Essays From The Master

Archive for April, 2006

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Kokoro: The heart of all things

The word kokoro has many meanings, among them heart, spirit and intention. Kokoro as a kanji is one half of the kanji for Nin, the other being Ken or blade. The dual meaning of the kanji Nin can also be represented by the Tibetan spirit blade or phurba. Kokoro is the root of the path of the Ninja. We of the Komuso Ryu define Kokoro as the collective energy of all that is. It is the Tao of this world and all worlds; it also includes the anti-Taos of all worlds as well. The Kokoro is made up of two currents, one being the Ku or mind body continuum and the other being the Wu or power image continuum. Each of these has a Yin and yang aspect as well as an energy and matter manifestation which with the Kokoro as a whole yields the nine cosmic elements employed by the Komuso Ryu. The Kokoro is seen with the Ku and Wu as forming a triangle out of which space and time emerge as parallel lines. When one is in sync with the Kokoro through meditation it should be seen as an ocean one is beneath the surface of and all around one’s self the web of energy that connects all living things. From the center of the Kokoro a pulse is emitted which is felt throughout the web of existence. With the will one can beat one’s own rhythm against the membrane of the kokoro, this will draw energy from the kokoro changing its flow as well as adding to the force of one’s own will transmuting thought into objective result. In a receptive state the body becomes a vessel for the energy of the cosmos, allowing the will to harness through the body the lines of life energy or Chi with one’s personal power or Ki.

The Nin Do adept gets in sync with the kokoro through action as in ritual or martial arts or through trance as in meditation or chanting. The best method is to employ both of the paths at once, meditative thought and ritualized action. In Kuji Kiri this is the mudra and mantra. In martial arts this is movement and kiai.  One tool the Komuso employs to see the ebb and flow of the Kokoro’s eight observable aspects is the I Ching, the eight forms of energy correspond to the eight trigrams. The hexagrams then represent path ways in time and space in one sense. The hexagrams are also spells to affect the flow of the Kokoro that when combined with movement be it martial or occult both paths are active and the adept is able to directly influence reality not only for ourselves but in objective reality as well. It should be noted that the same eight elements are manifest in the humanoid form as the mind, soul, will, body, spirit or life force, the hara, kia point and the third eye. The kokoro its self has a manifestation in the humanoid form as the wa or aura that all living things produce which collectively create the Kokoro on the cosmic level.

The reflexive nature of the universe allows for all possible outcomes of the universe from any point in time or space to exist with equal truth if will is invested to bring that possible outcome into the present. The Kokoro includes all of these outcomes. Therefore each breath or word or thought invested with power creates or destroys whole universes. No one is without power, for we are all a part of the will that rules all. This will, the kokoro, is like onto a dragon that is its symbol, ruthless and unceasing once its course is set. For all that we can with a breath change the very order of nature, because the Kokoro contains all possible forms of order, because the Kokoro is chaos. Chaos seen from its eye reveals the dance that is perfect order. When the ninja taps the flow of the kokoro, he enters the eye of the cosmic chaos, the ninja himself becomes the centre of all things and as such he is at peace because he embodies it. It should be noted that the eight currents of the kokoro correspond to the so-called eight fold path of the mystic. In fact the path of the Nin Do adept is the magician’s form of the eight fold path. Unlike that of the mystic the path of the magician is one whole, the path of the moon known as Getsumi no michi. This is made up of a union of the way of the Fox, the Viper, the Raven, the Bat, the Scorpion, the Tiger, the Cobra and the Dragon. The Fox and the Bat create the way of the Tiger. Philosophy and body control create the art of war. The viper and the raven create the way of the Cobra. Tools and ritual create the art of manipulation. The Fox, viper, raven, and bat as one create the way of the scorpion, the way of controlling the essences of life force. Throughout all ways is the way of the dragon, the way that is the very world of the Ninja as a society. All of these are unified in the symbolism of the crescent moon. It is important to recall that the inverted crescent is meant to imply the process of an eclipse, in which the darkness is made radiant. A dark radiance casts a shadow; in this case the shadow is light. That light being the essence of the Kokoro. The light of the kokoro is the fire of the blood that manifests in the humanoid as the will.

In the modern mythos of Star wars created by George Lucas the Kokoro is known as The Force, the Ku being the “Light” side and the Wu being the “Dark” side, however the ninja is not bound to one path or the other as the ninja understands the “sides” are merely gates to the Force or Kokoro as it is known to those of our ryu. The kokoro is part of the genetic memory carried by all sentient beings as we all have the same source. This source is the big bang that also birthed the stars, the carbon of the stars is the same found in all sentient races. In that way we all carry to some extent access to the archetypal memory of all cultures. This is also why at times people with no blood connection to a given culture often tap the mythos of a culture they have no actual link to. This also is why people confuse brushes with genetic memory with that of past lives. At times anyone can tap collective memory, this does not point to a past life.

This symbolism is best shown in the crest of this our ryu. The crest is a black sun being eclipsed by a red crescent, showing the Ku current. At the same time is a silver star being eclipsed by a violet crescent, showing the Wu current. Joining all of these is the name of the ryu in gold kanji, symbolizing the totality of the Kokoro. Symbols are these to point the way, the path of nature from simple to complex returning to the simplicity that is the one thing that includes all things, the Kokoro.  Another symbol of both the kokoro and this ryu is the black lotus, when the adept focuses on it he brings himself into the ebb and flow of the kokoro. Another symbol of this ryu and the kokoro is the dragonfly. The dragon fly’s hum symbolizes the kokoro in action. The black lotus is the symbol of the esoteric teachings of the ryu and the dragonfly is the symbol of the martial teachings of the ryu. These two aspects of the ryu are unified in the main symbol of this ryu, the crescent moon. It should be recalled that the inverted crescent is a symbol of an eclipse. The crescent is formed just before said eclipse is complete.

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