mind that does not doubt, principle and reality become as one; ki gathers, the spirit becomes stable, and the application of technique becomes unhindered.
If one does not master technique, no matter how hard one’s mind is, one cannot function according to the workings of that mind. Technique is trained through ki. Ki is how the body functions according to the workings of the mind. So it is critical that ki is lively and works vigorously, not stopping or stagnant, and is strong and unyielding. Technique contains ultimate principle and it functions in a way that truly fits the vessel (the mind and body of that individual). At the same time that one masters technique, ki combines with the technique and the principle contained in the technique manifests from the individual him/herself. When that is thoroughly inside one’s mind and one is without doubt, principle and truth are as one and ki accumulates. The spirit settles and there is no hindrance in the application of technique. This is how people trained long ago in the martial and mental arts. This training is crucial. If one does not master technique, it does not combine with ki, and if technique and ki are not combined, the body does not obey ki, with the body and mind disjointed and one unable to move freely.
(p. 16 – 20) Mind. The body obeys ki and ki obeys the mind. When the mind doesn’t waver and is not attached, neither does ki. Then technique arises naturally. If there is attachment in the mind, ki stops and the arms and legs are useless. If you try to put more effort into something, your mind becomes attached to that trying, that doing consciously, and thus weaker. So a person who is not skilled yet naturally mentally stops at nothing can beat a trained person.
There was another person who said this:
A sword is for cutting. A spear is for thrusting. Basically, there is no other way to use these things. To begin with, the body obeys ki and ki obeys the mind. If the mind is not perturbed, the ki is not perturbed either. If the mind is calm and is not captivated by anything, the ki is peaceful and obeys the mind, and is reflected in technique naturally as a consequence. When the mind is attached to something, the ki becomes closed and the arms and legs become useless. If the mind is limited to technique, the ki also stops there and is not in harmony. Even if a person makes a big effort to be strong, the mind becomes captivated by that very effort and thus becomes empty, barren. To strive to be lively or make something more full of energy by the power of one’s will is like stoking a flame so much that one completely burns away the firewood. When ki leads, everything becomes dry and when it closes, everything becomes stiff and rigid. If a person tries to protect him/herself and waits to respond, a situation called “miai” (arrangement) occurs in which one closes oneself and one cannot move even one step and becomes the virtual plaything of the opponent. To emphasize the wrong thing, such as being [懸る] at attention and waiting or to be waiting and at attention, is to make oneself intentional and creates a great hindrance. If a person tries to block here and respond there, and encounters another person who is [weak in technique yet] healthy and energetic, one will be cut down and completely on the defensive. This happens to most people. The reason is because the person becomes intentional.
This kind of person who has weak technique does not know even response movements and has no intention of blocking here and striking there, and is a person who is innately healthy and does not fear, does not think anything of people, does not make efforts to be stronger, does not become stiff and rigid, does not wait, does not restrain him/herself, does not doubt nor become perturbed – this person only faces the world and others as he/she is, without preparing any thoughts or ideas and without the mind and ki stopping at anything. All of this adds up to a person who can defeat an accomplished soldier/tactician. However, this is not the end. In this person’s case, although he shows no stoppage like the momentum of a great flood, it is only that he is ignorantly vigorous in his lack of intentionality.
Sword technique is the application of capacities that are already inherent in the mind and body. There is (should be) no form or aspect before or after, no matter what particular action is taken. If there is a thought before an action, it means the mind is attached to that thought and thus ki is stopped and there is hindrance. Learn the arts such that your mind, ki, and body move without hindrance. If you can learn one art to be without hindrance, you can know other arts without necessarily studying them.
Swordsmanship is the application of the ability that is originally within the mind and body. No matter how one actually moves, no form arises beforehand and not trace is left afterward. Anything that has a form or aspect is not something that uses the true, original capabilities. When one creates even a small thought, ki takes a form and the opponent will attack that where form has arisen. If there is nothing to captivate the mind, the ki is at peace and still. When ki is at peace and still, it functions vibrantly and freely, and it is strong as it is originally, with no need to try to be strong or to make it strong.[ ] If thought stops in the mind even slightly, the vision of the mind becomes closed and cannot function freely.
