Tradition of the Ways

(3 September 1976)

Well, you know roughly what the Ways are; they were partial manifestations of Zen, which developed mainly in Japan, from hints in the Chinese and the Indian traditions, and certain of them became specialized. They came through the warriors. There’s a warrior mark on many of them – some of the movements made in the tea ceremony are based on the movements of archers or fencers.  My own experience has been in the judo, but I don’t want to use technical things tonight. The Ways aren’t presented systematically at all in Japan.

Just as a hint to you about listening to them – as a judo man of a certain rank, I was sometimes able to go to some private demonstrations of schools, which have largely died out. I found from experience a man would show 40 or 50 different techniques. At each one I used to think, “Yes, I’ve got that. I know that’s almost new. Yes, I got that.”  When I came back home, I found I could hardly reproduce any of them. They seemed so simple here, but when it comes to reproducing it, it it’s quite difficult. At a talk like this, where it’s stories, illustrations and examples, the best thing is to try to note two or three that really appeal and try really to remember them and note them. If other things go, it doesn’t much matter.

I propose to introduce the talk and illustrate it by occasional quotations from what are called Hidensho, the secret scrolls. Well, you can say they can hardly be secret if you’re talking about them. They were passed on to people who graduated from the different schools, and they are written in a very abbreviated fashion, often in verse. Those scrolls were accompanied with what is called an oral tradition, Kuden. It’s quite difficult to understand what they say, unless you have an oral tradition, but the scroll of the fencing, say, and archery and some calligraphy secrets or the tea ceremony secrets have common points. If you know the oral tradition of one of them, you can get a good idea of what’s meant in these scrolls.

To just to introduce it, one of the earliest of these scrolls is from the fencing school, which developed from about 1600 and became one of the main ones. The title of the paragraph is Leaving the Training Methods, yet not Going Against Them. This is one of the themes of the talk. Now this is my translation of a little section.

“When he has completed the training and has accumulated a great fund of practice experience, he moves hands and feet and body without the mind being involved, this is ‘leaving the training methods without going against them’. Now there is freedom in using any technique at all. As to the mind at that time, even the devil himself doesn’t guess at its state. Training is the means to arrive at this. When he has mastered the training, the training ceases to exist for him. This is the supreme aim of all the ways: forgetting the training, throwing away all minding about it, so that I myself have no idea about it. To reach that state is the peak of the way. This state is passing through training till it ceases to exist.

“The gate shows the way to the house. Much learning is the gate for the beginner.  What is meant is that you always go through a gate first before entering the house. The gate shows the way to reach the house, passing through the gate and entering the house in the proper way, one meets the owner of the house. Learning is the gate to reach the Way. Through this gate one reaches it, but it is a gate and not the house. Do not see the gate and think it is the house.  The house is something which is reached by passing through and going beyond the gate.”

We can say, “Well, what would it be?” It’s easy to think, “Well now I’ll forget my training with the spear. I’ll just come out without getting all the training.” Well, after you’ve tried three or four times, you think, “Hmm. It’s sort of poetically true, no doubt but the fact is it doesn’t work.”

The tradition of the Ways is that it does work and that something can be attained – passing through the gate, arriving at the house and meeting the owner of the house.  One of the oral traditions on this, the owner of the house (it isn’t explained in the scroll), is that it’s the ‘God of means’. That’s just a phrase which is given in the oral tradition. We have to find out what it means, if it means anything from experience; but we are not so inclined to think that there’s something beyond conscious thought and training.

From that point of view, a Westerner’s point of view, it’s worth studying something in the cognitive field, because that’s the field that seems to us convincing. It’s worth reading out one of these famous flashes of inspiration in science, because that’s what’s convincing. The physicist Fermi described shortly before his death how he came to make what he regarded as his most important discovery. Well, I’m not competent to explain it, but anyway, he said the results they were getting made no sense. Then he got the idea of putting some lead in the path of the neutron beam. He said something was wrong. “I spent a lot of time getting that piece of lead filed and made exact in size, which is something I don’t normally do and it had nothing to do with the experiment. I spent a long time fussing about, and then just when we were going to put the lead there, suddenly the thought came, ‘I don’t want lead. I want paraffin wax.’ I immediately got some paraffin wax and put it there.” Then he got his results for which he was given the Nobel prize.

He says in his account that this was nothing that could have been deduced or worked out or was even likely, it was something that simply came. This is what is called in the Ways, ‘from beyond’ – something from beyond that has no connection with what’s gone before. It’s not a conditioned reflex and skill. It’s something quite new, which couldn’t have been worked out.  But to us, that’s very convincing – Fermi’s theory worked.

