Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kyokushin Dojo Kun: Fifth line (Warning: contains religious topic)

Hitotsu, wareware wa, shinbutsu o totobi, kenjo no bitoku o wasurezaru koto.
"We will follow our religious principles and never forget the true virtue of humility."

Throughout these meditations on the Dojo Kun, I have been attempting to look at them, as best as an outsider of Japanese custom, and culture can do, from their original perspective. I have been trying to peer through Sosai Masutatsu Oyama's eyes and see what he might have intended these Dojo Kun to represent to the present, and future students.

I would like to offer that when he wrote down "We will follow our religious principles" that he was speaking specifically about the 8 fold path known to the Buddhist, and Shinto followers of Japan. Other Religions can find it possible to follow their own principles, there is nothing wrong with this. The opening is there for anyone, of any religion, to chose to train in Karate without being uncomfortable.

For this moment, let's look at the option that Sosai Oyama was speaking directly about CERTAIN principles. The Eightfold path consists of

* Wisdom

1. Right view
2. Right intention

* Ethical conduct

3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood

* Mental discipline

6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

Sosai Oyama states ""In many countries around the world, the question, 'What is Zen' often turns up. Usually we answer that Zen is karate and that karate is Zen." Quote taken from "This is Karate." For him, his ideals, and his religious beliefs were integrated with his physical expression, and martial arts philosophy. He could not separate the two.

Seeking to develop, and live what we believe to be "right", there are tendencies when we look upon others as being "wrong". This is where we cannot forget the true virtue of humility. In humility, we can embrace our path, and goodness with confidence, and dedication, and be willing to share what we have with others if they are interested. We also have to respect that others may not see what we are seeing, and that they may chose a different path. In humility, we have to admit that we are not perfect, and that we also have limitations, and mistakes, and that we are working on ourselves to the best of our abilities. The virtue of humility relies on honesty, and truth.

As Sosai Oyama explains "Concentrate on sincerity and on unifying your spirit. Forget yourself, forget your enemies, forget winning and losing, and when you have done so, you will be in the spiritually unified state that is called mu, or nothingness, in Zen."

I am not a Buddhist, but I can value the goodness in Buddhism without sacrificing my own beliefs. This is to go beyond "right" and "wrong", "winning" or "losing", it is to come to a center position where I am secure, and willing to look calmly at all possibilities around me.


Colin Wee said...

The Eightfold Path is a Buddhist peculiarity, not a Shinto one. And it is not to be found only in Japan.


supergroup7 said...

Hi Colin, Thanks for the heads up. I thought that the Shinto religion held the Eightfold path as part of their teachings, also. I'll check up on that. Thanks

Oh.. I realize that the Eightfold path isn't just found in Japan. It's found all over the East, right?