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Thread: States of Mind: Fudoshin

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    Kit
    I wanted to thank you. We have disagreed and also agreed on many things over the years. We always discuss without insulting (well, at least trying not to) each other over some view points. You are rarely, if ever, presumptuous. You extend an effort to understand someone's points and when in doubt, ask. And you retain a strong personality and presence throughout.
    Thank you again for good internet decorum.
    Dan, thank you!

    Also, yes, I wasn't even thinking of it that way. There was enough in there with the mental aspect, now it seems it was much more powerful.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Dan, thank you!

    Also, yes, I wasn't even thinking of it that way. There was enough in there with the mental aspect, now it seems it was much more powerful.
    Great. I hoped it would make more sense as a complete model. There is much more to it than that, but its better discussed in person.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Excuse the long post, but the recent discussion touches on some quite interesting points regarding what fudoshin is or isn't.

    I haven't spent much time reading Takuan's writing (not for some years, anyway), so after Dan mentioned it, I thought 'What the … is he talking about?' and went back to have a look.

    The term Fudoshin is difficult in some ways because it was not part of the Yagyu teachings as such; Takuan used fudochi (usually translated as immovable wisdom) and, as an extension of this, 'the concept of immoveable wisdom', using the character for shin. The text itself does not give any real indication that this is a physical training – by using the terms 'wisdom' and 'mind'/'concept' it leads us to take it on the surface as dealing with mental attributes. Why would we think otherwise?


    Yagyu Munenori also uses the term in 'The Life Giving Sword', in much the same way as Takuan does, but that work (Heihokadensho) contains philosophizing on other terms (e.g. Life Giving Sword katsuninken) that are at odds with the normal explanation given by the school, so I wouldn't hold it up as an absolute gold-standard for discussing Yagyu Shinkage ryu. Yagyu Jubei's Tsuki no Sho is much more enlightening on various technical particulars, and doesn't mention fudoshin at all, strongly suggesting it was not used as a technical term by the Yagyu Shinkage ryu.

    Having said that, it is entirely likely that the character 'shin' (mind) was read with the knowledge that it applied to something physical as much as or more than something mental. Certainly, in my own research and translation, I found that some works made a lot more sense if terms were taken as having a physical rather than a mental corollary; I believe that commonplace terms such as 'virtue', in some Neo-Confucian works on swordsmanship refer to physical rather than/as well as moral or ethical concepts. Indeed, physical work was believed to embody or produce mental/moral conditions.

    Which leads us back to what Dan was saying and fudoshin. If you read what Takuan said and take his references to 'mind' as something physical, it actually makes a lot of sense. For those brought up on the concept as predominantly mental, it is difficult to see it as other than that, but to be honest, I'm not sure how it entered the parlance of the modern martial artist in the first place (probably via DT Suzuki, who played very fast and loose with his facts, I'm afraid) and it is really not used in the older (Japanese) writings I am familiar with.

    Why should we take fudoshin as referring to a physical training rather than a mental one?

    One more example from Tsuki no Sho shows how closely 'shin' was associated with physical teachings:
    In a discussion of Seikouzui (Waters of the West River) Yagyu Jubei writes 'What is most important in the settling of the mind is where you place it – this is an oral tradition…It is also said that the way my father (Yagyu Munenori) and grandfather (Yagyu Sekishusai) realised this teaching was different. My grandfather's method was to close/tighten the buttocks, whereas my father's was to stretch them.' (He goes on to say that one should use whichever method is most suitable, and that they both lead to the same end).

    This reference to the buttocks is in connection with what at first glance appears to be a mental teaching – obviously something else is going on here. Which does point to interesting possibilities in the interpretation of texts.

    Chris
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com

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    Hi Chris
    I think it is an important distinction to understand that various "interpretations" don't alter the proven results and history of this work. People tend to assign values of truth.... even to factual things.
    We can talk about the origins of man and the world. But the raw truth is we got here... Only one way. There was only ever one truth as to how it happened.
    So it is with this training.
    The practice of this material was known. The results known.
    Academics and budo historians can equivocate, establish text and citations to their hearts content.
    It doesn't alter that warriors, ascetics, monks, and civilians alike pursued it and noted the physical changes and benefits it brought about. Or that it was the foundational practices- the magic- in so many of our arts
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Well - yi leads qi as well, which has a direct physical link, now that we are talking about it.

