Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Martial Lesson from Zen Master Bankei

Bankei was a Zen Master in the early 1600's. As a son of Ronin, he was also fiercely independent and challenged the overly ceremonial Zen of his time. Bankei was well known for simply telling people to trust in their innate Unborn Buddha Mind.

Today's post I am going to put in a response to a letter he received from a Martial Artist regarding the art of combat. Some of this will make total sense to you...other stuff you might be scratching your head and wondering what he is really saying. This is the stuff you are to explore.

Here's Bankei:

"In performing a movement, if you act with no-mind, the action will spring forth of itself. When your ki changes your physical form changes along with it. When you are carried away by force, that is relying on "self." To have ulterior thoughts is not in accordance with the natural.

When you act upon deliberation, you are tied to thought. The opponent can then tell the direction of your ki. If you try to steady yourself by deliberate effort, you ki becomes diffuse, and you may grow careless. When you act deliberately, your intuitive response is blocked; and if your intuitive response is blocked, how can the mirror mind appear?

When without thinking and without acting deliberately, you manifest the Unborn (my insert: Unborn can mean Emptiness) you won't have any fixed form. When you are without fixed form, no opponent will exist for you in the whole land. Not holding on to anything, there is no "you" and no "enemy." Whatever comes, you just respond, with no traces left behind.

Heaven and earth are vast, but outside mind there is nothing to seek. Become deluded, however, and instead this mind becomes your opponent. Apart from mind, there is no art of combat."

In Gassho,

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