The martial artists of this era do not know of a mind that does not move, application of technique that does not have hindrances, and free movement. They use their adroit wisdom to devote themselves to extreme matters and in doing so think that they’ve accomplished something important. And so they are ineffective when it comes to other martial / mental arts. The martial arts are wide in scope. If a person trains in every single discipline, there are not enough lifetimes to master everything in all of then. But if a person trains their mind properly in one art, they can know other arts without learning them.
(p. 20 – 25) Technique. You must truly know the functioning of technique in order to apply it correctly. This is just as you wouldn’t put a monk to work in government (ie someone in a job for which they aren’t trained) – he would be useless. When you shoot an arrow correctly, it will pierce and fly far; the form is correct and ki vibrant; nothing opposes the true, original function of the bow and arrow; your spirit fills everything between the target and heaven and earth; the spirit is stable; the mind thinks nothing as the arrow is loosed. After the arrow is loosed, one remains oneself and quietly puts away the bow. This is not something achieved through thinking. You must not only know the underlying rationale, you need to incorporate it into your mind, train in technique, and accumulate actual experience. Internally, your will must be correct and externally, your body’s posture correct. Otherwise your bones and muscle will not be strong and your ki will not fill every part of you. Your spirit must be stable and your ki vibrant. Otherwise, you conflict with the nature of the bow and arrow.
Yet another person said this:
A sword is for cutting and a spear is for thrusting – of course. However, this thinking is too rational and does not reflect true knowledge of the workings of technique. For cutting there is cutting technique and for thrusting there is thrusting technique. If a person does not know the workings of technique, they cannot respond correctly.
(p. 24) This holds true for all essential aspects of life. If your will (mind) is not correct and actions not proper, you will have no loyalty, filial piety, or trust. You will be despised and suspected, not able to stand side by side with others. If your ki doesn’t fill your body, illness will occur and the mind will be weak, becoming fearful, stumbling, and unable to take crucial action. If you conflict with people’s inherent nature, you turn your back on their humanity. If distance arises between you and others, and there is lack of harmony, conflict will arise. If your spirit is not stable, you will have much doubt and little decisiveness. If your mind wavers, your heart will not be at peace and you will make errors of judgment.
(p. 25 – 28) When we say that the mind and thus the ki does not waver and techniques work as they are inherently meant to, it is just the true, original mind arriving at the result it was meant to. This is not to say that training in technique is a waste of time. See principle from above and explore training from below. The mind itself has no right or wrong. If you obey your inherent nature, without getting drawn into desire, you will not suffer spiritually and you will suffer few hindrances. In sword, you (ideally) forget everything when facing the enemy, move freely and as you should, unperturbed.
However, such a goal is only for those who have trained to have a foundation. If a novice receives such inappropriate instruction, their mind will go blank, which they will misunderstand as having no attachment, and their ki will go slack, which they will misunderstand as having peaceful ki.
(p. 29 – 31) There may be someone who has strong ki but is untrained in technique. This person may win because he sees well, doesn’t hesitate to move, etc. But he will not win against someone who is highly skilled. If you don’t know the strengths and weaknesses of the forms, mistakes will occur. Forms have provisions. Winning means acting while adhering to those provisions, not losing yourself, your ki not stopping, not becoming closed, forgetting about life and death, and striking without doubt.
The mind and ki must be one in order to win. There must be no doubt or wavering of the mind. Beginners may achieve something similar, but it is a temporary phenomenon; it is not the actual, subtle art of moving without hindrance.
(p. 31 – 34) The teacher. Long ago, people trained well. They believed in what their mentor taught, innovated technically day and night, tested their technique, and consulted with their friends when they had questions or doubts. They realized truth themselves in this way. This is why they achieved technique deep within themselves. The mentor would transmit technique to them at first but not speak on any meaning, but only wait until the disciples opened their own eyes. The disciples themselves trained and innovated, and when they thought they achieved something, they went back to their mentor for confirmation. The mentor would only acknowledge whether it was satisfactory.