To an Easterner, that sort of thing is not so convincing. He thinks it might have been a guess. He’s more convinced by a piece of calligraphy, which is written in that state. He says, “Ah! That can’t be imitated: that line, that movement, can’t be imitated.  The brush on the paper, on that absorbent paper, shows the speed of the stroke. That can’t be imitated.”  We’re more inclined to say, “Who’s to say whether it’s good or bad; these are subjective judgements. We’re more impressed by the scientific example.”  However it might be, something has to make us think that it’s possible or likely. In my case, it was meeting a Judo man who could demonstrate these things.  But [there has to be] something which will make us train.

Then we have to train in a technique. The technique could be polishing a table or doing the laundry, but in the Ways it has been stylized into certain forms. Technique is mostly thought to be the essence of what one learns – that’s what we want, skill.  But it isn’t. One of the things we have to learn is that technique goes only so far. However great our technique and mastery, the time will come when it won’t work for one reason or another.

In the early days of Judo when Dr. Kano founded his academy, some of the techniques, the Jujitsu techniques, were being used by petty criminals. He wanted to make a complete break with this, so he told his pupils, there’s to be no fighting in the street ever. They said, “Well, supposing we are attacked by these people, they hate the new Judo?”  He said, “No fighting.” So all those early pupils, famous champions themselves, they all in their time had to run. That was all that was left, to run. When those petty toughs found out that they were on to a good thing, of course, some of the pupils were almost reluctant to go out at all, because they knew they would be challenged and then have to run.

Toku was a terrible fighter, but he also came under this discipline. One day he ran into a cul-de-sac. I’ve always wondered whether he knew – but then of course he had to turn, he couldn’t get out. He killed one man, and of the dozen that remained, many of them were injured.  The police investigated and, as he could show that he was one man against 12, he was acquitted.  Dr. Kano suspended him, expelled him from the dojo for six months. He was one of the best, most skilful men, but he had to run; and the time will come when our technique for one reason or another, is no good.

The Judo men and the fencing men in Japan, there’s a certain antipathy between us. The fencing, the Kendo men, say this. We tend to say, “Well, if you haven’t got your little sword, where are you?”  We each have stories, of course, about the other ones.  Now Hoshino, at the turn of the century, was one of the most skilful self-defence men in Judo. There’s a way of holding the arm trapped – it’s put on so that it’s painful. If you move at all, the arm will go; so it holds the man. Well, Hoshino was attacked by a drunken sailor – I won’t say the nationality – in Yokohama. He immediately just moved around [and pinned his arm], but the man was fighting drunk and didn’t feel the pain. He moved and the elbow went, but the man didn’t feel it and he knocked Hoshino out. A lot of the Kendo men know this story, and they certainly tell it.

On the other hand, there was a policeman who was very good in Kendo.  He was a fourth dan; again, in those early days that was a very high grade.  He and a Judo policeman had to arrest a madman, a man who’d gone mad and was laying about him with a sword. When this man came out of the house, covered with blood, and with the sword dripping blood, the Kendo man fainted. It was the Judo man who snatched up a dustbin or something and managed to push it into him. That’s the story we tell.

The only purpose of these stories is to realize that however good the technique is, the time will come when it doesn’t work, and when one’s going to look an absolute fool. To know that is a very, very important part of the training. As we do more of the training, we get more idea of this.  They take a photo of a Japanese boy of 16 or 17 when he gets his first dan in Judo or fencing or any of them. As he gets older, he’s had great successes, but he’s had even greater failures. So if you have to spit in somebody’s face, it’s probably best to choose a senior Judo.

One of the methods of training about technique is to train in the cold. Needless to say, it’s not quite so strenuous and austere as it used to be in the good old days. Anyway, it’s very, very cold.  The windows are thrown open and it’s five in the morning, and your body’s very cold, frozen. Then you have to practise Judo. Well, your body now is only working about 30% efficient. There are many things you can’t do – you keep missing the timing, you stub your toes. But if you can keep your awareness and calm and know, ‘My body is only 30% efficient, but that 30% I use’, that’s a great advantage in life later on.

Most people collapse under those circumstances. They say, “Well, what can you do then?”  If you can think, “No, I can do a little, only a little, but a little”, then it’s a great help later on. It’s also a great help in the man’s moral life. When he has terrible moral falls, he doesn’t think, “Well, I’m completely useless.” He thinks, “That time I didn’t do well, I did very badly. Still, what I can do, I’ll do and recover again”.