    Then again, Meng Zi used it (budongxin) and is clearly speaking of a mental state....

    Looking at Suzuki Shosan's Fudo/Nio Zen a little differently now, too...his use of an alternative character for ki is interesting as well.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Well - yi leads qi as well, which has a direct physical link, now that we are talking about it.

    Then again, Meng Zi used it (budongxin) and is clearly speaking of a mental state....

    Looking at Suzuki Shosan's Fudo/Nio Zen a little differently now, too...his use of an alternative character for ki is interesting as well.
    His Nio Zen is based on the Nio statues I wrote about earlier.
    The Nio were a version of Vajrapani (again a concept not a being) The name means the hand of Vajra and is associated with the Buddhas power. His likeness (like Fudo myo-o) is seen in temples in Japan.
    Vajrapani is also associated with- Nio guardians, themselves manifestations of yin and yang and? Acala vidya. Again, a concept, not a name. See the consistency?

    That said the search for the physical manifestations of that power was a process.
    Copying the poses of the Nio was most assuredly an empty practice -similar to trying to copy certain internal exercises lacking good feedback and instruction-but.... Those poses were an interesting choice as they are typically in a version of heaven/earth/man and with associated breath control being displayed.
    Interestingly this pose was attributed to the entire aiki line; Takeda, Shirata, Hisa, Ueshiba, posing in these postures. Is it coincidence that legends were spread of the Buddha himself being born in this pose and? In a display of breath control "roaring like Lion."
    Why the myth? Because... they... knew then, as now...it meant power.
    I have never read of a written example of Shosan intelligently discussing how to manipulate the meridians for power. So... His methods could have all between illusory and only a medatative work. It is hard to say since so many commentaries state. "This is taught verbally."
    Personally, I don't much care other than it being another data point from Tibet to Japan and skipping China and expressed within the aiki line.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 1st April 2015 at 09:05.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    I'm traveling and don't have my books with me. I couldn't remember the reference to vajrapani and immovability.
    As one of the three representations or archetypes of the enlightened mind , limitless compassion, limitless wisdom and skillfull means. Vajrapani represents skillfully means. In other words the physical. the ability to enter into any situation, no matter how unpromising, and transform it it. He conquers the forces of harm and negativity without mercy. Holding the vajra (a lightning bolt as irresistable or immovable force) in his hand (pani)
    This we have him representing the idea of an irresistible or immovable hand. Often associated with Acala Vidya who is the same as Fudo Myo-o. Again NOT AN ENTITY but an idea (esoteric training to achieve immovability).
    Again the Nio statues were guardian warriors seen in temples and temple gates, another manifistation of immovability with the added benefit of a physical model of how to get there: yin and yang and breath training (kokyu-ho).
    This wraps up the idea of the physical leading to the spiritual.
    I can't find the yoga model ( again, I don't have my books with me) outlining first
    * the five elements (phases) of training the body (asanas)
    * the mind body (esoteric)
    * the spiritual man
    Interestingly enough, one of the original as an as is? Mountain pose! Once you are taught the real mountain pose? You sort of feel like.... a mountain.
    Immovable.
    And so it goes....
    The question remains budo-ka.....
    What do you feel like?
    Incredibly powerful and unusual with no techniques?
    If not? Why not?
    Maybe it's time to step out from the crowd. Start practicing what these wonderful arts were supposed to be teaching us in the first place, rather than being just more budo wall paper, crash test dummies for Asian teachers who do get it.
    Be Acala vidya
    Fudo Myo-o
    A Nio warrior
    Vajrapani
    Offer...them...an immovable hand!
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 1st April 2015 at 14:53.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

  9. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hellman View Post
    ....Which leads us back to what Dan was saying and fudoshin. If you read what Takuan said and take his references to 'mind' as something physical, it actually makes a lot of sense. For those brought up on the concept as predominantly mental, it is difficult to see it as other than that, but to be honest, I'm not sure how it entered the parlance of the modern martial artist in the first place (probably via DT Suzuki, who played very fast and loose with his facts, I'm afraid) and it is really not used in the older (Japanese) writings I am familiar with.

