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Feed your Mind


Feeding your mind with inspirational thoughts each day is very important.

What are the things that inspire you?

There are countless things that can give us inspiration, e.g. thoughts, quotations, poetry, parables, koans, inspirational people or just the mere beauty of nature, that can remind us that we are so lucky that we are alive.

Here are some inspirational writings to help you see the potential that life has to offer, stimulate you and get you motivated.

Scroll down the page or select a letter from the list below to jump to the appropriate section.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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Once a zookeeper said to his monkeys: "You'll get 3 bananas in the Morning and 4 in the afternoon."
All the monkeys are upset.
"OK. How about 4 bananas in Morning and 3 in the afternoon?"
Hearing this, the monkeys are content.

One should realise that sometimes a change in phrasing does not represent a real change.

 

I kept six honest serving men.
They taught me all I knew.
Their names are
What and
Why and
When and
How and
Where and
Who.

(Rudyard Kipling)

 

Choice-Chance-Change-Courage-Consistency-Constancy

Have the Courage to take a Chance.
Choose to be Consistent.
Be Constant in order to create Change.

 

integrity,
respect,
heroic courage,
honour,
compassion,
honesty and sincerity,
duty and loyalty.

Execution is nothing without tougher planning and preparation.
In a martial arts sense, how can you go into conflict if you do not know what you are supposed to be doing or where you are supposed to go.
Strive for quality in training and eventually in our lives as well.
Planning and preparation are almost as and maybe even more important than their execution.

 

In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
Retire at a regular hour.
Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.
Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.
Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting.
Do not regret the past. Look to the future.
Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep.
Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

(Soyen Shaku)

 

A dojo is a place for practice, not personal drama.
A dojo is a place for enlightenment, not self-indulgence.
A dojo is a place of harmony and friendship, not competition with others.
A dojo is a place of joy, not one’s own inner darkness and gloom.
A dojo is a place of sharing with others and giving, not self-focused egos.
A dojo is a place of home and family, not enemies and rivals.
A dojo is a place for building up one’s self, not tearing down others.
A dojo is a place of the here and now and a bright future, not dwelling on past mistakes.
A dojo is a place of one’s better self, not of the self one hates.
A dojo is a place of the inner spirit, not of grasping at straws and false dreams.
A dojo is a place of one’s self and others together in Aiki, not of ‘me’ over others.

 

Do one thing at a time.
Do it slowly and deliberately.
Do it completely.
Do less.
Put space between things.
Develop rituals.
Designate time for certain things.
Devote time to sitting.
Smile and serve others.
Make cleaning and cooking become meditation.
Think about what is necessary.
Live simply.

 

Give up your need to always be right: Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?  (Wayne Dyer)
Give up your need for control: By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. When you try and try, the world is beyond winning. (Lao Tzu)
Give up on blaming others: A man can fail many times, but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. (John Burroughs)
Give up your self-defeating self-talk: The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. (Eckhart Tolle)
Give up your limiting beliefs: A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind, (Elly Roselle)
Give up complaining: You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. (Ziggy)
Give up the luxury of criticism: Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticise others. (Christian D Larsen)
Give up your need to impress others: Do not try to impress others. Let them have the fun of impressing you. (James R Fisher Jnr)
Give up your resistance to change: Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls. (Joseph Campbell)
Give up labels: The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about. (Wayne Dyer)
Give up on your fears: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Give up your excuses: 99% of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. (George Washington Carver)
Give up the past: Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. (Christian D Larsen)
Give up attachment: The wise individual does not get too attached to any of life's pleasures, knowing that wonderful science is hard at work proving its bad for him. (Bill Vaughan)
Give up living your life to other people’s expectations: The world is a mirror and reflects back your expectations. What you get is what you see. You create your own reality. (Denis Waitley)

 

Time.
Happiness.
Inner Peace.
Integrity.
Love.
Character.
Manners.
Health.
Respect.
Morals.
Trust.
Patience.
Class.
Common sense.
Dignity.

(Roy T. Bennett)

 

Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, war leader and strategist. His philosophy on how to be a great leader and ensure you win in work, management, and life is summed up in these pieces of advice.

A leader leads by example, not by force.
You have to believe in yourself.
Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.
If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.
Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment - that which they cannot anticipate.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

he will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight,
he will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces,
he will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks,
he will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared,
he will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.
Know yourself and you will win all battles.
Move swift as the wind and closely-formed as the wood. Attack like the fire and be still as the mountain.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.
All warfare is based on deception. hence:

when able to attack, we must seem unable;
when using our forces, we must seem inactive,
when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away,
when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.
Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.
Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

 

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- A -

Don't over think things.
Don't assume that everything around you has a hidden meaning.
Similarly, be yourself, do what comes naturally, and you'll be in harmony with your surroundings.

 

Our destiny is frequently met in the very paths we take to avoid it.
In Japanese, this twist of fate that brings us to the place where we least expect to find ourselves, is referred to as 'aienkien'.
The more we seek to hold onto what we think is the control of life, the more it strives to cast us off and dislodge our grip on control.
A true warrior is aware that nothing is under their control. With that awareness they can meet their destiny with 'kyoshintankai' or 'a calm and open mind.'
In Karate the nage (the person executing the technique), is trying to learn how to flow with their partner’s energy and allow the natural flow of the movement to take over.
Likewise, the uke (the person who "receives" a technique), is trying to learn how stay connected to the flow of their partner and allow the technique to unfold as it will.
In life, it is no different. When we realise there is no true 'control' we can see the joy in 'aienkien'.
Thus we can meet the occurrence and development of the chance events of life with the calmness of 'kyoshintankai'.
This is the path your life is taking, accept it and honour it.

 

when people barely know he exists,
of a good leader,
who talks little,
when his work is done,
his aim fulfilled,
they will say,
we did this ourselves.

(Lao Tzu)

 

Be aware of your surroundings.
Be mindful of your thoughts and actions.
Because you never know who is watching.

We are taught that we should always assume that our opponent is of equal or greater skill.
This mindset keeps us vigilant in our training and thus enables us to not succumb to an opponents surprise attack.

To be vigilant means to be, first self-aware and, secondly aware of one’s surroundings.
How could we possibly be caught off guard if we are always on guard?

Always “act as if your teacher is watching.”

 

Holds loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour as important, above all else.
Has an appreciation and respect of life.
Is deadly in combat and yet so gentle and compassionate with children and the weak.
Strives for enlightenment for good judgment, personal growth, and self-awareness.
Practices some type of martial art skill or something that helps them develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Uses Death as their advisor not their enemy.
Seeks to understand the phrase, “Know thyself!”.
Seeks communal and family relationships and understanding the role of the servant and the master.

 

accomplish but do not boast,
accomplish without show,
accomplish without arrogance,
accomplish without grabbing,
accomplish without forcing.

(Lao Tzu)

 

This implies that to become a master at something is the same to master all things.
Be serious about what it is that you do.
Strive hard to improve yourself.
Be meticulous.
Be restless and always do your best.
Be passionate about whatever it is you do.

 

Some Warriors look fierce, but are mild.
Some seem timid, but are vicious.
Look beyond appearances;
position yourself for the advantage.

 

Typically when we hear this type of question, we think that the person is asking us if we are good looking.
In Japanese culture, the number 10 or juu is a homophone for juubun which is intended to mean, “enough.”
Thus, the number 10 is lucky because the number 10 means to be content.

In the west, we pursue things in order to achieve or acquire happiness and thus happiness is a result of taking; I receive and thus I am happy.
In Japan, contentment is often associated with living a life of purpose or meaning and happiness comes as a result of giving.
Thus, the number 10 then reminds us that true happiness is a result of finding inner contentment instead of outer attainment.

Finding contentment is a result of having a living a life of meaning.
To have meaning means that we “get to” share or give something with the world and with that we are grateful for the opportunity.
When we have meaning, then contentment, and thus gratefulness then true happiness is not far behind.

True happiness is then a function of giving from a place of contentment and not taking from a place of fear.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

 

Some samurai adorn their armour and weapons with the butterfly or chou motif.
This may seem peculiar since a butterfly is a delicate insect which does not incite fear or display any prowess.

This practice can be equated to the study of Budo.
There is a tremendous, desperate struggle to emerge from the cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly.

Learning must be a struggle; this does not mean that you have to suffer and die.
This means that you must follow your quest or dream through your own power.

The reason a samurai choose a butterfly is because the butterfly has to grow strong to overcome.
This struggle is what brings out the butterfly’s true beauty.

In the case of the samurai, the battle at hand will be a struggle which they must overcome in order to enjoy their victory.
The adornment of the butterfly is also because in reality the battle is not waged on the battlefield, but inside of us.

So the butterfly is to remind us that the struggle is valuable and to be determined to do our best.
Struggling and suffering only exist to make us stronger, but only if we choose to see it that way.

When confronted remind yourself to be the butterfly and say, “I too will grow from this.”

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

(William Blake)

 

  • Awakening requires awareness. There's no need to avoid life.
     
  • People sleep, and when they die they wake. (Muhammad)
     
  • Today, you can decide to walk in freedom. You can choose to walk differently. You can walk as a free person, enjoying every step. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
     
  • When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man. (Zen Proverb)
     
  • If we don't occupy our self with everything, then peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide. (Shen-hui)
     
  • Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centred by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang)
     
  • Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course. (Chuang Tzu)
     
  • Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life -- after that you cannot be deceived. (Zen Proverb)
     
  • The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself. (Anais Nin)
     
  • Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life. (Henepola Gunaratana)
     
  • Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within and available to you now. (Eckhart Tolle)
     
  • Body and mind dropped off. (Dogen describing enlightenment)
     
  • It's not about approving or liking, but just being able to allow the world to be the way it is without resenting, hating, or judging it.
     
  • Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. (Zen Proverb)
     
  • It all depends on you. You can go on sleeping forever, you can wake up right this moment. (Osho)
     
  • To understand everything is to forgive everything (Gautama Siddhartha)
     
  • Any enlightenment which requires to be authenticated, certified, recognized, congratulated, is false, or at least incomplete. (R.H. Blyth)
     
  • Self-realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are. (Ramesh Balsekar)
     
  • When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want. (Byron Katie)
     
  • The way out of life & death is not some special technique; essential thing is to penetrate to the root of life & death. (Bukko)
     
  • The aim of spiritual life is to awaken a joyful freedom, a benevolent and compassionate heart in spite of everything. (Jack Kornfield)
     
  • Walking on water -

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize:
a blue sky,
white clouds,
green leaves,
the black, curious eyes of a child
our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.

(Thích Nhat Hanh)

 

  • Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. (Bodhidharma)
     
  • To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master. (Zen Proverb)
     
  • Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold & dung. Before you learn it, it's like gold; after you learn it, it's like dung. (Zen Proverb)
     
  • Awakened at midnight by the sound of the water jar cracking from the ice. (Matsuo Basho)

     

I will definitely die, as will all of us.
I will die, but I don't know when I'm going to die.
It could be at any time!
Since death is definite and it's uncertain when I will die,
I must make use of this precious opportunity of a human lifetime right now.

 

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- B -

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height.
Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches.

Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth.
Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously.

The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots.
In fact, the tree is always in proportion.
That’s its balance.

(Osho)

 

One must enter into each and every endeavour with a clear and calm mind.
in Japanese, this tranquil mindset is called "meikyoushisui", which translates to “clear and serene.”
When we are agitated or upset that “forces” us out of balance and without this balance there is no harmony.
Without harmony, there can be no Karate.

 

Be careful what you water your dreams with.
Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.
Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.
Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.
Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

(Lao Tzu)

 

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realise there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

(Lao Tzu)
 

For the most part, the martial arts are physical and up to a point, anyone can become skilled.
Etiquette is one of those things which cannot be taught but can be learned.
Behaving badly reflects poorly on your teacher, your parents, your art, your dojo and most importantly you.
Be careful what you say or do because it means a lot.

 

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove’s shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a “Great Man”.

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

 (Kenji Miyazawa)

 

It’s okay to have beliefs, everybody does.
Whether those beliefs are about God, the afterlife, rebirth, low fat high fibre diets or whatever else, there is no problem.
Problems come when you get attached to your beliefs. When you start clinging to them. When you start wanting to “defend” them because you see those beliefs as being the Truth.
The same thing can be said about attachment to Zen. So many Zen practitioners are attached to the “way of liberation”! They talk about Zen like it’s the only way, and the only truth. It’s sometimes scary. Spiritual zeal is not the way.
Remember that beliefs are nothing more than mental conditionings or mental “dispositions”, and not the Truth itself, so don’t take them too seriously!
You might be totally wrong about them!

 

  • A belt does nothing but hold your Gi together.
     
  • A belt has assigned significance. A belt is someone else saying you're good. You do not need other people to say you are good in order to be good.
     
  • A black belt is a white belt that never gave up.
     
  • A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist.
     
  • A black belt is not something you get, it is something you become.
     
  • Black belts aren’t made, they are forged out of one’s own blood, sweat and tears.
     
  • Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude.
     
  • Everybody wants a black belt, but so few people know what it really is.
     
  • The black belt is not a mark or symbol of the end of the journey to ones mastery of the arts; rather it is the mark that one is done packing for their journey and may now take the first step in their true journey; a journey which cannot ever be complete, only travelled.
     
  • Your belt is a visual symbol of your past effort and dedication, so wear it with pride.

     

The spring flowers, the autumn moon;
Summer breezes, winter snow.
If useless things do not clutter your mind,
You have the best days of your life.

(Ekai)

 

The word "Bu" is found in Japanese words such as Budo, Bujutsu, Bushido, etc., and in general terms, all refer to the “martial arts.”
However, this is a poor translation which came about, largely out of ignorance, when the first Western translators mistook the enthusiasm being put into training for a love of violence, combat or war.
The translators named the fighting arts after the Roman god of war, Mars, hence Bu = “martial.”
In reality, the Japanese concept is very different. The character Bu is constructed from characters meaning “arms of war” or “violence,” and “to stop, prohibit, or bring to an end.” Therefore, Bu may more accurately be translated as “to stop violence,” or “to bring about peace.” Thus budo might more appropriately be known as the “art of the peacemaker.”
Sokon Matsumura described Bu as comprising seven virtues:

  1. Bu prohibits violence.
  2. Bu maintains discipline among soldiers.
  3. Bu maintains order among the citizenry.
  4. Bu spreads virtue.
  5. Bu gives a peaceful heart.
  6. Bu helps keep peace between people.
  7. Bu makes people and nations prosper.

     
  • Budo is a philosophy of life which incorporates and expands upon the concept of "Bu" and has been developed and refined into a discipline of training which promotes etiquette, restraint, skill, technique, physical and mental strength, and unity of mind and body.
    The Japanese Budo Association, formed to uphold the fundamental principles of traditional Budo, drafted the Budo Charter for the preservation of correct Budo in modern martial arts:

    Object: The object of Budo is to cultivate character, enrich the ability to make value judgments, and foster the development of a well-disciplined and capable individual through participation in physical and mental training utilizing martial techniques.
    Training: When practicing daily one must constantly follow decorum, adhere to the fundamentals, and resist the temptation to pursue only technical skill rather than the unity of mind and technique.
    Attitude: In matches and in the performance of kata, one must manifest budo spirit, exert himself to the utmost, win with modesty, accept loss gracefully, and exhibit temperate attitudes at all times.
    The Dojo: The dojo is a sacred place for training one’s mind and body. Here one must maintain discipline, proper etiquette, and formality. The training area must be a quiet, clean, safe and solemn environment.
    Teaching: In order to be an effective teacher the budo master should always strive to cultivate his own character, and to further his own skill and the discipline of mind and body. He should not be swayed by winning or losing, nor should he display arrogance about his superior skill; he should instead retain the attitudes suitable for a role-model.
    Promotion: When promoting Budo, one should follow traditional values, seek substantial training, contribute to research, and do one’s utmost to perfect and preserve this traditional art, with an understanding of international points of view.

     
  • Budo is nothing more than seeing a piece of paper on the floor, picking it up and disposing of it properly:
    At Budo’s highest level, we perform the task without thought.
    There, the path of Budo is the path of “no-minded” integrity, "the place where the self disappears”.
    It is “no-minded” because we want to reach a level where we barely even know we are doing it.
    Nobody will ever know what it is we do or what it is that we can do because it is hidden.
    If one has to think about it, it is not yet Budo.

     
  • In true Budo there is no enemy or opponent.
    True Budo is to become one with the universe,
    not to train to become powerful
    or to throw down some opponent.
    Rather we train in hopes of being of some use,
    however small our role may be,
    in the task of bringing peace to mankind around the world.

Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life.
There is no belief in a personal god.
Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible.
The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.

The history of Buddhism is the story of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, personal spiritual journey to enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it.
Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was born into a royal family in present-day Nepal over 2500 years ago. He lived a life of privilege and luxury until one day he left the royal enclosure and encountered for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. Disturbed by this he became a monk before adopting the harsh poverty of Indian asceticism. Neither path satisfied him and he decided to pursue the ‘Middle Way’ - a life without luxury but also without poverty.

Buddhists believe that one day, seated beneath the Bodhi tree (the tree of awakening), Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation and reflected on his experience of life until he became enlightened.
By finding the path to enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or 'awakened one'.

 

Made up from the elements: "Bu" - martial arts, "shi" - warrior, "do" - the way, Bushido was the samurai code of conduct for centuries and was intended to help the samurai master their nature, understand their minds and foster strength, self-control and wisdom. Bushido wasn't simply a practice, it was an absolute way of life, from the moment of birth, to the moment of inevitable death.
Bushido is based on seven principles which underline its spirit (according to Tsunetomo Yamamoto's, Hagakure: Book of the Samurai).

Gi - Integrity: be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people; believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself; all points of view are considered regarding honesty, justice and integrity; make a full commitment to decisions.
Rei - Respect: there is no reason to be cruel; there is no need to prove their strength; are courteous even to their enemies; are respected for their strength and by their dealings with others; true strength becomes apparent during difficult times.
Yu - Heroic Courage: hiding is not living at all; a true samurai must have heroic courage; it is risky; it is dangerous; it is living life completely, fully, wonderfully; heroic courage is not blind, it is intelligent and strong.
Meiyo - Honour: a true samurai only has one judge of honour, and this is himself; decisions made and how they are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are; you cannot hide from yourself.
Jin - Compassion: through intense training the samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.
Makoto - Honesty and Sincerity: when a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to "Give His Word". He does not has to "Promise". Speaking and doing are the same action.
Chu - Duty and Loyalty: a responsibility for everything they have done and said and all of the consequences that follow; a loyalty to all those in their care; to those they are responsible for, they remains fiercely true.

 

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- C -

Calmness, not skill, is the sign of a mature samurai. A samurai should neither be arrogant or egotistical.
Anyone can be defeated by anyone, but only a true master can defeat themselves.
When a person reaches this level, they possess a sense of calm and the ability to stay calm.
A person who only values skill or the physicality of an art will always possess a sense of discord.
Whether a person with mastery wins or loses, they remain calm.
People with a low level of mastery are always turbulent wavering between highs and lows.
Thus, we train not just for physical mastery but mastery over every aspect of ourselves.

 

  • A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion.
    It is not inherited from parents;
    it is not created by external advantages;
    it is no necessary appendage of birth, wealth, talents, or station;
    but it is the result of one's own endeavours.
    The fruit and reward of good principles
    manifested in a course
    of virtuous and honourable action.

