Sunday, January 10, 2016

News


There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with trying to stay informed of current events, but you have to be sensitive to the effect that too much attention to the news can have on your mind. 

The basic message of the news is that your time is unimportant, that the important things in the world are what other people are doing in other places. 




This is the opposite of the message of meditation: that the most important thing happening in your world is what you’re doing right here, right now. 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Knowing and Doing


There are basically 2 questions you can ask about things :
  • What can I do with this  ?
  • How does this work ? (How is it built)

As far as survival is involved, "What can I do with this" is better than "How does this work?"

You can drive a car without having any idea how it works. However, if you have a mechanical problem in the middle of the desert, it maybe handy to know how to disconnect the thermostat to make sure the fan stays on and keep cooling the engine (trust me on that one, personal experience...)




So again, it is interesting to know both about things, 

  • what you can do with them, and 
  • how they are built and work, 


And this is true for every domain. If someone comes at you and you find a stick, it is a good idea to whack them with that stick, without trying to have the perfect stance and style. You have no need to know exactly how to fight with a stick: just whack them quickly and strongly.  



If later on more people get in the habit of coming at you, it could be a good idea to learn how to use your stick more efficiently. That is what martial arts are about.


Now in Buddhism, we have a number of teachings. They are meant to be USED. If you try to understand them before you practice, you'll be in the situation of a guy who having been shot with a poisoned arrow wants to know everything about who shot it and the kind of material used to make the arrow, the bow and the string before pulling the arrow out of his thigh. Basically the guy would die before he'd know the answers to these questions. 



This story was told by the Buddha 2500 years ago,  and was recorded in the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta.

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him."

In the West, we love to understand everything before we act. At times, it is a good idea, but not always. 

Intellectual analysis sometimes delays or even prevents actual experience.

Don't waste your time, Practice...





 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Clarification about the 'Self'



All forms of Buddhism teach that all dharma or phenomena have 3 universal characteristics :


All phenomena are Impermanent
The teaching of ANICCA
All phenomena are Unsatisfactory
The teaching of DUKKHA
All phenomena are Not-Self
The teaching of ANATTA


The teachings of Anicca and Dukkha are common to all religious or philosopHical traditions, but the teaching of Anatta is unique to Buddhism.

According to Anatta there is nothing that can be identified as 'self', all the things that we take to be ourself, to be I and mine, are really 'not-self'.

Buddhism holds that these notions are deceptive delusions that lead us into conflicts and suffering. To stop this suffering we have to realize the nature of all phenomena. This is achieved by intellectual understanding and through insight.


Because almost all of our thoughts and activities are centred around the idea of "I", "mine" and "myself" Anatta is the deepest and the most difficult of the 3 characteristics to realize. To grasp its exact meaning we have to clarify what it actually does and does not deny. 'Anatta' meaning literally 'not-self', what really is this 'self' denied by it ?


The word "self" can be used in three senses :

  • (a) A reflexive sense, as when when we speak of "myself", "yourself", "oneself". (French “moi-meme”, “toi-meme”, “soi-meme”). Buddhism accepts such use of the word "Self". You have to train yourself, one must purify oneself, you have to make the effort yourself and so on.
  • (b) "Self” as one's own person, the compound of body and mind or psycho-physical personality. Here the word 'self' is used to refer easily and economically to what really is a complex process. Buddhism accepts such use of the word "Self".
  • (c) A substantial and lasting ego entity, core of the compound of body and mind. This idea of a "Self" is categorically rejected by the teaching of Anatta, for it is this assumption that draws us into suffering.













Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sources for Shindo Muso Ryu


There are little sources for Shindo Muso Ryu Jo Jutsu on the Net

According to Carl Long Hanshi there are 2 reference books, both of them are out of prin...

  • Jodo Kyohan by Kaminoda Tsunemori and Nakashima Asakichi (in Japanese)

 

Jodô la voie du bâton / the way of the stick by Pascal Krieger (in French and English).

The Way of the Stick can be downloaded as a Pdf file by clicking HERE


Here are 3 videos of the 3 first Kihon found on Youtube. 

These videos, as well as other of the next 9 Kihon are available on this channel. Please do not forget to like the videos, This gentleman took the time to record and upload them for the general good.



1st Technique : Honte Uchi (Regular Grip Strike)



2nd Technique : Gyakute Uchi (Reverse Grip Strike)

 

3rd Technique : Hiki Otoshi Uchi (Pull Down Strike)









 

Enjoy...


If you are interested in Jo Jutsu, please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@gmail.com or by Phone at (334) 798 1639

 


Monday, December 7, 2015

The Miura Hanshi mosaic portrait


2 weeks ago we had our KNBK Winter Gasshuku. I drove from Alabama to Pennsylvania, 16 hours, mostly under  heavy rain...





Riding with me in the car was our Miura Hanshi Mosaic, a piece I was able to build thanks to generous contributions of people who backed my Kickstarter campaign. Contributions came from a number of Countries, mainly USA and France, and Martial Artists, mostly KNBK Iaijutsu and Yoshukai Karate students.



This mosaic is an interpretation of a picture of Miura Hanshi practicing Tameshigiri on a rolled sheet of paper. Miura Hanshi was well know for his quasi supernatural ability to cut. This picture was his preferred one of himself and was displayed at the entrance of his dojo in Osaka.

The Miura Hanshi mosaic was presented to Carl Long Hanshi, head instructor of the KNBK, an organization dedicated to the transmission of several traditional Japanese Martial Arts. 



Miura Hanshi, 10th Dan, was the 20th generation grandmaster of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. The presentation occurred in front of 60 Martial Artists gathered to train together in the Arts he  dedicated his life to transmit to us. 