    Why should we take fudoshin as referring to a physical training rather than a mental one?

    One more example from Tsuki no Sho shows how closely 'shin' was associated with physical teachings:
    In a discussion of Seikouzui (Waters of the West River) Yagyu Jubei writes 'What is most important in the settling of the mind is where you place it – this is an oral tradition…It is also said that the way my father (Yagyu Munenori) and grandfather (Yagyu Sekishusai) realised this teaching was different. My grandfather's method was to close/tighten the buttocks, whereas my father's was to stretch them.' (He goes on to say that one should use whichever method is most suitable, and that they both lead to the same end).

    This reference to the buttocks is in connection with what at first glance appears to be a mental teaching – obviously something else is going on here. Which does point to interesting possibilities in the interpretation of texts.

    Chris
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com
    Hi again Chris
    I appreciated your post. The discussion -or should I say concept- of the mind in the buttocks led me to several edits about where I think many budo-ka's have their own heads. ;-)
    Seriously though....
    The Asian teaching model is a disaster. Not really their fault as the language and the model are so vague. Trained correctly the buttocks are neither tight or stretched in higher level work. They are in rotation. This... understood correctly could explain the Yagyu comment quit nicely within the vagueries of the Japanese language. Were one to be in a state of -open or close- one could see the reference of tightened or stretched buttocks leading to the same goal. I am fully aware if how odd it sounds to people not trained to move a certain way.
    However....
    There is a reason that it makes sense. And thank you because I will use it as yet another example of Terrible...teeeerible Japanese teaching and language use.
    My people and a bunch of ICMA practitioners I know will get a laugh out of this.
    Aannyyyway...
    The fact that he mentioned the mind goes to the physical and uses that example could be yet another interesting reference. Its peculiar and doesn't make sense to most, makes perfect sense to others initiated into internals. Example? No human being I have ever met could do what I am referring to. It takes quite a bit of loosening/ training/ skill and? Its used as part of a sophisticated system to make power in the body.
    Again though, while most would say... what an odd reference.
    Others would say...of course

    Thank you for both the joke potential and the actual suggestion of real skills possibly being trained.
    I think it is interesting to see these things discussed in koryu in some of the legends.
    There were reasons they were legends and we're not. And... it may be recoverable.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 1st April 2015 at 16:08.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

  10. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hellman View Post
    Excuse the long post, but the recent discussion touches on some quite interesting points regarding what fudoshin is or isn't.

    I haven't spent much time reading Takuan's writing (not for some years, anyway), so after Dan mentioned it, I thought 'What the … is he talking about?' and went back to have a look.

    The term Fudoshin is difficult in some ways because it was not part of the Yagyu teachings as such; Takuan used fudochi (usually translated as immovable wisdom) and, as an extension of this, 'the concept of immoveable wisdom', using the character for shin. The text itself does not give any real indication that this is a physical training – by using the terms 'wisdom' and 'mind'/'concept' it leads us to take it on the surface as dealing with mental attributes. Why would we think otherwise?


    Yagyu Munenori also uses the term in 'The Life Giving Sword', in much the same way as Takuan does, but that work (Heihokadensho) contains philosophizing on other terms (e.g. Life Giving Sword katsuninken) that are at odds with the normal explanation given by the school, so I wouldn't hold it up as an absolute gold-standard for discussing Yagyu Shinkage ryu. Yagyu Jubei's Tsuki no Sho is much more enlightening on various technical particulars, and doesn't mention fudoshin at all, strongly suggesting it was not used as a technical term by the Yagyu Shinkage ryu.

    Having said that, it is entirely likely that the character 'shin' (mind) was read with the knowledge that it applied to something physical as much as or more than something mental. Certainly, in my own research and translation, I found that some works made a lot more sense if terms were taken as having a physical rather than a mental corollary; I believe that commonplace terms such as 'virtue', in some Neo-Confucian works on swordsmanship refer to physical rather than/as well as moral or ethical concepts. Indeed, physical work was believed to embody or produce mental/moral conditions.

