Monday, December 29, 2008

Between Truth and Falsehood

In the mortal flow of real combat, victory resides in the interstices between truth and falsehood. It is a formless reality in which the ninja finds a natural solitude in the midst of battle's chaos. Through the constant of martial training, the ninja discovers for himself the essence of kyojutsu and is transformed into the unknowable. The seed of this state is found in Mushin-no mind. The opponent cannot predict what the ninja has not purposed. A natural technique flows from the unconscious and the ninja becomes formless in battle, disappearing into the mist of the inscrutable. Here is where Ninjutsu shows it's battlefield pedigree. Unlike other martial forms, degraded by sport, Ninjutsu cultivates the gokui (essence) of battlefield victory: an impenetrable equanimity. Taijutsu, practiced from the void between truth and falsehood is unreadable simply because it does not flow from the ninja's intention. Taijutsu does not spring from technique, rather, technique springs from the Divine void. If one intends to kick, the opponent is capable of responding with a counter technique. If, however, one abides in the void and responds naturally to the energy of the opponent, then no counter can emerge and the enemy is left to float in an eerie reality where nothing is certain. The truth of technique is lost when the expected proves to be falsehood. This is the manipulation of truth (reality) and falsehood (perception).   

A Biblical illustration will illumine this concept. The manipulation of perception and the character of reality has always been an essential element in the successful prosecution of war. In Joshua 8:1-29 ambush is employed to ensure victory. Perception becomes falsehood as the King of Ai falls into the hands of Joshua. 

"And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness." Joshua 8:15

"In the martial arts, it is important to discard obsessive ideas, leave behind any adherence to forms, and abandon conventional common sense. By doing this your spirit will become more flexible, your 'capacity' as a martial artist will grow, those around you will acknowledge your preeminence, and you will be able to produce free, ever-changing techniques wherever and whenever you choose." Masaaki Hatsumi

"Above all, it is important to maintain equanimity." Masaaki Hatsumi

Bufu Ikkan

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christ: Expression Of The Real

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5, 14

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth...And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."  Genesis 1:1, 3

It is always good to remind ourselves of those truths which are foundational. Truth which is immutable and which forms the basis for all rational presupposition. Christmas is just such a time. Many Americans are familiar with the Christmas account presented in the Bible (however, in this age of multicultural malaise, this can no longer be assumed for the masses of Americans, stamped out piecemeal from the statist mechanism of public education). Christmas is the celebration of Christ's first advent. We give gifts in recognition of the unfathomable gift that God gave to mankind in the person of His Son. Christ is the personification of grace and truth. He is grace in that his sacrifice was made in our stead. The penalty for our sin (sin that is inherent in us, stemming from Adam's original sin) was placed on Him. The Christ in the manger became the Christ of Golgotha; who became sin for us that God's righteous judgment might be satiated, so that God's grace might be extended to us. Christ is the personification of truth. In His person is the answer to Pilate's question, "what is truth." Christ, the very Word of God, is truth. Immutable, ultimate, and Divine. It is in Him that we come to the understanding that God's grace must be appropriated by faith alone, sola fide. That in Christ we find the way, the truth, and the life. It is the Word that teaches us the true nature of reality and is the only real enlightenment. This enlightenment is all of grace and cannot be attained by any effort of the will. The light shines in the darkness but, of ourselves, we cannot comprehend it. God's invitation is to come, let us  reason together. He extends His hand and says, whosoever will may come. The true nature of man and the nature of Christ are revealed--man as stained with original sin and Christ as spotless redeemer. We see in His perfection our vast need and in Him our only hope of redemption. So, this Christmas season, let us contemplate, meditate on the nature of Christ as it is revealed to us in the written word, the Bible. 

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

It is from the pages of Holy Scripture that we will come to understand the true nature of reality, the nature and purpose of the baby born in Bethlehem; Immanuel--God with us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kongokai: How to get what you want, whether you like it or not

In our modern society, we are inundated with books which present plans for developing personal power and maybe even attaining enlightenment. Motivational speakers abound, touting the newest processes for attaining wealth, health, or an Olympian physique. However, as it is written, "the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9) 

Millenia ago, the ancient ninja were steeped in principals imported from India, Tibet, and China. These principals were formulated into concepts which were extrapolated into the form of the Kongokai mandala. The Kongokai mandala represents the "diamond" realm. The diamond being symbolic of ultimate truth. It is a schematic representation of the phenomenal world. Its compliment is the Taizokai mandala; the nin-po mikkyo representation of the spiritual realm. Within the schemata of the Kongokai mandala, lies a pattern for the harnessing and development of personal power. The ancient ninja were well versed in this formula; a map charting a course, terminating in the attainment of an objective which the ninja willed into being. This power was and is formidable. 

However, many have made shipwreck of themselves in the quest for power. The attainment of our desire does not necessarily result in our happiness. The principals contained in the Kongokai are empowering but, as is everything else, are circumscribed by universal principals, natural law, ultimate truth. The diamond, with its infinite facets, can only be understood as it is revealed to us by the mind of the infinite. We may engage the tools of the intellect to mine the treasures of wisdom but, our finite powers are inadequate to interpret the gleaming treasures. Without the knowledge of God, revealed in scripture, we only possess a map without a proper destination. Biblical truth guides our path and harnesses the will to accomplish the Divine purpose in our lives. "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23) You must first understand and recognize God's direction in your life before implementing the Kongokai, or you may wreak upon yourself great mischief. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) We must study this well and meditate on these words deeply before we proceed.