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#267378 - 06/28/06 01:23 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: eric235u]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
I'm not a scholar, but my understanding is that there is no proof of the existence of Bodhidharma or this legend.

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#267379 - 06/28/06 01:30 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: harlan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Harlan,

My basic question is, outside of the sounds of the word, how do you prove zen outside of zen buddhism? Especially if it is a nonverbal state.

Or are we just dealing in tags of abstraction that can only be experienced and not explained, and if so how do I know if others are 'correctly' using the label for what they experience.

Within the Zen Buddhism tradition, there is a long series of steps, that may or may not be followed, but it does follow a process of sorts.

When you walk outside their process, is there meaninful communication (which is where Wittgenstein really got hung up), and if there isn't meaningful communication is there anything to discuss?
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#267380 - 06/28/06 01:34 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: Victor Smith]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Victor, you must have experienced all sorts of abstract cognitive states in your life. 'Mushin' is one of them. Your experience of said states is the only proof you have, and you can't give it to others. Just because you can't convey such a state...does not mean it wasn't real...as experienced by your self.

As far as Zen Buddhism is concerned, I will drop out here...as I am not a Zen Buddhist. I am not Zen. I have a tantric understanding of said states, which also does not equate to Tantric Buddhism. Although, I find it convenient that Buddhism does have a language, and a sequence of steps, that is useful to mind science.

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#267381 - 06/28/06 02:07 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: eric235u]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
eric, I agree, there is no historical evidence of the link. but the buzz was out there and it spread like wildfire...too good of a story to confirm if it was true or false - it just spread and was accepted.

In regards to the topic, what are the thoughts on this article:
http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=233

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#267382 - 06/28/06 02:11 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: harlan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Harlan,

I'm not sure if I've experienced abstract cognitative states in my life. I lead a pretty boring life, family, work and some MA.

I get in just as much trouble in my trying to describe my tai chi chaun studies these past 29 years. On the whole I think I've been pretty fortunate to have extremely skilled instructors in all of the arts I've studied. But in each case Okianwan, Japanese, Indonesian, Chinese, whatever, the discussion has never been other than physicial description of the art.

For example I have not been allowed to experience tai chi as moving medidation. There is far too much focused concentration involved to do it correctly. Perhaps focused isn't the best choice of words, but rather infintately small continually moving concentration. But unless you've been trained like I have, the words mean far less.

But tai chi literature forms an entire universe of abstraction, and sometimes brilliant analysis (one very old text totally describes what I'm trying to speak, in more detailed process, too).

In fact I do believe in Chi, but as a demonstratable trainable unspeakable physical state of practice. Try and get a handle on that.

No matter how hard or how soft I've practiced, I've never moved beyond the current wave front.

In fact one of my instructors, trained in very old style Shotokan and Aikido and Tjimande, his father being a follower or islam, refused to allow any discussion of the tjimande states in his presence, as being wrong.

Descriptive terms wrap around many experiences.

Unfortunately, while they may have great personal meaning, it often is difficult to get others to see them as we see them too.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#267383 - 06/28/06 04:22 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: Victor Smith]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Why even have this discussion?

If you practice martial arts only to learn to hurt people, to compete with people, to be "better" than others, or out of fear of attack from others...in short, feeding the ego...then no, your martial arts practice is not "zen", and is not compatible with Buddhist practice.
If you practice karate and don't practice zen, good.
If you practice zen and don't practice karate, good.
If you practice both together, good.

Spirit doesn't have boundaries in one's life. If you live a life of sincere spiritual practice, everytyhing you do is included. No one is forcing anyone to do or be or believe anything. Just practice. Don't let yourself be distracted by thoughts and words and definitions which try to enclose that which cannot be held.


Edited by WuXing (06/28/06 04:26 PM)

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#267384 - 06/28/06 04:45 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: Ed_Morris]
eric235u Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/05
Posts: 38
Loc: MA
i am so in love with the feeling that a charming buddhist story gives me, especially one that mixes in some violence. it's so strange that i fall for that rap. if i ever found a dojo that really combined the two my heart would compel me to move in and call it home. but it's not difficult for anyone to poke holes in that article. ah the duality. i'm a terrible student. i think this guy says it best,

If you practice karate and don't practice zen, good.
If you practice zen and don't practice karate, good.
If you practice both together, good.


one of my favorite boxing analysts (teddy atlas) often talks about how a fighter needs to do the right thing in the ring and out. that there's a connection between the two. it seems similar to what others say. i like it. but i don't know if it's true.
_________________________
http://www.newmag.org/

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#267385 - 06/29/06 07:13 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: Victor Smith]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Victor,
I attended a clinic with a "zen master" from the Kodokan when I first started martial arts back in the sixties. He explained to us that zen was a "practice", not a philosophy... it was the idea of "now". Everything that is happening "now" is zen, or "for the moment"...

The breathing and concentration exercises passed off as "zen" are actually "zazen", or breathing and concentration exercises. In those exercises, you attain different states of conciousness, such as "mizo no kokoro" (mind of water) with specific exercises designed to attain each mental level of the practice...

Utilizing those practices in martial arts training is commonly used, and applied to attain the state of "mushin" or "no mind" in which you are not distracted by outside influences, but focused on the moment (zen) with your act or martial maneuver (technique).

The Bhuddists also use the practice of zazen in their practice of religion, and different sects of them are known as "zen Bhuddists" from the analysis of their philosophy, but zen, of itself, has no philosophy.

Almost all martial arts have a "breathing develoment" series of exercises that are identical to the zazen breathing exercises, but only mechanically, for there is no "clearing of the mind" practiced at this time, only breath control... Done in Aikido all the time, for instance.

The closest to zazen that is done in most dojos is "mukuso", which is a closing exercise where the students will sit with their eyes closed and breath, and clear their minds for entry to the outside world... sometimes practiced before class to clear the mind for training.

Now, with all that being said, if you need a "martial philosophy", read the rules put out by Ghenkis Khan, who had one of the best philosophies for governing warring states in history.... but of course, peeing on the campfire was a capital offense...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#267386 - 06/29/06 07:56 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: wristtwister]
eric235u Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/05
Posts: 38
Loc: MA
Ghenkis Khan!

mmmnnn...

the spartans stand at thermoplyae always gets the blood boiling -

Herodotus reports that just before the Battle of Thermoplyae, a Spartan warrior named Dienekes was told that the Persian archers could blank out the sun with their arrows. He replied "Good, then we shall have our battle in the shade."

so what is a proper "martial philosophy" then? is it measured in victory?
_________________________
http://www.newmag.org/

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#267387 - 06/29/06 08:00 PM Re: Zen Not a Martial Philosophy [Re: eric235u]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
"We do not train to win or lose, but to remain undefeated"...

If that doesn't work for you, then "We train because there is training to do..."

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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