(p. 34 – 37) When you think, you put your mind in the technique and your ki stops / accumulates, and you don’t absorb the essence of the technique. This is not to say that you should forget technique and only pursue ki. If you neglect application, how then will the principles of the essence manifest? By training in ‘doing’, you become illuminated about the essence and consequently become able to handle the principle freely. The essence and the application come from one source – you can’t neglect one or the other.
Technique occurs due to principle. The formless is the master of form. Train in technique that occurs by ki, which is due to the mind. Become able to move without doubt or fear. Then your ki will be vibrant, your mind stable, the adaptability of your technique without hindrance, and your spirit stable.
At the pinnacle, no matter how you move, you are ‘no mind’ and natural, your movements are without form and leave no trace. This is not something you can understand by thinking or grasp by hearing about. You can only grasp it naturally through the accumulation of experience. The mentor’s job is only tell you about the steps and give you direction.
(p. 37 – 40) Sword training is mostly training of ki. It is impossible to train in ki as separate from technique. This brings you to the issue of the mind. You may easily see the fascinating use of the mind, but to grasp it and adapt with it freely is difficult.
Sword is technique for using in life and death battle. It is easy to throw your life on the line and fight with everything you have. It is another thing to fight with no separation between life and death. A person with such consciousness is truly free.
A zen master may be calm in the face of death, too. But this calmness is from accepting death. This is not useful in battle and trying to survive. It is only about having no aversion to death. What we are talking about here instead is doing what is needed for, or what matches, the situation naturally.
(p. 40 – 42) Why is one way useful for survival and one way not? It is because what is sought is fundamentally different. The monk seeks illumination regarding destruction and nothingness, with no concern of techniques for survival. The swordsman lives when he should live and dies when he should die. He doesn’t move his mind and stays without intention. Both in living and dying, he is free. The monk sees the world as illusory and efforts to stay alive as attachment. The etiquette and arts of the swordsman must seem childish to the monk.
(p. 43 – 45) How then does zen apply to reaching the pinnacles of sword? The monk teaches that a mind without attachment adapts to change, that attachment to living brings suffering, and that it is mistaken to live while seeing everyone as bad. The famous swordsman who sought a monk had an epiphany when he came to understand that everything is nothing more than changes of the mind.
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(p. 46 – 49) What allows techniques to occur, regardless of the specific art, is ki. Everything that happens is nothing more than changes of ‘in’ and ‘yo’. Ki is the source of all life force. When you know about the root of life, you simultaneously know about death. When these become clear, you know them as one. And you freely put yourself in either.
p47 (chapter 2)
In all arts, not limited to martial arts, even if one becomes a master by training in technique, what drives the masterful technique is ‘ki’. The vastness of heaven and earth, the light of the sun and the moon, the changing of the seasons, the repetition of hot and cold, and the life and death of all creatures, all of these are nothing more than changes in in and yo, and their mysterious workings cannot be expressed by words. All creatures exist in these phenomena and live thanks to ki. Ki is the fountain of life. When ki leaves a living creature, that creature dies. The border between life and death is simply change in ki.
When learning the basis of life, one learns conclusively about death. When the principle of life becomes clear, both the afterlife and earth, devils and gods become one and the same. And so, even if one puts oneself in the realm of life currently, one is free; conversely, even if one puts oneself in death, one is free (to put oneself where one wants).
Buddhist monks have the idea of reincarnation ???. And so, they see occurrence on this earth as illusory, disconnect from personal will, move away from recognition/grasping, and think that achievement means to enter a world of emptiness, a world without coming or going. However, for saints, there is no reincarnation. There is only to enter death by changes in ki. If one trains in ki, then one can understand the issues of the mind.
(p. 49) It’s easy to understand with your head about life and death. But we all succumb to a desire to continue living. This temptation arises and functions to create suffering and lead to regular defeats.
