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Maintenance of the Spirit

Kawaraban No. 86


by Kenji Shimizu Sensei

I wish you a happy New Year and I thank you very much for your support last year. Please, support us this year as well.

This year we will have to take all efforts to show the rest of the world the strength, with which Japan will be able to overcome all difficulties. Although a single person has only limited power, we might be able to extend our joint strength infinitely by our great number. Now it is very important to value gratitude and respect, because this might have the result that people will trust and help each other even more. People in ancient Japan were of strong will power, although they were poor. Especially people in East Asia were afraid with respect to good and bad matters. The reason is that the Japanese possessed human strength. Nowadays rights and privileges are requested, but strength to fulfill duties is lacking. In fact the economy made us wealthy, but couldn’t it possibly be that this distortion has weakened the will power of the Japanese? Or is this even a worldwide development?

I turned a little from the subject. In a certain newspaper we could read: “For planning of financial instruments and their applications advanced mathematical knowledge and computer calculations are necessary, the young experts of this finance arithmetic earn billions of Yen in the age between 20 and 30 years, and they were called winners. However, the whole bubble of investment banking and other business models is collapsed, and we got to know something, which is quite obviously, that is that we got to know the reality that we are not able to bring forth new values, which extend the limits of economic possibilities, with the high art of alchemy.”

Now I asked myself whether all such things are artificial human products, and we are living just in a time in which we all were led astray.

There are the words of Soho Takuan, Zen master of the Rinzai sect of the early Edo period: “It is the spirit himself, who misleads the spirit, carefully take care of the spirit” (from ‘The Unfettered Mind’ by master Takuan). I think that we became insensitive against the existence of a soul, which controls the activities of the heart, which is located within the body. The body has to be filled with Ki, and shouldn’t we think to maintain the spirit as well? Those made me think intensively after the end of the Kangeiko (winter seminar).

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Dr. Peter Nawrot, 05/2012