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#339178 - 05/03/07 05:22 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: JKogas]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas


I have been pondering something lately. The question is simply this..."Have we lost the way?" Or should I say Way?"

Have we ever really found the way to BEGIN with?

I think some of us know what the "way" is for us personally. Being able to stay on that path and do what it takes to is the real battle. Maybe the battle is partly the way in whatever you do.?

If your way is just fighting well hey, that's a way too!

Struggle on my brothers and sisters from other mothers!!!
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#339179 - 05/03/07 06:04 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: oldman]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Oldman:

"The Way".... I cannot loose what was never "given" to me. The way "do" within context is specifically the way of the Professional Japanese Soldier (aka Samurai) of the pre-Meiji era (ie Tokugawa forward). As neither I, nor my art evolves from the traditions of the Japanese Samurai. Uninfluenced by them I have no use for those ways in my practices... they are wonderful, and worthy but not the traditions of my practice.

What is this "way" which many, myself included aspire towards? The context I frame the concept of do within obviously being that of historical Japanese culture. However in the broader context (ie its "Grandparents" the Tao) I attribute this "do" this way to a far broader context than that of the battlefield warrior, and the techniques, philosophies, tactics of battlefield survival.

This "do" embraces the techniques, the tools, all the practices of combat, knowledge of conflict but uses these lessons, these tools in a different, larger (subjectively more benefical) manner.

I learn to kick, punch, maim, harm.... knowing the reality, the necessity for those abilities, skills virtually unnecessary, truly non-existant in my ~daily~ existance. The paradox of physical skills, knowledge... we actively seek never to utilize!

What then of the time, effort, sacrifices spent in training? For what purpose do we train, do we bother if truly not to use them? This is the "do"...

The "do" study is of ones internal conflicts, internal battles. How does one transfer the knowledge in any realm earned through ones training towards a useful, helpful outcome? This is the "do" as well.

Learn these skills to determine, maintain ones personal boundries. Learn these skills, the knowledge to confront our own weaknessess, of character, of personality, of body and through our trainings of our particular weaknesses, flaws (ie self-aware) in time struggle with them, perhaps choose to alter them... this in my view is "the way"

Jeff ~Those who wander, may not necessarily be lost...~

#339180 - 05/03/07 10:37 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: oldman]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
Chapter 13

Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss and gain.
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly".
What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?
Surrender yourself humbly;
then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self;
then you can truly care for all things.

#339181 - 05/03/07 11:53 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: oldman]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
can we even define what a 'way' is? isn't defining it too limiting? just do, and learn what we learn...or don't, and learn another.

learning from the inside-out or the outside-in wouldn't seem to matter if both are non-ways. Person 'A' pursues martial art training via a path with the intent of learning an Art, and as a consequence, they also learn about themselves. Person 'B' pursues martial art training via a path with the intent to learn about themselves, and as a consequence they also learn an Art. ...all things being equal, both are learning non-ways.

Pre-conceiving a 'way' is setting ourselves up for failure and/or self-deception. We punish ourselves with feelings of loss for not following 'the way' and deceive ourselves with justifications in order to either get 'back on track' or simply redefine a new way to spare ourselves the feelings of guilt/failure.

why incorporate that stress of keeping benchmarks and meeting goals when learning about ourselves and learning an Art? stress, goals, benchmarks and deadlines is like working-in at work. I don't want to work-in after work...I want to work-out.

Everyone has had this moment in training: you are working out and are just at the balance before feeling burn and feeling exhasted. like a 'relaxed tired'...or a 'comfortably numb' I guess you could say. tired enough to not have any thoughts...but not exhasted enough to dwell on the pain.

right there at that moment, for however long/short it lasts, we are without goals or stress or way. we are just doing in the moment....and later we feel good for having done it.

#339182 - 05/04/07 12:01 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Ed_Morris]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina

right there at that moment, for however long/short it lasts, we are without goals or stress or way. we are just doing in the moment....and later we feel good for having done it.

... and that, my friend, is zen.

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

#339183 - 05/04/07 09:41 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: wristtwister]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I don't know. Don't know if 'just being in the moment', being 'zen'-like, is 'the way'. The 'gateless gate', the 'path with no destination', all the deep Buddhist and Daoist allusions that have been repeatedly pointed out by 'masters'...seems like there is more to 'the Way'.

