“the Simple life is the good life”.
I have sometimes jokingly protected my lack of intelligence and awareness about myself and life through saying “Ignorance is bliss”. It is also strange that Soke has over the years mentioned that knowledge can in fact dull your senses and interfere with your budo studies. I recently have become confident enough to trust these words of Soke and therefore find an inner knowing that the path I tread daily has lead me to many wonderful things. Trusting yourself and removing your concern for being right or wrong, intellectual or not, rich or poor, or any of the sorts, allows you to function in life with a grounding yet resilient nature able to accept and discern freely what comes at any time. Simplicity is only found when one moves with conviction and understands the truth of his desires. Tanjun can imply that a person is rather superficial, or more commonly simple-minded or simple hearted. However, we can also relate it to Taijutsu and the sense of “ease of movement” or “lightness of being”. We can also relate this to mushin. Eventhough mushin translates more so as “no mind”, it doesn’t mean “stupid”. The simplicity stemming from the realm of mushin derives from hara and the inner knowing, or the mysterious breath of the subconscious. So, in regards to tanjun, I’d like people to understand ( as I am trying to understand ) that the simplicity as looked at in this blog is infact a feeling or truth that naturally metamorphosizes through correct, hard and diligent training. There is always an omote and ura to life, so we must also be resilient enough to accept any contradictions as avenues for further growth.
I would like to return to the thought of “ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes knowing something can create boundaries and obstacles for true learning and growth. We can appreciate the saying “what you don’t know , can’t hurt you”. Yet everything has an opposite doesn’t it!
Simple minded people can also create problems through lack of knowledge. However, if the simple minded person has awareness, they can void unecessary situations and live as they wish. In the animal kingdom we can see that awareness and natural instinct is something that ensures the survival of the species. If as humans we can learn to develop our mind,body and awareness as one with balance ( shin gi tai ichi ) we can learn to live a life of happiness and freedom.
People are very earnest about training and becoming better. This is good. However, I’d like to add something from Joji Ohashi’s site on this matter:
As the proverb goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” For example, you can disgrace the Bujinkan with the opposite intention. We have to be very careful about this type of Kyojitsu that is found everywhere in our life.
People need to believe something and when they do, attach themselves to it. From there, the belief can alter it’s face through the desire of the person who has become attached to it. We can see the changes in religion from the desire of man as well. Takamatsu Sensei wrote on this type of matter in regards to learning Ninjutsu:
“The skill of the Ninja is the art of winning. In the beginning study of any combative art, proper
motivation is crucial. Without the proper frame of mind, continuous exposure to fighting
techniques can lead to ruin instead of self-development. But this fact is not different from any
other beneficial practice in life carried to extremes.
A religion, when based on faith developed through experience, a broad and questing mind, and
unflagging pursuit of universal understanding, is of inspiration and comfort to people. Once a
religion loses its original focus, however, it becomes a deadly thing with which to deceive,
control and tax the people through the manipulation of their beliefs and fears.
It is the same with the martial arts. The skills of self-protection, which should provide a feeling
of inner peace and security for the martial artist, so often develop without a balance in the
personality and lead the lesser martial artist into warped realms of unceasing conflict and
competition which eventually consume him.
If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of NINJUTSU, devoid of the
influence of the ego’s desires, the student will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret
for becoming invincible – the attainment of the “mind and eyes of god”. The combatant who would
win must be in harmony with the scheme of totality, and must be guided by an intuitive
knowledge of the playing out of fate.
In tune with the providence of heaven and the impartial justice of nature, and following a clear
and pure heart full of trust in the inevitable, the NINJA captures the insight that will guide him
successfully into battle when he must conquer and conceal himself protectively from hostility
when he must acquiesce.”
The most important thing in my mind is to rid the desire to know. Through achieving this I feel we will make transparent all preconceptions about what we think budo is. We are then able to absorb the teachings directly and gain the “feeling” that Soke wishes us to grasp with an open hand. The simpler we move in life, the more we will see. What was once trivial or blurred from our vision will be now observed and wondered over like a three year old child. The greater we understand and live in this manner, we will be able to witness and acknowledge very quickly those who have mastered the art of “the simple life” through their taijutsu. It is those who we should move toward and learn from. The art of discernment is something that can help us only once we have a pure heart. If we haven’t purified our heart, we will make mistaken decisions and lose the path.
“Nintai to wa kokoro o yashinai waza o hagemite suenagaku shinken ko so ma no ninja nari”
The ninja’s body is to nurture one’s mind and to train the body to endure to the end. One who can do this is a true ninja.”