Friday, October 2, 2009

Sheathing the Sword

Sheathing a Katana, the Samurai's razor-sharp sword, is an art in and of itself. Iaido, the art of drawing the sword, ends with sheathing and bowing. Sheathing the sword is an extremely important part of Iaido as it is putting the sword 'to rest'.
For those who have followed my blog for awhile, you know I consider the mind to be a sword as well. If you do not train in its use properly it will harm you, but if you discipline your mind it will save you. Thus the old Japanese sayings of 'the sword either will take or give you life'. When your thoughts run rampant and are full of worry and anxiety, this sword will cut you up....but if your thoughts are full of joy and faith, this sword will give you life.
Well, what about the sword that is not cutting? The mind that is not judging or discriminating? What about the mind that is 'sheathed'...put to rest? This is the mind at peace. There is an old Zen poem about Faith Mind and is called the 'Hsin Hsin Ming'. One of the phrases talks about how peace of mind is easy, if we do not pick and choose. Discriminating, judging is the cause of our mental dis-ease. This is your mind-sword cutting your life into separate
To put your sword to rest is the practice of Zazen. The practice of sitting upon the razor's edge...not cutting, not judging...just sitting there...fully present...knowing if you move you get 'cut' and your mind will not be at ease. To be able to 'still' the mind so it sets upon the sword's edge is truly an artform and requires daily practice. You then can see your life in its totality...not the cut up pieces you have left on the floor.
As a warrior, of Zen and Budo, please make it a practice to set a daily time for formal Zazen and throughout the day, practice Mindfulness of Mind, Body, Breath, Spirit. Sit on the razor's edge of the Katana called Now. Peace is there. Why do you think the Samurai, the Shaolin monks and other Warrior cultures practice meditation?
Hands palm to palm,

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