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Don't let the rain get to you

  Today in Los Angeles it is raining and rain has the precarious ability to drive Angelenos crazy. It seems as just the thought of rain can cause people to lose their minds. Kind of indicative of 2016 and thus it has been one heck of a year.

With the rain and all that has happened in 2016, it reminds me of Ame ni mo makezu, a poem written by Kenji Miyazaki. Ame ni mo makezu translates as "Be Not Defeated By the Rain."  Here is the poem translated by David Sulz below:

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better. Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy. Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you. Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health. If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden. If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear. If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy. In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.

Stand aloof of the unknowing masses: Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.



Step deeply into yourself

Museishi Like most, Mondays always seem so blah. I thought I'd re-post something Furuya Sensei wrote about training in hopes that it might help us get over the doldrums of Mondays.

Sensei's explanation: Museishi (無声詩)- The Unvoiced Poem - the message of our training is like a poem, the words are heard but the message lingers elsewhere silently. . . . To go deep into the art of Aikido is to go deep inside one's self.

At the heart of Aikido training exists our true selves.  This journey can be hard and arduous but it ultimately leads to joy and happiness.  The first step begins with us and looking at our lives with a lens that is trained inward.  We are our biggest problem and when we start to see that we can begin this journey inward.  Until that time the world will be against us and every person and every thing will be our enemy.  Give up the need to find the source of your problems outside yourself and begin to look inside of you.  This is the only way out.





The beauty of life

Otagaki Rengetsu Fluttering merrily and sleeping in the dew in a field of flowers, in whose dream is this butterfly? - Otagaki Rengetsu

Wonderful poem by one of Japan's most famous poets.

On a certain level, life is really but a dream.  Who knows what is real or what is fake?

The fleetingness of life is at the core of all warrior culture.  How do we live knowing that we will eventually die?

The short life of the butterfly and its fleeting beauty call to us to enjoy the brief beauty of our lives while we are still here.




Never give up

Zhongnan Mountain Retreatby Wang Wei (701-761)

In middle age I am rather fond of the Dao, Recently I set up my home at the foot of the Zhongnan mountain. In the mood, I would go to the mountain alone, Splendid things, only I know. Walk to where the water ends; Sit and watch when clouds rise. I meet by chance an old man of the forest; We chat and laugh without a time to return.


Translation from Jingqing Yang's book The Chan Interpretations of Wang Wei's Poetry: A Critical Review.

The implications in Yang's book is that, “having reached the end of the water, other people may lose interest and return, or feel disappointed, but Wang Wei did not. The water ended so he sat down and watched the clouds. His mental peacefulness was not disturbed because the water had ended. He did not care about anything other than following his destiny and accommodating himself to the circumstances.”

cloudI came upon this poem after discovering this piece of calligraphy brushed by Shodo Harada Roshi.  Supposedly, it was titled "Walk to the place where the water ends," but I cannot find any information to corroborate this.  Regardless, the title intrigued me.  When I searched farther I came upon Wang Wei's poem.  His poem struck me and brought me a sense of ease as I thought of watching the clouds.  This poem reminded me of the clouds I saw one day as I looked out my mother's hospital window.

Life is tenuous.  We should do our best to savor every moment and follow our hearts and dream.