Saturday, January 30, 2010
The following information was sent to me from one of our reader.
Yukiyoshi Sagwa (a notable Budo/material artist/ born 1902) said:
1. When I say the Hara (gut) is important, it’s not about making your Hara tight. If you position yourself in a Zazen (seated position for meditation in Zen practice.), is that the right way to set your Hara? Not really that either. You set your Hara in the right way as you do the moves.
2. A Ki-ryoku(気力- the power/strength, the power of the chi/ki) is not to be shown outward. It is the inner strength that goes deeper as you are using it.
3. When your opponent says “O-ho” coming to you with a fighting spirit, you say “hoho” and start the move lightly (relaxed).
Around the 1900’s, many interesting & unique individuals have come out to this world globally. Especially, people in the religious field and in the martial arts. It was a time, when many of the so-called Mononoke’s (a powerful spirit) souls incarnated.
This master of Budo, Sagawa, is one of them but for a Mononoke, the commonly seen strong character was quite drawn out in his case.
When I vision his sensei, Sokaku Takeda (born 1859), I can only see a small Oni demon wearing a Kimono. I almost wonder why someone like him came into this world of reality. He must have been taken as very “inhuman” to others in his time.
I am not personally acquainted with Mr.Sagawa, but through his lore, I could see he was a man who knew the true essence of what we are.
This teaching is not only the secret essence of the path of Budo. It’s the essence to live a good life in a fruitful and wealthy manner.
My interpretation on his lore no.1 is:
“Don't sit in meditation. Meditation can be done in the movement required in your daily life (which I have been saying in my blog). The Hara is a very important part of one’s body. It is the center of one’s body and it holds the health of the whole. The Hara (gut) is something like an atomic power station, a spiritual center that holds your health, life span and fortune. ”
There is a famous story about Hakuin (1685~1768, one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddism) who practiced an abdominal breathing technique to bring back his life force when everyone thought he was going to die from a serious sickness. Physically, the body will bring back its life force by breathing deep from the Hara. People who tend to get sick often or carry symptom such as depression, I feel their breathing is shallow. Lack of oxygen can do a lot of things. Deep breathing is a key to maintain your health.
The physical body needs to be in motion in order to let it pay attention to its “physicalility”. At this time only, the mind is set free to be in the right place in order to see the truth.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, just say in your mind “ikashite-itadaite arigato-gozaimasu (thank you for letting us live)” as you breath deeply from your abdomen. If you are not sure about the abdominal breathing, simply do a deep breathing and try to put your attention on your abdomen. That will be fine.
The ki of gratitude will help your heart and the ki of your deep breath will help your physical body. And maintaining these two will strengthen your spirit body.
The core power of your spirit body is also at the center of your body, the Hara. The stronger the Hara, the stronger power you have to manifest your dream aligned with your good will. Finance will follow if it comes from a good will.
The meaning of lore no.2&3 is exactly as it’s said and can be used in your daily life practice:
No.2 is also about shutting off your emotional drain by going into inner-self rather than worrying about what’s happening outside. Simply focus on the work in front of you.
No.3 is about practicing to be in a relaxed state even when someone say things to hurt or offend you. Just let them say it and don’t try to talk back. There will come a time, when you will have your chance to be in a better position then him/her. Having the space in your heart and be at ease is another key to be a strong person.
Thank you for letting us live