    (J. Hawes)

     
  • A good name is seldom regained. When character is gone, all is gone, and one of the richest jewels of life is lost forever. J. Hawes
     
  • A man without character is like a ship without a rudder. Karl G. Maeser
     
  • A man's reaction to his appetites and impulses when they are roused gives the measure of that man's character. In these reactions are revealed the man's power to govern or his forced servility to yield. David Oman McKay
     
  • A person's treatment of money is the most decisive test of his character, how they make it and how they spend it. James Moffatt
     
  • Be your character what it will, it will be known; and nobody will take it upon your word. Philip Dormer Shanhope, Lord Chesterfield
     
  • Character builds slowly, but it can be torn down with incredible swiftness. Faith Baldwin
     
  • Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Helen Keller
     
  • Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. John Albert Michener
     
  • Character develops itself in the stream of life. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
     
  • Character is a subtle thing. Its sources are obscure, its roots delicate and invisible. We know it when we see it and it always commands our admiration, and the absence of it our pity; but it is largely a matter of will. Leo J. Muir
     
  • Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln
     
  • Character is much easier kept than recovered. Thomas Paine
     
  • Character is not made in a crisis it is only exhibited. Robert Freeman
     
  • Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed. Brian Tracy
     
  • Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time. Elbert Green Hubbard
     
  • Character isn't inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains. Helen Douglas
     
  • Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Phillips Brooks
     
  • Character, says Novalis, in one of his questionable aphorisms--character is destiny? George Elliot
     
  • Even as water carves monuments of stone, so do our thoughts shape our character. Hugh B. Brown
     
  • Every human being is intended to have a character of his own; to be what no other is, and to do what no other can do. Edward Hubbel Chapin
     
  • Every man has three characters: That which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has. Alphonse Karr
     
  • Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own. (General Charles DeGaulle)
     
  • It is an old saying,
    and one of fearful and fathomless import,
    that we are forming characters for eternity.
    Forming characters?
    Whose?
    Our own or others?
    Both?
    And in that momentous act
    lies the peril
    and responsibility of our existence.

    (Elihu Burritt)

     
  • It is true that we shall not be able to reach perfection,
    but in our struggle toward it
    we shall strengthen our characters
    and give stability to our ideas,
    so that, whilst ever advancing calmly in the same direction,
    we shall be rendered capable
    of applying the faculties
    with which we have been gifted
    to the best possible account.

    (Confucius)

     
  • Men of genius are admired,
    men of wealth are envied,
    men of power are feared;
    but only men of character are trusted.

     
  • Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
     
  • Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a mans character, give him power. (Abraham Lincoln)
     
  • Of all the properties which belong to honourable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character. (Henry Clary)
     
  • Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking. (Jackson Browne)
     
  • Success is always temporary. When all is said and done, the only thing you'll have left is your character. (Vince Gill)
     
  • Talent develops in tranquillity;
    character in the full current of human life.
    Talent is nurtured in solitude;
    character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.

    (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

     
  • The discipline of desire is the background of character. John Locke)
     
  • The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. (Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay)
     
  • The moment a question comes to your mind,
    see yourself mentally taking hold of it and disposing of it.
    In that moment is your choice made.
    Thus you learn to take the path to the right.
    Thus you learn to become the decider and not the vacillator.
    Thus you build character.

    (H. Van Anderson)
     
  • The most vital test of a mans character is not how he behaves after success, but how he sustains defeat. (Raymond Moley)
     
  • The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. (Jon Holt)
     
  • Thought creates character. (Annie Bessant)
     
  • To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time. (Katherine Hepburn)
     
  • Truthfulness is the main element of character. (Brian Tracy)
     
  • Watch your thoughts;
    they become words.
    Watch your words;
    they become actions.
    Watch your actions;
    they become habit.
    Watch your habits;
    they become character.
    Watch your character;
    it becomes your destiny.

    (Lao Tzu)

     
  • We are where we are, as we are, because of what we are. (Earle J. Glade)
     
  • Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended. Francois, (Duc de La Rochefoucauld)
     
  • What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character? (Henry James Jr.)
     
  • You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. (James D. Miles)
     
  • Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what a reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character. (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)

     

Like cheese and wine, friendship ripens and develops over time.
Be careful whom you trust; don't rush into a shallow intimacy and expect it to equal the value of long-established bonds.

 

Passion and lattes are most delicious when hot!

 

Gouma in Japanese means “To conquer the devil.” The devil in this sense is the devil which exists inside all of us.
One of the hardest things to realise is that our life is our own. Other people, things or events can influence our lives but they don’t control them. Those things merely inform our decisions.
Our greatest gift is that we have the power to choose. At any given time we can choose our perspective and our actions. Exercising choice means taking control.
Life’s journey is supposed to be arduous. Nothing good comes easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be torturous either. The easiest way to make an arduous path more sufferable is to change the way we see it. We cannot know with any amount of certainty where the path of our lives will take us nor do we know how this will factor into our future. Therefore, because of this uncertainty, we can choose to see it any way we want. Choosing to see something in a more positive light enables us to create alignment with it and with who we are and where our lives are going.
In Karate, one of the main principals is to create alignment with not only our opponent’s energy but also with their perspective. It is easier to give them compassion when we can see what they see and where they are coming from.
To conquer the devil, is to align, redirect and use our devil’s power to our advantage and reach our greatest heights.

 

In the garden
with no one but the clear white moon
Golden autumn wind
blows through my robe
I pick up fallen flowers
their fragrance fills the earth
The sound of wild geese in the distance
and my feelings too deep to fathom.

(Jakushitsu)

 

Being free of desires
it is tranquil.
And the world will be at peace
of it's own accord.

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching)

 

The reason we are vulnerable to distressing feelings deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others, is that our minds usually fall into the habitual patterns of what Buddhists call the eight confining concerns:

Like: Being overly attached to a person or situation.
Dislike: Being unable to stand certain persons or situations.
Gaining: Being fixated about getting a certain advantage.
Losing: Worrying endlessly about advantages slipping away.
Praise: Scurrying after others' approval or praise.
Blame. Uselessly trying to escape from blame.
Fame: Thirsting after widespread renown.
Disgrace: Fearing that disrepute, even if true, might spread around.

Once we're in the grip of any of the eight confining concerns, the sense of commonality among us is lost and it is difficult to remember that everyone wants happiness and doesn't want suffering.

However, when you loosen the eight confining concerns a little, more room is left to recognize that not just you but all people want pleasure and don't want pain. Then, the more calmness and composure you have, especially in a difficult situation, the less will be your fixation on these counterproductive pursuits.

 

An old Chinese woman had two water cans which were attached to a yoke. Each day she put the yoke over her shoulders and went down to the river, filled the cans, and walked back to her modest hut.
The water can on the right side of the yoke was fine and sturdy; when she arrived home it was always full. But the can on the left had a crack in it. By the time the woman arrived home, half the water was usually gone.
The water can always felt inferior to his partner. He was ashamed that he was cracked and wasn't pulling his weight. One day he turned to the woman and apologized for being defective.
The woman smiled gently and said, "Did you think I didn't know that you had a crack, and water dripped from you?
Look at the path from the river to my hut.
Do you see all the beautiful flowers that are growing on the one side of the path?
Those are the flowers that I planted there, that you watered every day as I walked home from the river."

 

The Creator gathered all of Creation and said, "I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.
It is the realization that they create their own reality."
The eagle said, "Give it to me, I will take it to the moon."
The Creator said, "No. One day they will go there and find it."
The salmon said, "I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean."
The Creator said, "No. They will go there too."
The buffalo said, "I will bury it on the Great Plains."
The Creator said, "They will cut into the skin of the Earth and find it even there."
Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, "Put it inside of them."
And the Creator said, "It is done."

(A Sioux Indian Story)

 

A priest in ancient China was confronted by barbarian warriors but refused to cooperate with them.
The leader said, “If you don’t confess, I will cut off your head off with one stroke of my blade!”.
The priest smiled at him and said, “It is easy to cut off my head, please go ahead, but can you cut the cherry blossoms which bloom each Spring?”
The leader was dumbfounded at the priest’s wisdom and quietly left him in peace.

 

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- D -

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!

(Steve Maraboli)

 

If you miss a week, the teacher notices.
If you miss a month, the other students notice.
If you miss several months, you’ll eventually notice,
And by then you’ve lost a lot.

(Mark Ehrlich)

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(Max Ehrmann)

 

Dharma is a term in Indian religions. In Hinduism, it means 'duty', 'virtue', 'morality', even 'religion' and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society.
Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people, that is, gives people the opportunity to act virtuously.

 

For seventy two years
I've kept the ox well under.
Today, the plum in bloom again,
I let him wander in the snow.

(Bokuo)

 

No matter how you may excel in the art of te,
And in your scholastic endeavours,
Nothing is more important than your behaviour
And your humanity as observed in daily life.

(Nagamine)

 

Accept everything just the way it is.
Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
Do not give preference to anything among all things.
Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
Be detached from desire your whole life.
Do not regret what you have done.
Never be jealous.
Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
Resentments and complaining are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
Do not seek elegance and beauty in things.
Be indifferent to where you live.
Do not pursue the taste of good food.
Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
Do not act following customary beliefs.
Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
Do not fear death.
Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
Never stray from the Way.

(Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵), 1584 - 1645, a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, writer and rōnin)

 

A warrior’s greatest asset is their ability to preserve and overcome the odds.
Perseverance, drive and commitment are those things which cannot be taught and are only learned along the way.
When things are rough and seemingly not going our way it really does comes down to the size of the fight in our hearts.
And warriors never give up!

 

It is not that we lack self-confidence or ability, it is just that we are afraid of failure.
We should not concern ourselves with this.

There is no such thing as failure until we create it in our minds and bring it into our lives.
It really does not exist, it is only an idea, a value judgement or sensation which simply comes and goes in your head. It does not exist in reality or in nature.

