The way is beneath your feet.

Here are my notes from book The Zen Way To The Martial Arts by Taisen Deshimaru.

  • p1 To practice Zen or the martial arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve - as if you might die in the next instance. Lacking this sort of commitment, Zen becomes mere ritual and the martial arts devolve into mere sport.
  • p3 What I have discovered from my own practice is that Zen and the martial arts are not things that you learn or do. They are what you are.
  • p9 A man cannot try to equal the physical strength of the lion, any more than he can pretend to the wisdom of God.
  • p11 In Budo the point is not only to compete, but to find peace and mastery of the self.
  • p12 Mind and body, outside and inside, substance and phenomena: these pairs are neither dualistic nor opposed, but from one unseparated whole. Change, any change, influences all actions, all relationships among all existences; the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of one person influences every other person; our movements and those of others are interdependent. "Your happiness must be my happiness and if you weep I weep with you. When you are sad I must become sad and when you are happy I must be so too." Everything in the universe is connected, everything is osmosis. You cannot separate any part from the while: interdependence rules the cosmic order.
  • p21 But in our day and age, everybody wants to save energy and is only half alive. Always halfway, never complete. People are half alive, like lukewarm bath.
  • p34 You must not show your weak points, either in the martial arts or in everyday life. Life is a fight! You must remain concentrated and not reveal your defects; through continuous training in self-control, gradually you discard them.
  • p38 The teachers are partly responsible for this state of affairs; they train the body and teach technique, but do nothing for consciousness. As a result their pupils fight to win, like children playing war games. There is no wisdom in this approach and it is no use at all in the business of managing one's life.
  • p38 Is "championitis" a mental illness? Of course. What a narrow vision of life! I don't mean that one ought never to become a champion; why not? It is an experience like any other. But one must not make an obsession of it. In the martial arts, too, one must be mushotoku, without any goal or desire for profit.
  • p40 The japanese samurai and masters knew that before a person become worthy of killing another he had first to be able to kill himself: with their swords they learned not only to cut their foes in two, but even more to cut their own consciousness in two. If they could not do that, they could not win a fight.
  • p41 When posture (shi sei, form and force) is perfect, the movement that follows is perfect as well. It's particularly easy to see in archery, which teaches the correct way to behave and be: a beautiful posture, an inner solitude, a free mind, energy (ki) balanced between cosmos, being, and strength of body, right breathing concentrated in the hara, and the consciousness attentive, clear.
  • p47 … military and civilian … Both are necessary, like feminine and masculine, like the two wings of a bird.
  • p51 What you must do instead is kill yourself, kill your own mind; then other people are afraid and run away. You are the strongest and the others keep their distance. It is no longer necessary to win victories over them.
  • p54 Zazen is neither thinking not not-thinking; it is beyond thought, it is pure thought without any personal consciousness embodying it, in harmony with the consciousness of the universe.
  • p55 Zazen means becoming intimate with oneself, finding the exact taste of inner unity, and harmonising with universal life.
  • p59 What is life? Most of the time we make a distinction between the life of our individual person, our body, and all other life outside. But out life is not just in our body, it is a perpetual exchange with the life of the universe. Understanding this interdependence comes with the perception of ku, which is the highest truth and also universal love. The manifestation of ku is infinite, limitless energy, which is accessible to us when we are in harmony with universal life; we are invested by it unconsciously, naturally, without any resistance.
  • p60 In zazen, the antagonism between sympathetic and parasympathetic is balanced, so that blood circulation, breathing, digestion, sexual energy, and sleep return to normal. When the balance is upset, sickness and disease occur, and medical treatment has only a partial and temporary effect upon them as long as the balance is not restored.
  • p62 What life is, in reality, is an interdependent consciousness (consciousness of the universe) plus a dependent consciousness (or consciousness of the ego). Those who have too strong an ego cannot experience the universal consciousness. To obtain satori, one must let go of the ego. To receive everything, one must open one's hands and give.
  • p63 All our cells are affected by the sun and moon; every time the sun goes down they change, and again at dawn. Be daylight the cells assert themselves, at night they are more receptive to external forces. This is most important, and it is a serious mistake made by many of us today to pretend we can by as active by night as we are during the day. Some people treat their bodies like machines and try to keep them running indefinitely; then they wear out and cannot find their balance, and then come sickness and death. The activity-rest cycle is disrupted and the relationship with universal life breaks down.
  • p65 The life energy of the universe that is contained in the air is transformed into human energy. The more receptive we are to the universal life, the greater our own energy grows and the fewer calories we need.
  • p66 To study the way of the Buddha means to study the self; to study the self is to abandon the ego; to abandon the ego is to become one with the whole cosmos.
  • p71 Intuition, wisdom, physical action, are always one. That is the secret of zazen, and of martial arts. Just as martial arts are not sports, zazen is not some kind of massage or spiritual culture.
  • p72 Zazen is not meant to make you feel relaxed and happy, anymore than the martial arts are a game or sport. Their significance is deeper and more essential, it is that of life. Of death as well, since the two connot be dissociated.
  • p77 But if we begin to use our faculty of reasoning, our actions become slow and hesitant. Questions arise, the mind tires, and the consciousness flickers and waves like a candle flame in a breeze.
  • p84 In the way of Budo as in the way of Zen you must practice, without any object or desire for profit. Most people always want to get something, they want to have instead of be.
  • p88 Nobody today is normal, everybody is a little bit crazy or unbalanced, people's minds are running all the time. Their perceptions of the world are partial, incomplete. They are eaten alive by their egos. They think they see, but they are mistaken; all they do is project their madness, their world, upon the world. There is no clarity, no wisdom in that!
  • p89 You must not dream your life. You must be, completely, in whatever you do. That is training in kata.
  • p90 Hot, cold, it is you who feel them.
  • p92 In fact, it is essential to massage oneself regularly, every day, in order to keep the energy moving freely through the body and prevent it from accumulating or being dispersed.
  • p97 Fear comes from going against.
  • p97 Even in a fight one's consciousness must be with that of one's adversary, one must always go with, not against. One has to become the situation, not separate oneself from it. A real egoist can never be brave. The true, traditional martial arts training strengthens ki, destroys egoism and fear, moves the student beyond dualism, and develops mushin consciousness, consciousness that has forgotten the self. It's not necessary to want to win; only then can one win.
  • p98 Ki is the energy that creates energy, the movement of movement. Hi is always movement, motion: the intangible flow of life. Energy is one form of it, animated by it.
  • p100 Training in concentration means gradually learning to concentrate all one's energies and faculties on one thing at a time and yet remain aware of everything else that is going on around one.
  • p102 The way is beneath your feet.
  • p102 If one really wants to live, one has to know the death in oneself. Life is a succession of here and now, here and now, unceasing concentration in the here and now. People who worry about the future or the past don't understand that hey are worrying about an illusion.
  • p104 Do not be narrowminded, always looking for rules and recipes. Every situation requires its own reaction.
  • p104 If we do not have some practice like zazen to balance all out pushes and pulls, then we develop only part of ourselves, we become too spiritual or too material.
  • p112 The root, the origin of life and death, is in ourselves.

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