Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Warrior Monk

Well, here I am once again after a long time of work and meditation with some thoughts and updates on life and living. It's been a very interesting few months to say the least. Where to begin... at the beginning.

I had a great summer with friends and time to myself to read and think of many things. I started reading a lot for one thing.... I had made many promises to myself that I intend to keep and one of them was to catch up on as much reading as I could. I tend to read nonfiction works. That's probably because of my science training. "What's the Matter with Kansas," "SWAY," and "Unscientific America" were just a couple and now I've started reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" along with "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris. I have this drive and need almost to learn as much as I can before it's too late. And then that brings me to another happening... my diving back into my Zen studies.

I've been practicing the Tea Ceremony for almost 8 years now. The more I study it the more the Tea Ceremony (Chado) becomes more associated by me with the Way of Peace. Now this is a bit odd since I am also trained as a warrior in the Martial Arts and one would think that the two ways are antithetical.... I don't think so and that perhaps such a point of view is a bit immature. Who would desire the Way of Peace more than a warrior who knows that his way could mean his end and the demise of others? This lead me to finish reading "Kishido: The Way of the Western Warrior" and that combination of East and West resonated with me. Why? Because I am a combination of the East and the West and though I love the ways of the Japanese quite often, let's be straight, I am not Japanese (Nihonjin de wanae). But what am I then? More on that later...

I had promised myself that I would go back to the martial arts.... but, I have been injured and I was not sure how well I would do physically back at the Aikido dojo. I also have some very seriously different views on life than King Sensei and I thought I should reconsider the way of the sword like Kendo. I finished with Kishido and decided to try a Western martial art. I started Saber Fencing and I have enjoyed it tremendously. I will work my way into doing tournaments I suppose eventually but right now the physicality of practice and of competing against another human being has been great. And then I got a visit from Sam.... and I had been thinking of her. Amazing that she keeps getting more beautiful as the years go by.

It started me thinking of a story I started during the summer which I think is a wishful biography of myself in a sense... a work of fiction that I had not really intended to write but just appeared in my consciousness. I have titled it "In the Garden of the Warrior Monk" and I think it tells me a lot about myself. With the life I have been living, I feel very much like a monk and the sohei were an integral part of Japanese history. I often suppose that if I were alive in Japan in the 12th century I would have been a warrior monk. Interestingly enough, though my story has Zen in it, the Zen sects of Japan were not warrior monks but I have a chance to use some writer's prerogative to change that a little bit. The story revolves around a teacher-student relationship between the mysterious new teacher in a rural town in southern California central valley who had lived there before, become a monk, then returned to teach and a young female student who is of a prominent family but is mentally anguished and abused. The two meet and he teachers her life lessons as they tend his garden.... the garden of the warrior monk.

More to come...

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