Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Congratulations

Our congratulations to Linda McQuillan on her promotion to 4th Dan; Ken Gannon on his promotion to 5th Dan; and Alexis McGann on his promotion to 5th Dan.

Shen-tu - Self-watchfulness when alone

Shen-tu - Self-watchfulness when alone


Though the ceiling looks down upon you, be free from shame in the recesses of your own home.

Ode no. 256


This is not mere theory. You practise it.

I left the concept of shen-tu hanging around in mid air as it explains a lot.

We know we feel something about it from our own tradition and family values. And because it points to what is universal it conveys, surely, what is above time and fashion for you and I knew about shen-tu, before it was formulated. In fact, if you’re not too busy, you are drawn to it, like a fire that warms the heart. That wonderful face attracts you to want to know, remember more and then is marvellously critical and demanding, demanding of you, no one else. And if you have ever been in love it is never a matter of what is small but what is magnanimous. We know, have been told, and are left alone to get on with it; after all we are mature, students? But why now; why me – because your lucky. Because you are missing that immense joy, the virtue (power) of: work; a private Way; an uninhibited Way; personal value. Because we respect, respect, what has been mined from humane existence by legions of people and for goodness sake should not be forgotten. Because this is serious now!

Because that Why can withstand almost any How as Frankl was fond of quoting Nietzsche. (Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl)


Viktor Frankl survived three years in Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. But he did more than survive. He helped others survive. Frankl’s first discovery was that in Auschwitz you needed a reason to carry on living. If you lost that, you lost the will to live, and if you lost that, you died.

The Nazis robbed the prisoners of every vestige of humanity. But Frankl realised that there remained one thing they could not take away: the freedom to choose how to respond. That one slender opening of hope in the walls of despair was all that remained, and it was enough. Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks


Because it makes us human,


Each one of us must make his (her) own true way, and when we do, that way will express the universal way. This is the mystery.

To be independent in this true sense, we have to forget everything which we have in our mind and discover something quite new and different moment after moment.

This is how we live in this world. Shunryu Suzuki


Makes us whole.


When your heart trembles for the rights of another human, that is when you begin to slip; that is when the interrogations begin. When your heart trembles for another prisoner, a woman, a child labourer; that is when you become the accused.

When you find faith in people and believe in humanity and nothing else; that is when you commit your first crime. Shiva Nazar Ahari


Can you give up what is in your mind? What a blessed relief.

Discover something quite new and different moment after moment; how much more exciting can you get! Or are you too old for all of this? Not enough energy? Courage is the basis of all virtues


Shiva Nazar Ahari was arrested was first arrested at the age of 17, in 2001 participating in a candle-lit vigil in solidarity with the American people after 9/11.

Azar Nafisi


We should be troubled. We should be ashamed.


To tell others that, it is a rumour, will not do. When your own heart asks, how will you respond? Gosen waka Shu


Shen-tu - Self-watchfulness when alone

This is rectification of self and seeks nothing from others

Chung-yung – XIV :3


This is not mere theory. You practise it.

But just for the irritated among you the term used here is taken from Confucian writing specifically in this sense from the Doctrine of the Mean or Centrality and Commonality – An Essay on Chung-yung by Tu Wei-ming.


“(shen-tu) may suggest a kind of unremitting vigilance. A person who watches over himself when alone is also likely to be sensitive to the external environment, to be aware of situations around him, and to be alert in confronting unexpected developments. This sensitivity, awareness, and alertness enables him to apprehend with ready promptness that which “he does not see and does not hear” under ordinary circumstances. The self-watchful person is not necessarily a clairvoyant, but his personal knowledge is such that he can fully comprehend matters beyond the range of normal perception. His ability to have such clear-sightedness is not because he is by chance endowed with some unusual power of apprehension. Rather, it is through his continuous effort of critical self-examination that he becomes perceptive of the subtle manifestation of his inner feeling.


What Chung-yung envisions seems to be a creative process of self-realisation, fostered by a self-generating source of strength. Strictly speaking, one cannot become a profound person by model learning. Unless one has already come to terms with one’s inner self, that which is hidden and subtle to others but visible and manifest to oneself, modelling one’s life upon an established pattern of behaviour will be a limited and limiting experience.


It is predicated on “The Way cannot be separated from us for a moment. What can be separated from us is not the Way.”

I also related it to the practise of “Hidden Virtue” but I didn’t know what “Virtue” meant and the fact that it was hidden also meant I need not be concerned, it would be revealed in the fullness of time. Just keep working. Bunbu – Bun culture requires seriousness, that which is deeply looked into, maturity in things. Bu requires discipline and obedience. Later I was enlightened to the fact that it was cleaning the toilets before dawn.

Bloody cold, very smelly, very Martha not Mary. But Meister Eckhart holds Martha up because of the maturity of experience, the practise of virtues, of enlightenment within enlightenment. A life of everyday effort, done and supported by love. A wise woman a woman of the wise.


A man in prison is sent a prayer rug by his friend. What he had wanted, of course was a file, or a crowbar, or a key! But he began using the rug, doing five-times prayer before dawn, at noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset, and before sleep. Bowing, sitting up, bowing again, he notices an odd pattern in the weave of the rug, just at the qibla, the point, where his head touches. He studies and meditates on that pattern, gradually discovering that it is a diagram of the lock that confines him in his cell and how it works. He is able to escape. Anything you do every day can open into the deepest spiritual place, which is freedom. Coleman Barks


How do you express yourself, your desire, your courage, your Way?

Courage was always linked with Shame in the Eastern psychic but not only as a negative spur but in a positive need to try harder which develops into a source of creative transformation. So, for example, you would never state directly that you where a student of somebody for fear of shaming that person.

I have had the pleasure of observing Japanese who have supported a Sensei in their travels and efforts. They quietly, unobtrusively smooth the way and ease the burden and this is in return quietly and unobtrusively acknowledge but it is also taken for granted in the sense that this is purely this person’s duty. It allows the person to satisfy a need. It demonstrates what is on the inside, hidden (ura) and the value it reveals about the person. But this care and attention of another is evident in all mature traditions as it shows a deep respect for the work, not the ego.


But courage in fighting is by no means the only form, nor perhaps even the most important. There is courage in facing poverty, courage in facing derision, courage in facing the hostility of one’s own herd. In these, the bravest soldiers are often lamentably deficient. And above all there is the courage to think calmly and rationally in the face of danger, and to control the impulse of panic fear or panic rage. There are certainly things which education can help to give. Bertrand Russell



Budo, my education, can be expressed as Zanshin, Zanshin, Zanshin!

Zanshin is usually translated as “Remaining Heart / Mind.” And is usually relegated to what is existent, or illuminated, after the event. Zanshin!

But that is why it is stated three times, not merely for affect, but to drum into us, to make us think, that it is not only at the end where we review, experience the quality of our actions, and so by improve, but it is what is before, during and afterwards; that which has never gone away. The background, the water not merely the wave. Actions point to one’s understanding.


Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. The most difficult things in the world must be done while they are still easy, the greatest things in the world must be done while they are still small. For this reason the sages never do what is great, and this is why they can achieve that greatness.

Tao te Ching


The Sink of Enlightenment

The maxim “Nothing avails but perfection” may be spelled “P-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s”.

Winston Churchill


This is not mere theory. You practise it.


So please continue continue continue…


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Congratulations!

Warmest congratulations to Sensei Matthew Holland on his promotion to 7th Dan.