Why many worry about failure so much is that they are very much attached to failure.
Why is this?
This is because failure is an easy way to absolve one’s self of responsibility and commitment which we hate or find burdensome.
We should not waste our time and energy on such thoughts; move on!

The only problem with failure is that, if we accept it, it takes away part of our confidence, our self-esteem, our self-worth; that part of ourselves which can never be taken back.
So, we should simply put the idea of failure or loss out of our minds!

 

A karateka hates to be surprised.
Being surprised means that we were totally unaware of the situation.
In Japanese, being aware is referred to as kuuki wo yomeru or “To be able to read the air,” which means to be able to see what is hidden in plain sight, e.g. a surprise party, a person's intentions or a trap.
To train in karate is to instil one’s self, by persistent instruction, with an almost sixth sense. It is not a superpower because it comes about as a result of being self-aware during training.
In order to master karate, one has to be self-aware enough to see one’s own shortcomings because those weaknesses inevitably create a "suki" or an opening for attack.
A karateka is supposed to be completely self-aware to the point that their self-awareness also extends to their surroundings and to other people. The karateka can see what others do not. It really is almost like “reading the air” which is why karateka loathe surprises because nothing is worse than being caught off guard.
Be prepared, work hard and become aware of yourself.

 

"Ishi no ue ni mo sannen" is a Japanese proverb that most ascribe to mean “don’t give up.”
The actual translation is, “Even the coldest rock will get warm if sat on for three years.”
The people who are often the loudest or biggest are not always the strongest.
True strength comes from inside. When fear or self-doubt over take us, it takes someone of true inner strength and character to not run or give up.
An old Samurai kuj-ji or mudra reads, "Rin Byo To Sha Kai Jin Retsu Zai Zen", which translates as “The bravest warrior excels at the front of the battlefield.”
Brave or courageous people never give up in the face of adversity. Brave or courageous people rise to the challenge. If we persevere, eventually we will win.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!

 

If you have a glass full of liquid
you can discourse forever on its qualities,
discuss whether it is cold, warm,
whether it is really and truly composed of H2O,
or even mineral water, or sake.
Meditation is Drinking it!

(Taisen Deshimaru)

 

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- E -

As envisioned in Bushidō: The Soul of Japan, the author Nitobe Inazoin comments upon eight or more virtues of the Bushidō code as opposed to the original seven according to Hagakure: Book of the Samurai:

Righteousness (義 gi) - Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice and integrity. Warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.
Heroic Courage (勇 yu) - Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.
Benevolence, Compassion (仁 jin) - Through intense training and hard work the true warrior becomes quick and strong. They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow men at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, they go out of their way to find one.
Respect (礼 rei) - True warriors have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others. The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times.
Integrity (誠 makoto) - When warriors say that they will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do. They do not have to 'give their word'. They do not have to 'promise'. Speaking and doing are the same action.
Honour (名誉 meiyo) - Warriors have only one judge of honour and character, and this is themselves. Decisions they make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom they truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.
Duty and Loyalty (忠義 chugi) - Warriors are responsible for everything that they have done and everything that they have said, and all of the consequences that follow. They are immensely loyal to all of those in their care. To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.
Self-Control (自制 jisei)
Associated virtues: Filial piety (孝 ko), Wisdom ((智 chi) and Fraternity (悌 tei)

 

One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air.
“What are you doing?” asked the elephant.
The hummingbird replied, “I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall.”
The elephant laughed cruelly. “Do you really think,” he said, “that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?”
The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose as he replied, “Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do.”

(Chinese Parable)

 

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

(Thich Nhat Hanh)

 

Be formless, shapeless, like water.
If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle.
You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.
Now, water can flow or it can crash.
Be the water my friend.

 

Nothing comes into existence nor does anything disappear.
Nothing is eternal, nor has anything any end.
Nothing is identical or differentiated.
Nothing moves hither and thither.

(Nagarjuna)

 

埋もれ木の/花咲くことも/なかりしに/身のなる果てぞ/悲しかりける
umoregi no/hana saku koto mo/nakarishi ni/mi no naru hate zo/kanashikarikeru

Like a fossil tree
From which we gather no flowers
Sad has been my life
Fated no fruit to produce.

(Minamoto no Yorimasa)

 

Treat those who are good with goodness,
and also treat those who are not good with goodness.
Thus goodness is attained.
Be honest to those who are honest,
and be also honest to those who are not honest.
Thus honesty is attained.

(Lao Tzu)

Translated, this means:
For there shall be a time when people will not endure healthy teaching;
rather according to their own whims,
they will look for teachers who only teach them what they want to hear.

(Timoteo 1st Century BC)

 

Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to us is for someone to see us when we are most vulnerable.
When the cat is out the bag, we can drop that false front that we all carry around and we can relax because our so called worst fear has been realised and then we can take back the control of our lives.
Sometimes the best thing for us is the worst thing that can ever happened to us.
Be rebuked.
Stand corrected,
and learn.
Do you want to be great? Then make some mistakes.
Relax, nobody’s perfect. Even monkeys sometimes fall from trees.

 

Sometimes unpleasant or difficult situations can teach us the most important lessons about ourselves and about life.
Don't close yourself off from knowledge just because you don't appreciate the source of the information.

 

Don't be a know-it-all!
Regardless of how smart and well informed you are, there's always an expert whose knowledge of a particular subject outshines yours.
Even a humble person may have their specialty.

 

Simplicity applies to not only training but to life as well.
Stop doing that thing that causes you pain.
Stop doing that thing that causes others pain.
Trust more and don’t ask so many questions.
Be kinder to yourself and to others.
Let go of control and just go with the flow.
And most of all just train and be patient.

 

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- F -

A short fictional story, featuring animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that are given human qualities, such as the ability to speak human language.
The fable illustrates or leads to a particular moral lesson, which may have an observation added at the end which is accepted as being wise or true.
A fable differs from a parable in that a parable excludes animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech or other powers of humankind.
 

This proverb is usually depicted with a Daruma doll called "okiagari" in Japanese. "Oki" means to get up and "agari" means to rise.
None of us are perfect, but what we can be perfect at is getting back up once we have fall down.
Karate can be thought of as the physical manifestation of this practice. Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.
This Japanese proverb teaches us that perseverance is one of the most important virtues.
There are lots of Japanese proverbs, but this one reminds us that hardly anyone succeeds on their first try or even their second, you just have to keep on keeping on!
 

There lived a frog in a shallow well.

One day, a turtle who used to live in the East Sea travelled there and happened to see him.

The frog proudly said to his unexpected visitor,

"I am so happy!
When I go out, I jump about on the railing beside the mouth of the well.
When I come home, I rest in the holes on the broken wall of the well.
If I jump into the water, it comes up to my armpits and holds up my cheeks.
If I walk in the mud, it covers up my feet.
I look around at the wriggly worms, crabs and tadpoles, and none of them can compare with me.
I am lord of this trough of water and I stand up tall in this shallow well.
My happiness is full.
My dear sir, why don't you come down and look around my wonderful home?"

So the turtle tried to force himself into the well. But before he could get its left foot in, its right knee got stuck. He had to give up. Realizing how small the well is, the turtle began to describe the East Sea to the frog,

"The size of the East Sea is beyond your wildest imagination.
Even a distance of a thousand miles cannot give you an idea of the sea's width; even a height of a thousand feet cannot give you an idea of its depth.
In the time of King Da Yu, there were floods nine years out of ten, but the waters in the sea did not increase.
ln the time of King Tang there were droughts seven years out of eight, but the waters in the sea did not decrease.
The sea does not change along with the passage of time and its level does not rise or fall according to the amount of rain that falls.
Living in the East Sea is the greatest happiness."

Hearing the turtle's words, the frog was shocked into realisation of his own insignificance.

(Jing Di Zhi Wa)
 

A frog was hopping around a farmyard, when it decided to investigate the barn.
Being somewhat careless, and maybe a little too curious, he ended up falling into a pail half-filled with fresh milk.
As he swam about attempting to reach the top of the pail, he found that the sides of the pail were too high and steep to reach.
He tried to stretch his back legs to push off the bottom of the pail but found it too deep. But this frog was determined not to give up, and he continued to struggle.
He kicked and squirmed and kicked and squirmed, until at last, all his churning about in the milk had turned the milk into a big hunk of butter.
The butter was now solid enough for him to climb onto and get out of the pail!
"Never Give Up!"
 

Everything that we get in life comes from putting in the time. To be successful, we have to do the work.
Unless we are doing the thing we are supposed to be doing, we will not achieve the success we are chasing.
In modern society, it is now so easy to become distracted with life’s modern technologies and conveniences.

It doesn’t matter what other people are doing…do your work.
It doesn’t matter what people are saying…do your work.
It doesn’t matter what other people are doing on Facebook; do your work.
It doesn’t matter who thinks you can or can’t…do your work.

There is only one thing which will make us successful in this life and that is doing the work.
No one can make us successful. People can help us, but ultimately we have to do the work.

We have to go to the dojo. We have to practice. We have to do the work.
Black belts aren’t made, they are forged out of one’s own blood, sweat and tears.
There is only one formula for success: hard work = success.
Do your work.
 

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- G -

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it up.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

 

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- H -

Range upon range
of distant peaks,
facing cliffs,
pushing against barriers;
if you linger in thought,
holding back your energy,
you will get stuck.

(Yuan-wu)

Hiện means "realizing" and "making it here and now." A translation for Hiện is "Interbeing" which is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh to represent the Buddhist principles of anatta (selflessness), pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination), and the understanding of śūnyatā (emptiness).
 

At our most basic, all human beings are more alike than we are different.
This proverb offers a subtle reminder to practice compassion for those at both ends of the economic spectrum, regardless of our own position in society.
 

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- I -

The first is gentleness;
the second is frugality;
the third is humility,
which keeps me from putting myself before others.
Be gentle and you can be bold;
be frugal and you can be liberal;
avoid putting yourself before others
and you can become a leader among men.

