Category Archives: A Way

O’Sensei no Kuden: a ‘Way’

In order to penetrate deeply into even a single Way,  you must proceed by making yourself without desire for anything else at all.   And in fact you will find that the moment you become without desire:  you feel complete freedom.  And you will find that in this world, everything becomes the possession of the man with no desire.

– – – O’Sensei,  probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita,  transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p.49

O’Sensei no Kuden: a ‘Way’ (2)

What I am teaching you is the Tao – the Way – that harmonizes man and the [natural] universe. It  is a resonance that comes from the ocean.

– – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda,  recorded by André Nocquet Shihan.  Published in  Shobu aïki.  La victoire selon l’art chevaleresque de Morihei Ueshiba,  by J-D. Cauhépé and A. Kuang,  p.37

Musashi on martial practice as a ‘Way’…

The Scroll of Emptiness

…otherwise known as The Book of the Void, The Scroll of the Void, The Book of Emptiness – from the GoRin no Sho: the Book of Five Rings

This being the Scroll of Emptiness, I must now set down plainly in writing [the manner in which] Ni-To-Ichi-Ryu Martial Practice is a ‘Way’: –

The heart of what is called ’emptiness’ has [traditionally] been seen as the place where there is nothing, [and as] a thing that is not known [in the way that other things are known]. [Well,] of course emptiness is where there is nothing! [But] to know the place of “there is” while also knowing the place of “there is nothing”, that indeed is emptiness.

In the world at large, there is a mistaken view that sees the state of mind where you do not discriminate as emptiness. This is not true emptiness, it is the common, confused heart [that we all share]…

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O’Sensei no Kuden: a ‘Way’ (3)

A man who is knowledgeable knows what things are un-knowable, and he works at knowing those things that can be known. But an enlightened man knows those things that have not yet become knowable…

– – – reported by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan,  Densho to Tomoshibi    p. 42

…shin-ku to ku…

True Emptiness
and Emptiness: without
that connection in your heart,
you cannot know
the Way of Aiki…

– – – O’Sensei

…the notion of a ‘Way’…

It is easy for us, today, to miss the meaning of a “Way”. As a concept, a “Way”, a “Road”, a “Path” dates back to a time when travelling by land was by far the more difficult option. For most of human history, travelling by water – on a broad river or hugging the coast – was easier, and travelling overland was both arduous and dangerous. It was something one might do to access a sacred site, or some unusual fruit or root, or to acquire some particular knowledge. Traveling in this way changes you, and only by experiencing it can you know why it is also “Tao” – the origin and ground of being…

…Yama-Budo… of the Pacific North-West!!!


…some haiku and kambun on ‘the Way’, the road, the path…

…spring rain…
…in a gap between the trees you can see
a trail that goes to the sea…

– – – Otsuji

    • *

Seeing a temple
at the turn in the trail
and all those wild crysanthemums!

– – – Shiki

    • *

The moon shines in my little cabin
…books are scattered all about…
and in the midst of them… sleeping

Outside, next day,
for healing leaves and flowers
amongst grasses and herbs I go…

Bucking and rearing as they meet…
these Nambu horses
do not like my village horse

But over that river,
a castle rises above the trail…

– – – Etsujin, Ransetsu ,  from ‘Fresh Sake‘ from Wastelands

    • *

This is a road that no-one travels…
…it’s Autumn,
and night is falling

– – – Basho

    • *

The Autumn mountain’s
yellow leaves
are grown so thick
that I am lost, and my sweet sister
wandered away…
along a mountain trail I cannot see…

– – – Kakimoto Hitomaru

    • *

Swirling around – more and more –
just look at the snow coming down…
… – – – in the darkness – covering the trail – – –

– – – Kito

    • *

…lighting candles before the portrait of Fujiwara no Teika…

The old, old songs,
and the trails of the heart…
stopping my horse
at the wide stretch of snow at the ford at Sano,
this clean sheet of paper is all I can see…

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

Snow swirling down
deep and thick over the moors
at Kano – but you can make out the tracks
of that big wagon,
that’s set out at daybreak…

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

And if you come looking,
there isn’t a trail –
and nobody knows it…
…here in my heart
you are now…
and I come and I go…

– – – Princess Shikishi

    • *

Pink and white bindweed
by the roadside… all the way…
thirty long miles…

– – – Buson

    • *

The twittering of birds and the voices of insects –
completely communicate the secrets of the mind:
the intelligence of flowers and the color of grasses
are none other than studying books of the Way…
a learned man perceives the essence clearly
and his heart hears the bright-jeweled sound:
whatever he touches, his heart can handle…

– – – from the Saikontan

    • *

And I keep walking
through the grove – – –
the deserted market with the broken-down stalls
there’s not a soul – – –
an evening crow cries,
and under these trees: the trail

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

Dusk hangs from this willow-tree – – –
its shadow spreading
over the deserted road

– – – Buson

O’Sensei no Kuden: protecting Great Nature (3)…

The [natural] universe is actually what my ‘self’ is made of, and I because I am part of the [natural] universe, the idea of it naturally being my work-place where I work for the good of all is a sacred thought should absolutely be celebrated in action.

– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,   p. 168

…one white candle…