This is one of the trainings.  Some of the poets do this. They get up in the middle of the winter and throw the windows open. They sit down and they compose a poem. I’ve read some of those poems. One of them said, I remember, “Meditating that the Buddhas of the three worlds are seated all around us, we do not feel the cold.” That was a poem written with the snow on the ground outside.

The value of these practices is to make you realize that the level of success and failure may be all the difference in the world, and to accept that. You may be ill, the circumstances may be very bad, but still, for what it is, you can use what remains to you without becoming demoralized. People who’ve trained in this are not so easily put off by trivial things, as many of our top performers in sport and in other things are disconcerted when something goes wrong.

Now, just to say a little bit about training, I don’t want to say anything technical. When people begin to train, the great cry is, “We’re all different, aren’t we?” From the teacher’s viewpoint, they’re all the same. It’s the same. He gives a basic training method and it’s the same for everybody.  “Because I’m rather bad on one side, weak on side of the body, or I’ve got difficulties in moving here, or I’m afraid of that, I think, ‘Oh, no, that’s not for me, you see. I’m better to practise the things I’m good at.’”  The teacher says, “No”.  When they get skill, then pupils tend to think, “Oh, well, we’re all the same. We’ve developed skill, we’ve got training.”  Then the teacher looks, and he says, “Now you must all be different. Now forget your training. Now, now’s the time to be different.” Then they say, “Well, I’ve always learned to do it this way. No, I mean, in about five years, I’ll get it.” No – that’s when they’re all different.

Another interesting point about training (which isn’t a thing we generally tell pupils) is that, in fact, when you think you are training, the real purpose of the training is largely something different. In the Judo hall, we were talking about theory and what you should teach different grades. The teacher said, “It doesn’t really much matter, provided you can keep them interested. Some people will have to be shown something new every week. Other people, you show them one thing, and they’ll practice it for three months. But really, it’s not a question of techniques at all.” He stopped the practice, and he said, “Now, everybody here, stand on one leg.” He made people stand on one leg for 10 minutes. Most of them dropped out saying they had to, they wavered, and then the leg went down. A few held it up for about five minutes and a few could last for the 10 minutes. Then he separated them out. All those who’d fallen over, were around the first year of training, training up to blue belt; beyond that were up to first dan; and the 10-minute people were the third black belt.

I remember him saying to me, “You see, they’re not training in techniques at all. They’re training in balance, but you can’t tell them, ‘Oh, you’ve got to train in balance.’ You’ve got to make them think they’re learning this, or learning that. Later on, it will be useful for them to do it, but it doesn’t matter whether he learns 20 tricks or one trick – he’s got to learn balance. Until he learns the balance, his 20 tricks will be no good to him, because he’ll fall over while he’s doing it. When he has got balance, even if he’s only learned one trick, he can learn the other 20 just so.”

Well, these things are quite useful to learn in one of the ways, when you go on to tackle another way, quite useful. In calligraphy, someone is willing to practise the basic eight strokes, perhaps for three months. With another it’s got to be a different character every week, otherwise he doesn’t feel he’s getting on.  But what he’s got to learn is control and the inner sense of the balance from here, and whether he does that with 50 characters or one character, it’s the same.

These things are worth noting a little bit and then one can apply them or not. The purpose is to produce a training so that the man knows what to do, so that he’s got the words.  But the training doesn’t tell him how to use the words. It doesn’t tell him what to say. It gives him the implement with which that owner of the house can express himself. While he hangs on to one particular technique, while he uses that technique as a means for him to express his individuality, thinking, “Well, I’ll show off now,” then he shall never get beyond technique. He may become good technically, but it will always be defective.

There are people who want to rush things. It’s called rushing in many of the arts.  It comes in some of these scrolls, saying, “The man rushes – no rules”. He jumps at you, flying through the air and many technicians collapse. He’s not keeping to the rules. That’s all wrong, but they get bowled over by him – they’re just on the defensive.  But that’s his technique and he’s got to do that, he can’t wait. If he has to wait, he’s on edge.  Then there are other people who are ‘waiters’; they just cover it. They wait – defend, defend, patiently defend, defend.  Then the other man gets impatient, so he goes in when there isn’t a proper opening and then they counter him.  “That’s my technique – wait”. Well, that’s all right as long as he’s got a lot of time and the referees and the people holding the ring.  But if he can’t adapt, then his technique will always be defective.