The principles of life and death are easy to understand. However, people wish to stay around “for just a little longer”. This is called ‘lost/wavering mind’. Because this lost mind begins to work, there is mental suffering and one never comes to know about significant loss.
(p. 50) How to train – an overview. Principle cannot be seen or heard. What can be seen and heard is the trace, or shadow, of principle. You must illuminate yourself based on this trace. When you master, or attain the pinnacle, of sword, you are congruent / you are one with principle.
Ki is what transmits the movement of the mind to the body. The slightest thought is transmitted through ki. When the mind senses something and moves, we call this emotion (感情). When various thoughts go back and forth, we call this conception/ideation (観念). When the mind moves exactly according to its perception and obeys the natural, original laws it houses, it will remain consistently clear and ki will not be deluded or deviant – like a boat moving with the current of a river, it moves but creates no waves or trace. This is ‘moving without moving’.
The regular person has not cut himself free from the concern and confusion of life and death. This inevitably activates, clouding the mind, leading you astray with delusion, and makes you unfree.
Sword is technique for battle. As such, from the very beginning of practice, you learn that it is important to cut yourself free from the confusion of life and death. It’s difficult to do at once, so you practice, accumulate experience, and innovate toward that principle. When the principle resides within you, you lose the confusion, and with the clarity of mind you gain, your beliefs / conviction do not waver. When your beliefs don’t waver, your ki obeys the mind freely, controlling your body freely.
Battles show the results of applied action. If you have no conception/ideation, then there is no shadow to be made, no aspect (様相). Aspect always appears as form. When there is no conception/ideation and thus no aspect, there is no enemy to oppose. This is called, “no enemy, no self”. If there is a self (your self), there is an enemy. The person who comes at you will seem like a reflection in a mirror. If you make an effort to make the other person seem like a reflection, then this is jumbled thinking and only clouds your mind. A person who does not use or consider irregular techniques and yet moves freely is enlightened.
The following question came up:
I’m not really able to understand about these principles of the extremes. Please tell me about general training.
One cannot see nor hear principle. What one can see and hear are the traces of principle. By these traces, one can grasp principle. This is called self-achievement. Regarding academic study, if one does not achieve it oneself, then it is useless. Swordsmanship may be a small art, but it is a fine use of the body and mind, and if one can reach its extreme principles, then one comes to be congruent with principle. Although I myself have not reached self-achievement, this is what I’ve heard and what I’ll tell you now.
What controls the movement of the body through the movement of the mind is ki. So the basis for the movement of the body is ki. The source of ki is the mind. The mind houses natural principle and can be called the master, or landlord, of ki. The true essence of the mind is without form, voice, color, or smell – it operates by the workings of ki. When the mind perceives something and moves, we call this emotion. When many thoughts come and go, we call this kan-nen (conceiving/conception).
When the mind moves just as it sense and follows its inherent natural rules, the end and beginning of clarity is preserved, and ki does not behave blindly/delusionally. This is like a boat following the flow of water down a river. The boat is moving, but it is moving quietly and there is not trace of its movement. We call this moving without moving (trying to move).
However, regular people have not cut themselves free from the core confusion of life and death. That confusion remains in the depths of their mind and hinders the clarity of their minds. So if a person does not let out his full range of emotions, his mind doesn’t work (he can’t think), as though holding water in a reservoir. When even a small thought occurs, the confusion that was lying in the depths of the mind begins to work, and desire works blindly/delusionally and suppresses “good mind”. It is like trying to row upstream. The waves will be rough and the boat will shake and never be stable. When ki moves blindly/delusionally, one cannot move/adjust freely.`
(p. 55 – 57) Let’s consider a person who devotes themselves solely to sword but whose mind is clouded in other matters and cannot use his mind freely. In his training he puts all other suffering and concerns out of his mind. The clarity that he gains through sword training does not apply to the other matters. It is like a candle inside a box that has one side cut out, the side representing sword training. Light shines out only that one side. If that person can find even a tiny hole in the other sides of the box, by the power of his training he can make that hole bigger and light can shine out through it. If he can completely shatter and do away with the box, then light will shine in all directions and the mind and body will have no hindrances and truly be free.