    Which leads us back to what Dan was saying and fudoshin. If you read what Takuan said and take his references to 'mind' as something physical, it actually makes a lot of sense. For those brought up on the concept as predominantly mental, it is difficult to see it as other than that, but to be honest, I'm not sure how it entered the parlance of the modern martial artist in the first place (probably via DT Suzuki, who played very fast and loose with his facts, I'm afraid) and it is really not used in the older (Japanese) writings I am familiar with.

    Why should we take fudoshin as referring to a physical training rather than a mental one?

    One more example from Tsuki no Sho shows how closely 'shin' was associated with physical teachings:
    In a discussion of Seikouzui (Waters of the West River) Yagyu Jubei writes 'What is most important in the settling of the mind is where you place it – this is an oral tradition…It is also said that the way my father (Yagyu Munenori) and grandfather (Yagyu Sekishusai) realised this teaching was different. My grandfather's method was to close/tighten the buttocks, whereas my father's was to stretch them.' (He goes on to say that one should use whichever method is most suitable, and that they both lead to the same end).

    This reference to the buttocks is in connection with what at first glance appears to be a mental teaching – obviously something else is going on here. Which does point to interesting possibilities in the interpretation of texts.

    Chris
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com
    Hi Chris,

    What are your opinions on the different view of mind/body dualism in pre-modern Japanese culture vs Western thought?

    In Western thought we have a concept of mind/body dualism that is so deeply ingrained, it is tough to conceive of another way of thinking of the self.

    In other words, we tend to believe that we "have" and "use" bodies, but we "are" something immaterial that is somehow related to the body, inside of it perhaps. If you ask a modern person where the part of them that thinks of itself as "me" lives, most people will point to their heads because they feel their actual selves are behind their eyes.

    I have read that in cultures less exposed to Western thought people will often point to their stomachs, or their crotches when asked where their "self" lives in the body.

    This may be something incorrect that I have picked up through the lore of gendai martial arts but my understanding is that the traditional Japanese feeling is that the hara is the seat of the soul .

    So I wonder if this may be something as simple as, there was less of a distinction made between mind and body. To Jubei, maybe it was "obvious" that physical training was a vehicle to achieve certain mental states and attributes.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 2nd April 2015 at 00:19. Reason: edited to restore In-Yo balance to content

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    Hi Dan,

    I'm glad you found the reference interesting – I thought you might. It can be pretty difficult figuring out what some people were actually training in the 1600s (in this case), especially as they were notoriously poor at communication, as you say. (FWIW Yagyu Jubei is unusually open about this, and constantly writes things like 'my father said x, my grandfather said y; there was no explanation of this in the mokuroku, ' and so on, suggesting that even then a lot of training was based on 'intuition' and allusions to concepts that no-one could explain clearly.)

    I find this all very interesting on an intellectual level. Of course, training is training, but having said that, what one has trained will obviously affect what they see in what they are reading (and, of course, the way they translate it, if they are reading the original, which is a problem with lots of the translations that are available) and it's nice to make sense of some of the things that previously seemed pretty opaque (especially through discussion with or contributions by those with relevant experience).


    Chris
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com

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    Hi Cliff,

    Just time for a quick answer… it's only anecdotal, but on several occasions I have had people talking about 'will' or 'mind' by pointing to or tapping their abdomen whereas western cultures would indicate the head. Whether this means that they think/feel a closer connection between mind and body than our culture does, I couldn't really say for sure.
    However, the point you make about Jubei may be correct. I have found that there is a tendency for Japanese teachers to tell you to do one thing, expecting that you will understand that it also means to do x,y,z as well, whereas a western teacher would be more likely to say do this and make sure you do x and y and z. This confuses the hell out of Japanese students, too, who are often no better at following directions in Japanese than non-Japanese.


    Chris

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    Just to add to Chris's notes on Tsuki no Sho and seigousui, the original Japanese is "ketsu" -- in modern parlance synonymous with "buttocks" (roughly similar to English "ass" or "arse"). However, more specifically it refers to the, er, hole therein. My read of Tsuki no Sho, at least, is that it is not referring to the buttocks per se, but rather the sphincter, requiring a whole different set of muscles.

