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Emptiness

by Alexey R. Basov

I free my mind
And gaze at the whole Universe.
Wang Wei (701-761)


“When the heart asks” is the secret principle of all arts.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo


“To live before God” is nothing but to live alone with oneself.
Søren Kierkegaard


Emptiness is the greatest mystery of martial arts – it has been passed, by word of mouth, from heart to heart.
Yagyu Munenori

  zen circle

Emptiness is a philosophical doctrine about the ideal state of consciousness.

Art by Qiao Seng  

Originally nothing existed.
Existence emerged from non-existence.

Everything is Emptiness,
And Emptiness is everything.
Emptiness is Form,
Form is Emptiness.
A Buddhist canon


Being and non-being produce each other.
Lao-tzu


Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense and, taking the void as the Way, you will see the Way as void.
Miyamoto Musashi

The term ‘Emptiness’ in Buddhism and Taoism is difficult to understand due to its many unclear and even opposing definitions, as much as several dozen. Generally speaking, to be ‘empty’ means to be limitless, free, pure, unblemished or perfect. Emptiness is the essence of the Universe. It is the unimaginable, all-encompassing, completeness of existence; the Utmost Reality of the universe which pre-existed all matter without being matter itself. Emptiness assumes fullness and endlessness. Emptiness is Emptiness because it encompasses everything; it is the entire Universe.

Every night the moon visits the waters of the pond,
And then it departs without lingering,
And without leaving a trace.

Once you deeply comprehend the truth, everything around becomes Emptiness.
Soho Takuan

In the void there is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, the spirit is nothingness.
Miyamoto Musashi

The samurai were called silent warriors because part of their training involved meditating to develop their consciousness. The practice of Emptiness was critical to the samurai art of war. Even a professional warrior with flawless technique is prone to experiencing fear and pain. His consciousness is blocked by thousands of things that compose the program of a human being.
A warrior who ‘works’ with Emptiness must first comprehend its principles, then proceed to master them through meditation. Sooner or later, all thought will disappear, opening the door to Emptiness, and with it, a new level of consciousness where he is incapable of feeling fear. He is composure personified. His consciousness soars like a kite, far from the body, but having the feeling of being slightly still connected to it somehow. An ‘empty’ shell free of ‘blocks’ and unhindered by an ordinary mentality, acts spontaneously and flawlessly, effortlessly making optimal use of the body which has been polished, strengthened, and emboldened by years of training. In such a state of mind a warrior’s actions are perfect.

In a common state of mind, a person is distracted by hundreds of conscious and subconscious impulses making him waste time contemplating his actions. A warrior in the ‘empty consciousness’ state reacts instantly, fearlessly, making him swifter and thus victorious.
His spiritual core is unshakable, making him superior in battle. That is why the samurai practiced this extremely laborious, yet perfect, method of building their spirit-consciousness-body. To protect himself from the vain and mundane as well as increase his self-awareness, a samurai must meditate daily and contemplate Nature.

Look within, all the answers are there.

Emptiness zen monk

Discard all thoughts that limit you and come back to the true Emptiness. Stand in the middle of the Great Emptiness.
This is the secret of the Way of the Warrior.
Ueshiba Morihei

A mind free of material desires, an absolutely tranquil mind can foresee the movements of an opponent and reach the state of being acutely alert and acting on intuition.
Ueshiba Morihei

Think about something that is not a thought.
A Zen saying

On a daily basis a samurai must find the time to block himself from mundane vanity and practice meditation, contemplate Nature to understand himself better.

Look inside yourself,
You will find answers to all questions there.

He who is not possessed by anything possesses everything.
A Zen saying

After I comprehended the Way of the Sword, I had no need to turn to either the law of Buddha or the teaching of Confucius.
Miyamoto Musashi

This is a chapter from the book Samurai. Spirit of the Warrior

 





I will not get lost...
The North Star is shining in the darkness...
The road to Valhalla, straight like a sword, is always in front of me!

Copyright 2000-2021 Alexey R. Basov, Tatiana Basova. All rights reserved.

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