(Lao Tzu)

 

This proverb reminds us that we don't have to do things perfectly in order to do them and enjoy them.
So whatever it is you're doing, don't be afraid to do it with style.

 

None of us can predict how long we will live, which is why it is so important to live each day with intention and purpose.

 

You can give someone an opportunity, but you can't force them to take it.
Those who want it, will come and get it. All others stay where you are.
Those that will, will. Those that won’t, won’t.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
All the rewards and benefits of karate training are there for you, however, you cannot receive them from behind your iPad.
"The Way is in training.”
It is nobody’s fault but your own if you do not improve.
If you want it, come and get. If you don’t, stay where you are.
 

We cannot improve if we don’t do it under our own power,
but man cannot evolve unless we share ourselves with others.

 

The opposite of love is not hate,
it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness,
it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy,
it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death,
it's indifference.

(Elie Wiesel)
 

If you understand,
things are just as they are;
if you do not understand,
things are just as they are.
 

If you don’t understand yourself, you will lose one hundred percent of the time.
If you understand yourself, you will win fifty percent of the time.
If you understand yourself and your opponent, you will win one hundred percent of the time.

(Tsutomu Oshima)
 

There’s a tree that existed before the woods,
In age twice as old.
Its roots suffered as the valley changed,
Its leaves deformed by wind and frost.
People all laugh at its withered aspect,
Caring nothing about the core’s beauty.
When the bark is stripped off,
Only essence remains.

(Han Shan)
 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(William Ernest Henley)
 

The proper answer is "No.
A horse, like a human, is a sentient being, and beings are not colours.
Colours are merely material.
Persons are designated in dependence upon mind and body, but they are neither mind nor body, nor even a collection of the two.

 

In order to be good a student must have faith that what and how the teacher is teaching them will somehow work out in the end for their benefit.
Students who are interested in getting good only focus on what is being taught.
In order to get good the student must only copy and not try to interpret.
It is when they interpret that they become preoccupied on “knowing” and to that end who is right.
Right isn’t always correct because sometimes we don’t have the logic for what is being taught to us and only after years of training realise how it factors in.
Therefore the student needs to trust the teacher and strive to be good rather than right.
 

In Japan, before eating meals, people join their hands in ‘Gassho’ position and say ‘itadakimasu’!
Translated in English as “I humbly receive”, itadakimasu finds its roots in Zen which teaches respect for all things.
By using itadakimasu, you are not only showing your appreciation to the plants, animals, farmers, hunters, chefs, and everything that went into the meal, but you bring yourself back in the present moment.
In Zen, the state of mind with which you are ‘receiving’ and eating food is of a great importance.
Meals should be viewed as a medicine.
You don’t have to use itadakimasu before a meal, but you should to take a moment and pause to reflect on the food you are about to take into your body.
 

Karateka are people who excel at confrontation management. Here are four powerful statements that have the ability to change any confrontation.
I am sorry.
I was wrong.
I don’t know.
I made a mistake.
To be able to say these statements without coercion shows that one has attained a level most never get to.
It shows that one is not only powerful, but humble as well – a combination not easily overcome by an opponent.
The one final supremely powerful statement is “I love you.”
 

It is more difficult to understand.
Understanding requires compassion,
patience, and a willingness to believe that
good hearts sometimes choose poor methods.
Trough judging, we separate.
Through understanding, we grow.

if we live, we live;
if we die, we die;
if we suffer, we suffer;
if we are terrified, we are terrified.
No problem.

(Alan Watts)
 

Any parent knows there is no such thing as too much help when it comes to looking after children.
And each person brings his or her own gifts and contributions to the effort.
 

Budo is nothing more than doing that thing that we have to do when it has to be done. No one can do it for us.
All that we can hope is that people show up along the way to keep us company and support us on our journey.
 

This saying is about acceptance, and viewing failure and success in any venture as two sides of the same coin.
Being a gracious loser requires a set of skills as important as those needed for being a gracious winner.
You never know, you may wind up using them more frequently!
 

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- J -

Not more than you can.
Not less than you can.
Just as much as you can.
But, are you doing as much as you can?
 

だんだん上手になってくるよ!or Dan dan jouzu ni natte kuru yo! is a Japanese proverb which may be translated as, "You’ll get better as time goes by!"

The English equivalent, 'Try, try again", is credited to William Edward Hickson.

We are all hardwired for adaptation and change and our bodies and minds have a flexibility which enables them to adapt to any situation; all it takes is a little determination.

Mastery’s best ally is perseverance and its biggest obstacle is time.

If you want to get better, all you have to do is keep going and things will eventually get better.

Everybody gets better if they keep at it.
 

Let go of comparing.
Let go of competing.
Let go of judgements.
Let go of anger.
Let go of regrets.
Let go of worrying.
Let go of blame.
Let go of guilt.
Let go of fear.
Laugh at least once a day (especially if it’s about your inability to let go of any or all of the above!)
 

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- K -

With the right attitude, we can learn anything.

How does one get the right attitude?
Having the right attitude begins by being open and willing.
Openness implies that one is receptive and sincere with respect to the teacher and the art or to what is being taught.
Willingness implies that we are eager and ready to learn.
Consider open and willing to the following statements and see just how powerful they become.

I am open and willing to value the process.
I have the openness and willingness to lose and see what it can teach me.
Being open and willing means that I will always have the beginners mind.
I have the openness and willingness to meet adversity.
I am open and willing to being present and engaged.
Staying open and willing allows me to shift from stress to recovery.
Being open and willing allows me to walk the middle road.
Having the attitude of being open and willing enables me forego fancy for fundamentals.
Being open and willing enables me to see the bigger picture.

Mastery is nothing more than become a better person with the right attitude.
 

According to Japanese culture, restraint and humility are the hallmarks of a true master of the marital arts.
Those two traits are more important than strength, speed, ability or accomplishment.
Anyone can cause harm or hurt other people, but only a true person of character can exercise restraint and practice humility in the face adversity.
It takes courage to be a person of character.
 

Pronounced 'key-sets-sue', talking about the seasons is an integral part of making conversation in Japanese. The time of the year, weather and the seasons make up the backbone of all Japanese small talk.

Japanese people are proud of the fact that Japan has four distinct seasons; Haru (Ha-ryu) spring, Natsu (Nah-sue) summer, Aki (Ah-key) autumn, Fuyu (Foo-you) winter (there is a rainy season, called tsuyu, which is dreaded by all Japanese but technically it is not season).

In Japan when children learn to recite the seasons, they always begin with spring the reason possibly being due to the cherry blossom season, which is eagerly awaited all year and that it feels like the beginning after a long cold winter.

The Japanese language is rich with vocabulary describing the seasons called kigo, which are poetryinspired words the most common of which are:

Haruichiban: First gale of spring
Kisetsufuu: Seasonal wind
Yuku haru: Spring is gone
Harukaze: Spring breeze
Harugasumi: Spring haze
Natsu kinu: Summer has come
Natsu no hate: Summer is ending
Aki no shokuyoku: Autumn’s appetite
Akiguchi: Early autumn
Akikaze: Autumn breeze
Akigare no ni: Perfect autumn day
Kimastu: End of a season
Kouyou: The changing of the colours in the autumn
 

A riddle or puzzle used during meditation to help the student unravel greater truths about the world and about themselves.
Koans may seem like paradoxes at first glance, however, it is up to the student to discover their meaning, to realises that the koan is actually meant to be understood by the spirit and by intuition.
The koan, 'A Parable'  provides an explanation of the puzzle.
 

In Japanese, there are three words for “heart”:

shinzou, which refers to the physical organ,
ha-to, which is the Anglicized word for a love heart; and
kokoro.

Kokoro is well understood in Japanese, but difficult to explain in English. Conceptually, it unites the notions of heart, mind, and spirit: It sees these three elements as being indivisible from one other, e.g. if we say, ‘She has a good kokoro,’ it means heart and spirit and soul and mind all together.”

One of the problems of discussing kokoro in English is that by linking words "heart" and "spirit" and "mind" with “and,” we imply divisions that do not exist in Japanese. However, in Eastern culture, the three are not intrinsically linked as one: They are one.
 

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- L -

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- M -

"Ichi-yo ochite tenka no aki wo shiru," is a Japanese proverb which translates to, “With the fall of one leaf we know autumn has come.”

Life is about the inevitability of change and the changing of the season is nature’s way of teaching us the skill of appreciation.
In summer we long for the coolness of autumn; in winter we become desperate for the warmth of spring.
Each season brings with it a simultaneously sense of anticipation of what will be and a sadness of what no longer remains.

Kawaisou is a deeper felt sadness that one experiences upon hearing or seeing something unpleasant, that touches them in a more profound way.
With every life changing moment comes a sense of sadness, but with it also comes the gift of appreciation.
We all have the tendency to take things for granted and only when we are confronted with change that is usually negative do we gain the wisdom of appreciation.
With every leaf that falls we gain the appreciation for life and thus with every change we are given the opportunity to realise the fragility of life and to answer the call and make the most out of our lives.

 

To the pure geometer the radius of curvature is an incidental characteristic like the grin of the Cheshire cat.
To the physicist it is an indispensable characteristic.
It would be going too far to say that to the physicist the cat is merely incidental to the grin.
Physics is concerned with interrelatedness such as the interrelatedness of cats and grins.
In this case the "cat without a grin" and the "grin without a cat" are equally set aside as purely mathematical phantasies.

(Sir Arthur Anthony Eddington)
 


 

Mikô suigetsu o saguri,
Shi ni itaru made kyûketsu sezu.
Hôshu shinsen ni mossureba,
Jippô hikari kôketsu.

The monkey is reaching for the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him he'll never give up.
If he'd let go the branch and disappear in the deep pool.
The whole world would shine with dazzling pureness.