There are very few people in any of these arts who have both sides; and one Judo man I knew, you would have thought he was asleep. He just moved as we move, there was no reaction at all. With most of them, you just touch them and immediately there’s a reaction and by that touch, you can control his body. It’s not easy to take advantage of it if his reaction is good, but to some extent you control it. But with this man, if you touched him, he might move down. He might move away. He might move forward. He might do nothing at all. You could never predict. Then suddenly he’d explode like a bomb.  I’ve even heard a man go “Urgh,” when it suddenly happened.

Well, you can get that out of an experienced Judo man.  He had both sides and very few of us have that. We may be wonderful at our given technique, not only in the Ways, but in life.  We may be wonderful at it, but still, if we are limited to that, our success will be no good because we can’t respond. We have a sort of posture.  If I have a stance, I’ve got a definite thing I do – I’m an attacking man; I’m a defending man; I’m kind. If I have a stance, then I don’t respond to circumstances. I keep my stance, because that is my stance. It’s very difficult. No technique will apply, the technique of being kind doesn’t apply.

Now, I heard a teacher quote Mencius. The king was in his palace and the sacrifice had to take place; and the bull that was to be sacrificed was driven past the palace. The bull seemed to have an instinct that it was going to die, and it gave this very melancholy bellow; and the king heard it and something touched his heart.  He went to the window and he saw the bull and he said, spare the bull, sacrifice a ram instead.  This was reported to Mencius in a rather sarcastic manner and he said, “No, it’s quite natural. The king saw the bull. He heard the bull. He didn’t see the ram. He didn’t hear the ram. It’s quite natural, but his benevolence is a very limited thing. It extends to what he can see at the expense of what he can’t see.” He said, “Benevolence without wisdom is only sentimentality.”

Today, when a criminal is brought in, we see the criminal and we feel a sympathy. We feel if we understood all the details, all the background, we would forgive. We don’t see the victim, so we are in the position of Mencius’ king. “He who is kind to wolves is a tyrant to sheep.”

In the Ways, we are given certain sort of slogans, but we have to apply those in actual practice and that’s not so easy; although we were never told that it would be easy. In a certain sense, in Buddhism and Zen there’s nothing to do. It’s a famous Zen phrase.  A pupil said this to his teacher, “Teacher, what is all this training? There’s nothing to do.”  The teacher invited him to a meal and then they served the food.  The man didn’t have any chopsticks and the teacher began eating and said, “You won’t need the chopsticks of course, there’s nothing to do.” Well, if the pupil could sit there and say, “No”, if he could accept that, then he would’ve applied it. Sometimes when the man is going to drink some tea on a hot day and the tea is spilt on him, he kust brushes it off, then he’s alright – then he’s applied it.  But if he says, “What the devil are you doing?” then he hasn’t yet applied it.

There are a number of these cases. If you see a drunken man fall, if you’ve ever really seen it down a flight of steps, they don’t hurt themselves. They may get a little bruised, but no bones broken at all.  But if we stand at the top of a flight of steps and the teacher says to us, “Now there’s nothing you have to do. Simply relax like a drunken man”, it’s not so easy to apply this.

Well, these are some of the sort of stories and incidents which you hear in the course of quite a number of years training.  They’re no good to people who aren’t training in something.  But if people are training in something, then they can hear stories about one of the other Ways and they can absorb it, they can digest it. People who aren’t training in anything, won’t be able to do it.

This is the first part of the talk. It’s about technique and inspiration. There’s a way of jumping beyond technique. If the technique is done enough, then he’ll pass beyond technique and he’ll come to the owner of the house. One wants to think, “Well, what would that be?” We are given these examples of inspiration and still one wants to know what kind of thing it would be. It’s the ability to free himself from technique.

One of the great heroes was Saigo of Japan at the end of the last century.  He was asked once, “Where did you learn your courage, your fearless?”  He said, “I learned it from a merchant”. Well, merchants didn’t rate very highly in feudal Japan, they were regarded as right at the bottom of the ladder. The man said, “From a merchant?” He said, “Yes, I was quite impressed with this man. I knew him, and I asked him one day about his business.  The merchant said, ‘We merchants, you know, we buy something in the expectation it’ll go up. Then if it goes up, you have to decide when to sell.  If it’s made a bit of a profit, you have no real indications. You think, ‘Well, should I sell half, make a profit on that half and hang on to the rest?’  If it goes down, you have to decide whether to cut your losses, cut half your losses or a third of the losses.’   He said, ‘Most of us spend the time perpetually thinking what’s going to happen, and after it’s happened, after we’ve sold and we see the thing going up, we think, ‘Oh, if only…’  When I looked at my fellow merchants, I realized this was killing us, so I made a resolution. I would decide in advance – unless some fresh information came in, but apart from that – to buy and sell at that point, up or down.  And I made a rule never to think afterwards, what I could have made by hanging on more, or what I could’ve saved by selling early.’”

