Karate, as you know, originated in Okinawa and spread to Japan. Both countries noted for their farms and beautiful gardens. We can learn a lot from gardening just like we can from Budo, or the Martial Way.
In fact, there is an old saying on how Farming is Budo. Many of the old karate-ka were farmers and knew the earth well. I don't have a farm, but I do like to garden. This time of year I miss being out in the dirt, pulling weeds, watering and, yes, I even talk to my vegetables. Once, I swore a tomato talked to me...but that was back in the 70's.
Well, to stay on track. Gardening is Budo. It is about discovery, calming the spirit and seeing directly into our true nature. Our mind is like a garden. Stuff grows in it...even when we aren't trying. If you just dug up the earth and left it, in a few days the grass and weeds will begin to grow. When you plant vegetables or flowers, they begin to grow.
No matter what, stuff grows in your garden. Just like your mind. Whether you pay attention to it or not, stuff grows. Thoughts are always growing in the mind. Some are intentional, some are just random. Some are vegetables and flowers...some are weeds. Regardless, your mind is always growing thoughts....and just like a real garden it needs to be tended.
As I mentioned earlier, an untended garden grows weeds and grass. An untended mind grows suffering, delusion, ignorance and anger. Tend your garden by pulling the weeds and your vegetables will grow strong and tall. Tend your mind by pulling the suffering at its root and your bliss will grow. It is a matter of taking care of your garden and your mind.
For myself, tending the mind is accomplished via Zazen and mindfulness of everyday activity. Just being here. Zazen is the weeding of the garden of my mind so my vegies (bliss, happiness, compassion) can grow and give me food and life. Yes, we can learn a lot from gardening. In many ways, Gardening is Budo. I miss my garden...It's there, just waiting till the snow melts and the ground thaws.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.