(Ekaku Hakuin, 1686 - 1769)

 

During my second month at university, the lecturer gave us an impromptu test.
Being a a conscientious student, I sailed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans this room?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
Just before the lecture ended, one student asked if the last question would count towards our grade.
"Absolutely," replied the lecturer. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. All deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."
I've never forgotten that lesson.
The cleaners name was Dot.
 

When Japanese people see something being wasted they say, Mottainai, which is almost a sacrilegious feeling that something is being wasted. Here is something I read that inspires me to be more productive:

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation, you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.
If you can read this message you, are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.

We often lose sight of things that we already have. We are lucky. We get to spend our time the way we want to.
We choose Budo, thus we must throw ourselves into our practice because there are many who would like to but do not have the opportunity, resources or capabilities to do so.

Don’t waste!

Don’t let this day go away lightly, spend it wisely.

 

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

(Oriah)
 

Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.
When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters.
But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest.
For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

(Ch’uan Teng Lu)
 

A woman approached the Buddha begging that he do something to restore her dead child to her.
The Buddha listened patiently to her plea and saw how great was her despair.
He said to her, "Mother, if you bring me just one mustard seed from any household in which no person has died, then I shall revive your child."
The woman was greatly encouraged by the teacher's words.
She travelled from door to door throughout her own village, but could not find even a single residence in which no one had died.
She went out of town, wandering to this hamlet and that in search of the tiny seed that the Buddha had requested.
Days later, muddy and footsore, she returned to the place where the Buddha and his followers were passing the rainy season.
She was ushered into the Teacher's presence worn out, but not discouraged.
"Master, try as I might, I could not locate the token you requested as an offering.
But I have come to understand that death visits every household and eventually, every single one of us.
I would like now, to 'enter the stream' and work towards the liberation that the teachings provide.
 

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- N -

There was once a swordsman called Shoken. In Shoken’s house, there was a large rat. The rat boldly ran around in the house in plain day, so Shoken attempted to catch it by closing off the room it was in and sending in his cat. Unfortunately, the rat ran straight at the cat, jumping on its head and biting it. The cat cried out and ran away.

Shoken had no choice but to assemble some local cats that seemed to be plenty strong, and send them into the room through a small opening. The rat was crouching in a corner, and jumped on and bit each cat that came near. Its fury was so great that the cats all cowered from the rat, making no further attempts to catch it. Seeing this, Shoken grew angry and grabbed his own wooden sword, attempting to strike down the rat himself. However, he not only swung and missed the rat every time, he had ruined his own walls and doors by the end.

Dripping sweat, he yelled out for his servant. “I heard of an amazing old cat living 6 or 7 neighbourhoods over. Go and borrow it.”

When it arrived, the cat didn’t look particularly sharp. However, when they put it in the room, the rat shrunk down and couldn’t move. The old cat strolled over nonchalantly, picked up the rat, and brought it out.

Later that night, many cats gathered at Shoken’s house. They all kneeled before the old cat and said, “We are all well known for our skill in rat catching, able to handle even weasels and otters, and our nails are razor sharp. However, there was nothing we could do against that rat. How is it that you were able to overcome that giant rat? Please impart to us the secrets of your art.”

The Old Cat laughed and said, “Young ones, you all put forth a good effort. The only reason you met with an unexpected defeat today was likely because you do not know technique that is in accord with correct principle. Before I begin, though, tell me about your training.”

A black cat came forward and said, “I was raised in a family that specialized in catching rats. Since I was born I have trained myself with a view to becoming a great rat-catcher. I can leap over a seven foot screen and squeeze through tiny holes. I’ve always been talented at light and fast technique. At times I feign sleep and then strike out as soon as a rat comes near. Rats cannot escape me. I can catch them even as they fled across ceiling beams. I was never defeated until I met that old rat.”

The Old Cat said, ”Your training has centred on technique. Accordingly, what stands in the forefront is your mind that aims (to achieve the goal). The old masters taught techniques as guides. And the technique itself was not easy. Within the technique, there is a profound truth, but today the emphasis is on the technique. Thus people create various techniques and polish their skills, resulting in nothing more than contests of technique. But once one can polish his skill no further, he is lost. If a person relies on skill and drowns in innovation, everything will follow similarly. The workings of the mind/heart will also have no foundation in principle. Emphasis on improvement then begets more harm than benefit. Reflect on this and innovate carefully.”

Next a striped cat stepped forward and said: “I think that the most important thing for martial technique is how to carry one’s ki. I have long trained myself in its cultivation and development, and my ki is hard and strong, filling heaven and earth. I can face down my opponents with overwhelming ki and defeat them from the start. I can make any adjustment to change. I don’t need to consciously move, only move naturally, and even run along walls and ceilings. But that rat came without form, and went without a trace. I was stymied.”

The Old Cat replied, “That training works on the basis of nothing more than the force of ki. You are conscious of your own use of your power, so it is not spontaneous. Your thought and desire to not be defeated brings forth the opponent’s effort to defeat you. Furthermore, what to do when you cannot defeat something you are trying to defeat? It’s never the case that you are the only one that is strong and all of your opponents are weak. The ki that you think fills heaven and earth is nothing more than superficial force. It may resemble Mencius’ Kozen no ki, but in reality it is not. Mencius can perceive very well and has the knowledge to discern matters, and is very solid. But your solidity is dependent on force and the effect is not even comparable. It is like the difference between an ever-flowing great river and the force of a flash flood after a night’s rain. What to do when faced with an opponent that is unperturbed by the force of your ki? We know the proverb, ‘A biting cat gets bitten by the rat.’ When a rat is cornered it forgets life, forgets desires, forgets winning and losing, forgets safety – it is in a state of ‘mushin’. How to defeat such an opponent with only force?”

Next, an older grey cat came forth quietly and said, “As you have stated, that type of ki power can be very strong but still retains a form, however slight. I have trained my mind for many years, and without force of ki or opposition, always trying to harmonize with everything. My technique is like a curtain surrendering to the pressure of a stone thrown at it. Even a strong rat finds no means to fight me. But that rat today, it wouldn’t yield to force, respond to harmonizing – it was almost god-like. I’ve never seen a rat like that before.”

The Old Cat answered, “The harmonizing you speak of is not of nature but instead something that is contrived. Accordingly, even if you strive to concentrate, if there is even the faintest wavering in you, the opponent will know it. Also, if one harmonizes based on one’s own mind, the energy will be tainted and spoiled. If you act based on thinking, then you obstruct the sense of naturalness/spontaneity, and subtlety cannot arise. Do not think or do. Move in accord with sense, and you will no longer have any enemies on this earth. This is not to say that the training that each one of you is doing is of no use. Where there is energy (‘ki’), there is principle, and where there is principle, there is energy (‘ki’). There is principle in action, and energy is something that comprises physical function. When that energy becomes magnanimous, it can respond to things without limit. So, when harmonizing, without strength, even if one is hit by a rock, one will not break. The slightest thought makes everything an intention. Accordingly, the enemy will never respect you. There is no need to use any technique. It is enough to be ‘mushin’, and respond spontaneously. There is no end to the path, so one must not take what I say to be the enlightening secret.

Long ago, there was a cat in my neighbourhood who seemed to do nothing but nap all day. That cat looked spiritless, almost like a cat made out of wood. No one ever saw it catch a rat, yet wherever it was and wherever it went, no rat could be seen. I once visited the cat and asked it to explain. I asked four times but it remained silent each time. It was not that the cat did not want to answer but rather that it did not have a reason to answer. What I understood from that was, those who know, do not speak; those who speak, do not know. That cat forgot about itself, forgot about things, and had returned to a “non-thing”. It was truly “Divine, martial – no killing”. I was nowhere in comparison to that cat.

Shoken, who had been listening in on this dreamlike conversation, could not contain himself and suddenly burst in. “I have been training in swordsmanship for many years but I have yet to master its essence. Tonight I have learned about many different kinds of training and learned much. If I may request, please guide me to the innermost secrets.”

The Old Cat replied: “I cannot. I am just an animal that catches rats for food. What do I know about human affairs? I have heard this, though. Swordsmanship is not to attain victory over an opponent, but to face change and illuminate life and death. Warriors continually develop their mind/heart, and must train their technique. Accordingly, if one can, through the principle of life and death, without using deliberation, innovation, and without doubt and hesitation, make peaceful the heart/mind and energy, and make usual being quiet and at ease, then one can freely respond to change. Conversely, if one does not have such a mind, then there arises form, and thus enemies are born; one must face them and fight them, and no longer be able to respond to change. That is, one’s mind first falls into the realm of death and loses its vitality – how to then decide a duel optimally? Even if one wins, it is nothing more than luck, and not related to true swordsmanship.

‘No-mind, no-object’ does not mean vacant. The mind does not originally have a form, and accordingly cannot harbour objects. If there is even a hint of harbouring something, one’s energy tends to gather there, and if that happens it becomes difficult to be magnanimous, open, and free. What is tended toward becomes excessive, and where it is not so there arises a lacking. Where there is excess the momentum causes spillage, and where there is lacking, it becomes useless, and together, the ability to respond to change is lost. The no-mind, no-object that I speak of is not accumulating, not gathering; there is no enemy, there is no self; simply put, there is no thought, no doing, quietly not moving, sensing what is on the earth, and finally, proceeding – it is close to mastering this principle.”

Shoken then asked, ”What is meant by ‘There is no enemy, there is no self’?”