And Saigo said, “When I looked at him, I realized he had attained fearlessness. He was completely fearless,” and he said, “I realized this was a clue for my practice.” It shows the bravery of Saigo, that he would make an admission like that from a samurai about a merchant.  But he said there, that the merchant was far advanced on his way, which was the way of the merchant.

Inspiration in daily life – we are told that a man who practises the Way can extend it, and must extend it, into his daily life. In this part of the world, we wring out a cloth generally by holding it in front of us with the hands down, and we twist the cloth. In some parts of the East, they point the cloth away, they put the hands upward and they use the elbows. They get more twist.  But a judo man will put one hand down and one hand up and he’ll use the whole shoulders and body. He’ll get much more twist, and there’s even a way of holding both the hands up.

Now, this seems a trivial thing, but it’s not trivial. In these ways, there’s a great beauty in economy of movement and economy of effort and, by inspiration, these things can be brought into daily life and found in daily life. This was originally inspiration, then it becomes technique, but if the people practise, it can become inspiration again.

Many people hold the pen down here and they have to move it almost with every letter. The pen has length. It should be held up here and balanced on this finger. Then the hand doesn’t have to be moved and you have much more control, as an expert shorthand writer holds it. Well, this is something we do every day in our lives, and we haven’t changed most of us since we were tiny children, when we happened to learn that way. We’ve never changed or developed.

There’s a hint (I don’t want to go into this too much) of what is called Qi, which is the vital energy of the body. There’s a philosophy of it and a practice, and it consists in bringing the attention just below the naval point. This is the first exercise. The distance traditionally is the length of the middle joint of the middle finger – that much below the naval, so it varies with the physique. This point is manipulated in Judo to resuscitate an unconscious man. It’s extremely effective. That’s an oral tradition, it’s not one of the well-known traditions.

Now, we bring the attention there, to pinch just below the naval or press or make a knot in a sash or put a little stone in a sash just below the naval; and then to breathe in and feel a current coming in and pressing down. It’s not the breath, but it’s felt as if it comes in with the breath and goes down.  We feel that it’s pressing on this point just below the naval. If those of you who like to try, put the finger just below the naval, sit up and breathe in slowly and feel that the breath, (don’t say, ‘Well, it doesn’t’), feel that the current goes down and swells out and just pushes out and down against the fingertips.  If you’d like to just try it, then breathe out slowly and relax. Then again. This is the first part of the exercise.

Now, if before a long job of writing or sorting, or something that’s going to be fiddly and require endurance, the attention’s brought here to this point for two or three minutes, it rectifies the posture and it rectifies the movement. Most of us are strongly right-handed or left-handed. If we have to pack chocolates, we’ll pack it with the right hand. But if the attention’s brought to the centre, then there’s a chance for the Qi to fill the whole body and the whole thing becomes active.

They tell you in these texts, to feel with your whole body. When you’ve been writing, just press the feet on the ground, feel the soles of the feet, then feel the left hand, then feel the central point, and this helps to bring a unity to the body. It gives vigour, it gives endurance, and it produces a change in the movement if people are practiced in it. It takes quite a time to be practiced in it, but it’s worth doing – and then there’ll be a little flash. When it’s as though a new energy comes into the body, the mind becomes very calm and the paper and the ink become brilliantly clear, and the movements change. The mind becomes very calm.  Then we get very excited, “Oh, something’s happening.” Then it all goes.  But if we practise and practise and practise, when doing a technique, when practising writing, when practising polishing a table, sometimes to stop, to bring the attention back here, to make the breathing…  Then to begin again and try to hold the attention here as well – to feel that the Qi, the charge, fills the whole body and the cloth.  Then we’re like a man on horseback looking into the distance, perhaps this is one example. It’s a question of practising. Perhaps there’s nothing in it, but we can find out if we practise.

