Ken-zen-wa

I expressed my thoughts on the principle of sword being the same as that of zen.

Tekisui responded, “What you say is correct. However, the certainty that you have from your thinking is as if you are seeing through eyeglasses. Of course, because the lenses are clear, your vision won’t be obscured or weakened. However, if a person with no vision problems with no need for any lenses, uses them, this is unnatural. It is natural not to use them.

Currently you have progressed to a point where this has become a problem. If you can remove this interference – these “glasses” – you will no doubt rapidly attain the mastery that you desire.

[One day heard something very interesting from a merchant.] ‘The world is a strange place. I think it’s mysterious. I came from a poor household but now I’ve managed to become very wealthy – this is quite unexpected.

But there is one experience when I was younger that was very valuable to me. I had obtained some product for 4,500 yen, which was fine, but it seemed like the value was going down. So, as I’m there thinking I want to hurry up and sell this product, some potential buyers could see my insecurity and tried to get me to sell it at a cheap price. My heart was beating and I felt light-headed, and I wasn’t able to arrive at the optimal solution with the prices. I became very perplexed, very indecisive.

At some point, I made my decision: I told myself I’d just see how it turned out and would leave it alone. Soon after, merchants came and offered prices that were actually one notch higher than what I had paid. This time, I refused, demanding a higher price. And they accepted, raising their offer. I should have just made the sale then, but I thought I’d push for a higher price. While I kept pushing and pushing, in the end I had to sell for a few notches lower than my original cost.

This was the first time I came to know what conviction (‘kiai’) of a merchant is. When you are trying to make a big deal, if you are consumed by whether you’re going to win or lose, whether you’ll make or lose money, you won’t succeed. If you pump yourself up, saying, “I’m going to make a profit”, your heart will go aflutter. And if you are preoccupied with whether you’re going to take a loss, it feels as if your body is shrinking.

Realizing all this, I thought to myself, if I stay worried in this way, I will never succeed in business. And so, from that point on, no matter what I plan, I will make sure my conviction is secure first of all. No matter what job I take on, I will not think and get distracted about every little thing but instead boldly proceed. Since then, regardless of my actual profits and losses, I believe that I’ve become a true merchant. ‘”

My sword work does not emphasize only technique. The goal is none other than to advance to the pinnacle of the workings of the spirit. In other words, it is to desire to grasp the origin of the heavenly path, and simultaneously pursue its correct use. In one word: “enlightenment”. To rid oneself of delusion and open one’s sight. I don’t know any other words.

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