The Unfettered Mind

The Unfettered Mind

Writings From A Zen Master to A Master Swordsman

Book - 2002
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In a life-and-death situation of being sword-tip to sword-tip with the enemy, where should the swordsman put his mind?

This is the first question posed in the first of three essays written by a Zen master for the guidance of samurai swordsmen. Among the other questions that arise are the difference between the right mind and the confused mind, what makes life precious, the nature of right-mindedness, the Buddhist paradigm of form and consciousness, and what distinguishes the True Mind. So succinct are the author's insights that these writings have outlasted the dissolution of the samurai class to come down to the present as sources of guidance and inspiration for captains of business and industry, as well as those devoted to the practice of the martial arts in their modern forms.

The history of the sword in Japan goes back to antiquity. Zen and its meditative practices also have a long history, but it was not until the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns, beginning in the early 1600s, that the techniques of swordsmanship fused with the spirit of Zen. And if one man can be said to have been the prime mover in this phenomenon, it was none other than Takuan Soho, confidant and religious instructor to an emperor, to a great sword master, and to the heads of the most important sword schools of the time.

Takuan's meditations on the sword in the essays presented here are classics of Zen thinking.
Uniform Title: Selections. English. 2002
Publisher: Tokyo ; New York : Kodansha International ; New York : Distributed in the U.S. by Kodansha America, 2002.
Edition: New hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9784770029478
Branch Call Number: 294.3927
Characteristics: 142 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Wilson, William Scott 1944-


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" ' Water scorches heaven, fire cleanses clouds,' ' Sever the edge between before and after,' ' Throw a ball into a swift current and it will never stop,' ' As thee white clouds come together,/ The morning glories already fade.' " Obtaining the state of Buddhahood is like planting pear trees and then watching them grow. " It is said that when a chicken is cold, it will fly up into the trees; when a duck is cold, it will swim in the water. Isn't this like thinking that, because a duck swims in the water when it is cold, it has no sense of cold, or because a chicken flies up into the trees when it is cold, it has no sense of cold, either?" " It is because we do not pay attention that we pass along unknowing. Those who know completely about grasses and trees are sages. We do not understand these things because of our rough and conforming minds." this is RINZAI wisdom.


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