By practice, something goes deeper than technique, and that’s what we need because, when a difficulty comes, there’s no time to think of technique.  We need to have one thing which we practise and which we go through. Now, one Judo teacher told me this example of a man who is going into a hostile territory.  He has to defend himself, so he takes a knife. That’ll be good enough to defend himself, or he takes a gun. He learns to shoot, and he takes a gun and that’ll be good enough to defend himself, and he will be calm and he will have dependence on it.  But if he takes a knife and a gun, then when the time comes, he’ll try and shoot the man with the knife and stab the man with the gun.  He said, “Because it will remain in the conscious field, it’s to go so deep that it’s beyond the conscious field.”

In the traditional way, as those of you who’ve lived in the East know, the way of doing the laundry was to soap the things and then beat the dirt out of them. They used to bring it down hard, the cloth. It doesn’t improve the cloth, but it gets the dirt. Dr. Karno, the founder of judo, taught the maids in his house to put down the laundry and then to hit it with the edge of the hand, with the thumb tucked in.  He trained them how to hit with the whole body, and he used every two or three months to go into the kitchen when they were doing it and just correct them.  One of the maids – and I heard him tell this himself – had to go and visit her sick parent.  She came back late at night and a tough in the Tokyo street caught her sleeve as she passed. Without thinking, she broke his arm.  He said she would’ve been paralyzed with fear if there’d been any time to think, but there was no time, no need to think.

Well, now I’ll read just one or two little extracts from these secret scrolls. This is from one of the Ju-jitsu scrolls, Keep in a Formal Posture. This is dated about 1710.

“Keep in a formal posture, exhale and inhale thinking that the breath is passing to just below the naval. This is, in fact, the natural course of feeling the breath current, but because people move badly, their inner organs are compressed, and the vital current is felt only as in the chest so people soon get out of breath. When they’re hurrying, when they speak, their voice has no carrying power and is not clear and the defect is the bad breathing. So we must train to make the breathing correct and it is said, in a tradition of our school, ‘breath is the pulse of the mind’. When the mind is agitated, the breath is always irregular. The instruction is to practise improving the breathing, and that will help to calm the mind.”

Now, to finish, I’ll just give two stories. Tesshu was a fencing master, a famous one who taught the Emperor Meiji, the young Emperor Meiji.  In fencing you were allowed to do all the Judo throws if you could get close enough. Well, in his first lesson, the Emperor came in and the master threw him. He was a fully graduated Zen man, as well as a fencing teacher and he threw the Emperor.  The chamberlain was horrified and afterwards he said, “It was most unexpected that you would throw his Imperial Majesty.” And Tesshu said, “Then I would not have taught him fencing.” The chamberlain heard nothing more.  That could have cost him his life at that stage, but it didn’t.

When he died, he called his friends. He sat in the meditation posture, and he passed away. He wrote his death poem and passed away.  He was a great practiser of this Qi practice that I mentioned to you.  There’s a record which exists still, in the Tesshu Society, of a fencer who practised with him.  This was a young man who practised with Tesshu when Tesshu was very old.  He was most disappointed with the practice. “They moved around and,” he said, “sometimes Tesshu just put the sword out lightly, but he never made the thrust. He just moved and then we went on again.”   And he thought, “Poor old boy.  It’s a shame. Still he’s been famous.” But he said that, when he was changing afterwards, he found something, a curious feeling in his throat as if something had gone through. Now, that’s recorded.  And Tesshu used to stand on a ledge and invite some of his friends to push him over. None of them could push him off, even though some of them were fencers and Judo men.

There’s no need to believe these things or not believe them.  But it’s best to train a little bit and not to take too much of a posture of ‘These things can’t happen’.  Because people who take postures, either of believing everything, ‘It’s all true and more’, or believing nothing, they’re liable to have a little bit of a shock – and when that happens, they go down like a ninepin. Anyway, I just relate those stories for your consideration.

The last thing is something from flower arrangement, on which I’m not an expert, but I heard an expert say this.  In one of the schools, there is the arrangement of heaven, earth and man. There are rules, which are not, again, absolutely compulsory. They train under these rules, but they have to go beyond the rules.  One of the indications is that the earth branch, which may go down, always turns up a little at the end.  This little upturn at the end means to a follower of the Way that, in the very earth itself, there’s something that turns up.  One of the fencing and Judo people I knew, he heard of this and he was impressed with it.  He told me that, at a time of great catastrophe in his life, this had been the salvation of him. It suddenly came to his mind, in his total failure and his total self-contempt, that in the very earth itself, there’s something which turns up.

Well, thank you for your attention.



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