(p. 57 – 60) A person who attains mastery in one art is always using his mind and is clear about principle. However, they think only of their one art and so it is difficult for them to enter another area of study. Even if we find an individual who has interest in study, they see the other area as secondary to their first art, and all the principle they hear about they automatically apply it to their first art and they cannot put it to use broadly. Needless to say, it cannot be put to use regarding techniques of the mind.
If a person training in martial arts mental techniques can master this point, then the martial mental techniques are helpful for their own mind and bring forth the original, true functioning of their mind. This will lead to true freedom. But the focus on their one art is attachment. Even if they can move freely relative to the technique in their art, they do not test whether their mind is free in other situations. Consider this carefully.
(p. 64) How mental martial technique helps in the study of the Way.
The mind is comprised simply of 性 (sho, nature) and 情 (jo, feeling). Sho is the inherent true nature of the mind. It is quiet and does not move, and has no shape or color. The movement of jo produces right-wrong, good-bad. Through the workings of jo, we can come to know the boundary between the inherent, heavenly nature and human desire – this is called ‘study’ (gakujutsu).
What exactly is it that knows the boundary? The human mind has a fine sense of judgment. This is called ‘knowing’ (知). This is not knowing in the usual sense of the word, which is just a process of consciousness; although consciousness is originally clear, it arises with the workings of jo and thus has right-wrong, good-bad. And it is based on that we measure things – this is the usual ‘knowing’. The original ‘knowing’ is pure and clear. If consciousness obeys this original ‘knowing’, then it can control the workings of jo and instead follow the original, divine order in the mind. Then consciousness has no trace.
(p. 85 – 88) As stated previously, all the movement and stillness of the body is due to the workings of ki. The nature of ki is simply in or yo, clear or clouded. When ki is clear, it is vibrant and works nimbly. When it is clouded, it works sluggishly.
Although robust ki is valuable, if it is only used in a strong or hard way, with no harmony, then it will falter and not fulfill its use. When ki is lopsided, where it is not becomes sickly and unused. And although we value the harmonious workings of ki, if it is not robust, it is weak and can be blown away. Weak is not the same as soft; softness has ki that is alive. Rest is not the same as sluggishness, which as dead ki.
People whose ki is hard and shut/tight, their ki is dependent on something and is not fully free and unbound. The shutting/tightening could be due to thought, or it could be because the ki is ‘in’ (negative). In any case, ki that is dependent is usually not able to quickly respond and fulfill its use. People who have developed ki but not technique, though they are positive, they are not rooted, but light and empty, like dead leaves. People with full but stagnant ki are dragged down and slow. People with frozen, stiff ki create form around them by making everything else stiff, closed, and stopped. We also may consider will, or intent (nen), but this is in fact ki. Nen is consciousness. The unconscious we call ki.
(p. 88 – 90) To be robust, soft, and adaptable means to be free and applicable without hindrance. This is not limited to sword, but scholarship also. The subtle workings of the actual, true mind are not visible and can’t be discerned directly. In sword, we handle this issue by training through ki, and coming to know the subtle changes of ki and the true mind. In scholarship, the training is through the mind.
However, if you know only with your head and theory, the mind and ki are like matters you’ve only heard of but not experienced yourself, and therefore not useful. If you train in ki only by sword, you know the mind and ki as only applicable to sword and not to life. The mind and ki are essentially one. If you can try many things and grasp the larger meaning, even if you have more training to do, your grasp will still correspond.
(p. 90 – 93) All styles, or schools, are one and the same when it comes to the highest principles. The reason that there are various styles is, the founder of each sought to guide their students through the training process that they themselves experienced and felt was easiest.
However, during the training process, many people feel great fondness for their own experienced, become attached to it, and come to think that it is in fact the one and only truth. From this tendency, many styles have arisen, and it’s as if they always fight each other for an exclusive position. But there is one set of principles, not two or three. When there appears to be many, it is because there is good-bad, good-evil, strong-soft, long-short, etc.
