Monthly Archives: March 2018

Mōanjō (A Safe Staff for the Blind) – Part 1-2 for Reflection

Therefore, since we believe this body to be real and solid, our sufferings never cease either by day or by night. If you are one who is really concerned about his body, forget it right now. Where does suffering come from? Only from love of the body. A warrior, especially, must in his own life know birth and death. When you know birth and death the Way is automatically present. When you do not, humanity, morality, propriety, and wisdom are absent too.

Therefore, since we believe this body to be real and solid, our sufferings never cease either by day or by night. If you are one who is really concerned about his body, forget it right now. Where does suffering come from? Only from love of the body. A warrior, especially, must in his own life know birth and death. When you know birth and death the Way is automatically present. When you do not, humanity, morality, propriety, and wisdom are absent too.

Clinging to the idea that our bodies are real and solid… a source of endless suffering.

Forget the body. Forget it right now. Loving the body and forgetting birth and death disguises the Way from us. It prevents what we need most:

humanity,

morality,

propriety,

and wisdom.

Surely, all these things meant something different in Shōsan’s time, than they do now. And Shōsan is vehement in is disavowal of the body. Over and over, he repeats that it’s worthless, it’s nothing, it’s a hindrance.

I personally believe Shōsan had plenty of experience that warned him away from trusting the body or becoming attached to it. In his years as a samurai in service, he must have seen many battles, and likely witnessed many warriors cut down in battle… not to mention coming across decomposing bodies after armed conflicts. His experience in battle, with blades cutting through guts, spilling viscera and excrement everywhere, surely must have affected his view.

Who would trust the human body after seeing it sliced to ribbons so many times?

But even if we haven’t had those same experiences to warn us away from trusting the body, we can still gain something from his words. The more we cling to appearances, especially those of the body, the greater and longer our suffering will be. The farther we remove ourselves from birth and death, the more deluded we become.

We should consider ourselves warned.

 

This version of Mōanjō is based on The Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan

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Mōanjō (A Safe Staff for the Blind) – Part 1-1 Reflection

Suzuki Shōsan

Suzuki Shōsan

1. We must know without a doubt that joy lies in knowing birth and death.

tulip petals dying beside vase

Now, the truth that all who are born must die is upon our lips, but we do not realize it in our hearts.

baby lying on blanket smiling

Youth is soon over, the hair turns white, wrinkles furrow the brow, the physical body declines day by day, and with every sunrise and sunset our dewdrop life approaches its term.

old man's face

This never astonishes us, however.

Last year gives way to this, spring passes and fall comes, yet we do not understand what is meant by the scattering of the blossoms and the falling of the leaves.

fallen leaves

Though sparks from the flint flash before our eyes we do not grasp that they are transient, illusions.

fire with sparks flying up

Truly, even those who wear around their neck the robe and bowl, who enter the way of renunciation and who thus seek to know the emptiness of all phenomena, in the end find it hard to rid themselves of the profound urge toward permanence of being.

bridge at sunset

 

And how true it is. Each and every day, we are surrounded by evidence and proof of our impermanence.

Yet, we overlook it, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t matter.

Or that we can escape it. Even those who have devoted themselves to a Higher Path… even they still cling to life.

And who wouldn’t? It’s what we do.

Live.

 

 

This version of Mōanjō is based on The Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan

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Mōanjō (A Safe Staff for the Blind) – Part 1-1

Suzuki Shōsan

Suzuki Shōsan

 

1. We must know without a doubt that joy lies in knowing birth and death. Now, the truth that all who are born must die is upon our lips, but we do not realize it in our hearts. Youth is soon over, the hair turns white, wrinkles furrow the brow, the physical body declines day by day, and with every sunrise and sunset our dewdrop life approaches its term. This never astonishes us, however. Last year gives way to this, spring passes and fall comes, yet we do not understand what is meant by the scattering of the blossoms and the falling of the leaves.

Though sparks from the flint flash before our eyes we do not grasp that they are transient, illusions. Truly, even those who wear around their neck the robe and bowl, who enter the way of renunciation and who thus seek to know the emptiness of all phenomena, in the end find it hard to rid themselves of the profound urge toward permanence of being.

 

This version of Moanjo is based on The Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan

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Mōanjō (A Safe Staff for the Blind)

Suzuki Shōsan

Suzuki Shōsan

[Topics discussed:]

  1. That joy lies in knowing birth and death.
  2. That one must know himself by reflecting upon himself.
  3. That one must in all things achieve sympathy with the mind of others.
  4. That one must practice, in good faith, loyalty and filial piety.
  5. That one must discern his own lot in life and know what is his natural endowment.
  6. That virtue lies in avoiding dwelling upon anything.
  7. That by forgetting himself one must guard himself.
  8. That one must be firmly resolved to take great care when alone.
  9. That by destroying the mind one must cultivate the mind.
  10. That one must give up petty gain and achieve the great gain.

This version of Moanjo is based on The Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan

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