Dharma of the Day #3

do not see apparent adversity as bad

rather see it as doorway, a garland

with which to decorate the new

within every challenge can be found

a seed which might germinate

into new experience and knowledge

all seeds whilst they are rooting

need careful care and attention

and newly sprouted stems

need to be rotated else they acquire bias

the germination of knowledge

is an act of love

which when tended, brings bounty

it is an act of receptivity to the spirit

knowledge which arrives quickly

is not so profound as that which

takes longer to mature,

much like vintage wine aged in its cask

vintage wine has more nuance

than that fresh from the vine

it has more depth and a subtle aroma

when wisdom arrives

it is like an old slipper

familiar to the foot

and slightly battered around the edges

it is not possible to attain wisdom

in the absence of trial

for all things have a price

only this one seems to be of better value

in learning to tend a garden

one learns much about Dao

and rhythm and seasoning

it makes one a better cook

in the Zen of gardening

hurry and haste are soon found

not to have any place

complete absorption in the moment


in this manner one learns much

about the present

inherent in any gift of power

and all about, economy

better to tend a small garden well

than to take on a country estate

beauty in the small

heals the heart

in tending a garden

one tends one’s own heart

this teaches one

a sense of inner love

And what could be wrong with that?

Aiki, Bu and Misogi

Aiki, a Japanese budō term, at its most basic is a principle that allows a conditioned practitioner to negate or redirect an opponent’s power. When applied, the aiki practitioner controls the actions of the attacker with minimal effort and with a distinct absence of muscular tension usually associated with physical effort.

In Japanese Aiki is formed from two kanji:

    合 – ai – joining

    氣 – ki – spirit

The kanji for ai is made of three radicals, “join”, “one” and “mouth”. Hence, ai symbolizes things coming together, merging. Aiki should not be confused with wa which refers to harmony. The kanji for ki represents a pot filled with steaming rice and a lid on it. Hence, ki symbolizes energy (in the body).

Thus aiki’s meaning is to fit, join, or combine energy. However, care must be taken about the absolute meanings of words when discussing concepts derived from other cultures and expressed in different languages. This is particularly true when the words we use today have been derived from symbols, in this case, Japanese kanji, which represent ideas rather than literal translations of the components. Historical use of a term can influence meanings and be passed down by those wishing to illustrate ideas with the best word or phrase available to them. In this way, there may be a divergence of the meaning between arts or schools within the same art. The characters ai and ki have translations to many different English words.

Historically, the principle of aiki would be primarily transmitted orally, as such teachings were often a closely guarded secret. In modern times, the description of the concept varies from the physical to vague and open-ended, or more concerned with spiritual aspects.

Misogi (禊) is a Japanese Shinto practice of ritual purification by washing the entire body. Misogi is related to another Shinto purification ritual called Harae – thus both being collectively referred to as misogiharae (禊祓)

Budō (武道) is a Japanese term describing modern Japanese martial arts.Literally translated it means the “Martial Way”, and may be thought of as the “Way of War” or the “Way of Martial Arts”.

Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning “war” or “martial”; and (道:どう; dào in Chinese), meaning “path” or “way” (including the ancient Indic Dharmic and Buddhist conception of “path”, or mārga in Sanskrit). Budō is the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a “path” to realize them. signifies a “way of life”. in the Japanese context is an experiential term in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. Modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal one: my ego that must be fought.

Similarly to budō, bujutsu is a compound of the roots bu (武), and jutsu (術:じゅつ), meaning technique.Thus, budō is translated as “martial way”,or “the way of war” while bujutsu is translated as “science of war” or “martial craft.” However, both budō and bujutsu are used interchangeably in English with the term “martial arts”. Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives attention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself.

The first significant occurrences of the word Budō date back to the Kōyō Gunkan (16th century) and were used to describe the samurai lifestyle rather than the practice of martial techniques. The word was later re-theorized and redefined to the definition we know today. First by Nishikubo Hiromichi and the Dai Nippon Butokukai when the name of their vocational school for martial arts was changed from bujutsu senmon gakkō to budō senmon gakkō. And later by Jigoro Kano, judo’s founder, when he chose to name his art judo instead of jujutsu.

Golden Core – Caduceus Dream 19-05-2013

*Gold is the dreaming symbol for Nagal or Spirit

I am flying in the sky above all the people. I come across a wooden “telegraph” pole like the one we have in the garden. It is mossy and unnoticed. I am the golden core to the telegraph pole. The direct link between sky {heaven} and earth. Though no one appreciates this.

I am then in my flat in an apartment building which is shared by many. There is a sense that this is a learning community. It is not very tidy. From time to time I come upon a drawer which has been rifled through. Over by one of the windows are two very small birds of a peachy-blue colouration. They are not like any real birds. I go over to them and start to mimic their calls very accurately. They hop along until they are very close to me. I speak with them in bird language. Soon they are mimicking me and speaking English. They hop onto my head and shoulders. I let them walk all over my face. I know in the dream that these two birds love me a great deal.

I continue to move around my flat and find that another drawer has been rifled. I take the Swiss army penknife {red with a white cross} and put it in my pocket. I go to where my golden Caduceus is and put it in my pocket. They have not found its hiding place. I am now wearing combat trousers. I notice water dripping from the ceiling and go to investigate the jewellers which is above. As I get to the landing the police are arriving. Someone has broken into the jewellers and stolen many things. The police comment to me that they are amateurs.

I slip a pair of nunchaku into my left trouser pocket and set off into the street. As I approach a building site a lorry containing long strips of wood, sheds it load narrowly missing me. I shout at the builder and pick up a stick not sure whether to give it back to him or attack. I wave it at him. He does something similar. I have my hand over left trouser pocket as I approach him. It is good natured and fun, I go on my way.

Meanwhile I hear a rumour spread by my ex-wife that I have lost my Caduceus in the robbery. The story that my Caduceus made by designer XXXX propagates. It has been lost when they broke into the jewellery shop. I touch the Caduceus in my pocket and am very happy to let the rumour propagate for now.

I am now in central London near the Buckingham Palace roundabout. There are many taxis and a wedding procession with a white Rolls Royce. I am on the central island. I can see that a taxi is going to collide with the Rolls Royce. It does so and they both roll towards me. I know I am going to be hit but not hurt. As they roll into me, I bounce a little. The Rolls Royce is crumpled. The taxi driver apologises and asks if I would like a lift. I say, “no thanks”.

I continue my way onto a high-rise construction site. There are many stainless stell girders of a narrow diameter. I climb with ease and get across a gap onto the far part of the building site. There is no obvious way back. A Scotsman appears and I ask him if he will help me. He cannot because he will get into trouble for me being on site. He changes his mind. He can help me if I pretend to be casual labour. The bucket of a crane is there, and it is royal blue in colour. We both get in and return to the ground.

I head back to the learning community.

There is now a scientific apparatus there and some experiments are going on. They cannot see but I am something akin to a left bionic arm. This arm is flesh coloured, very high functioning and its hand is ultra-precision.

In the dream I go back to the telegraph pole and the birds, I check again the Caduceus which is safe in my pocket.  It is now also a part of me. The Caduceus is my golden core.

 The Dream ends.