It is foolish (愚) to think that you know what others cannot, that you are wise but others are not, etc. There is nothing to hide – it is all accessible to everyone.
In scholarship, it is the same
(p. 93 – 97) Why do we use only clarity and not clouded-ness.
In sword, we value speed, so we use clarity and not heaviness. This is simply choosing what fits the situation. The clarity of the mind is also dependent on the clarity of ki. Our minds are originally fine and clear and not foolish. Clouded ki interferes with the mind and so you may do foolish things. If you lose sight of principle / what makes sense, it is called 愚 (foolishness). If you can’t move forward, it is called 鈍 (insensitivity). If the cloudedness is very heavy and you are drawn by that to nonsense and exaggeration, unable to free yourself from those thoughts, unable to reach decisions, unable to accept what others say and do what they say to, it is called 痴 (foolishness). There are of course many kinds of people, but it is all a difference of their ki being clouded deeply or shallowly, thickly or thinly.
The mind is the master of ki. Wherever there is ki, there is always the mind. It is like being on a boat. If the winds and waves are rough, then you don’t know which way your boat is going and you feel anxious and insecure. This is the same as when ki is moving delusionally and the mind isn’t quiet.
When the mind is working badly and it puts you in harm’s way, it is simply because clouded ki is moving delusionally. In most cases, this is like a strong wind blowing out of the cavern of desire. Desire is similar to clouded ki .In the case of an obstinate, stubborn person, their negative ki is frozen solid and is the main influence. In a person whose mind is restless and noisy, ungrounded, baseless positive ki is at work. A person who is fearful is lacking in ki – it doesn’t fill them. A person who is indecisive has weak ki that don’t stay in place – this is similar to 痴 (foolishness). These all are illnesses brought by clouded ki. On the other hand, a person who is clear and sure has harmonious positive and negative ki and is not lacking. A person who has good thoughts and ideas but doesn’t take action has ki that is clean and positive dominant while their negative ki is thin.
(p. 98) How to train ki.
Simply cleanse away all the cloudedness of the ki. Positive and negative (yo and in) ki changes in many ways, vibrantly. But cloudedness is the scum, or residue, of negative ki. Scum that stops and doesn’t move and moves only with the help of positive ki, therefore functioning heavily and slowly. It is like putting mud in clear water – you make the water cloudy. If the water is already cloudy, you cannot clean other things with it. You just make them dirty also.
(p 99 – 100) Although there is positive and negative, ki is basically one thing. There are many different combinations of positive and negative. By seeing these differences, come to know that there is basically one ki – then the Path will be clear. And even if you know that there is basically one ki but you don’t know the differences in ki, you cannot carry out the Path. Like fish in water, the mind is in ki. If there is a big fish, it needs deep water to play freely. If there is a lack of water, the fish will suffer, and if there is no water, the fish will die. Robust ki allows the mind to be free.
(p. 101 – 102) Regarding all matters, not only battle, there is a difference between leaving things up to the heavens and leaving things up to luck.
Regarding sword, you continuously refine (your grasp of) principle. Regarding human/social matters, fulfill what obvious duties there are that benefit you/society, don’t measure how you benefit yourself and your own desires, fulfill what should be fulfilled without depending on anything, and don’t be attached to anything or waver – this is what it means to ‘leave it to the heavens’. Basically, leaving it to the heavens means to fulfill matters related to people. This is like a farmer doing what needs to be done on the farm – by doing those things, if there are floods, strong winds, and other things our of his control, he can ‘leave it to the heavens’.
To do nothing and just have hopes and expectations is to leave it to luck.
(p. 102 – 105) The actual mind has no form, color, or smell. The subtle workings of the mind are divine and beyond measure. How then do we go about developing and nurturing it?
