State of Mind

SAmurai Books: spirit of the warrior

  • samurai jisei death poem

    Buddhist monks believe that if someone wants to understand the fundamentals of the religion they should learn hundreds of Buddhist parables. But even this isn’t enough to get a thorough insight into the Teaching. In fact, several thousand parables seems like more a reasonable number. This way, while the mind revolves around one issue, it gradually internalizes others leading it to understanding of the original.

    Sooner or later the novice is ready. He no longer hovers at the gate but enters. The door was always open but his mind was immature. Even if he repeated a thought seven thousand times, he would not have been able to understand because he did not feel it in his heart. An idea may seem obvious, but really, it is difficult to grasp because its essence is submerged far below the tip of the iceberg. Once it is fully understood, it becomes a living, conscious, powerful, and productive guide for action.

    In Bushi-Do the key idea is simple: the mind governs everything. Keep repeating this to yourself until it lights up your mind with understanding.

    The Spirit of the Warrior is a vajra. Your spirit is your true shield.

    samurai (woodblock print)

    The essence of martial arts training is mental attitude training.
    Ueshiba Morihei
    This principle of vigilance appears simple, but is not. But a warrior exemplifies profound understanding of this principle because he maintains this state of mind every moment: action is outside, non-action is inside. A samurai should always be attentive and observe without attachment. He should learn to comprehend every instant. This state of mind is called vigilance.

    The ultimate state of comprehension leads to Enlightenment.
    Victory is not gained by arms or physical force but through the warrior’s state of mind.
    A warrior must observe his Way from the sidelines and be impartial towards himself and his actions. This is the only way he can save himself from making mistakes, for even slight deviations from the Way escalate in a short time.

    Steel is made by fire and thousands of blows. This is the only way to forge a sword. A warrior must be prepared for great pain to acquire mastership. Martial arts are a method of spiritual self-improvement; so continue, even when it seems impossible.

    There are no limits to improvement!

    Samurai Art by Tatiana Berg
    Samurai Art by Tatiana Berg

    A genuine Master does not hurry for he has acquired the art of Force retention. When a person is overtired, he cannot retain Force. A Master does his training in a long and meticulous manner in order to maintain and enhance his energy and Force. Over time, the state of Force retention and enhancement becomes natural.
    A farmer once had a fertile rice field whose harvest was expected to be outstanding. To accelerate their growth, he pulled out the sprigs before they were ready. In the end, he starved.

    To know measure means to live in heavenly abode.
    Soho Takuan

    Roughness is mostly eliminated without much pressure. A precious stone is polished by guarded motion to avoid damage. A good result is not achieved by force but by methodical perseverance...
    Read further in Samurai: Spirit of the Warrior

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    This an abstract from the chapter "State of Mind" from Spirit of the Warrior by A. R. Berg

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