Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Death, No Fear

A Thank You to Mr. Morales for his comment on my last post. He mentioned Fear as another enemy we face on a daily basis. These can be small fears, such as worry or anxiousness, or large fears, such as shear panic and fright. Regardless, it is an emotion, we as Martial Artists also need to know how to handle.

As we train in our respective arts, fear is usually what accompanies a self-defense situation. Mr. Morales' comment reminded me of one of Nonin's favorite Zen stories...and is also one of mine. I am not sure of the exact title, but I like to call it, 'The Samurai & the Monk.'

During the Feudal period of Japan, marauding Samurai would pillage villages and command allegiance from whomever they encountered. One village, upon hearing of an oncoming Samurai attack, fled as fast as they could, with one exception...a Zen Monk.

The General of the Samurai, upon entering the village and finding no-one to conquer and intimidate flew into a rage. Then he saw the Monk, sweeping the front of the temple's gate. Approaching the Monk he drew his sword and demanded the Monk to bow down to him in obedience. The Monk simply kept sweeping as if the General was not even there.

This angered the General intensely, and he screamed at the Monk, "Bow down to me. Aren't you aware that I am the kind of man who can cut off your head without blinking an eye!"

The Monk stopped sweeping, turned to the General and responded, "Aren't you aware that I am the kind of man whose head can be cut off without blinking an eye?"

With this the General was defeated. He withdrew his sword and left the village.

Wow, was all I could say when I first heard this story. To be so without that would be great! What was the Monk's secret that he had conquered Fear...the fear of death itself? He knew deep down within himself that there really is no death. Yes, of course this body we carry around fades away, but this is not our true self. Our true self is eternal. It is beyond this body and mind (remember 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form'...yes, that again).

The Monk's faith lead him to the realization that there is only life and life. Death is just a concept our ego has constructed to continue its drama inducing trance. Realizing our truer self, Death is no longer associated with Fear, for there is no death. Now, this must be a deep knowing. Use the idea of No Death, No Fear to help you rouse deep faith of your spiritual is eternal.
Zen Master Bankei (1622-1693) would tell people to simply trust in their Unborn Buddha nature. I recommend reading his work. Peter Haskel has a good translation entitled, "Bankei Zen".

Wayne Dyer, an author I quoted last post, often talks about how we are not human beings that possess a soul or spirit, but that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It is our spirit that is eternal and can be realized through the practice of your Martial Art.

One more book to check out is Zen Master Hahn's book, "No Death, No Fear." Very enlightening and thought provoking.

Take Care...and again, if any question...please write or call.

Sensei Dave

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