Something struck me a while back: that not all people want to 'become' 'better' people. Many martial artists strive to perfect an 'art', looking for a level of physical or aesthetic 'ideal', without realizing that a key component is working on the 'self'. 'The Seven Principles', Bushido, and other dojo kun are only more words, philosophies that have no 'meaning' until internal change occurs.

#339184 - 05/04/07 12:15 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Leonine]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia

TO answer such a question, I'd really need a more specific explanation of what the Way is.

Spoken like a true 21st Century person.

Who the hell knows what was in Lao Tze's mind when he wrote those cryptic words and archaic expressions 2500 years ago, living in a place that was not even a country as we know the term today (China did not exist then) It is no wonder that in ancient times (and in some remote villages even now) a Taoist master was also a master ghost catcher.

The idea being that if you 'study' the Way and knows what's it all about, you can 'open' a door way to the great mysteries of the Universe (like the Jewish Kabalah / the old magical Runes of Europe / the DreamTime of Australia / the EagleSpirit of native Americans) and thus able to manipulate the forces of nature to your advantage, like the legendary 8 Immortals.

So there is enough stuff in the Tao Te Ching (loosely translated as a kind of handy manual or a 'way' for practicing "virtue" ('Te' -- pronounced in mandarin as 'Duh' and not 'Te' as in karate) which perhaps was in short supply during Lao Tze's time) to be like the Bible/Kor'an which has something for everyone and every occasion. That's also how Taoism was turned into a religion. Lao Tze would have turned over in his grave over this.

The question is is it philosophy in the philosophical sense?

If you can understand why the practice of martial arts is also known as 'Kung Fu' (Effort & Time) then perhaps there is some philosophy after all.

When you put so much effort and spend so much time in practicing and perfecting the art of fighting that, ironically, fighting itself becomes unimportant. Here the cynic may say, yeah, by then you are already an oldman.
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

#339185 - 05/04/07 12:26 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: ButterflyPalm]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Whoa. Nice post ButterflyPalm! This coming from someone with nary a philosophical bone is his body.

"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#339186 - 05/04/07 03:46 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: ButterflyPalm]
oldcoach Offline

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 130
One story has it that Lao Tzu simply wanted to leave a place. Recognizing the old man as a sage, the border guard wouldn't let him pass (and be lost to them forever) until he left his teachings in writing.

So Lao Tzu wrote those cryptic verses in 81 chapters and passed it to the guard. The guard took a look and went "Hmmm, this is good stuff. Great wisdom. OK, thanks. You may go"

So Lao Tzu left happily enough.

Thing is, Lao Tzu deliberately wrote those words in a manner cryptic enough to occupy the fuddled brains of the guard who would no doubt ponder the verses (and not pay attention to Lao Tzu) so that he could pass without incident.

#339187 - 05/04/07 10:49 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: oldcoach]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
It was also said that he left the place riding on the back of a buffalo and it was the only book he ever wrote and, unlike the students of the scholarly Confucius, left no commentary, no bibliographical reference etc.

What is also a problem is that certain words and phrases may have very different meanings then and now because before the coming of Emperor Qin (of the Great Wall fame) there was no standardized meaning of the chinese characters and I've read some of the stuff in Chinese and some of the English translations and find that one can put whatever one wants into it depending on your personal philosophical / religious / cultural agenda and of course which period in world history you happened to be living in.

As for the humble gate keeper being able to read and understand and recognize it was great stuff goes against the general perception that in 500 BC China high education was a rarity.

There was even a story that Lao Tze and Confucius met one afternoon for some tea and dim sum and had a lively debate and they parted ways agreeing to disagree.

I am not being flippant here, just that it is so easy for a 2500 year cryptic text to be taken completely out of context and purpose, especially when I see taoist priests these days practicing ghost catching and fortune telling based on the study of the Tao.

Another problem is that Taoism has also being lumped together with another cryptic book, the I Ching (of the Yin Yang / bagua fame) and brought to birth a terrible pair of twins which has been the main stay of Chinese culture until the Chinese commmunist turned to Karl Marx for some diversion on a contemporary understanding of the modern human condition and we now know where that left the Chinese.
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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