The Miura Hanshi mosaic was built following the reverse method. It is made of 3 different black granites, ceramic and glass tiles. Its dimensions are 24 x 30" (60 x 75 cm).


Beside my great interest in studying and teaching Zen and Martial Arts,  
I am also a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts. 

You can see some of my own mosaics on my site mosaicblues.

 







A few times each year, I take on commission work.

If you are interested by a custom mosaic
portrait or an other decorative piec
for your Dojo or Home, 
please contact me

or 
by phone at (334) 798 1639. 

 

   You can also




to receive regular updates on the world and techniques
of mosaics in general and on my other projects.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Interfaith Gathering



Below is a text I read tonight at the Thanksgiving Interfaith Gathering held at St Columba Catholic Church in Dothan. It is inspired by a Theravada tradition Scripture.



Countless are those born with poor physical or mental health. 
I have been born with all limbs and faculties complete. 

Many are those who live in lands of strife and conflict, and who are deprived of security and safety. 
I am living in a place where there is peace. 

Incalculable are those forced to toil without end, and who are driven by hunger and want. 
I have enough to sustain my body and time to give it rest. 

Numerous are those who live as slaves, unable to go where they wish and think as they like. 
I enjoy great freedom. 

Numberless are those who live in regions where the light of the truth does not shine and its message is not heard above the racket of doctrines that cause great suffering. 
I have heard the good teachings. 

Truly precious and great are the blessings I enjoy. Here I contemplate on my good fortune and the good of others. 




To repay all these gifts, I will use my efforts to overcome the 3 poisons of greed, hate and delusion.
 

We practice Zen meditation every Monday evening at 8:00 pm.
You are welcome to join us in Headland.

You can reach me by email at
frederic.lecut@gmail.co
or by phone at
334 798 1639


Friday, November 20, 2015

3 Dhukkas



When the First Noble Truth is told as “Life is Suffering” most people are unhappy because it sounds very negative to them.  

This is a translation problem.


 The Buddha did not speak English, French or Chinese. He did not use the word “Suffering” but “Dukkha”. Unfortunately, we do not have an accurate word to translate “Dukkha”.








Beside “Suffering” it is sometimes translated as “Stress” or “Dissatisfaction”. Actually, these 3 words- concepts - are part of Dukkha, but they do not fully represent it. So we might as well dump them and use “Dukkha”.



Dukkha



The Buddha spoke of 3 aspects of Dukkha :
  • Dukkha dukkha – Dukkha of regular Suffering or Pain
  • Viparinama dukkha - the Dukkha caused by Impermanence
  • Samkhara dukkha - the Dukkha of Conditioned Existence


Dukkha dukkha is easy to understand by most everyone, and it is properly translated in English by “Pain”, or “Suffering. “ It is the physical pain of a tooth ache, or the mental pain of losing a loved one.

There are different interpretations of the next 2 Dukkhas, and I will stick to one only of them. 
 

Viparinama dukkha is the dukkha due to Impermanence - the fact that things change. 
 
Example : You are working in your yard. The outside temperature is in the 80's but you do not feel hot. You walk inside your home to drink a glass of water. The AC is running and you stay inside a little to enjoy the coolness. You get back outside, and immediately feel uncomfortable because of the heat you experience. 

This is Viparinama Dukkha. The temperature has not changed outside, and you were not feeling uncomfortable before, but you enjoyed the coolness of the house, so when you went back outside, it felt too hot to you. So Viparinama dukkha describes the suffering or dissatisfaction arising in us when we lose something we were enjoying. 

 



Sankhara Dukkha is said to be deeper and more subtle, but actually I do not think it very complicated if you look at it from a certain perspective, Sankhara Dukkha deals with OUR impermance and the fact that we have to struggle to stay alive. 
 
What are we really ? We are an assemblage of living cells trying to stick together. At the moment of our conception, a sperm and an egg produce a first living cell which later splits and develops into a fetus by incorporating atoms brought to it by its mother. At the time of birth we begin to absorb food and oxygen from the outside world, and grow a bigger body. This growing of an individual being is one of 2 great trends of the universe. 
 
One trend organizes, structures and bring order. The opposite and complimentary trend disorganizes, dissolves and brings chaos. 
 
A powerful description of this is the Taoist Yin-Yang theory. Practically it describes everything is subject to 2 competing and complimentary trends, one promotes the organization of usually inanimate matter into a well defined entity separate from the rest of the universe, one trend tends to the opposite. Matter gets organized into a fawn, the fawn tries to stay alive, but eventually will die, the molecules that composed him separate, and will one day become part of an other creature. Or he could be eaten by a wolf, and part of him will become part of the wolf. There is a constant flow, it is almost a dance. Matter gets organized and disorganized constantly.

In the case of human beings, our evolution as a specie has given us one extremely potent tool to help us staying alive as individuals : our ego, or sense of self. Without this very potent tool, it is unlikely that we would have survived surrounded by the predators that were after us 100,000 years ago. One characteristic of human is their extraordinary will to live and fight to survive amazingly difficult physical or mental situations. This is the job of the ego. (And our problem comes from believing that we ARE this ego - but this is a different story).

So Sankhara Dukkha is the stress due to our constant trying to keep us alive as an entity, trying to keep together all molecules that are composing us while the rest of the universe wants them scattered... We are an assemblage of a great number of elements, we try – against the rest of the universe - to keep them together, and it is a constant effort. This is life itself, this is Sankhara Dukkha.




When you really look at them, the 3 Dukkha are not that different, They all comes back to impermanence and dependent origination. But teaching the 3 kinds will help better understand the 1st noble Truth.