Just the other week as usual, I was playing in the local park with the children that attend the International Kindergarten that I work for. It’s summer and very humid. The deafening sound of the cicadas ring from tree to tree and it is a favourite challenge for children to capture one while clinging to the bark of the trees. The children would lead me to a tree and ask that I take one. One day late last week, I managed to walk and pick up every cicada I set my eyes on. The following day I tried to do the same, yet upon approaching the cicadas, every one of them flew away. I tried to listen to myself. It was at that moment that I realised I held hesitation in my heart. I was moving toward each ciccada with intention and thus with mental noise. I thought about the day before. I realised that my movements were free from hesitation, and thus I moved instinctively, naturally and with no thought. Hence, I was able to capture every Cicada. This was a great lesson for me.
A few days later I was browsing the internet and came across an excerpt written by Soke regarding something very simiar.
“Ninjutsu To Wa” (Ninjutsu Is…) – First excerpt from Hatsumi Masaaki’s Ninja/Ninpo Gaho (“Ninja/Ninpo Illustrated – For Children”) – Akita Shoten, 1964.
Going to catch cicadas and dragonflies in the summer is an example. When you find cicadas and dragonflies, you get closer to them with ninja steps – when you want to put them in the net, right? This allows one to hide the sound of his footsteps. Quietly getting close to the cicadas and dragonflies is a wonderful type of ninjutsu. However, even if you get close in this way, most of the cicadas and dragonflies quickly notice and escape.
This is so because you do not study the cicada and dragonfly well enough. It seems that the cicada can see mostly forward and towards its [own] back. Yet the dragonfly with its compound eyes can even see backwards. Consequently if you always put these things into your head and research the blind spots of the cicada and dragonfly, it might become that you can snatch them. If you research this then it can be said that (from now) you have advanced one step to becoming a ninja.”
I haven’t researched the cicada. But I train in budo with Soke every week.
This book was written for children, yet I can’t help remembering clearly that Soke says that the heart of a child is sacred and we should all become children to “play” and truly learn. Maybe this book was actually intended for adults who possessed the right mind for living a happy life. The mind of a child.
Training with Soke and accepting his messages, we can hopefully become enlightened to the correct way of living and ultimately understand that ninpo is in fact, the art of life.
Shikin Haramitsu Dai Komyo