The Old Cat replied, “Because there is a self, there is an enemy. If there is no self, there is no enemy. The enemy is the same as yin-yang, fire-water. Everything that has a form has relativity/opposition. If there is no image (form) in one’s mind, then of course there is nothing relative, and no reason to fight. This is called, ‘No enemy, no self’. Forget both object and self, quietly and easily, rid yourself of all delusion and attachment, harmonize, and become one. Even if one destroys the form of the enemy, the self does not know it. No, it’s not that it doesn’t know, it’s that there is no mind there and so there is just moving in accordance with sense. According to this mind, ‘The world is my world, I am the world”’ – there is no captivation by right-wrong, like-dislike. Everything comes from one’s mind – pain-pleasure, gain-loss; the broad universe is not something to be sought outside one’s mind. The ancients said, ‘A speck of dust in the eye can make the three worlds look narrow. Free your mind.’ That is, if you have dust in your eye, you can’t open your eye. There is something where there shouldn’t be anything. This is about the heart/mind. The ancients also said, ‘Even surrounded by countless foes, this form may be smashed, but this mind is my mind.’ Confucius said, ‘Even the basest man cannot be deprived of his will.’ If one is perplexed or lost, that mind helps the enemy. This is all I have to say.

The rest is up to each person to seek for himself. One’s master can transmit technique, or tasks – then there is only to realise the principle. The truth must be realised by the individual. This is called self-attainment. It is also called, ‘Heart/mind to heart/mind transmission’ – this is found everywhere self-attainment is, whether zen study, mental methods of the saints, or performing arts. To teach is only to point out and help know that which a person has but cannot see himself. It is not to receive from the master. Teaching is easy, and listening to teachings is easy. However, it is difficult to find with certainty that which one has, and make it one’s own. This is called ‘kensho’. ‘Satori’ is to wake from the dream that is delusion. These are the same thing.”

 

The Japanese proverb, “Nete ite koronda tameshi nashi,” translates as while you are sleeping don’t fall down while trying to do something.
In other words, approach your training with both eyes wide open so that you can be aware of everything you are doing.

 

This woodblock print is called "Plum Branch Before the Rising Sun" by Yoshimura.

To the Japanese, the plum symbolises the new beginning after a harsh winter.

Similarly, it symbolises the renewal of our commitment to our practice, to support our continuing growth as teachers and students as well as our own development.

 

Master, I am new here.
What is your teaching?
"Have you already eaten your gruel?"
Yes.
"Go wash your bowl."
Master, what more can you teach me?
"ABCDEF."
I do not understand.
"GHIJKL."
Thank you, Master.

(Yun-men)

 

It is said that what is called "the spirit of an age" is something to which one cannot return.
That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world's coming to an end.
For this reason, although one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done.
Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.

(Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure)

 

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- O -

One Choice, decided your friends.
One Choice, defines your beliefs.
One Choice, determines your loyalties - forever.
One Choice can transform you.

(Veronica Roth)

 

The world as we know it today is an enormous place and with the advent of the Internet it has become simultaneously global and accessible.
In many ways it can be friendly or hostile based on our own doing.
In this day and age, we can connect with someone halfway around the world, yet spend the day with someone in the same room and barely know they are there.
Interacting with other people is what makes us human.
A kind word to someone, regardless if that person is our friend or a stranger, can go a long way.
Each of us has within our power the opportunity to change the world and all it takes is one kind word.
 

The dark moon does not light my path,
The bright sun only blinds my eyes,
People’s words stray me from the Path,
False doubts only weigh my feet,
The world flows against me,
Still one step, one step at a time.

 

A variation of the proverb, “You reap what you sow”, it reminds us that no matter what we want to accomplish in life, we get out of our efforts what we put into them.
Invest time and effort into your training and it will work out.

 

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- P -

A short tale that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It is a simple narrative that sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results.
A parable often involves a character who faces a moral dilemma or one who makes a bad decision and then suffers the unintended consequences.
Although the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, it is not intended to be hidden or secret but to be quite straightforward and obvious.
A parable It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parable have human characters.

 

Once Buddha was walking from town to town with his followers. This was in the initial days.
They happened to pass a lake and Buddha told one of his disciples, “I am thirsty. Get me some water from that lake.”
The disciple walked up to the lake and noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and he also saw a bullock cart crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid.
The disciple returned to tell Buddha “The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”
After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him the water to drink.
The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water. Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen effortlessly.”
Buddha says having ‘peace of mind is an effortless process.
When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside.
It spreads around you and in the environment.

 

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

(Christian D. Larson)

 

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- R -

Those who deserve respect seldom seek it.
Those who seek respect seldom deserve it.
We should always strive to be our very best and try our very best at whatever we do.
Respect comes to those who deserve it. If we are doing well and trying our best, that is reward enough irrespective of whether people recognise it or not.
In Karate, it is easy to become distracted by rank, titles and awards. I know some very well known international Karate instructors. I also know some who are not known at all. My greatest respect goes to the instructors who wholeheartedly teach their students, often for little or no money, often in obscurity.
I am impressed when I meet a well known instructor who is down to earth.
I am impressed when I meet an unknown instructor who teaches at the highest level.
I am impressed when I meet a sincere and dedicated student of any level.
Respect is something you have to earn day after day after day.
If you seek respect, you are missing the point.
Just do good.

 

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- S -

What you want to acquire, you should dare to acquire by any means.
What you want to see, even though it is with difficulty, you should see.
You should not let it pass, thinking there will be another chance to see it or acquire it.
It is quite unusual to have a second chance to materialize your desire.

(Yosa Buson)

 

Be faithful.
Endeavour.
Respect others.
Refrain from violent behaviour.

 

With the moon emerged
my mind is motionless
Sitting on this frosty seat
No further dream of fame
The forest
The mountains follow their ancient ways
And through the long
Spring day, not even
The shadow of a bird.

(Reizan)

 

Never lag behind others in the pursuit of Bushido.
Be ready to be useful to ones lord.
Honour ones parents.
Serve for the benefit of others with a heart of great compassion.

 

Show encouragement, if you do people will strive for more.
Show kindness, it is often misplaced.
Show leadership, to many people are followers.
Show wisdom, it is in short supply.

 

The song of cicadas in the branches,
the voice of water under rocks.
Rain last night washed away
the soot and dust.
Don't say there's nothing special
in my grass hut,
come and I'll share with you
a window full of cool air.

(Ryokan)

 

Success depends on our perspective and our ingenuity.
If we remain open to possibilities, we can make full use of the resources at our fingertips.

 

A young, strong student is ideal, but a strong student who is over-confident and arrogant is not as desirable as a student who is weak and understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.
A smart student is desirable but a student who thinks he is smarter than everyone else is not as desirable as a less educated student who understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.
A successful student is desirable but a student who thinks he is better than everyone else is not as desirable as a student who does not have much, but understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.

 

American dog say, 'Woof, woof.
Korean dog say, 'Mung, mung.
Polish dog say, 'How, how.
So which dog barking is correct?
That is 'human beings' barking, not 'dog' barking.
If dog and you become one hundred percent one,
then you know sound of barking.
This is Zen teaching.
Boom!
Become one.

(Seung Sahn)

 

The oak tree:
not interested
in cherry blossoms.

(Matsuo Basho)

 

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shrivelled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

 

Be extremely subtle,
even to the point of formlessness.
Be extremely mysterious,
even to the point of soundlessness.
Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.

(Sun Tzu)

 

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- T -

Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview.
Taoism is also referred to as Daoism, which is a more accurate way of representing in English the sound of the Chinese word.
Taoism is about the Tao. This is usually translated as the Way. But it's hard to say exactly what this means. The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe. All things are unified and connected in the Tao.
Taoist ideas have become popular throughout the world through Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, and various martial arts.

 

to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming,
but on our own readiness to receive him;
not on the chance of his not attacking,
but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

(Sun Tzu)

 

Don't rush off haphazardly without a plan.
If you don't know what you're doing, it's as though you're walking blindly into the dark.
Use the gift of knowledge to illuminate your path.

 

The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects;
The next best are loved and praised;
The next are feared;
The next despised:
They have no faith in their people,
And their people become unfaithful to them.
When the best rulers achieve their purpose
Their subjects claim the achievement as their own.

(Lao Tzu)

 

At the heart of all martial arts training comes the understanding that our minds are our greatest weapons and simultaneously our worst enemies.
In the Japanese traditional arts, the highest level one can attain is the ability to show restraint.
A master is supposed to be someone who has kokkifukurei or the ability to demonstrate their skills in decorum and etiquette but more importantly their ability to exercise self-restraint at all times.
Restraint can only come after years and years of training.
Restraint is the ability to do the right thing at the right time which one might call seido in Japanese or precision in English.
Learn to control yourself and your emotions so that other people cannot control you.

 

The brick walls are there for a reason.
The brick walls are not there to keep us out.
The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.
They’re there to stop the other people.

(Randy Pausch)

 

A boat docked in a tiny Greek village. A tourist complimented the fisherman who was resting in his boat on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the fisherman.
“Then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the tourist.
The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The tourist asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a nap with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, drink a bit, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.” Said the fisherman.
The tourist interrupted, “I am a businessman and and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch and with the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.
“What do I do then” asked the fisherman?
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant” answered the tourist.
“What do I do then” asked the fisherman?
“You can then leave this little village and move to the city, Athens, London or even New York ! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman.
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the tourist.
“And then what happens then?” asked the fisherman.
“That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fisherman.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a nap with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing, playing and drinking with your friends…”
“Which is exactly what I do already” replied the fisherman.

 

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.
Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.
After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.
The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many of us never understand.
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

 

The power of the written word can change ideas, policies, and the world at large.

 

A tropical take on the familiar maxim "Don't judge a book by its cover."
A showy appearance is no guarantee of a person's ultimate worth.

 

We put something precious of ourselves into everything that we create (do), with conviction.
If you do a good job, you don't need to blow your own horn.
Your work (and actions), will speak for itself more convincingly than any form of self promotion.
 

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

(Theodore Roosevelt)

 

Ignorance isn't simply a lack of knowledge but a rejection of education.
As long as we are open to finding out more, we will never stop learning.
 