The mind itself cannot expressed in words. Instead, we see it manifest through the emotions, cognition, and thought. These function when people act and respond to things. The mind controls them and cannot be excessive or lacking nor misguided/deluded by personal hang-ups (私念), just follow the natural laws.
Regarding training / nurturing the mind, you should discover intuition, or ‘good knowing’ (良知). While excellent people with clear minds can know right-wrong and good-bad from the heavens, normal people are continuously being assaulted by the delusions of clouded ki, preventing clear discovery and sight. Normal people discover and see by seeing through the gaps of their misguided view, seeing fragments of good-bad and right-wrong. These are the glimmers that come to mind, the occasions you feel sincerity toward someone, the deep knowledge of the discomfort you feel when you do something bad. When you continue working in accordance with these feelings, (eg taking care of children, being good toward your family, etc.) we call this conscience, or ‘good mind’ (良心). Believe in ‘good knowing’ and obey it. Value it.
If you do these things and don’t cause harm with your personal hang-ups, the delusions from your clouded ki will subside and only the clarity from divine principles will appear.
Personal hang-ups arise from the desire to to get something (special) (得したい心). If you think of what benefits only yourself, you don’t notice or reflect on what harms others, leading to doing things that aren’t good and your delving in bad matters leading to your demise. Training/nurturing ki is not separate from training/nurturing the mind.
(p. 106 – 109) Don’t hate ego. Only hate acting such that you benefit yourself, distancing yourself from the mind and helping fan desire.
(p. 109 – 111)
(p. 112 – 115) Why is the technique of sword sometimes kept secret? The principle of sword is the principle of nature. Therefore, it is impossible that only I know it and others don’t . Keeping things secret is for the sake of beginners. Beginners can’t be trusted. The ultimate techniques are kept secret, but the ultimate essence / principles are not. Beginners listen without discerning, misunderstand, and believe them selves to be correct, talking to others thus. This leads to harm. So this is about teaching beginners only that which they can understand well. Regarding principle, it is fine to talk to people even outside of your school – there is no need to hide it. What is usually kept secret are each school’s methods. There are cases where novices are taught technique while the ultimate principles are kept secret, such that they can at least taste victory.
Still others may keep things secret because they dislike others seeing it, misunderstanding it, and speaking ill of it.
(p. 115 – 119) It is crucial that the mind is open and clear, not closed, and that ki is robust. The mind and ki are essentially one thing, like fire and firewood. All function of the body is governed by ki. So a person with robust ki will not get sick. They won’t feel suffering due to cold or heat. A person with weak ki will easily get sick and even feel evil easily. When ki is sickly, the mind suffers and the body tires.
There are ways of developing ki. If the mind is not open and clear, ki has no place to go and begins to work delusionally. When ki works delusionally, there is no base upon which to be robust and full, conniving wisdom starts to work, and the mind becomes closed. If the mind is warm and ki is working delusionally, it is called being enthusiastic or passionate, yet you can’t move freely. This passion is temporary and baseless. What this means for the beginner in sword is: be good to your parents, fulfill your position relative to your seniors, and rid yourself of desire. When desire does not work delusionally, ki is stable and nothing captivates it. It works robustly and helps the clarity of the mind. If ki is not robust, you cannot resolve matters; and in trying to resolve those matters, your conniving (small) wisdom works and you close the true clarity of the mind. This is called (惑い) delusion/bewilderment.
It is the same in sword. The person whose spirit is stable, ki is in harmony, responses are without thought, and techniques naturally in accordance with their movement is a person who has achieved the ultimate principle. But in the beginning, nurture robust ki, rid yourself of conniving wisdom, and develop a valiant spirit that lays your enemies are your feet and can break through steel walls. If this is neglected, what seems to be ‘mushin’ is just complete emptiness and what seems to be knowledge and wisdom is just charisma.
Ki is originally robust and is the wellspring of life. Ki is something that works to fulfill everything for your body. Test this and realize it for yourself. If you only read about it and listen to what others say about it, it’s no different from being a rumor, which is of no use. Everything needs to be tried and tested to your own satisfaction. Then you can know for sure. This is training.