    Just FYI for folks to interpret as they will.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, ţonne he ćt guđe gengan ţenceđ longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearađ. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Oh boy
    Discussions of butt holes squeezing tight or stretching open are about as useful as tightening the buttocks or stretching them. What is really happening is a bunch of martial artists guessing at what it could all possibly mean.
    Why?
    Because the vast amount of budo people against all protestations don't have a hara and after training for decades in arts that only pretend to focus on center...really don't know how to make one and have no unusual power in their bodies to show for their decades of training. Hence the very idea of immovable as a physical -albeit esoteric- training paradigm and why generations of Martial artists would have discussed it...makes no sense to them.

    Jubei's comments of the mind in the butt:
    While it is only a single reference, there is a well known internal body mechanic that would explain Jubei's grandfather and fathers comments quite well. Real power involves a whole body use, part of which is using the femurs in rotation. This, in a whole body movement generates power to either open or close. This will cause the buttocks to more or less tighten in and the other to more or less stretch open and around. Correctly stated ...as they stated...both lead to the same end. In their case powerful cuts! As they stated, either way worked and more importantly they were interchangeable. One led to the other.
    There are other things to add, but not for now.
    As I stated, many guys would read this and be at a loss, and others would say..of course.
    Which one of those are you?

    Esoteric as a reality
    What do you think would ever possess warriors and otherwise martially interested people to study this stuff and preserve it? And why all the references to power, real and whole? Such a Shinto ryu's founder saying it made his sword unstoppable? Why? Because it worked and it WASN'T mental imagery for an indomitable spirit.
    Again it all circles back to Acala Vidya/ Fudo Myo-o Vajrapani and Nio statues (and other references)
    Esoteric training to produce an immovable body
    Yagyu's one mechanic, is part of a complete movement to produce power in Yoga. There are ways to do mountain pose that make you feel like a mountain, but it is not with little Annie saying "Lift your heart charkras to the sun yoginis..." and developing a mental state!!!
    There were and are ways to make unusual power in budo...and I enjoy the humor of saying that part of it is in the correct use of the mind..in the ass (it really is coordinated use of femurs for hips/butt/back/ hara, but our heads being in our own asses seems to fit our years of struggling to learn these damn arts-or maybe its just mine!) and they...are not a mental state either.
    Fudo Myo-o made the immovable body
    The irresistible hand was a result of that
    Fudo shin was an after effect of years of that training

    Once they could start to understand Fudo Myo-o, no one I know wanted to go back to the way they moved before. Another after effect was Ueshiba saying "I am aiki." He was really saying I understand Heaven/earth/man, the foundational training of Fudo Myo-o. Yin/yang was everywhere in his body. I ...can state the same and prove it as well.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 4th April 2015 at 21:58.
    Dan
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    Edit:
    I wanted to finish with
    Can you?
    If not?
    Why not?
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    To further expand on two topics within the thread:
    *Origins: Fudo shin being a result of a common physical teaching on internal training to achieve immovability, from Tibet to Japan.
    * My choice of the San gen as name of my system
    Here is a nice summation by Chris Li, himself a professional translater and researcher into this topic as well as training it.
    The logo has a dragon writhing up and swallowing a sword. The sword hilt? Is in fact.. the vajra (itself representative of immovable or irresistible force) for Aikido People and Ueshiba's myth making...
    Remember the golden cloud that supposedly rose up around him? This was about the time he started to call himself the dragon king. Even signing documents this way. That golden color? Was associated to this very dragon... A golden hue arose.
    And so it goes..

    FWIW, the dragon on the logo posted above is the Dragon King Kurikara - The Kurikara is a representation of Fudo myoo, Acala, and represents internal energy. Morihei Ueshiba believed that he was an incarnation of the Dragon King Ame-no-murakumo Kuki Samuhara Ryu-ō (天之叢雲九鬼サムハラ龍王) - explaining that the Dragon King stands for "the transformation of one’s being into irresistible force".

    The mitsudomoe, of course, represents the Sangen ("three origins") - heaven, earth, man, and spiral energy. It was used both as the crest for Susano-o (one of Ueshiba's patron deities) the crest for the war god Hachiman, and in Shingon (both Takeda and Ueshiba have ties to Shingon).

    "Kai" is "Association".
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 5th April 2015 at 17:23.
    Dan
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