The only thing we truly possess in this world which we can give to others is our kindness.
There is nothing more than this.
Money is not real. Objects are not real. What we possess is not real. The only thing we do have to give another person is our “kindness.”
That is the fundamental assertion behind karate-do and why we do the techniques the way we do them. Any fool can wield a sword or hurt others, however, only a true master has the inner strength to give someone kindness. Thus, there is no sword which can oppose kindness.

 

Some may think that as karateka we strive for a place of physical perfection where our skills in fighting are supreme; this is too short-sighted.
An experienced karateka seeks the pinnacle of fighting which is non-fighting. At this place of non-fighting, one realises that the only true opponent worth contending with is ourselves.
Most karateka never get to this understanding. It rarely happens because most have to defeat every opponent in the world in order to realise that the true and only opponent is themselves.
Today, we strive to be like the karateka of old without having to undertake the risks they did. We have their hard fought realisation to hand which usually took many years of fighting to achieve.
Like the karateka of old, the true ultimate goal was to not only develop their bodies, but to also develop their minds to a place which is referred to as immovable in swordsmanship.
To have a mind which is immovable is to be like the moon which is unmoved by the wind. It takes several years of training to reach this place of equanimity.
Be patient; do not let the wind steer you off course.
 

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts.
If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon.
If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

(Buddha)
 

Gate after gate
Adorned with festal pine
Spring has come
To each and every house,
Garnishing all with new green.

(Saigyo)

 

The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.
Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe.
Follow the direction not the sign.

 

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

(Lao Tzu)

 

Socrates was the great philosopher in ancient Greece and was held in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute”, Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“That’s right”, Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,”,the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …” “All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.
Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” “No, on the contrary.” “So”, Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.
You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”
“Well”, concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

 

Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.

If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again.

Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear,
Try, try again.

Once or twice, though you should fail,
Try, try again.

If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again.

If we strive, 'tis no disgrace,
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in that case?
Try, try again.

If you find your task is hard,
Try, try again.

Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try again.

All that other folk can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view,
Try, try again.

(William Edward Hickson - 1803 - 1870)

 

True mastery is not what one can do to others.
Rather, true mastery is to what degree one can control one’s self.
If you want mastery, journey inwards.

 

This lesson, often attributed to French author Jules Renard, speaks to the wisdom of age and experience.
It's taken from the original French: La vérité vaut bien qu'on passe quelques années sans la trouver.

 

This proverb promotes optimism and positive thinking.
As we look forward toward brighter things, darkness literally recedes.

 

During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered.
He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt.
On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, "I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself."
He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious.
After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, "No one can change destiny."
"Quite right," the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

 

A martial arts student approached his teacher with a question.
"I'd like to improve my knowledge of the martial arts. In addition to learning from you, I'd like to study with another teacher in order to learn another style. What do you think of this idea?"
"The hunter who chases two rabbits," answered the master, "catches neither one."

 

A fight is going on inside me," said an old man to his son.

It is a terrible fight between two wolves.

One wolf is evil.

He is anger,
envy,
sorrow,
regret,
greed,
arrogance,
self-pity,
guilt,
resentment,
inferiority,
lies,
false pride,
superiority,
and ego.

The other wolf is good.

He is joy,
peace,
love,
hope,
serenity,
humility,
kindness,
benevolence,
empathy,
generosity,
truth,
compassion,
and faith.

The same fight is going on inside you.

The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, "Which wolf will win?

The old man replied simply, "The one you feed.

(an old story from the Cherokee Nation oral tradition)

 

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- V

We need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
If you are able to be vulnerable then what you don’t know will somehow become beautiful.
When you find yourself getting nervous or anxious, smile, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “be vulnerable.”
If you can do all three of those things then your experience will change and you will have a much better experience.

 

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Wabi-sabi is a concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics constituting a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.
The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".

 

Do not turn your back on the various ways of this world.
Do not scheme for physical pleasure.
Do not intend to rely on anything.
Consider yourself lightly; consider the world deeply.
Do not ever think in acquisitive terms.
Do not regret things about your own personal life.
Do not envy another's good or evil.
Do not lament parting on any road whatsoever.
Do not complain or feel bitterly about yourself or others.
Have no heart for approaching the path of love.
Do not have preferences.
Do not harbour a hopes for your own personal home.
Do not have a liking for delicious food for yourself.
Do not carry antiques handed down from generation to generation.
Do not fast so that it affects you physically.
While it's different with military equipment, do not be fond of material things.
While on the way, do not begrudge death.
Do not be intent on possessing valuables or a fief in old age.
Respect the Gods and Buddha's but do not depend on them.
Though you give up your life, do not give up your honour.
Never depart from the way of the Martial Arts.

(Miyamoto Musashi)

 

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.

But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize:

a blue sky,
white clouds,
green leaves,
the black, curious eyes of a child
our own two eyes.

All is a miracle.

(Thich Nhat Hanh)

 

Jafar, Muhammad's cousin, was a warrior of concentrated light.

When he rode up to a walled city, it was no more to him than a gulp of water in his dry mouth.

This happened at Mutah.

No one went out to fight him.

"What's to be done?" the king asked his clairvoyant minister.

"If you strap on your sword with this one," replied the advisor, "also wrap your shroud around you!"

"But he's only one man!"

"Ignore the singularity.

Look with your wisdom.

He gathers multitudes, as stars dissolve in sunlight."

Human beings can embody a collective, a majesty of spirit, which is not like having a name or a body.

A herd of onagers may display a thousand antler points; then a lion comes to the edge of their field: they scatter.

(Jalaluddin Rumi)
 

We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us.
But if you’ve been through enough relationships,
you begin to suspect there’s no right person,
just different flavours of wrong.
Why is this?
Because you yourself are wrong in some way,
and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way.
But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness.
And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons,
your unsolvable problems
the ones that make you truly who you are
that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate.
Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for.
You’re looking for the wrong person.
But not just any wrong person:
it's got to be the right wrong person
someone you lovingly gaze upon and think,
 “This is the problem I want to have.
I will find that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way.

Andrew Boyd
 

If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
sunscreen would be it.
The long-term benefits of sunscreen
have been proved by scientists,
whereas the rest of my advice
has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh, never mind.
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded.
But trust me,
in 20 years,
you'll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can't grasp
now how much possibility lay before you
and how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future.
Or worry,
but know that worrying
is as effective as trying to solve
an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life
are apt to be things
that never crossed your worried mind,
the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m.
on some idle Tuesday.

(Mary Schmich)
 

A warrior only needs three things.

“Kind Heart
Fierce Mind
Brave Spirit”

This assertion is supported by the Japanese proverb, "A wise man does not lose his way, a brave man does not succumb to fear".

If we are wise then we will have a kind heart.
If we are resolute then we will have a fierce mind.
If we are brave then we won’t succumb to fear.

Have courage, don’t give into fear, be determined and never give up.

To live the life of a warrior is nothing more than this.

 

All warfare is based on some form of deception, misdirection or sleight of hand. Sometimes the win is just the calm before the storm or a rouse our opponents uses to gain the overall victory.
In martial arts this type of technique is a sutemi-waza or sacrifice technique. We give up something small to get something even bigger.
There is a Japanese saying, “Katte kara kabuto no o wo shime yo” which means "After victory, tighten your helmet".
Never let your guard down even if you think you have won.
That just might be what your opponent wants you to think.
 

Winning and losing are only a game bored people play.
There is nothing in this world that can defeat us but ourselves.
We must understand this clearly in every move and thought we make in practice, even when we are blinking our eyes or slightly turning our heads.

(Reverend Kensho Furuya)
 

A traditional Japanese proverb, the three wise monkeys are a visual maxim that embodies the proverbial principle "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil".

There are various meanings ascribed to the monkeys and the proverb, including associations with being of good mind, speech and action. In the Western world the phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by turning a blind eye.

Sometimes there is a fourth monkey who symbolizes the principle of "do no evil" or "think no evil", shown with arms crossed or arms covering the lap.

There are differing explanations of the meaning of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil", e.g. in Buddhist tradition, the tenets of the proverb are about not dwelling on evil thoughts whilst in the Western world both the proverb and the image are often used to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to acknowledge impropriety, looking the other way or feigning ignorance.

That said, if we take monkeys advice and follow the meaning of the proverb, we can apply it to our daily lives.

See wisely:

   see your true self,
   see your true potential,
   see problems as challenges,
   see challenges as opportunities not obstacles,
   see opportunities for learning every day,
   see people for who they are and accept it,
   see the people in your life who support you.

Hear wisely:

    listen to the words of support others have to offer,
    listen to the voice of your true self (it’s there all the time),
    listen to your internal voice but only when it contributes to your success,
    repeat affirmations, words of gratitude and evidence of success to yourself daily and hear them,
    who do you listen to every day? Make sure that the voices of people around you are supportive and encouraging,
    listen to positive feedback and learn to accept it,
    listen when someone asks for help and offer them your undivided attention,
    listen to words of inspiration when they are offered to you,
    listen to words of advice you are given, try it out and see if it fits you.

Speak wisely:

    speak encouraging words to yourself and others,
    name all of your successes at the end of each day,
    speak about positive events, sharing only good news,
    considerer the consequences of what you are about to say to yourself and those around you,
    offer advice and your expertise,
    tell someone that you appreciate them,
    ask questions that enable progress,
    speak about opportunities not troubles,
    ask someone ‘how they are’ and listen, really listen, to what they say.
 

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Yamato-damashii ("Japanese spirit") or Yamato-gokoro ("Japanese heart/mind") is a Japanese term that refers to the cultural values and characteristics of the Japanese people.
Samurai used it to augment and support the Bushido concept of honour and valour.
More commonly, the term Yamato-damashii is used when people talk about one’s “fighting spirit” but its more than that.
Yamato-damashii refers to one’s soul which causes them to exhibit extraordinary spirit and character in the face of overwhelming odds.
 

There is a coexisting relationship between you.
You coexist with your opponent and become his complement,
absorbing his attack and using his force to overcome him.
 

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