英文版 不動智神妙録 - The Unfettered Mind (英語) ハードカバー – Special Edition, 2002/11
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In a life-and-death situation of being sword-tip to sword-tip with the enemy, where should the swordsman put his mind?
This is the first question posed in the first of three essays written by a Zen master for the guidance of samurai swordsmen. Among the other questions that arise are the difference between the right mind and the confused mind, what makes life precious, the nature of right-mindedness, the Buddhist paradigm of form and consciousness, and what distinguishes the True Mind. So succinct are the author's insights that these writings have outlasted the dissolution of the samurai class to come down to the present as sources of guidance and inspiration for captains of business and industry, as well as those devoted to the practice of the martial arts in their modern forms.
The history of the sword in Japan goes back to antiquity. Zen and its meditative practices also have a long history, but it was not until the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns, beginning in the early 1600s, that the techniques of swordsmanship fused with the spirit of Zen. And if one man can be said to have been the prime mover in this phenomenon, it was none other than Takuan Soho, confidant and religious instructor to an emperor, to a great sword master, and to the heads of the most important sword schools of the time.
Takuan's meditations on the sword in the essays presented here are classics of Zen thinking.
I have read and liked the book: Hagakure, of the same translator. It gives you a good idea of the samurai spirit or wisdom, commonly referred to as The Way. A very good reference that I recommend.
So, through that book I knew of this one, and so I was very much exited to read it and had high expectations, not spiritual just intellectual.
Besides the introductory text (interesting), The book is a three-letter message to...続きを読む ›
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I am sure that Musashi valued his friendship with the author. The insights into human nature and self improvement are timeless.
He was a prolific writer who composed over 6 major volumes, of which this is but a small fragment. The three works contained here were all written to great sword masters including Yagyu Munenori, and last piece was possibly to the head of the Itto school of swordsmanship, Ono Tadaaki. The purpose of these works is to unify the spirit of Zen with the spirit of the sword. To transcend the physical duel and have unbroken awareness of everything in the moment.
This is not a book to read quickly and hope to find entertainment or a lesson in history. This is deep martial philosophy written by an absolute genius and master of some of the highest arts in ancient Japan. The book contains a few images of his art and calligraphy, but unless you know what to look for it is hard to see just how great his work is. I bought a repo scroll of his calligraphy when last I was in Japan. There is a standout quality about his style in that his scripting appears three dimensional. In fact, it is almost impossible for at least my mind to follow some of the path. Never seen anything like it. I own an original Tesshu who was a great master, but there is something unique and special about Takuan's style that suggests he may have indeed been operating on a whole different level.
"The unfettered Mind" is very advanced stuff. This is not a casual read, and it will appeal to experienced martial artists willing to work with it and apply deep meditation to the many concepts that may not be apparent at first glance. This is one of the greats.
What this book does teaches you is to seek within yourself and return to your own core. As I'm not someone who meditates or does much spiritual enlightment, this book still taught me a lot. As for the time of reading it, it takes you back into time and makes you think of certain things you might not have thought about all your life. So, if that's enlightment, count me in.
With only 92 real pages to read, this book still gives much value for its price. Most sentences are compressed with knowledge and sometimes make you read them twice. Hey, that's 184 pages already then!
Are you interested in gaining some spiritual thoughts and maybe some habits as well? Then read this book.
The next section reminded me very strongly of Plato's republic, as Takuan Soho went into the nature of the world as it is, which is very much seen through the lense of his understanding (16th century Japanese science I guess) which is sometimes ridiculous, and of limited use.
The third section is interesting, as he takes writing of various martial artists and interprets them or critiques them. This is useful for a modern martial artist, as we lack much of the historical and cultural context to interpret these directly from the translation. This section, along with the first are what makes the book worth reading. Still, I think that there are many more useful books out there for the martial artist to read before this one. Try Frederick Lovret's "Way and the Power", or Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" or Musashi's "A Book of Five Rings". All of these are much more useful.