The success of the Samurai rests not only on martial arts skills, but also on the spiritual enlightenment of Zen Buddhism. This martial arts book shows how techniques such as the Iado and Kyudo lead to enlightenment and Satori - the burst of clarity that is the ultimate goal of Samurai Zen....
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Samurai Zen Reviews
The Samurai was a legendary warrior in the Asian Culture. The samurai possessed great strength and impeccable fighting skills. In the Samurai Zen we also learn how the Samurai transformed from a barbaric fighter into the spiritual swordsman. This book is not about the art of sword fighting, but more about the spiritual training of the warrior. The Asian military was not only learning how to fight, but also training how not to fight.FormatThe book is broken down in easy to understand material. The chapters are short and well broken down into smaller sections.The material is explained thoroughly and in great depth. There are related terms and in depth descriptions. It makes it easier for the reader to understand the various terms and what they really are without guessing. The terms are in proper order so the reader doesn't have to figure out what something means before he or she gets there. Most of the chapters have a few exercises, so the reader can practice and learn what the author is talking about.Content - InformationThe book talks about the samurai, explaining the medieval warriors, their training and beliefs. There is a little background on how practice of Zen and Buddhism made it from India into Japan. The original spiritual fighter was Badhidharma (Ta Mu in Chinese, Daruma in Japanese), who was an Indian Buddhist monk. He brought the art of meditation and the martial arts to Shaolin Temple in China, where he taught the art to the monks. From there the art of Zen spread out all over Asia and eventually ended up in Japan.The Samurai was a barbaric warrior who's primary goal been to kill and capture. The government at the time realized that the samurai victory only depends on the skill of the warrior. They realized that in the fight only the stronger and a better fighter would win. They needed a warrior who is not afraid to die and would consider it an honor. Warriors who will battle against all odds and still win. The goal was accomplished.Samurai training was modified to implement the spiritual visualization and act of Zen. As the previously understood Zen and meditation practices were done to tap into sub-consciousness and utilize the higher energy source. Well in the battle samurai was suppose to be very conscious, very alert and that is when the samurai Zen takes a different turn. The samurai meditation was to reach the highest awareness and control. The emotionless emotions had to be achieved in order to understand the opponent and his strategy. The samurai didn't try to figure out what is inside the enemy's mind, but became part of his enemy's thoughts. The fear was supplemented by pride. The samurai no longer cared to fight, but rather to win. The winning without fighting was to be the biggest achievement to accomplish. The Samurai was not out to destroy, but to protect.Samurais were chosen and given an honor to defend their master or their country. The samurais were not common men and came from the noble background. They were not able to join, but rather chosen. The military men who were now trained spiritually as much as physically were no longer feared, but rather respected.This book has the exercises and techniques to accomplish the state of mind, which will let you, understand the conscious meditation and how to tap into it without a proper environment. Once you know where and how you can use Ki, you will be able to recognize it on the spot.Content - TerminologyThe book talks about Zen meditation, Ki energy, where the internal power comes from, other aspects of spiritual power and state of awareness.KiKi is a universal unlimited energy source. Ki is located about two inches below your navel. It is a power that each one of us has, but incapable of utilizing it without the proper training.HaraIt is the most sacred location on the human body. It is the place where Ki is located. Hara is about four inches below the belly button and expands two inches in each direction.ZenIt is a mind far passed the thinking mind. There are no constraints and no limits. Zen is the process of clearing out the doubtful conscious state and tapping into the higher spiritual state.ZazenZa means to be seated. Zazen means to be seated in Zen.BushiBushi means a military warrior. The samurai actually means servant to his master and that might be a reason why it was brought to other cultures as the understanding of the warrior for his country, to serve his master or his country. The actual term in Japanese to describe a warrior of that era is Bushi.BushidoDo is the way or the art of, so Bushido means the way of the warrior.ZanshinIt is the state of awareness. It is a state of conscious awareness, which is reached by practice and meditation. This state comes by tapping into your meditative mind without sub-conscious state.ImaIt means now. The warrior's victory was accomplished by consciously and fully being aware of the present situation. The act of the mind in the present is important part of your conscious meditative state to overcome various situations. It is interesting how the book is talking about perception of TIME. The time doesn't exist, it is only a perception rather then reality. (Personal Note: Einstein believed in the same concept, that when you ask for time, the time has already passed.)DojoIt is a place of enlightenment. Zen Buddhists realized that for someone to learn the act of enlightenment he or she needs a specialized place and that is how Dojo was created. Dojo doesn't have to be a place where you go somewhere to meditate. It can be a corner in your house or in the yard where you can find a peaceful, undisturbed atmosphere. Personal NoteIn the modern Western philosophy we are very much concerned with the destination rather then the journey. Every aspect of our lives depends on what happens next rather than on how we are going to get there. A lot of times when we accomplish something, we are not sure if we are happy with the result, because the goal has been reached and now there is nothing to shoot for. A lot of times if we do not reach our goal we give up, because it takes longer then we expected.We should enjoy the process of getting there without worrying about the length of the process. We should stop and think about the present moment in time without worrying about what tomorrow will bring. Planning for next day makes us miss the beauty of the time in the present. Time is short, enjoy life and stop worrying about how long something lasts, because before you know it, it will be the destination and you have missed the entire journey. That is how you can reach the highest awareness and accomplish a true act of Zen. That is the only way you can prolong your task and your life, by enjoying every moment and concentrating on it no matter how unimportant the moment may seem.ConclusionFrom all of the books I have read and going to read on the subject, I can truly say that this one will be one of the greatest books on Zen. I will definitely have to read it again someday to understand it even better. Whether it is your first book on Zen or not, this book makes you learn the concept of Zen relatively easy or understand it in even greater depth. By reading this book I finally can distinguish between Zen and Ki much more then I did previously. I understand the process and how to get there. The book also has very useful information on various meditation techniques and exercises. They are very easy to understand and to follow. There is a whole bunch of meditations to be able to recognize your Ki and special breathing, concentration exercises to get into the state of mind of sub-conscious consciousness. There is a small section on the sword and sword meditations but if you are not interested in that, there is still plenty of information in this book for you. Samurai Zen is great for everyone. It is not about fighting and not about samurais, it is about healing, relaxing and learning how to properly prepare yourself for various situations. I strongly recommend it.