Monday, February 9, 2015

The secret of the Pagoda

A secret of the 'do' arts is contained in the 5 story Sotoba (Pagoda).

Of course there are no secrets in kyudo. By this we only mean that some things are difficult to see; that some things require certain experiences, that allow us to see around the bend. They don't take time necessarily, but they do need these pre-requisite experiences. Experience in how to look at things, an awareness of hearing in a certain way. We say to listen with our eyes, and see with our ears; this way of talking gives us clues in how to see certain details and a way of investigation that lends itself to the teaching.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mokuso - Silent Contemplation

Mokuso is Silent Contemplation. This is a very popular form of meditation in many martial arts circles.

We can even heard it said as we begin to sit quietly before class 'Mokuso!'
I was taught as a kid in Karate that it meant 'Attention!'; but I related this like Attention! in the military; and I suppose in some ways this is true. Even Zen can be a bit militaristic in it's tough disciplined approach.

Mokuso does come from a Buddhist background and is one of the 84,200 forms of meditation taught in Mahayana Buddhist that is prevalent in Japan.

This silent contemplation can bring up our awareness, wake us up, and bring us to attention.
It also allows our worries and cares from outside the dojo to dissolve and bring us into focus on the task at hand; perhaps even bring us to directly experience this present moment.

In martial arts being in the present moment, just like in Zen, is the primary way to live.

Creating our lives

The teaching says that what we think, say, and do every moment of every day creates our lives.

Sadamenoza - The establishment position

Sadamenoza is the establishing position during a sha-rei or ceremonial shooting.

This is where the archers re-establish all their connections.

As always we are talking about the non-separation of internal - external aspects.

Of course we maintain this non-separaration every moment of everyday.

But just as our budo practice is a chance to really experience being this way, this is especially true of points in our  practice like sadamenoza. Points like this are designed to remind us, designed to do this with us naturally.

These points also give time for the establishment of the ebb and flow we consider natural. Movements to and from these positions are paced by the pause of the position.

We have spoken of Kamae before. Positions that set us in time - place and imply this moving to and from. Sadamenoza is exactly of this same nature.

At Sadamenoza we bow. Often a nice deep bow, and least sesshu-rei, the bow where the hand comes to the knee (and if not wearing a glove our wrist would bend, hence the hand bent bow...) and our spine is at 45 degrees to the floor, but we can even use a deeper fukai (deep) bow in formal instances.

As in the other posts on 'rei', there is something in the act of bowing that has an effect on us as people, and our 'do' practices are filled with kamae like this, and our designed to include this influence.

All we have to do is allow for it...